Emerging leader in gaming
Ashley Eurich, vice president of Lockdogs in Minot, has been recognized as an emerging leader in gaming by the Innovation Group and Global Gaming Business Magazine.
Eurich, 34, recently was named a winner in Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40, a program that recognizes young professionals making significant impacts in the casino gaming industry. More than 150 industry members were nominated by colleagues.
“It is an honor to be included with such a talented and experienced group of people,” Eurich said. “Yet while there are many women involved in the casino gaming industry, there aren’t many, if any, that are involved in the business of locks. We’ve entered into a niche market that is ready for a revolution, and our product offers that.”
“The quality of this year’s Emerging Leaders class is a cut above the rest,” said Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business in a release announcing the awards. “They represent the best and the brightest of the gaming industry and anyone who has any doubts about the recovery of gaming after the pandemic need only to understand the dedication of these professionals to their craft.”
A graduate of Minot State University, Eurich originally is from Rolette and attended school in Burlington-Des Lacs before graduating from Minot High School. After college, she taught English as a second language at MSU. She currently manages digital material resources for a large online university along with her work with Lockdogs.
She had operated a small cleaning business and managed a concrete company in Minot. One of her housekeeping clients was Jeff Connor, who became founder of Lockdogs. Lockdogs markets a slot machine lock for casinos that has won a number of awards for its uniqueness in that it is key changeable 13,650 times.
“He needed a business partner who was a people person that understood both finance and project management but who also wouldn’t be afraid to do the hard work of installing locks for projects that required it. Based on my vast experience, I fit the bill,” Eurich said.
“My first project for Lockdogs was a beautiful, newly constructed billion dollar casino in Tacoma, Washington, for the Puyallup Tribe. We work with casinos of all shapes and sizes, commercial and tribal, and I find the work ever-changing and infinitely challenging. We have continued to grow the business even during these trying times,” she said.
Eurich has been dividing her time between North Dakota and her home for the past two years in Tampa, Florida, where she also has family. Much of her work with Lockdogs has been at locations in Washington and Oklahoma to provide locks and services for casino customers.
Connor, an independent consultant who has worked in the casino industry for more than three decades, started Lockdogs in 2015, naming the business for his bulldog, Neville, who since has passed. The mascot now is his second bulldog, Nigel.
“We needed to have a name that was memorable,” Connor said. “We had an artist friend of mine draw a cartoon of Neville, then we just called it Lockdogs because we take the attributes of a bulldog, which is tenacity and loyalty, and we just combine that with our business motto for the way that we deal with our customers and the people that we work with every day.”
He explained slot machines have several locks for security reasons, and if a key is compromised, all locks must be changed. He stumbled across a particular type of vending machine lock while in Asia and determined there would be interest among casino operators.
“I met with the manufacturers, which is a company in Japan,” he said. “We brought it to the United States and the response has been fantastic.”
He enlisted Eurich in the business during a period in which she was living in Minneapolis. They happened upon each other in the Minneapolis airport and in telling her about his lock business, Connor discovered she shared his enthusiasm. Needing help for his growing business, he turned to her for assistance.
“I had known her, and she just had a tremendous work ethic and she was very entrepreneurial,” Connor said. “The most important thing is to have people that you like and that you trust, and that are as aggressive as you are, that understand the benefit of customer service. These things with her are innate.
“Gaming is still kind of a little bit male-centric,” he added. “It’s been changing a lot in the years that I’ve been in it, but in the lock business, there’s very few women that work at it, and so it’s just absolutely fantastic the work that she’s done.”