Rebel In Action: Andy Kao '12

Feb. 27, 2019


Andy Kao is a triple degree alum and a director on the Hospitality alumni board

Advice, like currency, has value. And yet, people give and take it without realizing just how valuable it truly is, if they'll just take the time to invest it. A young Andrew Kao once asked Stuart Mann, then Dean of UNLV’s Hospitality College, what it was he needed to do to become successful. Dean Mann emphasized the need for hands-on experiences in each sector of the business, and he needed to start as soon as he could. Kao took this advice, invested it, and carried it with him through college and the workplace, where it follows him today in the wake of his success.

Kao has been in the hospitality business for over 13 years, starting a week into his freshman year at UNLV at the front desk of a timeshare resort. This is where a generous general manager took him under his wing and showed him the difference between “textbook” operations, and those that happened in real life. Kao showed just how dedicated he was to learning the craft, earning his first promotion in just a year.

In his junior year, he took to joining the Encore Las Vegas opening team, where he found the thrill of opening a property and all the excitement that comes with it. His hard-working attitude and determination were shown by taking on 21 credits in a semester and juggling his internships at both Caesars Palace and the Nevada Restaurant Association while working full time at Encore. With all of this on his plate, Kao graduated with a triple major and as an Assistant Manager with two dozen direct reports.

Now, Kao leads the Business Intelligence team at Boyd Gaming and chooses to give back to UNLV through his volunteerism. In his years as an undergraduate, he had several people around him that helped steer him in the right direction. Andy chooses to be a Rebel in Action so that he can help the next generation of Rebels and to amplify the Rebel identity within the alumni.