When I first decided to take my current position with Caesars Entertainment Corp., I was concerned about the prospect of managing more than 40 properties across a dozen states and at least twice as many regulatory agencies.
In the absence of on-site staff exclusively dedicated to environmental affairs, I thought it would be difficult to educate and motivate employees. But the first couple of weeks brought a great discovery – the employees were already educated and motivated. The property-level employees who carry environmental compliance responsibility at Caesars are among the most dedicated I have ever met. The engineering staffs at the properties are truly interested in being successful and doing the right thing. Even if they can’t cite the regulatory reference, they are familiar with work practice standards and operating guidelines, which have enabled them to largely remain compliant.
Each property has developed its own environmental strategies to comply with the things that are relevant to them. Some of the larger properties have either relied on external consultants, or had a senior engineer on staff that happens to know something about it from a prior position. Sometimes it’s a relationship they have with a former colleague outside the company; many times it has been research and a desire to be compliant. But whatever the reason, they have found a way to accomplish what they need to.
I soon transitioned into a role focused on sharing more effective management strategies, consolidating record-keeping, streamlining inspections, opening communication channels, and ultimately, making environmental management feel more like a base requirement. In my past experience with heavy industrial sites, environmental compliance was a way of life for every position. Each employee had it engrained in them because of the vast number of requirements and experience with past penalties. Within the hospitality industry, we have significant and diverse requirements, and people are aware of them, but true success will only become possible through integrating roles into every job around the organization.
Once employees have a basic understanding and the desire to comply, the next step entails giving them the tools to be effective and showing them the methods to make those tools most efficient. Efforts are now being made to accomplish environmental tasks within everyday duties. Doing the right thing is often surprisingly easy, and making employees aware of how to reduce the company’s environmental footprint seems to increase everyone’s willingness to be involved.
Brad Waldron is Corporate Manager of Environmental Affairs for Caesars Entertainment Corp., where he manages efforts to maintain Caesars’ position as an environmental leader. He will talk about how he collects and tracks his programs’ metrics at NAEM’s EHS Compliance Excellence conference on Aug.1-2 in Chicago.