Customer loyalty driven by good employees

Liza Cartlidge, vice president and general manager of Sunset Station poses at the casino in Henderson Thursday, July 6, 2017.

When Liza Cartlidge left Southern Nevada in 1999, Sunset Station was still new, and stood virtually alone in its swath of the desert. “You could stand in the amphitheater and see clearly to what is now Fiesta Henderson,” she says. Cartlidge has since worked in Northern Nevada, New Jersey and New York, but returned to Las Vegas more than a year ago to become general manager at Sunset Station.

Do you have any recent news you’d like to share?

Sunset Station just celebrated its 20th birthday, which was a huge milestone. We’re proud to have been a part of the Henderson community for two decades, and are committed to reinvesting in our property to make it the best it can be for our guests and team members.

To that end, the Sonoma Cellar Steakhouse is being remodeled and is expected to reopen late this month. We’ll have some of the classic favorites with many new and exciting items.

What do you think is the biggest draw for locals to the property?

Its design drew from Spanish cities and features sky ceilings throughout. The Gaudi Bar features beautiful stained glass, and many locals tell us they come to see our design features.

But the biggest draw is probably our team members. We have many who have been here since the property opened. And all of our team members forge relationships with guests.

Describe your management style.

I am an accessible leader who enjoys engaging with team members and guests daily. I focus first on how events and our decisions affect our team members and guests. Of the many difficult decisions I am faced with on a regular basis, this approach has helped guide our strategy in every area. I am passionate and energetic about everything I undertake.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?

The advice that I rely on continually that has guided me in all situations is to question your decisions and actions. I found that the more questions you ask, the closer you get to root issues. You are better equipped to craft programs and resolve issues when you truly understand the root issues.

What has been your most exciting professional project?

I spent 25 years with the Harrah’s organization and was fortunate to be involved in major capital expansion projects in Atlantic City and Las Vegas that transformed the properties to compete in markets undergoing significant change. One of the most exciting projects was in Buffalo, N.Y., with the Seneca Nation of Indians. The city was undergoing major changes, taking it from the Rust Belt city it was to the major sports and entertainment city it has become. It was fun to be a major contributor in that.

What’s your favorite place to have fun in Las Vegas?

I am from Philadelphia and spent my summers on the Jersey seashore, so I love the sun, ocean and outdoor sports. I love to go out to Lake Mead. You can run your boat out to so many hidden coves and beautiful beaches and spend an entire day where the water is crystal clear and much warmer than the Atlantic Ocean.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I love the excitement of the gaming industry. It is all about entertainment and people. I hope to still be involved with this industry in 10 years.

What is your dream job outside of your current field?

My dream job when I was a little girl was to be a competitive ice skater. On the East Coast, we skated on frozen ponds often. We also skated on any indoor rink where you could find open skate times. I taught my little brother how to skate and within a year, he could beat me down the ice. Needless to say, I picked another profession soon thereafter.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I spent a month in Thailand and loved its history, beaches, mountains, food and the warmth and sincerity of the Thai people. In the states, I’ve lived in New York, New Jersey and Nevada, but where I would love to once again live is the Reno-Tahoe area. It’s really one of the prettiest parts of our country, and the people there are sincere. Also, it’s a short drive from the Bay Area and California wine country for great weekend getaways. Lake Tahoe is a great place in the winter for snow sports and in the summer for boating and swimming. Also, you can golf nearly all year, and some years you can even ski in July. It really is ideal.

Whom do you admire?

The person in the world I admire most is my daughter, Kris. Kris was born with a congenital heart defect and battled through many major surgeries in her life. She has been tough and strong for each surgery and the painful recovery she had to endure after each. Kris picks a path to follow and keeps true to her convictions regardless of peer pressure. She took every American Sign Language course available in college and in one of her summer jobs, acted as an ASL interpreter for deaf visitors to Niagara Falls State Park. Kris just graduated from UNR with a bachelor’s degree in studio art and will make a big impact on anyone who is fortunate to work with her.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I come from a big Irish Catholic family with nine children. I have six brothers and two sisters. With that many siblings, we played a lot of competitive sports among ourselves.