Hard Rock Executive Team
Chairman, Hard Rock International & CEO, Seminole Gaming
CEO Hard Rock Japan LLC
COO Hard Rock International
Responsible for gaming operations at the Seminole Tribe of Florida since 2001, James F. Allen has guided the development of Seminole Gaming into one of the world’s most profitable gaming entities, with seven casinos located throughout Florida. Allen led the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s 2007 acquisition of Hard Rock International, the first acquisition of a major international company by a North American Indian Tribe. He also guided successful Gaming Compact negotiations between the Seminole Tribe, the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Chairman of Hard Rock International, Allen oversees all operations of one of the most globally-recognized brands, known for rock music and its signature cafes, hotels, casinos, memorabilia and live concerts, with venues in 74 countries, including 177 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos, plus Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
Allen led the development team for the highly successful Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., which opened in 2004, and he has directed Hard Rock International’s aggressive expansion program in the hotel and hotel-casino sectors. In addition to Tampa and Hollywood, Hard Rock hotels or hotel-casinos are located in exciting locations including Bali, Chicago, Cancun, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Macau and San Diego. New Hard Rock Hotel or hotel-casino projects include Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Berlin, Dubai, London, Los Cabos, New York City, and Shenzhen, Dalian and Haikou in China.
Allen is a gaming industry veteran with 37 years of experience and he has held executive positions with the Trump Organization, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hemmeter Companies, Park Place Entertainment and Sun International Resorts. A former member of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission Task Force on Gaming Regulation, Allen has lectured on countless casino industry topics at many professional conferences, governmental programs and college campuses, including the New Jersey Governor’s Business Development Conference and both Harvard and Cornell Universities.
Edward Matthew Tracy is the CEO of Hard Rock Japan LLC, a division created to support the company’s growth plans in the region. As development criteria is articulated as set forth by pending Integrated Resorts legislation, the division will continue to evolve under Tracy’s leadership.
Previously, Tracy led Sands China Ltd., a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp., in July 2010 as its President and Chief Operating Officer, becoming the company CEO and Executive Director in July 2011. Sands China is one of the world’s largest casino companies by revenue and is among the biggest U.S. investors in China at US$10 billion; with more than 28,000 team members, the company is the largest private sector employer in Macao and has a market value of nearly US$40 billion.
In October 2014, Harvard Business Review named Mr. Tracy as one of “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World” in its respected annual top 100 ranking. He has over 25 years of extensive hands-on management and development experience in the gaming and hospitality industries, including serving as Chairman and CEO of Capital Gaming, a multi-jurisdictional manager of regional casinos. He also served as President and CEO of the Trump Organization, where he was responsible for managing over 12,500 employees, 3,000 luxury hotel rooms and 240,000 square feet of casino space that produced annual revenues in excess of US$1 billion.
Tracy is a graduate of Albany University, attended Cornell University and studied a post-graduate program at the University of Missouri – Columbia.
July 25, 2017 – Hard Rock International – owner of one of the world’s most-recognizable and iconic brands – has appointed Antonio Bautista as Senior Vice President of Company Cafe Operations. In this new role, Bautista, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, will lead the Cafe Operations team, including overseeing the brand’s Area Vice Presidents, Facilities team and Retail Operations. Bautista will report directly to President of Cafe Operations of Hard Rock International, Stephen Judge.
“Antonio’s dedication and long-standing history with the brand, combined with his valuable experience in the franchise and development space make him the perfect executive to be at the forefront of the cafe business,” said Stephen Judge, President of Cafe Operations of Hard Rock International. “We look forward to seeing Antonio excel in this position to oversee all corporate cafe operations worldwide, and assist with the growth and expansion of the organization.”
Bautista first joined Hard Rock International in 1994 and has continued his career growth within the company, from Restaurant Manager to General Manager at Hard Rock Cafe, to various roles within the Franchise Operations group, where he doubled the franchise portfolio and oversaw 70 new cafe openings. In his most recent position as Senior Vice President of Franchise Operations and Development, Bautista expanded the comprehensive, global development programs at franchise cafes in 74 countries.
Stephen K. Judge is the President of Cafe Operations for Hard Rock International. In this role, Judge oversees daily operations for 176 corporate and franchise locations around the world, while driving Hard Rock's world-famous branded retail merchandise business and growing and strengthening the Hard Rock Cafe portfolio.
Prior to joining Hard Rock, Judge was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Romacorp, overseeing 150 restaurants in 32 countries. Throughout his career, he has played key leadership roles in a number of academy/premier hospitality companies, including Bloomin' Brands, Darden Restaurants, MGM Mirage, Rosewood Hotels, in addition to working for several years in the cruise industry. For more than 30 years, Judge has overseen the inception of new restaurant and bar concepts, directed multi-year food and beverage menu evolution and led food preparation and guest service efforts with uncompromising attention to detail.
Stephen is originally from Liverpool, England, and played as a professional athlete in football (soccer). He also became a professional chef more than 30 years ago, after completing his apprenticeship in the United Kingdom. Stephen currently resides in the Orlando, Florida area with his wife, daughter and three sons.
Joseph Emanuele AIA, PP, ASID joined Hard Rock International in September 2009 as the Senior Vice President of Design and Construction. Joe is responsible for overseeing internationally, the design, development and implementation of new cafes, live venues, retail stores, hotels and casinos, as well as overseeing Hard Rock Memorabilia. He leads the design and development teams for projects representing our brand to ensure the design and construction meets our brand strategy and standards. Joe has a broad knowledge of the hospitality development industry and brings over 25 years of experience in hospitality design, construction and real estate management to the Hard Rock team.
Joe gained valuable domestic and international architectural project design experience as Vice President with The Friedmutter Group, an architecture, interior design and master planning firm that focuses specifically on the gaming and hospitality industry. Joe managed the design and development of all projects from beginning to end, from large multi-use hospitality projects to casinos, from entertainment and retail to hotels and condominiums. His extensive project list includes hotels and hotel casinos in the UK, UAE, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and resort projects in the Bahamas and Europe.
Joe received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Drexel University, in Philadelphia, PA., is a licensed architect in several states and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. He is also a licensed professional planner and member of AIA and ASID.
When not leading state-of-the-art Hard Rock projects into the future, Joe enjoys boating, riding motorcycles, vintage automobiles and spending family time with his wife, Tisha and daughter, Giana. As far as music goes, Joe loves the oldies, including Elvis, The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as newer artists like Imagine Dragons.
Todd Hricko spearheads the business development of Hard Rock Hotels in the United States and Canada. As head of Hotel Development, he plays an essential role in identifying strategic markets and sites to develop, and determines calculated assets for conversion to Hard Rock Hotels. Todd continues to develop long-term relationships with hotel owners and new development partners and plays a key role in the negotiation of management contracts and franchise applications.
Previously, Todd Hricko served as Vice President of Acquisitions with Wyndham Vacation Ownership where he developed a proven history in hotels, vacation ownership, resorts, acquisitions and joint ventures. His experience includes management, franchise contract negotiation, land development, feasibility, underwriting and due diligence. He has a track record of business and property development leadership in positions with some of the largest owners and lenders of commercial real estate in the United States, and has developed extensive experience in the acquisition, disposition, financing and development of hotels and vacation ownership resorts.
Hricko has built and maintained strong relationships with leaders of most major hotel and timeshare operators, investors and brokerage firms. He has executed transactions with industry-leading hotel owners and operators such as Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, Hyatt, Host Resorts, MetLife, KSL, Tishman and Interstate. He developed broad transactional experience through the acquisition of $5.3B+ in hotels and timeshare resorts; the financing of $250M of hotel properties; and the disposition of $15M+ in land.
As Vice President Development at the Wyndham Hotel Group, Todd was responsible for development activities, site selection, management contract negotiations and new franchise application approvals. He and his team identified potential hotel assets and development partners in central and mountain regions of the US and Canada. He led the negotiations of the franchise agreement and conversion of the 410-room Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk, and participated in negotiating a hotel management agreement for the 334-room Wyndham Grand Downtown Chicago. During this period, Todd reviewed and analyzed applications for credit support, key money, mezzanine financing and other financial incentives. He also led the feasibility process with all internal stakeholders.
Todd graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. He received Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts, where he also graduated Summa Cum Laude. He is currently enrolled in a Credentialed Negotiation Program at the Camp Negotiation Institute, and completed the Executive Leadership and the Linkage Leadership Program at Wharton School of Business. He continues to be a featured speaker at a variety of regional and national investment conferences. Todd happily resides in Denver, Colorado.
Tom leads the finance and information technology teams that support Hard Rock's varying business interests in restaurants, hotels and casinos. He works closely with the CEO to prioritize opportunities and ensure the financial goals of Hard Rock are met. With over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries, Tom is capable of providing financial leadership and insight across the Hard Rock branded estate.
Prior to joining Hard Rock, Tom spent the past five years in the hospitality industry that included roles as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Orange Lake Resort and the Wilson Resort Management Corp., a real estate developer and a resort management company, and as Senior Vice President and Controller of Sunterra Resorts - an international timeshare developer. Tom's experience and knowledge of the restaurant business was developed in his tenure at Brinker International where he served in varying financial roles including Senior Vice President and Controller. At Brinker, Tom also gained experience in acquisitions and divestitures of business segments. Tom started his career at KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, where he achieved the position of Senior Manager while gaining international experience working in United Kingdom and the US.
A University of Utah graduate, Tom received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Utah and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Outside of work, Tom enjoys golfing at every opportunity. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Piper and they have three children Austin, Lauren and Jordan Marie. His music of choice is always rock and roll with a long list of favorite bands that include U2, Bruce Springsteen, Lenny Kravitz, Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, Coldplay, Yellowcard, Foo Fighters, the Strokes and Jet.
An accomplished veteran in the gaming and hospitality space, Dale Hipsh leads the hotel division for Hard Rock International, helping accelerate its worldwide expansion efforts over the past seven years.
Dale graduated from The Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. With more than 30 years of international hotel and casino experience, his resume includes experience with many industry leaders such as Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Sun International Hotel Group.
Dale’s transition into the gaming industry began with Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, where he served as Vice President of Operations. He then served as the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Pearl River Resort in Mississippi.
Outside of work, Dale is a proud member of the onePULSE Foundation National Board of Trustees. In his free time, Dale enjoys cycling, studying culture and interior design.
A seasoned retail executive, Vickie Kunkle has overseen all facets of Hard Rock International's global merchandise business since 1998. She spearheads all product development, buying, planning, logistics and visual merchandising within Hard Rock's worldwide portfolio, which includes cafes, hotels, and casinos, as well as the company's e-commerce site.
Driven by her passion for the retail business, she continually works toward expanding Hard Rock's retail presence by creating innovative, collectible and rock 'n' roll inspired items with broad appeal, while exploring new global resources to achieve maximum profitability throughout the supply chain.
Prior to joining Hard Rock, Vickie was with Champs Sports Merchandising Division, a multi-unit retail company which sells branded and proprietary softlines, hardlines, and footwear products. While with the company for 12 years, she gained extensive experience in both product development and buying domestic and international goods.
Vickie holds a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. When Vickie's not working, you can find her hiking in the mountains of North Carolina or enjoying one of the beautiful beaches of Florida. She lives in Orlando with her husband, Bob, and children, Freddie and Corrine.
Jon Lucas spearheads Hard Rock’s development into a world class, full service hotel & casino management company. With extensive experience in the gaming industry, Jon represents Hard Rock International in numerous hotel & casino joint venture partnerships.
Jon joined Hard Rock in February 2013 as the President of the first Hard Rock Rocksino, located in Northfield Park. Under Jon’s leadership, the Rocksino, in less than one year, has become the casino market share leader in Ohio, overcoming immense and pre-existing marketplace competition.
He has over 30 years in the hospitality business, including 10 years in food & beverage and hotel management prior to beginning his career in the gaming space. Jon was the President & General Manager of the 1,100 room, 6 restaurant, IP Casino/Resort/Spa, Biloxi, MS for 6 years. After Hurricane Katrina, Jon was able to lead the team in earning a AAA Four Diamond status for the hotel. Prior to the Imperial Palace, he spent more than four years as a Regional President, where he was responsible for 3 properties, with a total of 1700 rooms, an 18 hole golf course, 18 food outlets, 5,200 slots and 157 table games.
Jon is originally from Philadelphia, PA and was educated at the University of Tennessee. Outside of work, Jon is passionate about sports, especially the Philadelphia and University of Tennessee sports teams. He enjoys working out, golf, wine, food, warm weather and spending time with his wife. Jon is married to Michelle, and has three children, two grandchildren, and two step children.
Jon’s musical taste covers a broad range of genres, led by rock and country. Some favorite artists include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Zac Brown Band, Allman Brothers, Eagles, and Van Morrison.
Joining Hard Rock International in 2016, Rice has more than two decades of global experience specializing in training and development, talent acquisition, employee relations, executive coaching and directing company strategies to support productive and profitable business opportunities.
As Vice President of Human Resources for Hard Rock International, Jennifer Rice works to engage all 40,000 employees, foster an innovative and creative work culture, develop integrated talent acquisition and performance development plans, and provide leadership and focus to advance the company vision and drive organizational effectiveness and growth.
Prior to joining Hard Rock International, Rice was Director of Global Training and Development at Guess?, Inc. where she implemented organization and business transformation strategies and dynamic results-oriented learning initiatives throughout the company. She also led efforts to establish a cutting-edge process designed to enhance customer experience, which was later integrated into all corporate-wide initiatives.
In her spare time, Rice is enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, practicing yoga and going to concerts. Rice graduated from Florida International University with a BA Degree in Psychology. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband, Matthew, daughter, Zoe and son, Desmond.
Jay Wolszczak leads Hard Rock's legal team that is tasked with protecting one of the world's most recognized and iconic brands. As the Sr. Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel, Jay handles or oversees all legal matters affecting Hard Rock International's worldwide businesses, including development and operation of franchised and company owned Hard Rock Cafes, development and operation of Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, merchandising, and live performance venues and events. His primary practice areas at Hard Rock include licensing, franchising, real estate, corporate, litigation management and intellectual property. Jay also oversees the risk management/insurance department of Hard Rock International.
Jay also serves on the Board of Directors and acts as the Corporate Secretary for Hard Rock International and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates. Jay is an integral part of every project, purchase, acquisition and franchise activity of the company throughout the world.
Prior to joining Hard Rock, Jay was an Associate with the law firm of Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, and prior to that he was an Associate with Holland & Knight. While with these firms his practice was primarily in corporate and real estate transactions.
Jay received his B.S. in Business Administration and his J.D. from the University of Florida in Gainesville, both with honors. Jay was a member of the University of Florida Law Review and the Order of the Coif.
Outside of work, Jay enjoys the outdoors, going to the beach, spending time on the ocean, and being a Gator football and basketball fan. Jay lives in Central Florida with his wife Marti and their three beautiful daughters, Anna Clare, Ava and Olivia. Jay's musical tastes are broad, but always rock and roll, with favorite bands including U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Velvet Revolver, White Stripes, and The Killers.