It’s not often that a CEO becomes a hero by jumping off a building, but most CEOs aren’t like Frank Riolo. And most companies don’t operate observation towers attached to a Las Vegas casino.
Since May 2008—just about the start of the current economic slide—Riolo has helmed American Casino & Entertainment Properties, the company that operates the Stratosphere, Laughlin’s Aquarius and Arizona Charlie’s East and Decatur for Whitehall Properties, an investment arm of Goldman Sachs.
In April, Riolo’s main charge, the Stratosphere, was putting the finishing touches on its new Sky Jump ride. As part of the opening festivities, he opened up the ride for free to all employees who wanted to try. It looked like so much fun, he joined them.
All of this grew out of a conversation I had with Mr. Riolo after he heard me on KNPR’s State of Nevada. As we were chatting, it dawned on me that he had a story everyone should hear.
While he was walking me around the property we ran into Brian Thornton, which turned out to be quite fortuitous, since he was an excellent guy to talk to about the El Cortez suite design competition. It’s another reminder of what a small town this really is. That’s not always a bad thing.