We are a contemporary organization, up-to-speed on the very latest techniques and technology in the gaming and hospitality sectors. And, we are experienced. But, we avoid resting on our laurels. Doing so would be belie our entrepreneurial and progressive spirit.
Take in the reassuring experience you see in these bios, but realize that it just informs our assessment of what is happening right now.
Thomas R. (Tom) Odisho
Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer
Tom Odisho heads operations for RAM Group. With a collective 35 years’ experience in the gaming and hospitality industry, he was most recently principal, president and CEO of RAM Holdings, LLC, which held one of the first and longest-running NIGC-approved management agreements for the operation of Class III tribal gaming. RAM Holdings, LLC secured financing, conceived, developed, oversaw construction and operated the Cypress Bayou Casino & Shorty’s in Charenton, LA, a $100,000,000 venture for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana.
Prior to his role with RAM Holdings, LLC, Tom was president/CEO of GL Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Granada Group PLC, London. The British conglomerate specialized in media and hospitality, employing over 70,000 people. The U.S. subsidiary operated three tribal high-stakes Indian bingo operations in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Louisiana.
Tom began his gaming career with the Del E. Webb Corporation in Nevada. While there, he served as executive director of sales and casino marketing for the Sahara Hotel & Casino, a 1,000-room casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. He was later vice president and general manager of Del Webb’s Mint Casino Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas and then executive vice president of Del Webb’s Nevada Casinos. He was also general manager of Del Webb’s Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, AZ, earning the resort hotel the coveted Mobil Five-Star designation.
In other hospitality industry executive roles, Tom has been executive vice president of American Continental Corporation – Crescent Hotels, which included the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit and the award-winning Phoenician Resort in Phoenix. He was vice president and general manager of the Sonesta Sanibel Harbor Resort & Spa on Sanibel Island, FL, featuring the Jimmy Connors’ Tennis Center. And, he was managing general partner of the Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona, AZ.
Tom is a past member of the board of directors and a national vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, past member of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, a life director of the Fiesta Bowl and a Distinguished Alumni of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City.
Tom served in the United States Army, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Bong Son, Vietnam. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was the first American recipient to be awarded an internship scholarship from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City.
Partner, Chief Marketing Officer
Phil Motta is a marketing executive with deep experience in branding, product development and large-scale development launches for advertising agencies in Phoenix, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. He has founded three agencies, executed a roll-up to create a significant West Coast office in 2010 for a large, independent, integrated marketing services firm and was a partner in a large regional multiple-office communications firm which became a North American unit of a European global holding company.
He was also a partner in R&R Partners, the Las Vegas firm best known for its “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” campaign for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. He created the Los Angeles office for R&R with clients like The Boeing Company, Western Digital, Norwegian Cruise Lines and others.
His personal campaign management experience includes work for brands like Bank of America, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Cap Cana (30 thousand-acre master-planned community in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic), and TXU Energy (the 5th largest utility in the world at the time), among others.
Phil’s gaming experience includes The Arizona Lottery, as well as Del Webb’s Mint Casino Hotel Las Vegas, 4 Bears Casino in North Dakota and Cypress Bayou Casino & Shorty’s in Louisiana (the latter three with Tom Odisho). In the development arena, he has personally worked with clients, land planners, developers and architects in the conceptualization, planning, building and roll-out of large-scale developments and community launches throughout mainland USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii.
Phil holds a BS in communication from Arizona State University.
Jerry L. Fox
Chief Financial Officer
Jerry Fox, chief financial officer of RAM Group, brings over 25 years’ experience as a casino industry financial professional. He has served in several positions including, CFO, treasurer, vice president of finance, and controller in multiple gaming properties and jurisdictions.
Jerry most recently served as chief financial officer and treasurer of Tropicana Las Vegas, a 1,500-room hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The Tropicana was purchased by an investment group in 2008 and Jerry oversaw all financial aspects of the transition and subsequent renovation of the property.
Previously, Jerry worked with Tom Odisho as chief financial officer of Cypress Bayou Casino in Louisiana, a substantially profitable tribal casino. Additional experience includes extended service as vice president of finance for Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, including the opening of Paris in 1999.
Jerry holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Santa Clara University, as well as two post-graduate degrees, master of business administration and master of hotel administration, both from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Chief Operating Officer
David Zerfing is a senior financial executive bringing over 20 years of experience in gaming and hospitality. He has served as CFO for multiple gaming and hospitality companies operating multiple properties in multiple jurisdictions.
Most recently, David was the CFO for ARAMARK’s Parks and Destination division which owned and/or operated 15 hotels in 16 National Parks, food and retail services in 22 cultural attractions and hotel and food services in 10 conference centers throughout the United States. He led and developed the operational efficiency efforts, investment strategy objectives, the strategic planning processes, budgeting, forecasting and revenue management processes leading to business growth and increased same store operating EBIT by over 50%, despite of revenue declines during the recession from 2008 through 2009.
Prior to his position at ARAMARK, David was the CFO for a greenfield project to be called Montreux that was to be constructed on the site of the New Frontiers Casino on Las Vegas Blvd. David’s efforts led to securing bank financing from four Wall Street investment banks for up to $2 billion. Escalating construction costs caused the owner to cancel the project and sell the land to a real estate development group.
In prior roles, he was the CFO of Barrick Gaming Corp. which operated four casinos in Las Vegas. He was the CFO of Bally’s Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas, including the successful development and opening of the Paris Las Vegas property. Combined, Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas had over 5,700 rooms, 20 restaurants/bars, 15 retail stores, two theaters and a leased mall with external retail.
David holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Moravian College and holds a CPA license from the State of Missouri.
Richard J. Stewart, PhD, SPHR
Human Resources Director
Dr. Rich Stewart has extensive expertise in human resources, labor relations and risk management. Over the course of his 25-year gaming career, he has served as director of employee services, director of employee and support services and executive director of non-gaming operations at Cypress Bayou Casino. Rich has been labor relations manager at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where he was responsible for all the collective bargaining agreements for the hotel and casino.
He earned a bachelor of science (majoring in psychology, minoring in Spanish) from Brigham Young University, an MBA from Auburn University, and a PhD in human capital development from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Denise K. Lunde
Director of Administration
Denise Lunde has over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, most recently as vice president of administration and public relations for RAM Holdings, LLC, and Cypress Bayou Casino & Shorty’s in Louisiana. There, she helped implement and oversaw one of the first (and, ultimately, the longest-standing NIGC-approved management agreements for the operation of Class III gaming).
Denise began her career in high-stakes Indian bingo with operations in multiple state jurisdictions. She has extensive experience in the oversight of operational policies and procedures regarding on-site, tribal, state and federal regulatory compliance.
Throughout her career, she has held positions ranging from executive assistant to the president to vice president of administration and public relations, and director of governmental affairs.
Denise holds a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the University of North Dakota.
Christopher M. Taylor
Director of Acquisitions and Development
Chris Taylor provides high level business development expertise to RAM Group with a 20-year background in Indian Country and with development experience in both the public and private sectors.
Chris was founder and president of 4D Products and Services and is a member of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana.
Regulatory and Compliance Officer
John Cox heads compliance for RAM Group. He brings a distinguished 30+ year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a fingerprint examiner in Washington, DC, special agent in Louisville, KY, an organized crime and illegal gaming expert in the New Orleans office and senior resident agent-in-charge of the Lafayette, LA office. He was an original member of the FBI Critical Incident Negotiation Team and negotiated major incidents like the Branch Davidians case in Waco, TX.
He was selected to attend the Metropolitan Police Hostage Negotiation Course in London with law enforcement officials from around the world, thereafter counseling new agents at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, VA. Following his notable work in law enforcement, he served as director of compliance for RAM Holdings and the Chitimacha Tribe’s Cypress Bayou Casino in Louisiana. John holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice from The American University, Washington, DC.
Peter King, III
Tribal Business Development Officer
Pete King heads the tribal business development team. He has been involved with Indian gaming for over 17 years, working in marketing and business development with several successful casino operations, including Mystic Lake Casino in Minneapolis, Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel in northeast Wisconsin, and Oneida Bingo and Casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
He has led many development projects throughout Indian Country, both gaming and non-gaming. Pete serves on the Bay Bank board of directors and is a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.
Security and Surveillance Director
Following a distinguished 12-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Orleans, Garland Jean-Batiste founded Jean-Batiste Enterprises, LLC, a security vulnerability assessment company. As an FBI Special Agent, he conducted extensive investigations relating to public corruption, and fraud in the areas of government, banking, health care, wire and mail transactions, copyright infringement, terrorism and national security, bank robbery and drug trafficking.
He was also a member of the FBI SWAT Team. Garland has served as a director of corporate security for ES&H, a security consultant for Axcess Construction and Telecom, a Louisiana State Trooper, and a St. Martin Parish patrol deputy sheriff and a narcotics detective. Notably, Garland was also a running back with the NFL New Orleans Saints in the late 80s.
Donald D. Meyers
Don Meyers is the president of Law Offices of Donald D. Meyers, Scottsdale, AZ. He is a graduate of North Dakota State University and the University of Michigan Law School. He was also a postgraduate research student in international and comparative law at the University of Cambridge, England from 1957 to 1958. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona and is a member of the Maricopa County, State, and American Bar Associations.
Don has been a member of numerous committees of the Maricopa County, State of Arizona, and American Bar Associations. He has also served on the boards of directors of numerous corporations, including several banking and insurance companies.
One of the founders and a past member of the Board of Directors and officer of the Phoenix Men’s Arts council, Phoenix Symphony Men’s Council, and the Business Men’s Political Action Committee of Arizona. Don was one of the seven founders of the Fiesta Bowl; was its second President; a member of the board of directors; Team Selection Committee Chairman; and chief television, radio, corporate sponsorship, and stadium lease contracts negotiator. He has been awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fiesta Bowl and was named Sports Personality of the Year by the Phoenix Press Box Association.
In 1988, North Dakota State University selected Don as one of its seven most distinguished alumni during the first 100 years of the University. Past President of the University of Michigan Alumni Association for Metropolitan Phoenix, Don is also the Arizona Representative for the Friends of Cambridge University.
Christopher Mora holds a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of New Orleans, a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and a master in public administration from Harvard University. He has served as a general counsel to several high-profile organizations, including a major state regulatory agency, and on the staff of the Navy Judge Advocate General in the Pentagon.
Previously, Chris worked in Washington, D.C., advising public and private sector clients in Indian Gaming Law and regulations. He was also the Navy’s legal counsel for the multi-year $750,000,000 base closure and redevelopment of Naval Support Activity New Orleans as Federal City, a mixed-use public-private venture. In addition, he served as executive director of the Northshore Business Council, a non-profit business league comprised of CEO’s and senior executives of major companies in the Greater New Orleans Region.
Since 1999, Chris has served as a military officer and attorney in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, on active duty and in the Navy Reserve. A captain (select), he has served world-wide in diverse leadership, management and legal positions. He is an Afghanistan War Veteran and has held a Top Secret Clearance.
A member of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Chris has extensive Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law experience, including substantial review and revision of tribal codes. Along these lines, he completed specialized training in American Indian Law and Native American Nation Building under Dr. Joseph Kalt, founder of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
Information Technology Officer
Curtis is the RAM Group information technology specialist. A member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Curtis has 15+ years of gaming experience in various capacities. With the ability and expertise to identify, design and integrate IT programs into all serviceable areas of casino operations, Curtis is an invaluable asset.
As a councilman for the Oneida Tribe, he led negotiations for the Tribe’s gaming compact which resulted in a perpetual agreement. A consultant to the National Indian Gaming Association in Washington, DC for over eight years, Curtis was founder and President of OTECH Solutions, providing IT services to the gaming industry and federal markets.
Food and Beverage Specialist
Craig is president of National Foodservice Consulting, Inc. He has worked in the food and beverage industry for the past several decades and, while completing his degree at the University of California in Irvine, worked for many major restaurant chains.
He joined management after graduation, ultimately earning positions as both corporate director of food services and corporate executive chef, responsible for 25 restaurants in 5 states with over $60 million annual sales.
After 17 years of work for major operators in the restaurant chain and hotel industry, Craig opened his own food and beverage consulting firm. He has consulted numerous restaurants, casinos, caterers, and allied businesses. He’s been an independent consultant for 30 years, advising food and beverage operators businesses, with a special emphasis on tribal casino operators most recently.
Craig has provided F&B development services to clients in the areas of new concept development, design, layout, equipment acquisition, project management, guest service programs, revenue generation, operational/financial improvement, menus, recipes, staff and supervisor development, corporate direction, and focus, short- and long-term planning, green programs, purchasing and rebate programs and special projects. He has opened around 80 new food and beverage outlets in his career.
Gaming Marketing Specialist
Dennis Conrad is the president and chief strategist of Raving Consulting Company, a celebrated gaming marketing consulting company that has worked with clients all over the world in its 15-year history. Besides its extensive consulting work, Raving conducts a variety of industry leading conferences, including Casino Marketing, Raving’s Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference, Player Development Summit, and Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, which have welcomed and educated over 10,000 gaming executives over the past 13 years.
Dennis is a graduate of Stanford University and has over 37 years of gaming industry experience, including 25 years in a variety of senior level roles. He served as the Casino Marketing Director for Harrah’s Las Vegas, the Director of the William F. Harrah Institute of Casino Entertainment, and the Corporate Vice President of Employee Programs for Circus Circus Enterprises/Mandalay Resort Group, prior to founding Raving.
An internationally known speaker and columnist, Dennis has written regular columns over the years for Casino Executive, Indian Gaming Magazine, Casino Life (Europe), Native American Casino, and, for the past 14 years, Casino Journal. He is also the author of two casino marketing books: Conrad’s Corners: Observations on Casinos, Marketing and Life (2000) and Conrad on Casino Marketing (2008). He’s been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Peru, Puerto Rico, Panama, Denmark, England, Bulgaria, South Africa, Italy and Australia. He has also been a lecturer at San Diego State University, Tulane University, UNLV, University of Nevada-Reno, Olympic College and other institutions. In the non-gaming world, he has made featured presentations for the Houston Texans, Wells Fargo Bank, Southern Nevada Human Resources Association, Elderhostel, National Native American Human Resources Association, and others.
Dennis is past president of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling and has been active on the matter of problem gambling. He is a member of the Stanford Alumni Association and a former member of the Stanford Golf Team (having played there with Tom Watson).