A resident of Las Vegas since moving from California as a teenager, Kevin Glass has seen the destination change more than most, working his way up from a front desk gig at the Monte Carlo and moving on to management at the Palms, Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch Resort, the Cosmopolitan and SLS Las Vegas. Glass has been at Downtown Grand for two years now, pushing one of downtown’s most distinguished offerings to new heights. He spoke with Las Vegas Magazine’s Brock Radke about his unique Vegas journey and Downtown Grand.

What was it that first attracted you to the hospitality industry?

I fell in love with the business because I loved the customer interaction, but I also found myself looking up and down the Strip and seeing so much potential. I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.

Your formative positions were at the Monte Carlo and the Palms, two resorts that are both undergoing massive changes right now.

In some ways, it’s hard to see that because when you’re in one place for so long and put so much into it, watching it change is foreign. With everything that’s going on with T-Mobile Arena and the Park, it’s crazy to think about what the Monte Carlo was like in 1997. It’s going to have a whole new face. And when I was at the Palms, we only had 400 rooms. They were just starting to build the second tower when I was leaving.

What is it about the Downtown Grand that got your attention?

Before I got the opportunity to join the Downtown Grand, I’d always do the bounce, as I call it—you jump around between the Plaza, The D, the Fremont, Four Queens and the Downtown Grand. I always noticed how clean it was and how friendly the service was at the Grand, not knowing I’d end up there. It seemed like the upper scale of downtown, and now I hear that from our customers.

It’s a property that’s still changing. What are some of the most recent moves?

When I first got here, the first thing was we redid the pool. It was absolutely the best pool downtown, it really just needed a face-lift in terms of design and décor and the food and beverage menu. Then we went on to open Freedom Beat, our taste and tunes restaurant, this cool across-America concept with music. We brought on chef Scott Commings, who won season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen, and launched the thing that was missing from the property, which is a real entertainment offering. We’ve also redone the casino floor, added slot machines and redone the table game configuration. We just opened a high-limit slot room.

First-time visitors may not be aware that the Grand is really the center of its own entertainment district, just off the main downtown drag of the Fremont Street Experience.

I still think we are in our infancy and there’s a large population that doesn’t know who we are. We literally own the street, Third Street from Stewart to Ogden. Last year over Memorial Day weekend we closed the street down and had a concert from Vince Neil and had more than 3,000 people out there, which is pretty unique. One of the reasons people like to stay here is they like the easy access to downtown and the Fremont Street Experience—it’s 50 paces away—but they don’t have to deal with all that’s happening on that street if they don’t want to.