Meet Graton Resort & Casino's Neil Pacheco, one of North Bay Business Journal's 2019 Forty Under 40
Neil Pacheco, 38, VIP casino host for Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park and director of community engagement for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County, is one of North Bay Business Journal's Forty Under 40 notable young professionals for 2019.
Responsibilities with your company: Main responsibility: Cultivate relationships with dozens of VIP players, make guests feel pampered, spoiled and eager to return to the casino so as to build good will & customer loyalty, which are key to increasing company revenue. Help plan and run special events designed to attract and retain high-value players. Maintain strong relationships with company management and local businesses. To complement my casino career, I also work as a Hospitality, Restaurant Operations, and Food Service/Food Safety Instructor at the Sonoma County Office of Education and SRJC. I am also Director of Community Engagement at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Sonoma County.
How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?: I wish to share my experience, helping young entrepreneurs establish themselves and make our community a more attractive place to live and work.
Years with company: 5
Length of time in current position: 4 years
Greatest professional accomplishment: Becoming a Hospitality Instructor and being able to impact the lives of over 150 students who are pursuing careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Greatest professional challenge: Not having enough time for each task on the sales floor and to network with guests. Right now I am in the process of creating new habits in both my professional and personal life that I intend to help me better accomplish both my own goals and at the same time to increase revenues for my company.
Best advice received: “Money never sleeps.” All my life I have had to work hard for everything. This advice tells me to stay on top of my game so as not to let professional success slip through my fingers.
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: I established a social media advertising company, “What's Cookin' Sonoma County?” I see this as an entrepreneurial stepping stone to the establishment of a sidewalk food cart business, “Tamalitos La Tia Chona.” This, in turn, is connected to my other professional endeavors - serving as Hospitality & Food Service/Food Safety Instructor at Sonoma County Office of Education: SRJC.
Next professional goal: Open “Tamalitos La Tia Chona” sidewalk food cart business.
Education: Atlantic City High School, New Jersey, class of 2000
Community/nonprofit activities: My most important, heartfelt commitment: Serving on the board as Director of Community Engagement of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Sonoma County. Over the past 18 months I have been deeply involved in the chamber's efforts to help victims of the October 2017 fires - initially working in shelters and subsequently helping fire victims find new places to live and to replace lost sources of income.
I connected those fire victims who are Mexican citizens with the Mexican Consulate so they could replace lost records, passports, etc.
I also interviewed many undocumented people in an effort to help them qualify for financial assistance. In addition to my work with the Hispanic Chamber, I also work as a hospitality instructor at Sonoma County Office of Education/SRJC.
I have also established myself as a social media influencer. And I serve as a radio host at La Morenita FM with my show “What's Cookin' Sonoma County?”
Mentor/admired businessperson: Supervisor James Gore, with whom I worked closely following the Oct. 2017 fires.
What is your most disliked buzzword?: This is an old one: “There's a sucker born every minute.” I think this is unfairly applied to the casino industry. While it's true that the odds favor ‘the house,' casinos provide thousands of people with excitement and entertainment that they consider well worth the price of admission.
Typical day at the office: 30 percent of my time Followed up with my VIP Clients 80 percent connecting with clients on the casino floor.
Best place to work outside of your office: Coffee shop - nice and warm and has internet
Hobbies: Swimming and running. I like to challenge myself mentally and physically, so this July I am entering the 2019 Alcatraz Shark Fest Swim.
What you wanted to be when you grew up?: An entrepreneur, which I am I the process of doing by opening my own business, - ‘Tamalitos La Tia Chona' I also wanted to work in education, so it is gratifying that I teach Hospitality for the Sonoma County office of Education/SRJC. Influencer in social media and I have my brand & platform ‘What's Cookin' - In Sonoma County?'
No. 1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Become a business owner
First job: Dishwasher
Social media you most use: Facebook & instagram
Favorite book: “21 Lessons for 21st Century” by Yuval Noah; “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
Favorite movie: “Roma “By Alfonso Cuarn
Favorite after-work drink: Not just my favorite after-work drink, this is the drink I use to close a difficult business deal: “El Luchador” - Mescal, whiskey, cherry liquor, bitters. On the rocks with an orange twist. Salud!
Last vacation: Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico - El Amor de Mis Amores
What does your mom or dad brag most about you?
They are most proud of the volunteer work I do in my community.
Favorite App: MyFitnessPal