Graton Resort & Casino is celebrating its first 10 years, having opened in Rohnert Park on November 5 2013, since when it has attracted more than 50 million visitors. With a full-time staff of approximately 2,000 team members, Graton Resort & Casino is the second largest corporate employer in Sonoma County.
“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, I’d like to acknowledge our dedicated team members who go above and beyond every day to make sure that our property is the best of the best,” said Greg Sarris, Chairman Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. “When most organizations were experiencing the ‘Great Resignation’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the opposite happening here at Graton Resort & Casino. When our doors re-opened, 98 per cent of team members returned. People make their careers at Graton.”
Graton Resort & Casino team members enjoy some of the best benefits in California, including fully paid medical, dental and vision benefits, 401(k) retirement savings and comprehensive wellness programs. Graton Resort & Casino is a business enterprise of Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. As such, the resort is committed to the Tribe’s mission of social justice. Innovative programs, such as free legal assistance for team members on the path to US citizenship, ESL classes, organic food in the team member dining room, leadership training and fair wages, have become an example for other businesses in hospitality and gaming. “Our tribal culture has a strong ethos of taking care of one another,” Sarris said. “That is also true of our business enterprises.”
Buoi Nguyen is a married father of two and left a job at a casino competitor to become slot shift manager at Graton when it opened in 2013. In 2017, he was promoted to slot operations manager. He enjoys the good pay and benefits, including a 401(k)-matching program, further growth potential and a supportive culture at Graton. “A lot of times, it’s not always greener on the other side of the pasture, but I wanted to take a chance to move up in slots, so I did,” said Nguyen. “It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my career and in my life.”
Ernie Arnaga, Director of Facilities, has also been at Graton since it opened. When he first applied for a supervisor position, he did not get the job, but was offered a different position. Being Native American and wanting to support a Native owned business, he took the job at a big pay cut, knowing that he would be able to excel and show his worth. Arnaga was confident that he would be able to move up. “I did not expect to go as far as I have,” Arnaga says. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I have been taken care of more than I can ever give back. Graton has become a second home for me, and I enjoy working with many different people.” He advanced to supervisor, then Engineering Manager and now Director of Facilities. “I hope to be here until I retire.”
Graton Resort & Casino/Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria contributes millions of dollars annually to community organizations and causes.
“We want to serve our community, and we feel it is our responsibility as stewards of the people and land in and around Sonoma County,” Sarris said. “We’ve given to local educational institutions, arts organizations, food banks, literacy organizations, historical groups, emergency relief and housing non-profits. I am so proud of our commitment to each other and to those who we can help. Together, we make a better life for those around us.”