Navajo Gaming’s Derrick Watchman Named Top Arizona CEO

Derrick Watchman, CEO of The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (Navajo Gaming), was recently honored as one of the top CEOs in Arizona by Arizona Business Magazine at its annual Most Influential Leaders banquet. Watchman successfully launched Arizona’s first Navajo resort casino, Twin Arrows, in May 2013. Less than a year later, Twin Arrows expanded to include an additional 110 rooms and garnered the prestigious AAA Four Diamond distinction.

“I am honored to be recognized as a leader for my vision of creating the premier gaming entertainment destination in the state as we provide dynamic new business opportunities for the Navajo people and Northern Arizona,” Watchman said. “We hope the quality of work we have done at the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise and Twin Arrows to provide jobs and economic stimulus for Arizona can serve as a catalyst for additional organizations’ success.”

As the first Navajo CEO of Navajo Gaming, Watchman created more than 700 new jobs in Arizona and pumped thousands of dollars into Northern Arizona’s economy with the launch of Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort outside Flagstaff. Twin Arrows’ stunning architecture and Navajo decor have earned numerous awards, including G2E’s (Global Gaming Expo) Top Native American Casino Facility in the Nation. Twin Arrows’ Zenith Steakhouse also was recently recognized by Wine Spectator magazine for its wine list. 

“Mr. Watchman, like his late father Leo Watchman, is a tireless servant who always brings 100-percent effort to the table,” said Martha L. King, Navajo Gaming Board Chairperson. “He, along with the board, has put together a wonderful team of business professionals, and we invite guests to visit and witness our award-winning resort and service.”   

Additionally, Watchman is showcasing Navajo culture throughout the stunning 210-room resort’s architecture, design and $500,000 in commissioned Navajo paintings and decor. He works to improve the quality of life for the construction workers and tradespeople who helped build Twin Arrows, as well as the ranchers, farmers and other local food suppliers who partner with Navajo Gaming.

Watchman has held leadership roles with reputable national banks, including JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, served as the director of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy and most recently, the CFO of Navajo Gaming.

Watchman’s national success makes him a role model for Navajos and other young professionals looking to make their mark in Arizona.

To learn more about Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, make reservations at Zenith Steakhouse or to book a room in its recently expanded 200-room resort, visit

About Navajo Gaming:

Navajo Gaming (The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise) is a Navajo Nation wholly-owned business entity created by the Navajo Nation in September 2006. NNGE is authorized by the Navajo Nation to develop and operate Navajo casinos in accordance with federal and Navajo Nation laws, as well as the negotiated Navajo Nation-applicable state compacts (New Mexico and Arizona).

Navajo Gaming opened its first Navajo Casino on November 19, 2008 – Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico. The second Navajo Casino opened October 13, 2010 – Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Tsé Daak’áán Chapter, near Shiprock, New Mexico. The third Navajo Casino opened January 16, 2012 – Northern Edge Navajo Casino – in Upper Fruitland Chapter, near Farmington, New Mexico. The fourth Navajo Casino – Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – is located in Leupp Chapter, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Currently, Navajo Gaming has 1,200 employees.

Navajo Gaming’s vision includes job growth opportunities for Navajos, to continue returning revenue to the Navajo Nation and continue building the Navajo gaming and hospitality brand.