Employee Spot Light
Dave H. Bartender
Why did you choose Tampa Bay Downs? I love the racing atmosphere and the diversity of the customers. I have greatly enjoyed working for the track owners, Mr. and Mrs. Thayer, two of the nicest people you could ever work for. What surprised you about Tampa Bay Downs? From the beginning, I ran into so many employees who are loyal to Tampa Bay Downs and came back every year to work, even if their jobs were seasonal. Tell us a funny Tampa Bay Downs story. George Steinbrenner came into the VIP Room, asked me to get him a box of popcorn from the concession stand and handed me a $100 bill. When I came back with his popcorn and $99, he said 'Keep the change.' Being a new employee I thought WOW - how long has this been going on? After a few races, I asked him if he wanted more popcorn. He said 'You're worse than a #%^ car salesman,' and we both laughed. What do you enjoy outside of work? Watching my daughter play travel softball, high school softball and college softball. I also enjoy a good Rays and Bucs game and sports in general. What is your personal motto? Trust in yourself before anyone else!
PJ G. Poker Dealer
Why did you choose Tampa Bay Downs? I had been a dealer for more than 10 years and worked the World Series of Poker at Rio in Las Vegas, and I could see Tampa Bay Downs was going to be one of the up-and-coming places to play. The energy in here during the Thoroughbred racing season is amazing. It's electric. What surprised you about Tampa Bay Downs? That there is hardly any employee turnover, which means I'm not the only happy person working here. The management has an open-door policy, and their loyalty to the employees and our loyalty to them go hand-in-hand. Tell us a funny Tampa Bay Downs story. I'll be ready to say hello to some of our customers I run into at the supermarket, but they'll give me a look because they don't want their spouse to know they're here that often. I don't want to ignore anyone, but sometimes I end up walking on tippy-toes! What do you enjoy outside of work? My husband Joe is also a poker dealer here, and we both enjoy gambling and the thrill of winning. I also love the Bucs and football in general. Give me pizza, beer and football and I'm happy! What is your personal motto? Kill people with kindness. People don't want negativity in their lives. I treat people how they want to be treated.
Nerissa S. Staff Accountant
Why did you choose Tampa Bay Downs? I had worked at another racetrack in Michigan, and horsemen who came here every winter said it was a friendly, welcoming place. When I came for my interview in October, I left light snow flurries, and when I got off the plane I thought 'I hope I get this job!' I feel I've been blessed working here. What surprised you about Tampa Bay Downs? There are so many people who have worked here for many years. Usually you have a few veterans where you work, but there are a lot of employees who have been here at least 10 years. I thought that was pretty impressive. Tell us a funny Tampa Bay Downs story. We see a lot of people who are new to racing, and one woman was in the paddock watching the identifier check a horse's lip tattoo. She said 'This is the best track ever - they check all the horses' teeth!' I thought that was so cute. What do you enjoy outside of work? I'm a member of a book club, so I like to read, and I enjoy movies. Other than that, nothing too exciting. What is your personal motto? I have a quote above my desk that says 'Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet.' In life, you have to work for what you want.
Mike H. Publicity Assistant
Why did you choose Tampa Bay Downs? I had covered the racetrack as a sportswriter since 1986, and the opportunity to get even closer to the action inspired me. I have always been uplifted by the majesty and courage of Thoroughbreds and their riders. What surprised you about Tampa Bay Downs? The loyalty of the patrons and their preference for Tampa Bay Downs over bigger tracks. So many fans have been coming here for decades - many have raced horses here - and they plan their schedules around the racing calendar. Tell us a funny Tampa Bay Downs story. On my first day interviewing a trainer on the backside for the Tampa Tribune, I discovered I was allergic to horses! Luckily, I developed an immunity after a couple of weeks sniffing around the barns. What do you enjoy outside of work? I'm a huge fan of the area theater scene and have gotten to know many of the performers. It's a thrill when they move on to something really big. I also enjoy movies, reading, Notre Dame football and blueberry pie. What is your personal motto? Don't judge a man (or woman) until you've walked a mile in their moccasins. You never know what kind of a day someone is having, but you can always try your best to help them improve upon it.