September 29, 2020
Contact: Allison McCoy
(203) 969-5444
The next generation of leaders in the gaming industry named for prestigious honor will take the industry into the future

LAS VEGAS -- The Innovation Group, organizers of the Emerging Leaders of Gaming program, and Global Gaming Business magazine (GGB) have announced the winners of the Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40, a program that recognizes young professionals making significant impacts in the casino gaming industry.
The winners were part of 150+ industry members who were nominated by colleagues who recognized their commitment and dedication to the gaming industry.
"During such a difficult time, it's heartening to see so many excellent candidates nominated for the Emerging Leaders Program," said The Innovation Group President Michael Soll, "These people are going to lead the industry now and into the future to bring back excellence in serving our customers and their families. The Innovation Group is proud to be able to showcase these remarkable individuals."
"The quality of this year's Emerging Leaders class is cut above the rest," said Roger Gros, publisher of GGB. "They represent the best and the brightest of the gaming industry and anyone who has any doubts about the recovery of gaming after the pandemic need only to understand the dedication of these professionals to their craft."
The selection process, says Gros, has become increasingly competitive with nominations growing by 50 percent over last year. "It's incredible," he said. "The talent. The diversity. We're able to highlight a truly impressive group of young people shaping gaming's future."
The five "Judges Choice" winners of the Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 will be announced at a special webinar on October 22. For more information on how to register for the webinar, visit or
The judges for the Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 are:
  • Mark Birtha, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain
  • Christie Eickelman, vice president of global marketing for Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), and chairwoman of Global Gaming Women
  • Mick Ingersoll, director of gaming strategies at Everi Holdings, Inc.
  • Virginia McDowell, former president and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos, and former chairwoman of Global Gaming Women
The 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 are:
  • Melissa Aarskaug, Vice President of Business Development, Bulletproof
  • Marshall Adair, Vice President and Executive Producer - Digital / Online, Everi Holdings Inc.
  • Eduardo Alvarez, Director of Sales - LatAm, AGS
  • Allen Ambrogio, U.S. Director of Operations, Tipico
  • Robert Baldassarre, Associate, Fox Rothschild LLP
  • Andre Barnabei, Vice President of Gaming at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • JaNessa Bumgarner, Chief Executive Officer, Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel
  • Charlotte Cain, HR Manager, Continent 8 Technologies
  • Jeffrey Caldwell, Director of Hotel Operations, Encore Boston Harbor
  • Cherchi Chen, Managing Director, Finance and Operations, NagaWorld
  • Suzanne Duchene, Slot Operations Service Manager, Seneca Gaming Corporation
  • Rick Eckert, Managing Director, Slot Performance & Analysis, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC
  • Brad Egnor, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Manuel Casino
  • Ashley Eurich, Vice President, Lockdogs
  • Don-Lee Hardy, Safety Specialist, Sycuan Casino Resort
  • Molly Hart, Licensing and Compliance Manager, Gaming Capital Group, LLC
  • Bryan Hayes, Senior Vice President of Gaming Operations, Foxwoods Resort Casino
  • Matthew Heyerdahl, Chief Accounting Officer and Director of Finance, Gaming Arts
  • Connie James, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Gaming, Scientific Games
  • Paul Juliano, Vice President of Operations, Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
  • Mohit Kansal, Partner, Clairvest Group
  • JoyceLynn Lagula, Design Director, Wilson Associates
  • Zachary Levine, Corporate Vice President of Table Games Strategy, MGM Resorts International
  • Martin Lycka, Director of Regulatory Affairs/Trustee of the GVC Foundation U.S., GVC Holdings PLC
  • James Manuel, Director of Fine Dining, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
  • Olena Nall, Director, Business Development, Wind Creek Hospitality
  • Malou Neguembor, Head of CRM, Megalotto
  • Mike Nguyen, Director of Engineering, JCM Global
  • Jennifer Palumbo Fales, Chief of Staff to the Chief of Product Officer & VP Global Brand Licensing, IGT
  • Mary Parker, Management and Program Analyst, National Indian Gaming Commission
  • Marvin Phillips, Director of Information Technology, Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort
  • David Rittvo, Vice President Development, Caesars Entertainment Corp
  • Sam Rook, Director of Marketing, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
  • Nav Sandhawalia, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, Niagara Casinos (Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment)
  • Araksi Sargsyan, Head of Business Development, DS Virtual Gaming
  • Meghan Sleik, Director of Marketing, Aristocrat
  • Steven Slotwinski, Chief Technology Officer, Eclipse Gaming Systems
  • Anthony Strangia, Deputy Attorney General, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
  • Hui Min Tiffany Bernadette Tay, Associate Director, Strategic Planning, Marina Bay Sands Pte. Ltd
  • Peter Wolff, Director of Global Technical Compliance, Gaming Laboratories International
Nominations for the 2022 Class of Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 will open in April 2021. For more information on the program, visit

About ELG: Emerging Leaders of Gaming has established itself as the go-to network for young professionals assuming the next generation of leadership in gaming, entertainment, hospitality, food and beverage, tourism and leisure. It supports the growth and development of these rising stars on their path to success and future senior-level and C-suite positions.  
About TIG: The Innovation Group has long been recognized as the world's most respected and sought-after research and advisory firm, specializing in the gaming, entertainment, hospitality and leisure industries. To date, our research and analyses have driven over $100 billion in investment decisions across more than 80 countries and six continents. The Innovation Group's accuracy and reliability is unparalleled, with our forecasts historically tracking within 5% of actual revenues across the most complex of gaming jurisdictions throughout the globe.  

About GGB: Global Gaming Business magazine, a division of Casino Connection International, is the leading monthly gaming trade publication focusing on the international casino industry. Distributed to 14,000 of the industry's most important executives around the world, as well as public officials, regulators, attorneys and Native American governments, GGB magazine is the casino industry's complete source for business information.
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