Buddy Frank, Dennis Mead, & Charles Fey inducted into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame
Thank you to our Hall of Fame Sponsor!
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA, February 13, 2023 – Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC (EKG) is proud to announce that Buddy Frank, Dennis Mead, and the late Charles Fey have been inducted into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame (HOF) Class of 2023. Both Buddy and Dennis will be honored in person at the 2023 EKG Slot Awards in Las Vegas on February 23, 2023.
Dennis Mead is the fifth inductee to the EKG Slot Awards HOF under the Game Development category while Buddy Frank is the third inductee under the Slot Operations category. In addition to the current inductees, the late Charles Fey will be honored during the event for his key contributions to slot machine game development.
“Once again our distinguished Board of Advisors has selected three outstanding individuals to be inducted into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame,” said Todd Eilers, Principal at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC. “Both Dennis and Buddy have made substantial contributions to the gaming industry and are well deserving of this honor and the decision to honor Charles Fey is significant given his invention sparked an entire industry.”
Buddy Frank was raised in Reno, Nevada. After a brief stint in the Navy, Buddy attended the University of Nevada in Reno and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Electrical Engineering. Fresh out of school Buddy started covering the Reno gaming market as a TV Reporter and weekend anchor for the local CBS station in Reno.
Buddy joined the Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel in Reno in 1986 as a freelance PR writer and eventually he was promoted to Marketing Director. He then moved into slot operations taking over as the Slot Director and spending roughly 11 years with the Fitz Group.
Buddy also worked as the Slot Director at two of Reno’s premier casinos including the Eldorado Hotel & Casino and the Atlantis Casino Resort.
Buddy then moved into Tribal gaming taking over as the Vice President of Slots at the Viejas casino in San Diego in 2002. He then joined the Pechanga Resort Casino as Vice President of Slots in 2007. While at the Pechanga, Buddy managed the slot operations at one of the largest casinos in the world.
During his career Buddy was known for his exceptional slot marketing skills and data driven decision making. He was also known for being an early adopter of new slot systems technology and while at Pechanga set a Guinness World Record for the largest Slot Tournament at the time connecting over 2,500 slot machines across the property.
Buddy retired in 2015 and remains an industry consultant and content contributor for CDC Reports.
Dennis Mead was born in 1951 in Downy California and attended the University of California Fullerton and the University of Nevada in Reno. Dennis joined IGT in the late 1980s as a Senior Graphic Designer and would eventually become Director of Graphics.
While at IGT Dennis was awarded several technology related patents and was a key game designer for IGT’s very successful S2000 mechanical reel platform. Dennis was the art director on the original S2000 Wheel of Fortune product line, S2000 Megabucks product line and S2000 Quartermania product line plus many more, and personally designed Wild Cherry.
In the 1990s Dennis was the first to work with several Las Vegas Strip operators to develop custom themed slot machines for several of the new casinos opening including the Mirage, MGM, Bellagio, Paris, Luxor and several other casinos.
In the 2000s Dennis helped to create some of the key branded slot machines including The Addams Family, The Munsters, Jeopardy, and Dimond Cinema among many others. Finally, Dennis was in charge of the art and graphics for IGT’s next generation S3000 mechanical reel product line which launched in 2016 and received Game of the Year at G2E.
Dennis was recognized as IGT’s first Distinguished Producer in the graphics field in 2016. Dennis retired from IGT in 2019 leaving a lasting impression on the gaming industry.
Charles Fey was born in 1862 in Vohringen (Bavaria) Germany and was one of twenty-one children. He left his home at the age of 14 and worked in various manufacturing jobs across Europe. He moved to the United States in 1885 and settled in San Francisco.
Once in San Francisco Charles continued his career in the manufacturing sector finding a job with California Electric Works as an instrument maker. With the proliferation of coin operated gaming devices in San Francisco, he decided to setup his own manufacturing plant designed to produce gaming devices in 1896. His company was called Charles Fey & Company.
Charles and his company produced several coin operated gaming devices that were popular during this time, but it was a certain game that sparked an entire industry. In 1898 Charles was credited with developing the gaming industry’s first modern day “slot machine” called the Liberty Bell. Prior to the Liberty Bell most gaming devices were wheel-based machines or card-based machines. It was the first gaming machine where the outcome of the game was displayed on three spinning reel strips. The games proved to be immensely popular and spread across the country with competitors also producing similar games.
After a long and successful career, Charles Fey retired in 1943 and passed away of pneumonia in 1944.
Congratulations to Buddy Frank, Dennis Mead and the late Charles Fey as inductees into The EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame – Class of 2023. Thank you for your contributions to the gaming industry.
Thank you to our Event Sponsors
About Eilers & Krejcik Gaming:
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC is a boutique research and consulting firm focused on servicing the gaming equipment, interactive gaming, and sports betting sectors within the global gaming industry. Our products and services primarily include market research, company research, and consulting and advisory services designed specifically for land based & online casino operators, equipment & technology suppliers, social gaming operators & suppliers, gaming regulators, and institutional investors. Additional information regarding our research products and advisory services can be obtained calling Todd Eilers at (949) 387-7701, or visiting our website at https://ekgamingllc.com.