Harveys names new officer | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Harveys names new officer

Susan Wood

Meet Wade Hundley.

At a youthful 35, Harveys Resort & Casino new executive vice president traded the big skies of Texas and Oklahoma for mountain life in the jewel of the Sierra Nevada.

“I am extremely excited about my new responsibilities at Harveys,” Hundley said. “I am looking forward to contributing to the traditions that Harveys has created since its founding in 1944 and to helping the company grow into the future.”

Although the move represents quite a departure for the family man, he’s no stranger to Lake Tahoe, Harveys or the gaming world – personally or professionally.

He should be right at home in Tahoe with his hobbies, golfing and skiing – the latter a sport his children are looking forward to learning, he said.

Hundley has frequented the basin in the last four years in the upper echelons of management for Harveys’ parent company, Colony Capital, Inc. He’s been with the Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in private investment since 1993.

As executive vice president, Hundley will share the chief executive officer duties vacated by former President and CEO Chuck Scharer in January with Colony Chairman and current CEO Tom Barrack and Chief Financial Officer John McLaughlin.

Hundley will handle the day-to-day activities of the three-manned CEO office.

Whether or not Scharer had left, the bachelor of arts graduate from Oklahoma State University with a master’s degree from the University of Texas Graduate School of Business would have had a position here anyway.

Negotiations, which have been in the works for quite some time, were finalized when Hundley took the job in December. The private company chooses not to divulge his salary.

Hundley’s first task at hand is getting acclimated to the job, employees and the region – which he and his certified public accountant wife, Margo, plan to involve themselves in when they’re not spending time with their two children, ages 2 and 5.

As mentioned, an obvious goal on the job will be a “focus on the growth of the company.”

Outside Harveys, Hundley also intends to keep a peripheral eye on redevelopment.

“I want to get (Redevelopment) Project 3 off the ground. That’s a big part of the company,” he said, referring to the convention center proposal that involves a sprawling complex that includes convention and time-share hotels.

Harveys is the lead developer for the complex situated on a 16-acre parcel wedged between U.S. Highway 50 and Cedar Avenue.

Colony Capital has been tempted to piggyback off the gravitational pull of the nearby Heavenly Gondola and expedite the project’s financing.

The project’s groundbreaking is set between 2003 and 2006.

Competition is another area of concentration for Hundley, who wants to coordinate efforts with the other Lake Tahoe casinos to enhance their advantages over Indian gaming outlets. The approach Hundley advocates is more complementary than confrontational.

“Wade was instrumental in encouraging us to go full-speed in a destination-marketing strategy,” Harveys Senior Vice President of Marketing Jim Rafferty said.

It’s one thing to have a Colony corporate presence in Lake Tahoe, Rafferty pointed out. It’s quite another to gain an advocate who has press-the-flesh skills in dealing with people that some would say rival those of former President Bill Clinton.

“Wade is a good people person. He spends a lot of time with the employees and understands the opportunity in maintaining those relationships,” Rafferty said.

Still, Hundley acknowledges challenges on the job in an area dependent upon tourism.

“One of the big threats is at the (Reno/Tahoe International) Airport, with its decreasing flights,” he said.

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