by Treena Parvello, Director of Public Relations and Communications, Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise
I was taught that giving back is a way of life and not just something we mark off on a checklist. Supporting others and doing what you can was a value my parents instilled in me, and it was just part of growing up with an Apache mother and O’odham father. That calling of giving back has been a guiding star, even if it has taken me to unexpected places like the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise.
I studied public administration in college and never expected to find a career in the gaming industry. But with help from some wonderful mentors, I came to recognize how gaming is giving back to the Tohono O’odham Nation and to Arizona. And for nearly three years, Glendale and the West Valley has had a chance to experience those benefits firsthand thanks to the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino.
After building our interim facility with no offsets or public incentives, the Enterprise has created over 600 jobs and had hundreds of millions of dollars in positive economic impacts for the region. We’ve added a unique amenity to Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District that is attracting thousands of visitors to the area each week. Working with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, we have forged successful partnerships with local businesses and municipalities.
I’m especially proud of the work we are doing in the community, supporting vital organizations like Glendale Community College, the West Valley Foundation and the Glendale Firefighters Charities. Working together with our neighbors has always been a central part of our mission at the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise.
I have never forgotten how fortunate I’ve been, and I try to pay it forward as a positive role model for young women. I’ve had time to understand what it means to be a woman in business, especially in an industry that has traditionally been male dominated. The top two reminders that help me in everyday challenging situations are collaboration and similarities.
To make “big” things happen we have to work together, respect each other and overcome obstacles that arise. Constructing a major casino facility at 95th and Northern avenues in 24 months takes a large amount of collaboration. That includes understanding we are the same, we all want our children to be safe, and we want prosperous communities. The Tohono O’odham Nation also wants safe and booming economies. What I have come to realize is that we are all the same and have to understand different perspectives to resolve issues and work together.
Currently the Enterprise is in the midst of an aggressive construction schedule to build our full-scale casino by December 2019. The new, larger facility being built will include an expanded gaming floor, Class III slots, poker, blackjack, live bingo, five dining venues and more. Once it opens, the new full-scale casino will employ over 1,600 people and bring even greater economic impacts to Glendale and the West Valley.
We’re looking forward to continue working closely with the Glendale Chamber and other partners as we take this next big step in our economic development project.