One of Upstate New York’s largest employers, the Oneida Nation, recognized employees for their dedication and hard work by giving away hundreds of prizes, free meals, hosting special events and awarding six employees with fully-paid roundtrip vacations to the destination of their choice between Disney World, Las Vegas or a Caribbean Cruise

March 9, 2017 – Only a few months after announcing a major multi-million dollar investment in increased wages and other compensation, the Oneida Nation again shows employees that their hard work and dedication are truly appreciated. The Nation showed their gratitude by celebrating National Employee Appreciation Day this year for five fun-filled days, themed “First in Excellence – Cause for Applause,” which culminated with six employees receiving a fully-paid roundtrip vacation for two to the destination of their choice between Las Vegas, Disney World or a Caribbean cruise.

An exciting conclusion to the weeklong celebration across all of the Nation’s businesses, the six employees were recognized for their commitment to providing the highest standards of excellence and for being role models for outstanding service and professionalism, earning them the Nation’s inaugural “First in Excellence Award.” The Nation’s newest award winners are:

Victa Castro, Turning Stone Special Events Porter: As an integral part of the Banquets Team, Castro was recognized for his positive “get it done” attitude, adaptability during ever-changing event details and his eagerness to always help guests and fellow team members.

Heidi Kitchen, Turning Stone Table Games Dealer: Kitchen was recognized for her rapport with guests and her always positive attitude and professionalism.

Janice Reed, Turning Stone Player Services Lead Representative: Reed was honored because of her unwavering commitment to providing superior guest service, professionally handling challenging situations and her leadership within her team.

Baw Say, Yellow Brick Road Casino Environmental Services Project Porter: Say received the First in Excellence Award for his reliability and consistently accepting new challenges.

Russell Eddy, SāvOn Customer Service Associate: Receiving a perfect mystery guest shopper score nearly 20 times within the last year, Eddy was recognized for always exceeding guests’ expectations and his personal connection with guests.

Patricia Scanlon, Oneida Nation Health Department Admission Associate: Scanlon was recognized for her dedication to the Oneida Nation and to her patients, as well as for her infectious and genuinely positive demeanor.

“Making an investment in our employees and finding new ways to show our appreciation is always a priority for us,” said Ray Halbritter Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO. “We are extremely fortunate to have more than 4,600 employees who take pride in making all of our properties world-class and are consistently providing our highest-standards of excellence. The six First in Excellence Award winners exemplify our commitment to providing the best guest service every single day.”

Throughout the “First in Excellence – Cause for Applause” week, employees across all of the Nation’s businesses won hundreds of prizes, including gift cards, overnight hotel stays and concert tickets, and every employee received a complimentary lunch on National Employee Appreciation Day. The Nation also hosted several special events including a Service Superstar Award breakfast to recognize nominees, nominators and recipients of the 2016 Service Superstar Award Program and The Underground Showdown, an employee talent show where the first place winner, Andres Banks, took home $500 cash for his performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

In addition to its “First in Excellence – Cause for Applause” employee appreciation week, the Oneida Nation demonstrated the value placed on its remarkable employees by investing nearly $13 Million in 2016 to pay increases and other compensation. The investment in Oneida Nation staff, which includes increased compensation and enhanced workforce training, were added to the roster of excellent pre-existing employee benefits, including annual pay increases for hourly staff. In fact, of the $13 Million investment in staff for 2016, a large percentage was used to adjust starting wages upward. This significant change effectively leads to pay increases across the board at every pay level, especially in areas that are competitive positions in the marketplace.

For a few photos from the Oneida Nation’s First in Excellence – Cause of Applause” week, visit the photo gallery.