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Finance alumnus finds home in gaming industry

August 08, 2013, Emily Morgan

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Finance alumnus Ryan Hammer

Finance alumnus Ryan Hammer has certainly found his professional niche within the gambling/entertainment industry. Since earning his bachelor’s degree in Finance from SIU in 1999 and his JD/MBA from Indiana University in 2002, he has worked for Caesars Entertainment, continually climbing the corporate ladder.

Hammer launched his career in the gaming industry shortly after his research on Internet gambling was published. At the time, he was seeking a summer internship and made a connection with a gaming company in metro-St. Louis. He quickly grew to love the industry and because of their analytical approach and his finance background, Caesars seemed like the best fit.

His career with Caesars began in the Chicago area in finance/analytics, then metro-Louisville in finance and operations. Next, he was named Assistant General Manager at Caesars Atlantic City, then General Manager at Harrah’s St. Louis. His latest promotion landed him in Las Vegas, as Senior Vice President of HR and Administration.

Caesars owns nine casinos in the middle of the Las Vegas strip and they have a team of nearly 30,000 that bring their properties to life. Hammer has been in his current position for nine months. He says the best part of each work day is making a difference in the lives of their team members, ranging from something as small as clarifying a benefits question to something as large as creating a training program for hundreds of their leaders. According to Hammer, “We spend considerable time improving internal communication, managing labor relations, training all levels of our leadership team and most importantly, fulfilling our company’s mission to inspire grown-ups to play.”

When asked what advice he would give to current business students, he replied, “Be proud to be a Saluki! I would not be where I am today without the academic and life skills I gained in Carbondale. Do not be afraid to take risks and to push yourself outside of the comfort zone.  Finally, take networking seriously and devote time to honing your organizational skills, etiquette and ability to communicate eloquently.”

Hammer resides in Las Vegas with his wife April and their two children Kathleen and Gibson.