Industry veteran Satinder Bhutani, who has spent almost 20 years at Andamiro USA (most recently as Special Accounts Advisor), has announced his retirement at the end of June. Satinder began his career back in the 1980s with his well-known brother Satish at his Bhuzac International in Northern California, and upon reflection notes that “It’s Not Easy” to say goodbye. Read his touching words as he recounts his years in the business below.
IT’S NOT EASY
After nearly 20 years, I have decided that June 2020 will be my last month at Andamiro.
It’s not easy to write these words after 38 years in the coin-op industry. In the past four decades, I have worked at three companies with many talented individuals. Additionally, I have had the privilege of doing business with great industry pioneers who have become lifelong friends.
My first introduction to the coin-op industry was through my brother and industry legend, Satish Bhutani. Soon after I moved to the United States in 1981, Satish had established Bhuzac International Inc. in Foster City, CA. In those days, sales were not my main job. I spent long hours loading and unloading trucks full of imported Italian pinball machines. During my tenure at Bhuzac, I learned a lot from my brother’s vast experience.
Satish had always been a father figure to me, so it was not easy when I left Bhuzac and joined Capcom in 1991.
Appointed by President George Nakayama, I joined Capcom’s operations division with Bert Kitade as my boss. After five years in operations, I moved to Capcom’s Sales division. It is there where I had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous industry icons. Bill Cravens and Frank Ballouz originally headed Capcom’s coin-op sales department, but by the time I joined the sales division Steve Blattspieler was my boss. I loved working with Steve, so when he decided to leave Capcom to join Andamiro USA Corporation in 2000, I decided to join him.
It was not easy to leave Capcom, but I trusted Steve enough to follow him in his new venture.
From 2001 to 2005, I had the pleasure of working with Executive Vice President Steve Blattspieler and President James Ko to build a foundation for Andamiro in the United States. In 2005, we tragically lost our dear friend and colleague Steve.
It was not easy to say goodbye to Steve, but Andamiro supported me through the loss of my friend and trusted me to continue his legacy as Executive Vice President of Andamiro USA.
From 2005 to 2010, President James Ko and I guided Andamiro through the recession and continued to push the company forward in markets around the world. After many years of being my boss and mentor, Mr. Ko decided to leave Andamiro to start Pipeline Games, Inc. in 2010. It is in this year that I was promoted to President of Andamiro USA. Over the next 10 years, I have used the lessons I learned from Satish, Steve, and James to lead Andamiro in becoming one of the leading coin-op game manufacturers in the world.
I have many people in the coin-op industry to thank for their support and friendship. I would like to take a moment to name a few of these individuals. In case I missed you, I beg for your forgiveness.
In almost 20 years at Andamiro, I visited very prominent coin-op companies headed by very talented industry professionals all around the United States. A few to name are: Frank Seninsky, Joe Camarota and Joseph Camarota at Alpha-Omega; Brian Smith at Alley Cats; Jerry Johnston at Amusement Unlimited; Greg Borman at Boomers; Roger Cardinale at Chuck E. Cheese; Mike Kane at Cinemark; Kevin Bachus and Pete Sterns at Dave & Buster’s; Dave Drouillard at Drouillard Int’l.; Frank Sikora at Enchanted Castle; George Smith and Rich Pankey at Family Entertainment Group; Sydney Fernandez-Fasi and Warren Asing at Fun Factory; Len Keywood at Game Time; Jason Kenny at Golf Land; John Parlet and Lori Parlet at John’s Incredible; Greg Lecorgne at Main Event; Robert Thomos at Mulligans; Craig Singer and Kevin Jordan at Nickels & Dimes; Randy Chilton at NEN; Richard Scherer and Peter Casas at The Pelican Group; Mark Eastham at Peter Piper Pizza; Brian Cohen at Pin Stack; Stephen Bennett and Stephen Hall at Power House Games; David Goldfarb and Jonathan Goldfarb at Primetime Amusements; Akira Ida San at Round 1; Steve Shoemaker and Stuart Renner at Wedges/Ledges. Additionally, I would like to mention Gene Cramm, Mahesh Sadarangani and Libby Godlove whom I met at CEC, as well as Chuck Peitz at Tricorp, for their support.
It’s not easy to stop visiting and calling on these incredible customers and industry icons.
I also had the privilege to work with highly respected coin-op industry connoisseurs with numerous authorized coin-op distributors: Linda Fernandez at 50th State Coin-Op; Vince Gumma and Tony Shamma at AVS Companies; John Gatens at Amusement Distributors; Peter Betti, Bob Geschine, Jonathan Betti, Bob Boals, Bob Dipipi, Scott Gilmore, John Feltz, Mike Springman, Tom Kane, David Capilouto, Brian Serck, Kyle Berger, Ron Hunt, Jeff Scheer, Mark Meenan, Eli Backer and John McCann at Betson; Mark Singer and Joe Hinderer at Central Distributing; Rich and Chi Babich at Game Exchange of Colorado; Terry Moss at Moss Distributing; Sam and Karl Feder at Pacific Vend Distributors; Jon Kleiman at Pioneer Sales & Service; John Kolliniatis, Jerry Power, Jon Brady, Joe Ingui and Richard Listash at Player One; and Scott Shaffer and Byron Howard at Shaffer Distributing. I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and have greatly appreciated your help throughout my career.
It’s not easy to stop working with such respectable industry figures.
Apart from the United States, I did business in Dubai, India, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and The United Kingdom. I will never forget the support I received from Prakash Vivekanand at ASI in Dubai; Nabil Kassim and Yuhanis Nawasreh at Warehouse of Games in Dubai; Silvio at Landmark Group in Dubai; Ashish Gupta at Fun City in India; Sonaal Chopra and Naveen H at Timezone in India; Efi Malka at Game On LTD. in Israel; Yaron Zur at Play Game in Israel; Tiziano Tredese and Barbara Lollo at Elmac in Italy; Emenuala Volta at Technoplay in Italy; Huseyin Ozalp at Meridyen Spor in Turkey; Levent Baloglu at Balo Fun Lab in Turkey; Robert Elias, Georges Elias and Richard Elias at Robert Group in Lebanon; Peter Puijn and Lucienne Puijn at Game Castle in Netherlands; Andrei Butenko for introducing me to the customers in Russia; Alexander Petrov at BB&B in Russia; Boris and Vadim at ODA in Russia; Olesya Kotova at Yugis in Russia; Fazlu, Sameer and Sayed at Al Hokair in Saudi Arabia; Mohamed Alahmadi at Unique Hospitality in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; John McKenzie at Namco in the U.K.; Paul Williams at SEGA in the U.K.; and Mark Howard at UDC in the U.K.
It’s not easy to stop traveling to visit all these amazing people around the world.
I must also mention Francois Lachance and Mehdi Eghabal at Adrenaline; Gregory Bacorn and Alyssa Chawgo at Barron Games; Larry Treankler, Holly Hampton, Molly Van Lannen, Todd Luthain, Anna Heck and Adrian Drewitz at Bay Tek; Al Kress at Benchmark; Glenda Cook, Jack Cook, Ron Malinowski and Dave Sandstrom at Bob’s Space Racers; Lenny Dean and Sal Mirando at Coastal Amusements; Tony Maniscalco and Jim Chapman at Elaut; Joe Coppola, Greg Kania and Gene Brogowski at ICE; HJ Kim and Ki Lee at Komuse; Malcom Steinberg and Chris Brady at LAI; Frank Cosentino at Bandai Namco; Vince Moreno at SEGA; Jayesh Karia, Anup Tapadia and Ken Anderson at TouchMagix. Although these mentioned highly qualified business specialists are Andamiro’s competitors, I have always enjoyed interacting with them.
It’s not easy missing opportunities to meet you all at the upcoming trade shows.
I would also like to highlight the team at AAMA, our trade body, headed by Pete Gustafson, assisted by Tina Schwartz and Alex Ritschdroff. I appreciate the support I received from both Tina and Alex and will miss my interaction with Pete who I always remember as a great writer and an exceptional speaker. Additionally, I must express my gratitude to Brian Glasgow at William T. Glasgow, Inc. for reserving a prime booth space for Andamiro at the trade show year after year.
It’s not easy to stop connecting with such a wonderful group of people.
I must thank Eddie Adlum, Ingrid Adlum Milkes, Barry Zweben, and Key Snodgress with RePlay magazine for offering great exposure for Andamiro when we needed it most. I appreciate the unconditional support received from Paul Young with Amusement Resources Connection and finally, yet importantly, Alicia Lavay with Vending Times who has been very kind to publish our news releases.
Of course, my deepest gratitude to all the hardworking people at Andamiro. Andamiro strives for providing customer service to their utmost satisfaction. My very skilled colleagues in rendering satisfactory customer service supported me. I thank Jake Kim, Jay Jun, Andy Kim, Jose Francisco, Ramses Briones, Andrea Lee, Sunny Min for giving me their hand. I will dearly miss my colleagues who made my job comfortable to perform.
I certainly must make special mention of YH Kim, who founded Andamiro in Korea in 1992. Although I did not have the honor of working closely with him, I know he is a very brilliant, farsighted, and knowledgeable individual in coin-op games and gaming technology. Presently, Andamiro is being managed by CS Lee, Chairman and CEO. Mr. Lee continues to remain focused and determined in achieving company goals. I must acknowledge Sunkyu Ho in Korea, who always keeps a good check on product quality and production, and Min Lee here in the U.S., who is the best at bridging the gap between our offices.
I congratulate Drew Maniscalco; the new President of Andamiro USA, whose expertise in licensing has benefited Andamiro immensely. Drew Maniscalco is assisted by Evan Kirby and Nick Montano in selling the Andamiro product range to our customers in the U.S. Nick also takes care of our marketing and is doing an amazing job showcasing what Andamiro has to offer.
Having a group of such talented and dedicated personnel, Andamiro is bound to be one of the leading coin-operated game manufacturers in the world. It’s not easy to accept that soon I will stop going to the office and no longer see members of this great team.
Finally, I must express my deepest appreciation for my wonderful wife Meena. She supported me through the highs and lows of my career, and is the biggest reason for my success. I would also like to thank my amazing son Sameer for keeping me young and active. I worked hard all my life so that I could help my son achieve all his dreams and be an example and role model to him.
The past 38 years have been challenging and fun-filled. Time passes by quickly when you are having fun. It’s not easy to say goodbye to Andamiro and retire, but my last day at Andamiro will be June 30, 2020. For those of you, who wish to stay in touch with me, feel free to call me at any time (310-809-4361) or email me at [email protected]. I wish all my colleagues in the coin-op industry a prosperous future.