On the Job: Gasser Chair’s Steve Odden

Editor’s Note: Casino Enterprise Management debuts a new feature called On the Job in which CEM spotlights gaming industry employees about his or her work. In this issue, we highlight Steve Odden, Native American gaming market consultant, Gasser Chair Co.

Steve Odden knows a thing or two about keeping people in their seats in gaming venues across the country, having spent several years in the chair business, primarily focusing on the Native American gaming market.

Currently, Odden serves as Ohio-based Gasser Chair Company’s exclusive consultant to the Native American gaming market, concentrating on increasing the awareness of Gasser products and services. Through his work, Odden has focused on working with Gasser’s sales representatives to deliver information about how Gasser can help fill the unique needs and specific challenges in the Native American casinos.

“In the last eight to 10 years, Gasser has created a lot of new product,” he said.

Gasser also has invested significantly in lean engineering and lean manufacturing, Odden said. This enabled Gasser to reduce production costs, while delivering the same high-quality, durable products on which the company has built its reputation over nearly seven decades.

“Gasser has always focused on quality first, and the investment in lean manufacturing and lean engineering simply means that they’re able to create that quality at a more competitive price point today than in the past,” said Odden, who has a total of 37 years of sales and marketing experience with commercial furniture in the office, hospitality and gaming markets.

The company also has demonstrated its commitment to Indian country, he said, noting Gasser is an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and has been active in supporting charitable projects and other fund-raising activities in Indian country.

“Gasser is a 69-year-old, family-owned company. It’s always been community-focused, and it’s part of Gasser’s philosophy to give back when it’s an appropriate cause,” Odden said.

Now more than ever, Indian country is embracing Gasser products, Odden said, ticking off a list of just a few of the company’s recent projects, including installations for the Fort McDowell Tribe in Arizona, the Colusa tribe in northern California, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe in eastern Oklahoma.

“When you’re working with a Native American community, it’s our role to help the tribes have a more successful casino so that they can generate the monies to take care of the needs of their tribe,” he said. “When I can go to a tribe and present a quality product that can help enhance the look of the property and enhance the gaming experience, then ultimately that means the company is helping the tribe become more independent and take care of its tribal members. That’s a passion of mine and that’s a passion of Gasser.”

When Odden meets with clients from Native American-owned casinos, one of the things he stresses about the company is that its products are from a made-in-the-U.S.A. manufacturer. “We have an extremely high percentage of U.S. materials that we use. We outsource very, very little; we make as much of the product as we can in our factories in Ohio,” Odden said. “We have our own in-house engineering department and our own in-house test lab so we maintain the quality and offer continuous improvements to all processes.”

One of the most important aspects to making a chair that stands the test of time, he said, is ensuring it is ergonomically sound. “Ergonomics is about supporting the body the correct way in order to minimize discomfort. That’s a design criteria in everything we do.”

And, he added, Gasser makes its own injection-molded foam that is designed to ensure its products last longer than others in the marketplace.

In addition to being very price competitive and offering a durable, high quality product line, Gasser also has the ability to create products to better fit a casino’s needs, Odden said. “We offer a breadth of design alternatives so we can give a casino a unique look or a variety of looks within the property, so that they look more unique than their neighbor down the road.”

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