Thunder Valley names hotel VP

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Thunder Valley management has a new face, as Kevin Thorstenson, 44, was hired to the newly created position of vice president of hotel operations, according to a press release. The addition of Thorstenson is part of the casino’s expansion project, which is currently moving forward and is on schedule to be completed by next summer. The expansion includes the addition of a 400-room hotel, a new “smart” parking structure, a spa and an entertainment and events center. What is Thorstenson most excited about? “It’s new. New is wonderful. (The United Auburn Indian Community) has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in our expansion, and new is a wonderful thing,” Thorstenson told the News Messenger. Specifically, Thorstenson mentioned being excited about the spa, the 400-room hotel, the 3,800-stall parking structure and the events center that will host live entertainment three to four nights per week once it opens. “I think we’re going to have a product that is something this area has never seen before,” Thorstenson said, clarifying that that area includes Sacramento and all of northern California. Thorstenson is a 22-year veteran of the hospitality industry and hotel management, including experience in Las Vegas and San Diego, according to the press release. “Kevin brings with him a wealth of experience and a commitment to service in managing some of the country’s most prestigious resorts,” said Thunder Valley General Manager Richard St. Jean. “Having Kevin on our team will give us a head start as we build the premier hotel and resort in northern California.” According to Thorstenson, there’s a time-tested way of ensuring success. “The primary focus of the resort has always been on the service, and one of the differences that defines a resort is the level of service. We want to take the Thunder Valley Resort to a level of service that hasn’t been seen in this area,” Thorstenson said. In providing that level of service, Thorstenson said he plans to take the already-friendly staff to the next level of service, while keeping their local charm. Thorstenson said he hopes to end up residing in the Rocklin area. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at