Gregg Lowe is never all that far away from Mount Everest—at least in his mind. The chief information officer (CIO) at Boyd Gaming is eternally fascinated by the story of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first confirmed person to reach the summit of the earth’s highest mountain above sea level.
“The story goes, as Hillary was standing there on top of the world, he looked across the valley and saw another peak that he was figuring out how to climb,” Lowe says. “When there was no higher place he could be on earth, his thought was still on that next goal. I love that. That’s where I try to live. Climb those peaks. Enjoy those rewards. But, then, get after that next one.”
That means Lowe wants the premier IT team in the industry. However, in coming to Boyd in 2018, that possibility seemed a far way off. The casino entertainment company was experiencing, on average, around thirty tech outages a month. Not just incidents, Lowe underlines, but major and extensive outages.
The CIO just experienced his first month at Boyd with zero outages. Lowe credits that ability to drive change in large part to chief digital officer Blake Rampmaier, who was responsible for bringing Lowe to the organization in the first place.
“Interviewing here, I realized that Blake’s vision and mindset was really going to make a difference in this company because he’s not thinking about this company from an IT perspective, he’s thinking of it from a business point of view,” Lowe explains. “Over the last few years, he’s moved into his current role as I’ve moved into the CIO role, and we’ve been able to turn some big things around.”
Personally, Lowe says he’s experienced more success and growth in the last ten years than the first twenty of his career, and he knows exactly why. The CIO has always been a strategy fanatic, but the way he’s implemented that strategy has changed immensely in the last decade.
“I’ve learned about the importance of bringing people along with you,” Lowe says. “If you just hand off your strategy to your team, nine times out of ten people are just going to take and move forward with it. But if you bring them along with you on that journey, if you’re able to embed their input and intellectual DNA into that strategy, suddenly they feel ownership for that goal. It becomes something they’re committed to, not just something they’re carrying out.”
To return to Everest, it’s the difference between coming down from the mountain with a plan for the next ascent or plotting that next climb together on top of the peak. There is motivation, excitement, and buy-in that just comes more naturally to everyone involved if they’re able to be part of the next big plan from the beginning. That doesn’t necessarily change Lowe’s goals, but it helps him achieve them in a way that cultivates outstanding performance and culture along the way.
There is a critical piece to Lowe’s leadership that he may not give as much credence to, but the CIO also just happens to be a thoughtful human being. He stepped away from his previous role as vice president of IT operations at MGM Resorts International in order to relocate his brother closer to Lowe’s adopted city of Las Vegas.
His younger brother is nearing the end of his battle with Huntington’s Disease, one that comes with a terminal diagnosis, and Lowe knew to ensure the best possible care for his brother, he needed him as close by as possible. The relocation, however, meant that he would have to step away from a role that he knew couldn’t be waiting for him by the time he would return.
Lowe—whose Boston upbringing is evident in his accent, his lifelong commitment to playing hockey, and stiff upper-lip approach—doesn’t see his actions as anything more than what he knew he should do, and he accepted the ramifications that came with putting his career on hold to take care of his family.
That same mentality applies to the service work Lowe does outside of his day job. The CIO serves on the board of S.A.F.E House, a domestic violence nonprofit that provides shelter and services to women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.
“I just think it’s important to give back to your community,” Lowe says. “I grew up with a father who treated his wife like a princess. I have no tolerance for verbal or physical violence at all. I hope more people will consider giving their time to organizations you can emotionally connect to. It doesn’t have to be direct funds. Your service can do so much for these groups that need our support.”
Lowe is more than a senior tech executive with decades of information systems, data center management, storage area networks, and enterprise infrastructure. He’s helping Boyd lean heavily into a digital world while still maintaining its physical gaming locations, and he always has a new set of KPIs and goals he’s built from scratch. But it’s nice to know that the person looking for the next peak to summit is also someone you feel good about rooting for.
Link Technologies is proud to work with Gregg Lowe and support his IT leadership, ability to make long-term relationships with vendors and employees, mentoring, and commitment to Boyd Gaming as he brings the digital realm into the physical world.
Link—a Las Vegas-based, woman-owned technology and project management services company—specializes in digital transformation, cloud engineering and development, network services, governance, security, risk, and compliance. A certified QSA/PCI practice, Link has over twenty-two years of experience in information technology. They support companies’ IT projects and fulfill IT staffing needs by connecting companies with the most talented IT professionals and services.
Summit Partners is a concierge technology reseller/consultant headquartered in Las Vegas. Coupled with their deep technical expertise and emphasis on customer relationships, Summit Partners provides technology with that true personal touch. This philosophy is reflected in the way their customers trust them with different dynamics of their IT environments and multiple vendors. Summit Partners has been a partner of Boyd Gaming for almost a decade and since his time at Boyd Gaming, Gregg Lowe has set a vision for IT that will leave a legacy of innovation and change for years to come.