After nearly a quarter century serving the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Phil Drake, director of the tribe’s Division of Gaming is hanging his hat up for good.
Drake will be leaving the reigns of the Division of Gaming to his apprentice, tribal member Matthew Box. Drake has mentored Box, over the last few years to ensure Box was ready to take over the role before he retired.
Drake spent his time with the tribe working surveillance for the old casino and new Sky Ute Casino Resort. He then accepted a position at the Division of Gaming and has been there ever since.
“I always brag about the tribe … the tribe deserves a lot of these accolades because they do gaming the right way,” Drake said.
Staff came together on Thursday, July 14 to say thank you and bid farewell to the longtime employee.
“We could never in 23 years fulfill the experience growth and changes that Phil provided to this tribe,” Box said of his mentor. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity and teaching me so much … I couldn’t have been in a better position or have a better mentor.”
Linda Baker, member of the first Gaming Commission, said Drake’s experience would be greatly missed.
“I appreciate your knowledge and everything you’ve shared with us,” she said.
Not only did Drake form positive relationships in Gaming, he also managed to make meaningful friendships across tribal departments.
“He has the kindest heart,” SunUte Fitness Director Robin Duffy-Wirth said. “It’s not just what he does, but how he does it … he will be missed.”