Las Vegas – The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced today that Len Ainsworth has been selected as the initial recipient of the Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism, and Howard Stutz has been selected as the initial recipient of the Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.
AGEM previously announced the creation of this unique annual awards program to acknowledge the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who passed unexpectedly in 2015. Honorees will be announced each year at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, and this year’s presentation to Ainsworth and Stutz will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. at AGEM booth No. 3700 near the main entrance to G2E at the Sands Expo.
Ainsworth, 93, is an industry icon of the highest order, with more than 60 years of service to the slot machine sector through his founding of Aristocrat Leisure in 1953 and the subsequent founding of Australia-based Ainsworth Game Technology, where he currently serves as Executive Chairman. Ainsworth is credited with pioneering many of the design and technical innovations incorporated into gaming machines over the past six decades. He was inducted into the Australian gaming industry’s Hall of Fame in 1994 and the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2014, he was awarded a Higher Doctorate degree by the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“Len is a most deserving winner of this award named in honor of Jens Halle,” said Thomas Jingoli, President of AGEM. “The award’s nominating criteria includes references to Jens’ professionalism, business success, humanity and a dedication to the health of the industry as a whole, all traits Len has been exhibiting for longer than most of us have been alive. I’m honored to have been lucky enough to spend time with Len at various events over the years and extremely proud to present Len with this unique honor.”
Stutz, 57, currently serves as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment and has direct roots in the gaming industry dating back to 2000, when he joined Anchor Gaming as Director of Corporate Communications. From 2004 to 2016, he covered the gaming industry for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and was renowned for his “Inside Gaming” column that analyzed and provided opinion on the global gaming industry. Over the past year, he was part of a team of journalists that earned the Sidney Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism from the University of Oregon, the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University and the 2015 Ethics In Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, all for investigative coverage related to the sale of the Review-Journal to the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.
“Howard personifies many of the same traits Peter Mead displayed during his life, including taking risks and questioning the status quo, working with a team and challenging the industry to consider new ideas, all part of this award’s nominating criteria,” said Marcus Prater, Executive Director of AGEM. “Howard has experienced the gaming industry from multiple and diverse vantage points over the past 25 years and ranks among our most influential communicators and commentators.”
Halle, a longtime Bally and Novomatic executive in Europe who was most recently CEO of Gauselmann Group’s Merkur Gaming based in Florida, died suddenly on May 20, 2015 at the age of 57. Mead, the founder and publisher of Casino Enterprise Management magazine, died suddenly in Las Vegas on June 24, 2015 at the age of 54.
Current gaming professionals were nominated for these memorial awards based on the following criteria that aim to capture the unique attributes displayed by Halle and Mead during their storied careers:
Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism
“Nominees must have experience working in the global gaming supplier sector for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Jens displayed throughout his working life: Professionalism, business success, attention to detail and timely follow-up; a willingness to ‘go the extra mile,’ both figuratively and literally; a sense of humanity in an oft-times cutthroat business; a recognition of the importance of a handshake and a fair deal for all; and a dedication to the health of the industry as a whole.”
Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications
“Nominees must have experience working in the mainstream media, gaming trade press or individual gaming company PR/communications for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Peter displayed throughout his working life: Quality reporting and communication with an emphasis on personal contact to generate ideas and gather information; taking risks and questioning the status quo; challenging the industry to consider new ideas; and identifying trusted partners to improve the overall product.”