BY Chris Chaney

Editor, PEO Insider

February 2024


In December, Casey Clark officially joined the NAPEO team as the association’s new president and CEO. He brings 25 years of experience to the role with a background in strategy and communication consulting and association management. He spoke with PEO Insider ® about his past experiences, lessons he has learned, and what excites him about the PEO industry.

PEO Insider: You have a lot of experience in the association industry. Besides NAPEO, what other industry associations have you worked for?

Casey Clark: My first paying job was as an intern for the American Trucking Associations in high school. Since then I’ve been fortunate to work for several associations directly – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and, most recently, the American Gaming Association – and represent others in my consulting practice.

PI: What was your role like at the American Gaming Association (AGA)?

CC: I was initially recruited to AGA to lead communications and research, but the role grew into also leading organizational strategy, responsibility programs, and strategic partnerships. I was also the chief spokesperson during a time of unprecedented growth for the gaming industry.

PI: It sounds like an exciting role especially since you saw the gaming industry grow in popularity quite a bit. What was that like?

CC: It was like lightning in a bottle. Especially with the widespread legalization of sports betting. When I got to AGA, sports betting was only legal in Nevada. Six years later, when I left, it’s now legal in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

PI: What sparked this sudden growth?

CC: In May of 2018, The Supreme Court issued its ruling in Murphy v. NCAA which effectively allowed states to determine whether they wanted to authorize sports gambling. As the representatives of gaming companies, we were obviously supportive, but many of the stakeholders involved now, including media companies and major sports leagues, were not. I spent a significant amount of time educating those entities and building strong relationships to benefit everyone in the sports betting ecosystem. After all, sports betting is most popular among young, avid sports fans, and those who bet on sports spend more time with the content, which is exactly what leagues and media companies are looking for.

PI: How did you do this?

CC: A big part of our efforts was the “Have A Game Plan.® Bet Responsibly.™” public service campaign we launched. It was a ton of work, but it created momentum for partnerships and alignment around core principles and messaging for everyone involved in sports betting. It put responsibility at the center of everything we talked about, and I’m really proud of it.

PI: Why do you think communication campaigns like this are important? How are they effective?

CC: You have to think beyond clicks, shares and media hits. You have to leverage communication campaigns to advance core industry and association priorities. For example, AGA would put out betting projections ahead of the Super Bowl or March Madness, but it wasn’t just to generate coverage of the numbers, it was to create a platform to discuss responsible gaming. And it worked.

PI: You also had to deal with the impact of COVID while at AGA. Casinos were hit especially hard. What did you take away from this experience?

CC: You’re right about the impact of COVID shutdowns. Nearly 1,000 casinos were completely shut down almost overnight and it was devastating for our members and their employees. But we really stepped up, ensuring the gaming industry was included in pandemic relief measures, when we had been carved out of every other government relief measure in the history of our industry. I think the pandemic revealed the real value of a trade association.

PI: How so?

CC: Our members saw us, in real time, on the frontlines fighting for their businesses and delivering meaningful results. It created a way for members to really feel the value of membership in new ways. In a lot of ways, it proved the business case for trade associations in general, demonstrating the importance of an industry working together to achieve common goals.

PI: It seems like gaming companies and casinos might be quite different from PEOs. Do the industries have anything in common?

CC: Actually, one of the things I learned during the search process is that there are actually a lot of similarities.

PI: In what ways?

CC: First off, both industries are heavily regulated by a patchwork of state licensing and regulatory regimes. Plus, we also engaged with many of the same federal agencies like the Treasury Department.

PI: Apart from that, what else have you learned in past experiences that prepared you for this role?

CC: I think what I’m most proud of from an association management standpoint is having built strong, high performing teams. It isn’t just about finding the right professionals for each job (or inheriting them as I’ve been fortunate to do here at NAPEO), it is about finding ways to leverage each contributor’s unique skillset to make the team stronger. I want everyone to play team ball because when we’re all pulling in the same direction, our members see greater return on their investment in us and we have more fun coming to work every day.

PI: What appealed to you about joining NAPEO?

CC: The first thing was the team and culture. The longer you’re in Washington the smaller the town gets. Having known Pat for a long time, I knew that any place that he was a part of for so long had to be full of good people! And the more I learned about the industry, the more I had the opportunity to interact with the leaders on the search committee, the more excited I got about being a part of this dynamic, growing industry. Secondly, I have always been attracted to a good challenge. As our industry continues to evolve, NAPEO will play an important role in leaning into policy challenges and proactive opportunities and identifying ways we can enhance the business environment for our industry and the businesses we serve. That’s an exciting prospect for any association executive.

Casey Clark meets with PEO champion in Congress, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA).

PI: What excites or inspires you about the PEO industry?

CC: I am blown away by what our members are doing to enable small business to thrive. I strongly believe in the power of free enterprise, and being a part of an industry dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and business leaders to focus on their core businesses is inspiring.

PI: What are you most looking forward to this year?

CC: I have a lot to learn, which is exciting. But what I’m most excited about is meeting all the leaders throughout the industry, listening to what matters to them, and putting the plan in place to move the needle. A former employer had a great tag line that I think really defines the role of an effective association: protect and enhance enterprise value. Finding ways to do that effectively is the fun part.

Clark talks with Rep. Erin Houchin (R-IN), a former PEO employee and industry champion on Capitol Hill.

PI: Work is not everything of course. Outside of the office, what your interests and hobbies?

CC: Well, my wife and sister both run trade associations, so you’d be surprised how much time our family spends thinking and talking about work outside of traditional office hours (we may need a better hobby!). We have three kids that span a wide age range (22, 16 and 10) who keep us pretty busy. When we can, we prioritize travel, taking in as much live music as we can, and maximizing time on/around the water. I’m also very active with my alma mater (the University of Dayton), where my wife and I guest lecture and stay involved as much as possible.





Voters in Indiana’s 9th Congressional district elected Congresswoman Erin Houchin to serve in the United States House of Representatives in November 2022. In doing so, Rep. Houchin became the first woman elected to Congress from her district. She also holds the distinction of being the only person elected to Congress who has worked for a PEO.Rep. Houchin spoke to PEO Insider about her decision to seek public office, her experience working for a PEO, and the policies she champions.


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