MATC IT Graduate Hits Career Jackpot at Potawatomi Casino Hotel

Alum now director of information technology at Milwaukee gaming venue

Mark Feldmann,

November 22, 2023

Adam Gruszcynski As part of Potawatomi Casino Hotel’s $190 million renovations, the audio/visual team within the IT department under the direction of Adam Gruszcynski is responsible for servicing the 4k 3D LED screens and content delivery system, which can be seen in the main walkway on the second level as you walk towards the atrium gaming area.
Adam Gruszcynski Potawatomi Marketplace was the first dining concept to have kiosks for guests to place and pay for their orders  The IT team is responsible for all elements of the kiosk system including the credit card machines that process payment; printing the guest receipts; and monitors that let guests know their order is ready.
Adam Gruszcynski The audio/visual arm of IT is responsible for the TVs throughout Potawatomi Sportsbook, including content, and the sound heard while watching sporting events.
Adam Gruszcynski Adam Gruszcynski, IT director at Potawatomi Casino Hotel, at his office.

I believe technical colleges are more in tune with the community. They make a better pipeline to what is needed most and are attuned to what businesses want and can adapt quicker.

Adam Gruszcynski MATC IT Graduate, Director of IT, Potawatomi Casino Milwaukee

Even at 8 a.m. on a Monday, the senses get bombarded at Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Casino Hotel.

Slot machines blink, twinkle, buzz and whirl, chirping out beeps and bits of music. Colored lights illuminate the tall walls. A climate-controlled breeze cools the room. Smartly-dressed dealers attentively await customers at their green felt blackjack tables, roulette wheels and craps pits. Hosts and hostesses flash bright, welcoming smiles while serving food and beverages and checking in hotel guests.

Behind all that glitz, glamor and hospitality is a series of unglamorous but sophisticated technology systems that monitor the electronic table games, manage hotel room reservations, process food orders, protect personnel files, operate security systems and ensure the casino has adequate electricity.

And behind all those systems is Milwaukee Area Technical College graduate Adam Gruszcynski.

Gruszcynski, who earned an associate degree in MATC’s Microcomputer Specialist program in 2006, has worked at Potawatomi for 15 years and in June was named director of information technology.

As director, he oversees nearly 100 computer applications that control the casino, hotel, parking lots, lounges, restaurants and gift shop. Gruszcynski leads a staff of 45 employees that ensure everything on the sprawling Menomonee Valley property runs smoothly, safely, securely, legally and,  maybe most importantly, continuously — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This industry is always looking to become more efficient, to provide better service and come up with new experiences for our guests,” Gruszcynski said. “You have to like being busy because we never stop.”

Fascination with technology

Gruszcynski was born and raised in Cudahy. He fell in love with technology at an early age and at Cudahy High School he took every computer and keyboarding class he could. He also attended a computer camp sponsored by MATC. 

“I couldn’t learn enough about computers,” Gruszcynski said. “By the time I graduated high school (in 2002), I knew I wanted to work with computers, and the sooner, the better. 

“I knew a traditional four-year college wasn’t for me,” he added. “MATC aligned more with what I wanted to do. I was more concerned about the technical, and at MATC, I certainly got the technical.”

At MATC he learned about network operating systems, security and emerging IT technologies. While taking classes, he interned at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, working at the newspaper’s IT help desk. “I would learn things in the classroom and days later I would be putting them to use in the real world,” he said. 

After earning his MATC degree in 2006, he took a full-time job at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He spent five years there as a network engineer. “It was all about getting my foot in the door and learning the industry,” he said. 

Renee Davis, who served as the network engineering director at the newspaper from 1997 to 2006, was impressed with Gruszcynski’s willingness to learn.

“I worked closely with him when we implemented a new enterprise backup system. He took the initiative to learn the new system and quickly had it running with little effort,” said Davis, who now works in Gainesville, Florida. “Adam is the kind of employee all managers want to have. He works independently, has excellent critical thinking skills, is very responsible, treats customers with respect and kindness, and solves problems.”

In July 2008, Gruszcynski joined one of his former supervisors from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at Potawatomi. “I was excited and nervous,” he said. “There were a lot of familiar faces from the Journal Sentinel, but I didn’t know the gaming industry. It was a whole new chapter in my life.”

As a network administrator at Potawatomi, he supported network resources and ensured stable, efficient and secure delivery of all information technology systems to casino users. This includes installing, configuring, administering, maintaining and fine-tuning network infrastructure and server platforms across the organization.

In January 2022, he became information technology security manager, responsible for reducing cyber risk at the casino and keeping all guests, employees and assets safe and secure.

That year, Gruszcynski worked on three major projects at the casino: replacing the systems that run the gaming floor at Potawatomi’s Carter casino near Green Bay so they matched Milwaukee’s systems, helping to open a sports book in the Milwaukee casino and getting We Energies to supply more power to the Milwaukee location — a move that required all electronic games in the facility to be shut down for a day and then rebooted.

“All of those projects went off without a hitch,” he said. “I believe I was doing things that needed to get done and people were noticing that.”

He also enhanced his knowledge by participating in a mentoring program hosted by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), a national group of technology professionals. Gruszcynski was paired with Brent Hutfless, executive director of IT security for Wind Creek Hospitality, which operates casinos in Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, and the Caribbean.

“Adam has many traits one finds in successful people. He taps into his education, experience, and soft skills to communicate competent strategies and create the relationships he needs to achieve business goals,” Hutfless said. “Adam is a man of fairness and integrity, and is personable and warm, all traits which come through in his personal and online dealings. 

“Adam is a natural leader, talented, a great communicator, and charismatic – a combination that is something of a rarity in the tech field.”

When the casino’s previous IT director retired in the fall of 2022, Gruszcynski got the job.

Being in charge 

As director, Gruszcynski strives to create a welcoming, professional working environment for his employees. He fully supports his workers enhancing their skills and acquiring new ones. He plans to enlarge the team as the casino and hotel add more games and new attractions.

The casino and hotel recently completed the first phase of a $190 million expansion, renovated the casino’s second floor, partnered with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons from the legendary rock band KISS to open Rock & Brews. The renovations also include the opening of Cream City Coffee and a retail store, along with adding over 300 new slot machines, which now makes Potawatomi Casino one of the largest casinos in the Midwest.

“This is a really great place to work. There is so much going on right now,” he said. “We’re doing our best to stand out in the market as a premier place to work in this field.”

To recruit promising IT talent, Gruszcynski maintains a constant and visible presence on LinkedIn, attends career fairs, and speaks to area high school and middle school students. In November he made a presentation to MATC students in an IT security class. He also recently spoke at i.c.stars Milwaukee, an immersive, technology-based leadership development program for young adults.

“I have received the benefit from working with some really great people and learning from them. I’ve had some wonderful mentors. So now it’s my turn and I want to try and give back as much as I can,” he said.

After being named director, he volunteered for a leadership position on the Tribal Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Tribal-ISAC), a national gaming group that discusses cyber threats, threat prevention and security.

Gruszcynski, who lives with his wife and two children in South Milwaukee, also supports MATC and the work the college is doing.

“I believe technical colleges are more in tune with the community. They make a better pipeline to what is needed most and are attuned to what businesses want and can adapt quicker,” he said. “I would encourage anyone to go to MATC, a technical college or community college because they are more in tune with giving you the skills you need on day one to have a fighting chance to succeed.”

Learn about MATC’s IT programs

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 28,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.