Two Delaware North gaming employees with different but compelling stories of success were honored this week for their outstanding work for the company and locations, commitment to customer service and positive relationships with their managers and colleagues.
Dante Brandon, who despite being deaf has become an invaluable associate working in the buffet at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in West Virginia, was named gaming’s associate of the year.
Shawn Timmerman has established himself as a top culinarian in the Quad Cities region of the Midwest while serving as executive sous chef at Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, Ill. He was named gaming’s leader of the year.
The awards were presented by Brian Hansberry, president of Delaware North’s gaming business, during the 2016 Delaware North Global Leadership Meeting Gaming Conference in Buffalo, N.Y. Each of the honorees received a monetary award in addition to the trip to see the company’s new global headquarters.
Brandon, who joined Wheeling Island in 2008, is credited not just for overcoming the challenge of deafness – which he does by reading lips, sign language and communicating through his own actions – but for his friendly demeanor and leading by example with his colleagues.
“Dante will do whatever it takes to keep the business at a higher standard,” said Osi Imomoh, president and general manager of Wheeling Island. “He flourishes in his workspace and has even trained many new employees without saying a single word. He has taught us that roadblocks in life are just obstacles to overcome and when you do, the sky is the limit.”
Timmerman joined Jumer’s in 2012 as the DJ’s Steakhouse chef and has grown to become a vital component of one of the casino’s efforts to differentiate itself in a highly competitive market – providing a high-quality food and beverage experience for guests. He became a certified executive chef (CEC) in 2015 and recently became an American Culinary Federation (ACF) approved culinary evaluator, able to administer ACF exams.
“There are many chefs in the area who turn to him for advice and direction, and he sits on many competition panels as a judge and participates in many competitions himself,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Jumer’s. “He is always promoting Jumer’s during these events and when he is here he is seemingly everywhere enhancing our restaurants, buffet and banquets.”