• Mesquite Gaming announced the appointment of Justin Moore as its CEO. He will be responsible for overseeing operations of both Mesquite properties, CasaBlanca and Virgin River. Moore, a native of St. George, Utah, is a gaming industry veteran of 25 years.
Just prior to joining Mesquite Gaming last year as an executive consultant, Moore served as general manager at Rivers Casino Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Moore’s career began as a food server at the Mesquite Star Casino in Mesquite in 1999 and accelerated with Station Casinos in the Las Vegas Valley where he advanced quickly to become the vice president and assistant general manager at Green Valley Ranch Resort. In 2017, he became vice president and general manager with Rivers Casino in Schenectady, New York.
Known for his commitment to the communities where he resides and works, Moore was recognized for his accomplishments and named to the Las Vegas 40 Under 40 in 2015. The next year, he was named Mentor of the Year by the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for his work helping students learn how to succeed in the industry. In 2022, he was named to the Top 25 to Watch list by Global Gaming Business magazine.
• Renowned restaurateur and award-winning chef Michael Mina invites guests to Orla, now open at Mandalay Bay. Drawing inspiration from Mina’s upbringing, the authentic essence of the Mediterranean’s lively markets and bazaars is reflected in each intriguing dish.
“Orla is a culmination of my culinary evolution, a fusion of personal recipes that echo the flavors and aromas of my childhood in Egypt. It encapsulates the warmth, charm and vibrant hospitality of Mediterranean culture that has shaped my life and career,” Mina said. “I can’t wait for guests to experience a taste of what has influenced my life’s work.”
Chuck Bowling, Mandalay Bay’s president and chief operating officer, said, “Orla’s opening adds another exciting dimension to Mandalay Bay’s New Wave, in which we’re introducing a variety of new amenities and attractions for our guests. Chef Mina’s exceptional talent has given birth to a stunning restaurant and we’re proud to continue our successful relationship with the talented Mina team.”
Designed by New York-based firm Parts and Labor Design, Orla’s inviting, earthy ambiance is brought to life through intricate tile mosaics, a mix of white marble and dark wooden tables accented by stylish earth-tone chairs and a spectacular tile floor sure to become a signature talking point of the space.
• Special Olympics Nevada, an organization that works to create inclusive opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities through health, education, leadership development and sports, announced the promotion of Terrence Thornton to president and chief executive officer. Thornton’s promotion marks a first for the organization as it officially declared independent status on Jan., 1.
Prior to his promotion, Thornton served as executive director for Special Olympics Nevada and has been with the organization since 2019. In this role, Thornton is responsible for leading strategic efforts to expand the organization’s financial base and enhance inclusive programming for people with intellectual disabilities.
Prior to successfully gaining independent status, Special Olympics Nevada was the only state that was not operating as its own Special Olympics chapter, instead operating under the umbrella of Special Olympics Northern California. As an independently run chapter, Special Olympics Nevada will allow the organization to extend its reach and services to more potential athletes and their families. An independent chapter will allow Special Olympics Nevada to obtain more resources without brand confusion; better align its programs and services for people with intellectual disabilities with partners in Nevada; and provide an opportunity to position Nevada as a national leader in inclusive health, education, sports and leadership development for people with intellectual disabilities; and allow program participants to have more pride in their state when they compete nationally and globally. Senate Bill 341 and Assembly Bill 525, both passed during the 2023 Nevada Legislature, provided $500,000 in funding, which assisted Special Olympics Nevada in obtaining independent status.
“We are excited to celebrate Special Olympics Nevada as an independent chapter,” said David Solo, president and CEO of Special Olympics Northern California. “I have enjoyed working with Terrence for five years and now look forward to collaborating with him as a peer among Special Olympics state programs. He and the Special Olympics Nevada staff and advisory board members have accomplished a lot to get to this point and their hard work is appreciated. We wish them the best of luck and I will always have a special place in my heart for the athletes, families, staff and supporters of Special Olympics Nevada.”
Thornton previously worked for the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance where he served as the vice president of investor services and development. In this role, Thornton increased the organization’s annual revenue from $1.3 million to more than $4.2 million within five years. Before his tenure with LVGEA, he served as a substitute teacher for the Clark County School District, where he provided curriculum instruction to secondary students with autism.
Thornton received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and obtained a Master of Science in nonprofit management and leadership and a master’s certificate in human resources management from Walden University.
Thornton is a board member with Southern Hills Hospital. He has served as a community advisory board member with Allegiant Stadium and on nonprofit advisory boards for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, The Urban Chamber of Commerce’s Incubator Program, The Center of Las Vegas and the Leadership Council at Canyon Springs High School.
• Leading architecture and design firm Gensler welcomes strategic senior hires and celebrated hospitality design industry leaders Nicole Dalton and Kara Siffermann to its hospitality practice in the Southwest region. They will join Gensler’s hospitality and interiors studio helping to redefine high-end hospitality lifestyle experiences for guests, brands, owners and operators in the region and beyond.
— Dalton, RID, brings more than 20 years of experience to her role as director of hospitality. Her expertise lies in creating transformative hospitality experiences with a specialty in high-end global gaming interiors. She is attuned to clients’ needs leading to profitable projects for world’s leading gaming enterprises. Her notable projects include Resorts World Las Vegas, Circa Las Vegas, Fontainebleau Las Vegas; and Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, Philippines; Galaxy Casino in Macau; and Casino Sochi in Russia. Most recently she was a principal at Bergman Walls Architects + Interiors.
— Known for executing some of the most significant large-scale projects across the Las Vegas skyline, Siffermann joins Gensler as technical director. She is adept at bringing the owner’s mindset to execute on all levels of the mixed-used hospitality experience from retail to wellness, residential and public spaces. Siffermann’s 28-year trajectory in the industry includes experience at Tony Chi and Alexandra Champalimaud in New York to Las Vegas’ giants MGM Hospitality and Wynn Design & Development. Most recently Siffermann was vice president of design at Resorts World Las Vegas.