President of Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, NV
Even by the standards of Las Vegas, Joseph Magliarditi ’94 has had a long winning streak.
He is a 18-year veteran of the casino and resort industry, having settled in Vegas after a brief stint as an analyst with the Times Mirror Company in New York – his first job after he graduated from Hofstra. While at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Magliarditi recalls the advice of a professor – words that still resonate years later.
“He said to the class – it’s not about your first job. You’ll have three or four jobs before you really figure out what you want to do,” Magliarditi said. “Everybody wanted to be an analyst, everybody wanted to work on Wall Street. But the professor was 100 percent right. I’ve never forgotten it.”
Indeed, Magliarditi began his career in Las Vegas as a corporate analyst for the Rio Hotel & Casino, and steadily worked his way up through the organization, eventually rising to senior vice president of operations. He left to start a software company, which he ran for several years before returning to the gaming industry in 2005 to become chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Colorado Belle and Edgewater casinos, owned by the same family that owned the Rio.
Magliarditi says Hofstra’s proximity to New York City, and the university’s reputation (“I had known some people who went to Hofstra”) drew him to Zarb to do his graduate work. From upstate Niagara Falls native wanted to be close, but not in, New York City. “Coming from upstate, I didn’t really want to live in the city. Hofstra was a great middle ground – it wasn’t the city, but it was close enough to take advantage of the opportunities there.”
But after jobs at Times Mirror and Merrill Lynch, Magliarditi gambled on a future in Vegas, finding that the casino industry offered the nuts-and-bolts challenges of running a large business with the glamour of gaming.
“I especially love the gaming part of the casino business – it makes it more exciting than running a traditional hotel,” he said. Running a casino/resort, he said, requires, in many ways, the same skills that running any large business does: a deft touch managing people, a vision for the future and an ability to realize that vision.
“I definitely enjoy most when you’re creating a new venue, a new hotel – there’s nothing to me better than the creative part of the job,” he said.
He relishes new challenges, which is how he ended up at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where he became president and CEO in 2010, and then to move onto the Palms in 2011, where he has been overseeing a $125 million renovation.
He said that he has come to appreciate his time at Hofstra more, not less, as he has become more successful.
“It’s a cliché, but education really is the foundation you fall back on,” Magliarditi said. “You’re in school and you think – ‘I’m never going to use any of this ‘ and then all of sudden, you’re in charge of all these people and they’re looking to you for leadership and guidance and their livelihood is depending on how successful you are and more times than not, your education becomes that necessary foundation.”