HBG Named a Winner of the 2015 Top Workplaces Award by Memphis’ Commercial Appeal

HBG is excited to be named one of Memphis’ Top Workplaces by The Commercial Appeal. Congratulations to our incredibly talented employees – thank you for voting HBG a Top Workplace!

The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.

Through their comments, HBG employees indicated their highest confidence in where the firm is headed and how it’s going to get there, and noted that the environment is highly collaborative and supportive of one another in achieving both project and career goals. 

HBG is pleased to join many of our Memphis clients who also achieved this honor, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, International Paper, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Southern College of Optometry.


“Great leadership across the board! Interesting projects and talented, forward-thinking co workers.”

“I am appreciated.”“I have the freedom to do my job without being micromanaged.”

“The opportunity for continued advancement and success.”

“There is no glass ceiling, your career is what you make of it within a very collaborative and supportive environment. You give 110 percent — you get that back from the organization in many ways.”

Hnedak Bobo Group – Responses from Employee Survey

Check out The Commercial Appeal’s Top Workplaces issue here:

Top Workplaces: Workers love perks

What employees are saying

The Commercial Appeal Top Workplaces 2015


Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal files Thor Harland, left, and Mark Weaver, with the Hnedak Bobo Group, are designing the One Beale Skyscraper.

Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal Plans, drawings and renderings for the One Beale Skyscraper are tacked on the walls inside of the critique area in the Hnedak Bobo Group building.

HBG Wins Gold for Corporate Citizenship

HBG has just been named a Gold Winner for Corporate Citizenship in the 2015 Workforce Magazine Optimas Awards for expanding cultural awareness among employees through visionary and impactful human resources initiatives, in particular, the GOH Travel Scholarship program. 

HBG was among 21 finalists which included organizations and corporations from Peterbilt Motors Company to Red Robin International Inc.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Workforce Magazine Optimas Awards, which recognizes HR and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization. Each winner produced measurable business results. “Companies are not just realizing their people are their strongest asset, they are acting on it and setting in motion HR initiatives and solutions that develop and empower their workforce,” said Rick Bell, managing editor of Workforce. “The groups named Optimas Award winners are some of the top performing organizations producing fruitful and lasting change where it was needed.”

Below is the article published in Workforce Magazine about the Optimas Award Winners:

For its commitment to expanding cultural awareness among employees, Hnedak Bobo Group is the gold 2015 Optimas Award winner for Corporate Citizenship.

It’s been said in corporate conversations that as economic globalization grows, the world continues to shrink.

As corporate America learns more every day about those far away places with the strange sounding names, there’s still a great big world that stokes the imagination and awaits exploration.

Gregory Hnedak was one of those people who, like Willie Nelson, couldn’t wait to get on the road again. Except Hnedak wasn’t a country music singer crooning in a different town each night. In 1979, Hnedak was an architect who had just opened his new local firm in Memphis, Tennessee. While that could have been a burden to a young man with the itch to travel, Hnedak instead grew his regional firm to one of national prominence, along the way designing the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, as well as projects for mega corporations FedEx Corp., International Paper and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

To share his love for travel with employees, Hnedak Bobo Group initiated the Gregory O. Hnedak Travel Scholarship in 2014.

“We thought it only fitting to honor his legacy at HBG through an experiential travel scholarship that gives one employee a year a unique opportunity to experience travel with a sense of purpose,” said Terri Struminger, chief operating officer, in the nomination form. “The trip is intended to enable personal connection to the one element that most significantly impacted personal and professional growth for our firm’s founder: travel.”

Church in La Portela de Valcarce taken by Branden Canepa who travelled the Camino de Santiago

The competitive program was designed to help employees make a deep connection to the firm’s core values while broadening their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Among the four objectives is external messaging, which has a broader motive than a two week business trip. Traveling to broaden knowledge and enrich the design experience for their clients’ benefit is well communicated externally and is a key component in the firm’s marketing messages.

One of the winners of the 2015 scholarship — which is open to any non principal level employee with two years’ tenure — was operations coordinator Branden Canepa, who spent her 12 days walking the 145 miles along Spain’s El Camino de Santiago.

“Mr. Hnedak’s legacy will live on through generations in part because of this program’s positive effect on enriching our culture.”

For its commitment to expanding cultural awareness among employees, Hnedak Bobo Group is the gold 2015 Optimas Award winner for Corporate Citizenship.

Click here to read the article in Workforce Magazine

A Three Step Plan to a Millennial-Ready Casino

By Danny Valle, AIA, Principal, Hnedak Bobo Group

You have a thriving regional casino operation and loyal gaming customers. Baby Boomers have been your bread and butter demographic for years. Now you are wondering how to reach the millennial generation, when article after article tells you that millennials do not prefer slot machines–but your main revenue source has typically come from slot gamers. So, where do you start and how soon do you need to put a plan in place?

Now in their 20s to mid 30s; millennials are major brand influencers. Numbering 80 million+ strong with entertainment dollars to spend, there is no denying that this social, tech-savvy younger generation is spurring the evolution of entertainment—and the design of regional casinos and casino resorts.

But, how do you begin to align your entertainment offerings with millennial consumer preferences?

Only by understanding the values important to millennials can you begin to capture this prolific market segment. Start by elevating your focus on social technology, targeted amenities, and authentic and unique design.

1) Build an online social presence that meets Millennials face-to-face.  

With 71% of millennials using social technology every day, your first contact with this generation is likely to occur online. So, start by developing a well-designed social technology program that complements their preferred communication style.

Research tells us that this generation uses social media like a second brain, to vet new brands, cultivate relationships and communicate their preferences to their extensive online networks.

“Millennials, in particular, are seekers of information, and they make informed decisions knowing there are a tremendous number of options available to them,” says Rich LeBaron, Director of Emerging Technologies at Sycuan Casino outside of San Diego, California.

“If the information they are seeking is difficult to consume quickly, they will be turned off and move on to other options,” adds LeBaron. To enhance its online customer service, Sycuan Casino strengthened its social media communication on Twitter and Facebook, and has leveraged cutting edge cloud technologies to design and develop the gaming industry’s first truly engaging and responsive mobile application for Iphone and Android users.

The app provides quick and easy access to important information about entertainment events, dining options, personal club accounts and allows patrons to participate in exclusive offers and rewards. “We are consistently told by our customers that our new phone app is a major driver in where they decide to game,” adds LeBaron.

Imagery and design speaks volumes to millennials. Sycuan’s social technology sites feature lifestyle images showing guests of all demographics enjoying the property’s amenities. “Presenting and conveying information through imagery and short to the point text is absolutely critical to engaging millennials online,” says LeBaron. “Web pages should be telling stories from top-to-bottom to keep customer engagement high.”

2) Connect your amenities to the personal interests of Millennials.

Research tells us that millennials are driven to cultivate experiences that enhance their lifestyles. They are not lured my money or materialism. But they will spend money on entertainment if provided with creative amenity options that support their social interests and their personal brands.

Having grown up in a world addicted to the Food Network and ESPN, millennials are gravitating toward food-centric and sports-centric venues. Local healthy eating / farm-to-table dining, wine tasting, craft beer brewing, live sports and fantasy sports; millennials are elevating these activities to an entertainment-driven art form.

These activities also provide ‘Instagram-able’ moments to share with their online social networks. And, smart design of these venues incorporates ample lounge areas conducive to gathering and lingering, resulting in increased F&B revenues for owners.

Because of millennial influences, casino operators are rethinking the guest experience, transforming casino properties into amenity-rich entertainment destinations.

“We want to become a complete entertainment destination for customers in our region,” says Leo Culloo, General Manager at The Point Casino in Kingston, Washington, owned by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. “Because millennials are so highly diverse in their entertainment preferences, we host multiple unique events throughout the week to balance the distinct needs of our customers.”

The Point Casino hauls in truck-loads of sand for their popular Spring Break Beach Party concert series, and offers regular wine tasting events, a cigar lounge, and outdoor kitchen and dining amenities, among others, in response. “We are also building more open indoor and outdoor gathering amenities including an outdoor kitchen into our new hotel to provide the flexible space needed to accommodate our social events,” adds Culloo.

“Here at Sycuan, we know millennials aren’t always visiting us to gamble,” says LeBaron. “It’s imperative to connect them with our other amenities and entertainment options; and our GameDay Sports Bar is one of the best in all of San Diego.”

And, for a tech savvy demographic, convenience is likely the most appreciated amenity. The Point Casino later this fall will be testing integrated tablet devices at each gaming machine in its casino. “The tablets will give patrons the autonomy and convenience to instantly order food and drinks, delivered right to the guest on the gaming floor,” says Culloo.

3) Give Millennials the open, authentic design experiences they crave.

Surveys show that design matters to millennials. Because they are highly visual consumers, they use design to filter their entertainment choices. This means that design targeted to millennials must be authentic (and hip and cool) to be effective.

With designs that integrate heritage, culture and local context, Indian Tribes have a great opportunity to offer millennials authenticity of experience.

For example, The Point Casino is developing a simple, modern design aesthetic for its new hotel on the northern Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State. Complementing the natural coastal beauty and the tribe’s native heritage, the property will integrate authentic, impactful tribal motifs and indigenous materials as design details. “Under the guidance of a tribal art committee and our design team, local artisans are reimagining elements of tribal culture in the hotel’s exterior and interior design, including artwork, totem carvings, sculptures and etchings,” says Culloo.

Tribal clients are exploring how culture and history can engage millennials, by melding design, cultural education and entertainment experiences.

From a functional design standpoint, operators and designers are examining how millennials utilize space. They typically won’t patronize difficult to navigate environments. When Sycuan Casino modernized its casino a couple years ago, it visually opened up the entire gaming floor, eliminating barriers to transparency and convenience. Slot machines were placed prominently to accommodate Sycuan’s main customer base, but site lines were opened to other diverse amenities, including the GameDay Sports Bar, to attract new demographics.

Technology is an important factor in public space design. Because customers need dedicated spaces to use cell phones, laptops and personal devices, designers are integrating more soft seating areas, lounges and bar height worktops to accommodate passive social activities, with convenient access points to outlets and charging stations.

Start now and elevate your casino design by tapping into the preferences of these young adults. By focusing your resources and budget where they will matter most your property will be positioned for long-term marketability.

See article in this month’s Indian Gaming magazine

Workforce Magazine Announces HBG as 2015 Optimas Awards Finalist

Workforce magazine, published by Human Capital Media, announces the companies that are the finalists for the 2015 Optimas Awards. The awards program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, recognizes companies that are achieving measurable business outcomes through visionary and impactful human resources initiatives.

Twenty-one companies have been named finalists from this year’s pool of nominees. Gold and silver Optimas Awards are awarded in the following categories: Benefits, Business Impact, Corporate Citizenship, Global Outlook, Innovation, Managing Change, Partnership, Recruiting, Training and Vision. Additionally, Workforce will name a General Excellence winner for a company demonstrating excellence in at least six of the aforementioned categories.

“Throughout the 25 years of these awards, we’ve seen companies place increasing importance on human resources initiatives, realizing the potential a strong HR department can have on business growth,” said Rick Bell, managing editor of Workforce magazine at Human Capital Media. “This year’s finalists stand out in an ever-expanding field of qualified nominees, and we’re pleased to see so many organizations using innovative HR practices to improve their business.”

Workforce will announce the winners of the 2015 Optimas Awards on Dec. 2 in a special edition of the Workforce Web series “5 Minutes of Management,” and winners will be profiled in the December issue.

This year’s finalists include:

  • County of San Mateo (California)
  • Cyberjaya University
  • Global iLabs
  • Hnedak Bobo Group Inc.
  • Hydro Ottawa
  • Imajine That
  • Inflection
  • Kronos Inc
  •  LaSalle Network
  • Level 3 Communications
  • LyondellBasell Industries
  • MOL Group
  • NCR Corp.
  • Oakland County, Michigan
  • Peterbilt Motors Co.
  • Red Robin International Inc.
  • Tallahassee (Florida) Memorial HealthCare
  • Tenaris
  • Washoe County (Nevada) School District
  • West Virginia University School of Medicine
  • Zoombezi Bay

For more information on the program and past winners, please visit workforce.com/optimas .

HBG designs $40 million expansion for Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

Buffalo’s economic development revival is spurring a $40 million expansion of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino that will see the size of the two-year-old downtown gaming venue grow by more than 42 percent.

Seneca Nation of Indians and Seneca Gaming Corp. leaders on Friday confirmed the 28,500-square-foot expansion will begin this fall and when completed will increase the footprint of the South Park Avenue casino to 95,500-square-feet.

When completed in early 2017, the expanded casino will create at least 300 new jobs and see the number of slot machines go from approximately 800 to nearly 1,200, a 45 percent increase.

It marks a significant change from the interim Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino that first opened its doors in July 2007. “Eight years ago, the Seneca Nation invested in our Buffalo Creek territory when little else was taking place around us to draw people to the Inner Harbor area of downtown Buffalo,” said Maurice John Sr., Seneca Nation president. “An unprecedented wave of development momentum, investment and growth followed.”

The two-story addition, set for the west side of the casino and stretching toward South Park Avenue, will add 10 more table games, a “high-limit” room, designated non-smoking areas, a small performance stage for live entertainment at the Stixx Sports Bar and bring a Western Door Steakhouse on to the site. Western Door Steakhouse is one of the most popular restaurants at Seneca Gaming’s Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino.

Since Seneca Buffalo Creek opened, the nearby Cobblestone District has emerged with its collection of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It has helped spur other nearby developments like last year’s opening of Ballyhoo’s — located across from the casino on South Park, and the debut of the Buffalo RiverWorks sports and entertainment complex.

“Economic revitalization occurs when your business leaders have an active and vested interest in the region,” said Barry Snyder Sr., chairman of Seneca Gaming Corp.

The decision to move forward with the expansion was officially approved by the Seneca Nation Council late Friday morning and comes almost two years to the day when Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino opened. The timing had as much to do with economic conditions as historical dates.

“Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has been extremely popular from the day we opened the doors,” said Audrey Oswell, Seneca Gaming chief operating officer. The casino attracts more than 3 million customers annually.

Memphis-based Hnedak Bobo Group, which designed Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, also has drawn up the expanded wing. Seneca Construction Management Corp. will serve as the construction manager.

See original article in Buffalo Business First