Mike Couch named general manager of Wild Rose Jefferson

Mike Couch
Mike Couch

Wild Rose president and chief operating officer Tom Timmons on Monday introduced Mike Couch, newly-hired general manager of Wild Rose Jefferson. About 35 persons, including the Grow Greene County Gaming Corp and city and county elected officials, were at the event in the south lobby of the courthouse.

Couch comes to Greene County from southern Florida, where he is director of gaming at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Prior to working in Florida, Couch was part of the initial management team when Wild Rose Emmetsburg in 2006. He also worked for 10 years for Boyd Gaming in Peoria, IL.

“We are extremely impressed with Mike’s credentials and experience,” Timmons said. “He has opened two casinos and helped manage two complete casino renovations, demonstrating that he knows how to navigate the construction process and get a property ready for business.”

“He is a great fit for the Wild Rose team,” said Gary Kirke, chairman of Wild Rose Jefferson. “He’ll be a great leader as we complete construction and open this casino and events center.”

Couch, 43, entered the gaming industry after four years in the United States Air Force in the early 1990s. Stationed in Europe and the U.S., he worked as an avionics and electronics technician for the Electronic Combat Squadron. As he transitioned into civilian life he used those skills as a slot machine technician in the floating casino in Peoria. He studied business and electronics technology at Illinois Central College in East Peoria.

Couch will work with the facilities manager in assuring that construction is complete, a management team is in place, and employee training is done before Aug. 1, a date named by Timmons.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity that’s been given to me,” Couch said. “I’m happy to be back in the Midwest. It’s a different environment, a different feel in the Midwest. I’m very appreciative of Wild Rose and the community and to be part of this new project.”

“It feels like home to me when I come here. People have made me feel at home, and you make the Wild Rose team feel that way, too. I want you to give this gentleman the same warmth, that great hospitality you’ve done with me, and I’m sure he’s going to give it back to you,” Timmons said.

Couch’s wife and two teenage daughters plan to move to Greene County sometime during 2015, with the school calendar being a factor in their move. Couch is currently working at Wild Rose headquarters in West Des Moines, but he said he would be opening an office in Jefferson prior to the completion of the casino.

After the prepared comments, Couch and Timmons answered questions. Wild Rose Jefferson is projected to provide up to 275 jobs. Couch said management positions will be filled in the early spring but the bulk of the hiring will be done in late spring. BriMark Builders still intends to begin construction of the companion Cobblestone Hotel in December with completion expected in early summer. Timmons also said he has had no purchase offers for the two out lots at the casino site.

Wild Rose Couch, FandelNorm Fandel (right), president of Grow Greene County Gaming Corp, thanked those who were on hand for Couch’s introduction. “Your support certainly shows the excitement this project brings to our community. It’s also satisfying to know that we’ve developed this project with a great company such as Wild Rose. It has allowed us to have the excitement of hiring their new general manager. It’s time to celebrate this milestone as this project continues to build, not just in the concrete and steel we see at the corner of Highways 4 and 30, but in relationship building as well,” Fandel said. “We certainly look forward to build our relationship with you as you begin to call Greene County, Jefferson, your new home.”

 

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