Coast Better Off for McKenzie's Vision


One of the challenges leaders face is how to keep their finger on the pulse of the organization. I have found that entrepreneurs typically hit a point in their growth curve where they are no longer "hands on" with all of the projects, and they have to learn to delegate effectively. This can lead to anxiety and cause some entrepreneurs to become frustrated with their lack of visibility into what is going on. Similarly, CEO's and other executive leaders are often several layers removed from the front line employees that are "hands on" with the customers. As I sit in strategic planning meetings with executives, it is obvious to me those who have lost touch with the voice of the customer and the needs of their front line team.

Duncan McKenzie, President and General Manager of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, is a seasoned executive and understands how important it is to have clear visibility into the issues of the organization. McKenzie has 37 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry. He is a native of Romeo, Michigan, and he graduated from Michigan State University. His first job out of college was with a Hilton hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as a bar porter. This experience led to a job as an accounts payable clerk at a Hilton in Atlanta. Duncan went on to be a leader within the Hilton organization over a career that spanned almost thirty years. In his early thirties, he was serving as controller for the largest Hilton property, and he decided to make a career transition out of accounting and into Hilton's general management and gaming division. His career with Hilton required him to move around a good bit, and he and his family have lived in numerous locations including Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans, Kansas City, and Las Vegas. His career led him to being President and General Manager of the Grand Casino Properties on the Gulf Coast, and in January of 2008, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi hired him as President and General Manager.

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