Drake retires after 23 years with tribe

Matthew Box, Division of Gaming Presents departing director Phil Drake with a personalized plaque recognizing Drake for his 23 years working for the tribe, Thursday, July 14.
Phil Drake holds up a personalized stirrup gifted to him by General Manager of Sky Ute Casino Resort, Charley Flagg at a retirement party Thursday, July 14.
Bertha Box, former Gaming Commission member, thanks Phil Drake for all his contributions to the tribe.
Phil Drake, Director of Division of Gaming, admires a bolo tie engraved with the tribal seal given to him by the Executive Office on behalf of the tribe and membership.
Tribal Council Vice Chairwoman Lorelei Cloud presents Phil Drake with the Southern Ute tribal flag that flew over the Justice & Regulatory Bldg. on the Fourth of July.
Chris J. Cloud | SU Drum
Chris J. Cloud | SU Drum
Chris J. Cloud | SU Drum
Chris J. Cloud | SU Drum
Chris J. Cloud | SU Drum

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.”


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