Monday, May 16, 2011 | 3 a.m.
Silverton President Craig Cavileer knows a thing or two about running a casino—especially when it comes to catering to locals. He talks with VEGAS INC about his philosophies, worst job ever and his broken heart. His answers may surprise you.
Do you have a business philosophy that you share with your staff?
I have three principles that I believe are necessary for relationships. They’re the same for the people you work with or work for—trust, confidence and respect. Without those three things, you’ll never be aligned to work together.
What was your first job?
When I was in third grade, I lived in a new neighborhood in Austin, TX. There was a rock quarry nearby. I sold rocks that I found with fossils in them for 25 or 75 cents each. I’m sure if they were properly cleaned, they’d be worth a lot more to a museum today. When I ran out of rocks, I started mowing lawns when I was in the fourth grade.
What was your worst job?
I worked at a high school the summer after seventh grade cleaning out lockers and locker rooms. They hadn’t really been cleaned since the summer before, so we spent lots of time cleaning out gum. I made $2.35 per hour, working 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., five days a week.
In business, is lying ever an option?
No. If you’re negotiating, there’s gamesmanship involved, but never lying.
What’s the one movie you could watch over and over again?
Caddyshack. It’s a tie with Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but I have to go with Caddyshack.
What two CDs would you bring with you on a desert island?
Something by Willie Nelson, obviously, with my Texas roots, and Kenny Chesney, because he’s got that sit-back-and-relax style of music.
What kind of shoes do you wear every day?
It’s very Southern California—flip-flops. It used to be cowboy boots. Now, it’s flip-flops.
Do you have a special pen you use?
No. I can’t keep track of them. I have a Cartier that seems to disappear and reappear periodically. If I could find it, it’d be the Cartier.
Is the first girl who broke your heart aware of your success?
Yes. And I’m sure she’s jealous.
What’s your most valuable possession?
My memories. After all’s said and done, that’s all you’ve got.
What do you never ever leave the house without?
Unfortunately, my iPhone.
Do you have a motto you live by?
It’s not a motto as much as a sickness: The relentless pursuit of perfection.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Thomas Jefferson. I had to do a book report on him in the fifth grade, so we’d probably have something to talk about. It seems impossible that the Founding Fathers put together something 300 years ago that, in principle, still works in our daily lives today.
What’s the one show you have to DVR each week?
I’ve never DVRed anything. My wife DVRs a lot, so I see a lot of the stuff she records, like Oprah. I’m not sure I even know how to use the machine.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Ambergris Caye, off the coast of Belize. It’s beautiful for scuba diving.