Author & Entrepreneur
I am a Las Vegas businessman, Marine and former Brooklynite. My memoir, Tenacity, tells the gripping true story of how I survived corruption and cancer to achieve the American Dream. During my more than 45 years in Southern Nevada, I have worked as a casino dealer, real estate agent, founder of a limousine service and a partner in bars, restaurants, major graphics and glass companies, along with several automobile dealerships in Nevada and California.
In the 1970s and ’80s, visionaries willing to go for it found Las Vegas to be a prime setting for fulfilling their entrepreneurial aspirations. As a “niche finder,” my partners and I pulled together concepts, identified funding and implementation, and enjoyed riding the wildest fun-filled roller coaster of business and life.
From growing up on the streets of Brooklyn in the ’60s and early ’70s to surviving the good-ole-boy and Wild-West business and political climate of old school Southern Nevada, my “tenacity” enabled me to prevail against unethical, illegal and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I also chronicle my biggest challenge of all, beating esophageal cancer 13 years ago against the longest of odds.
I founded and operated 20 businesses, most of them in a young, vibrant and small-town Las Vegas environment. Few people know the ins and outs of tavern-based gaming as I do, and would find my autobiography informative and intriguing. The true-life experiences and dangers I confronted venturing into the private limousine arena and neighborhood casino business in an adjacent neighboring city to Las Vegas will entertain and educate hopeful future entrepreneurs as well as the curious reader.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: Playing and winning at No Limit Holdem Poker at Bellagio while marketing my new autobiography.
Thought of the Day: Every day presents a new opportunity for success. It’s important to be relevant at all stages of life.
Action of the Day: Do five things every day to help market my book, whether it’s some combination of sending out emails, making phone calls, soliciting reviews, making appearances, doing interviews, updating my website, putting the pieces into place for a feature film, etc.
Deed of the Day: Give back to my community. For example, I am a strong supporter of the brave men and woman who serve on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and I currently serve on the Board of their Foundation.
Tip of the Day: It’s always the right time to do the right thing.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
It is still a city of opportunity if you know where and how to look.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
A Monte Cristo at the Cracked Egg.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – I have been at my desk an hour by then listening to the news in the background.
10:00 AM – It varies. Every day is different and interesting.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Il Mulino at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Their Veal Parm reminds me of Brooklyn.
7:00 PM – Sometimes dinner, sometimes work, sometimes an event that I’m invited to.
11:00 PM – I often burn the candle at both ends.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Water. It’s a desert out here.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
No idea. My associate Jennifer keeps an eye on the tech stuff.
What should everyone try at least once?
Taking a well-calculated risk.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
I like to know where I’m going.
My Native AdVice:
How did you get into the industry?
As a young man dealing blackjack, roulette and baccarat in Las Vegas, I knew that real estate could be a path to success. That led to an opportunity to purchase and/or build a number of taverns over the years, which included gaming machines. I was always on the lookout for additional opportunities as well, which included a glass company, a graphics business, a high-end limo service and automobile dealerships. Not everything I got into was a success, such as the time I opened a bungee jumping facility. It is all spelled out in my memoir, Tenacity.
Career advice to those in your industry?
I would add an old school and current technological solution to the challenges of being optimally organized. Years ago, it was my daily planner that served this purpose, also known as the year’s calendar. Today, those entries are found in my cell phone calendar. Synching it with my desktop and laptop computers renders me ready and able to function from any of a number of locales. Manually entering every commitment and reminder serves to keep me on task and plan my obligations to the minute, and through the current year and the next.
Any emerging industry trends?
I’m now on the board of a new company called Square Panda, a learning aid for children ages two through eight. It works in conjunction with a tablet computer and has vast potential to revolutionize how children learn to spell and read. It was initially available through our website and in select Barnes and Nobles stores. Now we sell directly to parents via Amazon or our website.
We’re also introducing the program to school districts throughout the United States, already gaining entry into over 400 schools. We’ve made great strides in China and India, both of which are highly motivated to teach their children English at an early age. Mark my words, Square Panda will soon be a household name.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Remember the Cheers theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”? That’s what I strived for when I owned my taverns. I wanted all of my customers to feel right at home.
How do you motivate others?
By treating them fairly and building loyalty. Many of my friends and business associates (often the same people) have been with me for over 30 years.
My Native AdVantage:
What are my aspirations?
To make my book a best seller and sell the film rights to Hollywood.
My Biggest Success?
My children who I am very proud of.
My Most Challenging Moment?
As outlined in my memoir Tenacity, the time 13 years ago when I was diagnosed out of the blue with esophageal cancer, which has an eight percent survival rate. Fortunately, it was caught early, I was in peak physical shape, I had the best medical team in the country, and I had the love and support of family and many friends.
Failure is not an option.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My parents and my longtime business partner, Dan Hughes, who I met in the Marines. Later in life, my friendship and business partnership in the automobile industry with Don Tamburro.
What Else to Know?