Dave Abangan, manager at Ho-Chunk Gaming

Posted on April 24, 2013


Amid flickering neon lights and the bings of gambling machines at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, executive manager Dave Abangan seems cool and collected. A member of the Ho-Chunk tribe, Abangan is still adjusting to this position, which he took in December.

“I like the challenge and learning new things,” he says. “I was in marketing before, and now I’m looking at the entire operation.”

The casino hosts about 8,500 daily visitors. Abangan also oversees about 300 employees. A big part of managing people is being responsible for workplace morale and environment, he says.

“I want to try and make things as fun for our employees as possible.”

Abangan, 42, studied digital media and journalism at UW-Whitewater and worked for the Ho-Chunk nation as the editor of the tribal paper. He moved to Madison about 13 years ago to work at the casino.

When he’s not at work, Abangan likes to spend time with his 14-month-old daughter. He runs a 5K about once a month and is also a cyclist. Abangan and the casino will take part in Madison’s Tour de Cure, a bike ride fundraiser for diabetes, a cause that’s close to his heart.

“The American Diabetes Association is an important organization for us to support since [diabetes] affects so many tribal members, so many Ho-Chunk people,” says Abangan. “My father was affected by that, so there’s a personal reason why I’m involved as well.”

— Nora G. Hertel