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As general manager of the Barona Resort & Casino, Rick Salinas is responsible for keeping Barona on its path of leading the gaming industry in every category. He oversees the entire gaming operation which is centered around an award-winning casino and includes a resort hotel, a variety of upscale restaurants and casual eateries, and a championship golf course.
With an extensive background in gaming and hospitality, Rick has been instrumental in building and directing a renowned management team which is considered to be the best in the industry. He is responsible for setting the strategy and vision for the resort that employs over 3,000 staff members. In addition to overseeing the operations of the entire business, he is committed to continuing Barona’s leadership position in gaming by enriching Barona’s family environment for players and staff members. Rick ensures Barona is consistently delivering the exceptional service and memorable experiences that Barona’s loyal players want and deserve.
Rick Salinas joined Barona Resort & Casino in November 2000 as assistant general manager of human resources. His successful career includes executive management positions with Stouffer Hotels and Resorts, Interstate Hotels, the Four Seasons, Metro Hotels and Station Casinos.
Executive Vice President/Assistant General Manager
Since his career in the casino industry began in 1992, Troy Simpson has developed an expertise in gaming operations and casino marketing that make him a valuable and well-respected member of the Barona management team. Specializing in business strategy, execution, process improvement, organizational dynamics and acquisition and retention marketing, Troy has been an integral part of Barona’s success in the gaming industry. He is a proven leader with a natural ability to create positive organizational change.
Prior to his current position, he was senior vice president of innovation marketing and played a key role in keeping Barona on the cutting edge of business practices across all areas of the operation while maintaining its long-standing reputation for innovation excellence. He also served as executive director of loyalty marketing, where he was responsible for database marketing, casino hosts, guest services, shuttle and bus programs, casino customer room reservations and events and promotions as well as Barona’s award-winning players club.
A strong communicator and industry expert, Troy has been the subject of frequent interviews and has spoken at a variety of industry trade shows, conferences and educational venues. He began his career at Harrah’s Entertainment where he worked for eight years.
Senior Vice President of Operations
Linda Jordan joined Barona Resort & Casino in 1994 as director of marketing. Her years of experience in advertising and her strategic marketing skills played a key role in developing the Barona brand and positioning Barona as a leader in the gaming industry. Over the years, her business acumen and proven track record quickly moved her through the ranks of the marketing department and into management roles, including senior vice president of marketing and as a casino manager for two years.
As senior vice president of operations since 2013, Linda provides leadership and guidance to many player-related departments and has a focus on marketing. She oversees Barona’s award-winning marketing department which is comprised of the industry’s best advertising, branding, social media, graphic design, internal and external communications, community relations, database marketing, public relations and visual design teams. Linda works closely with her marketing group to ensure Barona’s business objectives are being met. From the moment she arrived at Barona, Linda has been the epitome of the energy and warm friendliness that sets Barona apart from the rest which makes her a well-respected team leader and mentor.
Prior to joining Barona, she worked at several highly-regarded advertising and marketing agencies and was the marketing director for a major shopping center in San Diego. In the community, she has been involved with a variety of non-profit organizations. She has also served on the board of The Foundation for Women, the marketing committee of the San Diego Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and an Advisory Board Member with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). She is a former president of the Advertising Club of San Diego and a recipient of the San Diego YWCA’s Tribute to Women in Industry Award (TWIN). Ms. Jordan was also honored as one of the “Great Women of Gaming” by Casino Enterprise Management magazine.
Senior Vice President of Gaming Operations
As senior vice president of gaming operations for one of America’s most highly regarded casinos, Rafael Alvarez is known for his attention to player service, innovative approach to business and solution driven management style. During his nearly 25-year tenure at Barona, he has worked his way through the organization under the guidance of the most respected casino management team in the gaming industry. He began his time at Barona working as a cashier in the slot department and was quickly promoted after catching management’s attention. He has held a variety of positions over the years, including shift supervisor, assistant shift manager, assistant casino manager, casino manager and executive casino manager.
In his current role as senior vice president of gaming operations, Rafael is responsible for managing the performance of the casino floor and overseeing Barona’s special events and promotions departments along with the fun-loving Barona Party People. He is also charged with ensuring that Barona is living up to its commitment to being the “Happiest Casino on Earth®.”
Since joining Barona, he has been an important part of the casino’s growth from the original Barona Big Top to its current status as San Diego’s leading gaming resort destination. He is focused on staying true to the core values and principles on which Barona was originally founded and is dedicated to growing its reputation.
Vice President of Slot Operations
With a career spanning nearly two decades in management, Kevin Ward knows how to develop talent and motivate teams to deliver world class player service and produce outstanding financial results. Kevin joined Barona Resort & Casino in 2002 and held management and executive positions in Barona’s Human Resources department for nearly a decade. in 2011, he was promotoed to become one of Barona’s casino managers with the responsibility for supervising performance on the casino floor and ensuring a positive experience for both staff members and players. As vice president of slot operations Kevin oversees all aspects of slot operations and slot performance.
Prior to joining Barona, Kevin began his career at Wells Fargo Bank. He was promoted to vice president/senior relationship manager for retirement plans where he oversaw the relationships for accounts totaling $850 million in assets. He has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from Siena College, in Loudonville, New York, and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Sage Graduate School, in Albany, New York.
Vice President, Table Games Operations
As vice president of table games operations, Mike Patterson is the driving force behind what is widely regarded as the most innovative and player-friendly table game operation in the industry. With his unique leadership, Barona has become known for offering both the world’s most liberal high stakes blackjack games and for being the “world’s premier gambling laboratory” for a variety of gaming industry table game inventors.
In his more than 25 years at Barona, Mike’s responsibilities have grown significantly. He currently oversees Barona’s entire table game operation which includes more than 100 table games including the widely popular Asian gaming area known as Dragon Alley, 114 Electronic Table Game terminals in Barona’s Rapid Arena as well as Barona’s Poker Room. In addition, Mike oversees the training and supervision and guides the professional development of 650 table games staff. He is known for his unique ability to identify and develop young talent during training in Barona’s Dealer school, which he founded nearly 20 years ago.
Vice President of Player Relations
Jeffty Connelly started his career at Barona as an executive host in 2005 after working as a VIP host in Las Vegas. Quickly identified as a favorite host with Barona’s players, Jeffty was promoted to be one of Barona’s casino managers in December 2012 and was elevated to his current role as vice president of player relations in 2019. In this role, he oversees Club Barona, one of the largest and most important departments at Barona Resort & Casino, which includes all of the VIP and executive hosts.
Managing what is considered to be the heartbeat of Barona, Jeffty’s primary role is to work with the more than 140 staff members in Club Barona to deliver exceptional service to the hundreds of thousands of Barona’s loyal VIPs and Club Barona members. He also serves as a mentor to the Host teams helping them to foster strong relationships with current players as well as to develop relationships with new ones. In addition to making fun happen for all of the players, he also makes fun happen for his staff by showing them the importance of developing strong relationships with each other to build a strong team.
Celebrated by his colleagues as the ultimate team player, Jeffty brings that spirit to Barona in a way that is infectious to everyone around him. He is focused on building genuine relationships with Barona’s top players and welcoming them into the Barona Family.
His professional career began on the basketball courts. He attended Santa Clara University on a basketball scholarship. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, he traveled the world as a professional basketball player for thirteen years in the Continental Basketball Association and World Basketball League. He spent most of his sports career in Brazil and is fluent in Portuguese. Jeffty’s professional sports background provides him with a unique perspective that is a big asset to Barona. He understands the importance of developing a strong team which translates to everyone working together to make fun happen on the casino floor for Barona’s players.
Vice President of Food & Beverage
As a passionate foodie with a laser focus on delivering superior service, Clark Hickey brings 30 years of hospitality and gaming industry experience to his role as vice president of food & beverage at Barona Resort & Casino. Clark is responsible for the daily operations of Barona’s award-winning restaurants, including the Barona Oaks Steakhouse, Buffet, Sage Café, Italian Cucina, award-winning Gameside Dining on the entire casino floor and a collection of casual eateries. He manages nearly 900 staff members who he believes in keeping just as happy as Barona’s loyal players. One of his main goals is to find ways to say “yes” and fulfill players’ culinary cravings and create memorable dining experiences.
Prior to his current position, Clark worked his way up at Barona as a Food & Beverage Training Manager, Slot Operations Manager and Director of Food & Beverage. He credits his experience on Barona’s casino floor with cultivating a casino mind-set when making decisions to better serve players as well as staff members. Early in his career, Mr. Hickey worked at top resorts on the East and West Coasts in hotel operations and in food and beverage which fueled his culinary ambitions. One of his favorite past times is exploring San Diego’s restaurant scene to ensure Barona’s menus reflect current tastes and trends.
Senior Vice President, Administration
Dean Allen has managed the finance and accounting department since he joined Barona Resort & Casino in 1996. Prior to his tenure at Barona, he served in a financial consulting capacity and held senior management positions with various San Diego-based companies, including Maintenance Warehouse/America Corporation and Deloitte & Touche.
While at Barona, Dean has been instrumental in securing major bank financing for the expansion of the resort destination property, including bond issuance and banker and bond holder relations. Dean is well known and regarded as a leader in the industry with management and coordination of significant finance projects. In his current position, he oversees the accounting, planning and analysis, cash handling, warehousing and purchasing departments for Barona while also serving as the trustee for the employee 401k program. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of CPAs.
Vice President, Technology
With nearly four decades of experience in the technology industry, Mike Murphy joined Barona Resort & Casino in May of 2003 and currently serves as vice president of technology. With decades of high-level technology management expertise, Mike has helped architect and nurture the sophisticated infrastructure at Barona. In this position, he oversees an information technology department with approximately 40 engineers, analysts and computer programmers and is responsible for testing manufacturer’s products, searching for innovative applications, and developing new products. An innovator at heart, Mike is charged with creating inventive ways to increase revenue and operational efficiencies through the use of technology.
Mike held various positions in the technology industry before entering the gaming industry in 1995. He started his career in the technology industry working as a mainframe computer operator while attending Tulane University. He later joined a small computer dealership during the beginning of the PC industry. Mike worked for the company as it grew into a 16-store chain where he served as the service manager for all of the retail outlets. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he started his own PC service company which he sold a decade later when he received an exciting offer to join the casino industry and work in technology for Bally Entertainment in New Orleans.
Jesus “Chuy” Martinez
Executive Director of Property Management
In his role as executive director of property management, Jesus Martinez oversees the Barona Resort & Casino facilities team. The department is responsible for the maintenance and construction of Barona’s world-class buildings and grounds including the casino, resort hotel and Barona Creek Golf Club. With nearly 100 staff members, the facilities team includes experts in mechanical, electrical, HVAC, fabrication, water treatment and conservation, fire and life safety, landscaping and renovation projects.
Under his direction, Jesus and his facilities team are charged with upholding and enhancing Barona’s reputation for beautifully maintained buildings and immaculate resort grounds to ensure that staff and players are comfortable while working and playing.
While focused on managing a large and diverse department, he is also dedicated to spending time on the casino floor interacting with Barona’s players. Not typical for his position in most casinos but highly effective as he gets immediate feedback and input from players on their comfort and enjoyment at Barona. His friendly manner, helpfulness and infectious smile has made him a favorite with Barona’s players and staff alike.
Jesus began his career at Barona in 1996 and has worked his way up through the casino in a variety of positions. He’s studied at Grossmont College and San Diego State University and is continually implementing new tools and technology to enhance the experience property-wide.