Les and Lori Schmolke both started out working in Grand Casino Mille Lacs back in 1992. Les started in Table Games while Lori started in Grand Advantage (Now Grand Rewards). Both of them worked their way through the ranks while their daughter, Tara Raese started in Hinckley in 1997 in the hotel as a Guest Service Rep and began to work her way up through the ranks as well. Their family took a short break and moved to Wisconsin and ended up moving back to the area in 2006. And they were happy to come back to the Grand Casino/MLCV family. Currently Les is a Table Games Manager, Lori is the Director of Hotel, Retail, and Resorts and Tara is a Central Reservations Supervisor. With the newest generation, Nathan Leppanen, hitting the workforce at Grand Casino Hinckley - we sat down with the family to see how they can handle working at the same property and what makes 3 generations want to work here.
Nathan Leppanen (son of Tara Raese) began working at Grand Casino Hinckley as Hotel Room Attendant on 6/13/16. When we asked Nathan why he wanted to work here, his answer was simple “I want to work and I wanted to work a fun, easy job!” Prior to coming to Grand Casino Hinckley, Nathan did volunteer work at the local Thrift Store which turned into something the whole family enjoyed. For Nathan, coming in and upholding his family’s reputation was at the forefront of everything he was doing. He didn’t want to let his family down or make a bad name for them. Tara (Nathan’s mom) had a very different agenda when she started. She didn’t want anyone to know that Lori was her mom! She wanted to keep her independence and make a name for herself - which she most certainly has!
We asked them all how they manage to work here without any family issues coming forward - the answer we got was simple, they enjoy the company of each other and work/life balance is important to them. They are extremely grateful for the additional time spent together, as most families don't have such opportunity. Every now and then, they even take their first break together and enjoy family breakfast in our Associate Dining Room. This time allows them to talk about their day, bounce ideas around, and get a balanced perspective on different aspects of the casino - discussing better ways to serve our Guests.
This family has a prime example of the type of Guest Service we strive for as a company. One day, Nathan was working in the hotel when he recognized one of Grand Casino's Diamond club members checking into his room - this guest was an avid blackjack player. Nathan knew they Guest because of his Grandpa (Les, Table Games Manager), he greeted the Guest and chatted for a minute. Once the Guest headed to his room, Nathan then notified Les the Guest was on property. Les was able to let his team know that he was here, so they were prepared to get his game started right away by clearing his favorite spot.
For Lori and Les Schmolke, family is the most important thing! Working together has many benefits, especially when it comes to family, coworkers, and Guests.