Harrah’s announces Stirling Award winners | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Harrah’s announces Stirling Award winners

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe recently honored its 2001 Stirling Award winners. This award is the honor for the property and is given to employees who consistently exceed expectations and exemplify Harrah’s commitment to excellence. A special dinner at Harrah’s Seafood Cove restaurant was held in celebration for the award recipients and their guests, who were waited on and served by senior management.

“This group of people serve as positive role models on and off our property,” said Gary Selesner, general manager. “It is with great pride that I congratulate them for their overall excellence.”

A diverse group of winners were recognized in a variety of categories.



John Babcock, regulatory compliance manager, and David Barich, table games dealer, were honored for Community Service.

Babcock serves on Harrah’s Responsible Gaming Committee and Lake Tahoe Donation Committee. He has been involved with fund-raising for the United Way for more than a decade and currently serves as president and assistant chief on the Ruhenstroth Volunteer Fire Department in the Carson Valley.



Barich has worked with the Special Olympics for nearly a decade, organizing fund-raisers ranging from garage sales in the summer to slot tournaments in the winter, with all the proceeds going to Special Olympics. He also has volunteered to coach basketball at both South Lake Tahoe and George Whittell high schools. As his most recent challenge he coached the STHS freshman basketball team.

Allen Plummer, finance/SDS administrator, and Valerie Tomaroy, senior secretary – human resources, received their Stirling Awards for Superior Internal Customer Service.

Plummer is a computer wizard who has created numerous labor saving programs that make work easier for several departments. One program changed an accounting report from a 12-hour manual process into a seven-minute computer output. He also designed a reservation system that is both highly efficient and user friendly. After creating laborsaving programs he trains the staff on how to use them.

Tomaroy is “Information Central” to all employees on the property, personally taking time to listen to employees and give them assistance. Last year, when Toys for Tots was robbed of its children’s Christmas gifts she immediately rallied to get the surplus toys from Harrah’s children’s Christmas party donated to the organization. She not only collected those gifts but found other items in storage, all to make sure others had a happy holiday.

Theresa Daggs, table games supervisor; Tamara Mirgon, senior secretary and floor shift supervisor for slots; and Cindy Wooten, Bill’s cashier manager, earned their Stirlings for Leadership.

Daggs, a leader in the table games department, inspires all who work with her. In addition to being a vivacious, outgoing leader, she is highly respected. In an unprecedented display of support nearly 60 dealers and co-workers signed her Stirling Award nomination form.

Mirgon leads by example, taking a direct, positive approach to challenges. Her knowledge makes her a primary source of information to her entire department, from the slot director to the slot hosts. She has streamlined slot’s accounts payable procedures, improving the process for not only slots, but for accounting and vendors as well.

Wooten’s contributions to Bill’s go far beyond her position’s job description. She often can be found filling for other employees who are on vacation, sick or missing work for emergencies. As an example of just how far she’ll go to help others, when a Bill’s employee won an award Wooten offered up her own wardrobe to ensure her co-workers could attend the award ceremony and feel appropriately dressed.

Mary Wood, waitperson – banquets; Joe Marston, hotel bellhop; Pete Yen, bartender – Seafood Cove; and Paul Shatz, table games dealer, were all honored for Superior Guest Service. Wood is constantly recognized for delivering truly great service. Many repeat groups and individual guests remember Wood, and she remembers them all – by name. Each year she helps decorate the casino for the holidays. She suggested creating a Christmas village inside the casino, an annual delight for guests and employees alike.

Marston personifies guest service. Whenever he tackles a project he doesn’t just do the minimum, he makes it shine. When a guest has a question about recreation Marston is quick to share his expertise of the area. He will pull out a map and not just show the guest where to go – he’ll explain the little details that make the experience all that more special.

Yen is the ultimate professional when it comes to bartending. Many of his regular customers were loyal fans when he tended bar in the old Cafe Andreotti’s and continue being supporters now that he is working in the Seafood Cove. In fact, he has added his personal touch to the Seafood Cove bar to the extent that its feel brings back customers time and time again.

Shatz has an infectious love of people, exemplified by the droves of customers who look for him whenever they visit Harrah’s. Often guests will decide which game to play based solely on where Shatz is dealing. He has an ability to make playing fun for everyone at his table through his use of humor and humility. He remembers everyone’s name and personal interests.

First introduced as the “Pony Express” Award in 1987, the Stirling Award was renamed in 1989 in honor of guest service manager, Bob Stirling. Stirling retired after 40 years as a Harrah’s employee and was known to epitomize service excellence. Award nominations can come from any Harrah’s Lake Tahoe employee, and winners are chosen by a committee of past winners and management representatives.


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