Both receive Memorial Awards honouring Jens Halle and Peter Mead
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) awarded this year the Jens Halle Memorial Award Honouring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism to Rick Meitzler, and the Peter Mead Memorial Award Honouring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications to Roger Gros, last Wednesday 04 at a presentation ceremony that took place in the AGEM booth at G2E 2017, at the Sands Expo.
AGEM previously announced the creation of this unique annual awards program to acknowledge the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who died unexpectedly in 2015.
Currently celebrating his 40th year in the gaming industry, Meitzler, 59, began his career as an assistant game designer for Bally Gaming in Chicago in 1977 and now serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Novomatic Americas, a subsidiary of Austrian technology powerhouse Novomatic Group.
In his distinguished career with Bally spanning more than 33 years and dozens of jurisdictions around the world, Meitzler held more than 10 different employment positions, primarily in the areas of sales and customer service. In 2007, he assisted Australian company Ainsworth Game Technology’s U.S. entry as Senior Vice President of North American operations. Meitzler assumed his current position with Novomatic in 2015 and oversees a growing team dedicated to expanding the company’s overall presence in North America.
“How very deserving and appropriate it is for Rick Meitzler to receive this award named for his mentor and friend Jens Halle,” said Tom Nieman, President of AGEM. “If you read through the nominating criteria that captures the spirit of Jens and his career, you could just as easily be talking about Rick. He has succeeded in his career by taking care of his customers around the world with a smile on his face and a high level of integrity that makes him one of our industry’s most respected and popular figures.”
Now nearly four decades into a gaming career that started as a dealer in Atlantic City in 1979, Roger Gros, 66, is the undisputed dean of North American gaming journalists. He started chronicling the gaming industry as a co-founder of Casino Journal magazine in 1983 as well as Casino Player magazine in 1988 that went on to become the leading source of information for casino visitors.
In 2002, he founded Global Gaming Business (GGB) magazine and has been Publisher for the past 15 years for the leading trade publication that has the official endorsement of both AGEM and the American Gaming Association (AGA). His Casino Connection International company also publishes the Tribal Government Gaming, Casino Style and G2E Preview industry journals. In addition, Gros is President of one of the leading marketing affiliates in the U.S. iGaming industry – iGamingPlayer.com. Gros also was a co-founder of the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi, Mississippi, and has organized hundreds of informative panel discussions for G2E, G2E Asia and other trade shows and conferences.
“Roger’s collective history and knowledge of the industry has been shaped by diverse and unique viewpoints that have made him one of gaming’s greatest communicators and steadfast supporters,” said Marcus Prater, Executive Director of AGEM. “His written words and dedication to the trade journal and trade show segments of our industry have kept all of us informed and engaged as gaming has expanded globally over the past 30 years. He remains a go-to commentator for the mainstream media and supports gaming with a commitment to accuracy based on decades of experience and observation.”
Halle, a long time Bally and Novomatic executive in Europe who was most recently CEO of Gauselmann Group’s Merkur Gaming based in Florida, died suddenly on May 20, 2015 at the age of 57. Mead, the founder and publisher of Casino Enterprise Management magazine, died suddenly in Las Vegas on June 24, 2015 at the age of 54.
Current gaming professionals were nominated for these memorial awards based on the following criteria that aim to capture the unique attributes displayed by Halle and Mead during their storied careers:
Jens Halle Memorial Award Honouring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism
“Nominees must have experience working in the global gaming supplier sector for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Jens displayed throughout his working life: Professionalism, business success, attention to detail and timely follow-up; a willingness to ‘go the extra mile,’ both figuratively and literally; a sense of humanity in an oft-times cutthroat business; a recognition of the importance of a handshake and a fair deal for all; and a dedication to the health of the industry as a whole.”
Peter Mead Memorial Award Honouring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications
“Nominees must have experience working in the mainstream media, gaming trade press or individual gaming company PR/communications for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Peter displayed throughout his working life: Quality reporting and communication with an emphasis on personal contact to generate ideas and gather information; taking risks and questioning the status quo; challenging the industry to consider new ideas; and identifying trusted partners to improve the overall product.”
Ainsworth Game Technology founder and current Executive Chairman Len Ainsworth and Golden Entertainment Director of Corporate Communications and former Las Vegas Review-Journal gaming columnist Howard Stutz were the initial recipients of the AGEM memorial awards program in 2016.
AGEM is a non-profit international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, lotteries, systems, table games, online technology, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry. AGEM works to further the interests of gaming equipment suppliers throughout the world. Through political action, regulatory influence, trade show partnerships, educational alliances, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship, the members of AGEM work together to create benefits for every company within the organization. Together, AGEM has assisted regulatory agencies and participated in the legislative process to solve problems and create a business environment where AGEM members can prosper while providing a strong level of support to education and responsible gaming initiatives. For more information, visit www.AGEM.org.
The current AGEM membership roster, 152 companies strong based in 23 countries, is a who’s who of the supplier segment of the global gaming industry, that include: AGEM Gold Members: AGS, Ainsworth Game Technology, Aristocrat Technologies, Everi, International Game Technology (IGT), Konami Gaming, Merkur Gaming, NOVOMATIC Group, Scientific Games and Sega Sammy Creation. AGEM Silver Members: Action Gaming, Aruze Gaming America, Casino Technology, Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), Gaming Partners International (GPI), JCM Global, NYX Gaming Group, Ortiz Gaming, Quixant PLC, Suzo-Happ Group, TCSJohnHuxley, William Hill US and Zitro. AGEM Bronze Members: Abbiati Casino Equipment, Alfastreet, Amatic Industries, APEX gaming, Astro Corp., BetConstruct, Bingotimes Digital Technology, Boss Gaming, Cammegh Limited, Century Gaming Technologies, CG Technology (CGT), Cole Kepro International, Euro Games Technology (EGT), Exacta Systems, FBM, Galaxy Gaming, Gamblit Gaming, GameCo, Gaming Arts, Gaming Support, Glory Global Solutions, Grand Vision Gaming, Incredible Technologies, Inspired Gaming, Interblock USA, Intervision Gaming, ISMS, Jumbo Technology, Matsui Gaming Machine Co., Metronia, PariMAX, Patriot Gaming & Electronics, Spintec, Table Trac, Vantiv Entertainment Solutions, Wells-Gardner Technologies, Win Systems. (E-10.06.17)