An accomplished entrepreneur in business and industry, Gary Kirke serves as chairman of Wild Rose. He leads the company’s expansion efforts through acquisition of new properties, development of existing casino resorts, and identifying gaming opportunities outside Iowa. He started the gaming resort management and development company with co-founder, Michael Richards, M.D., in 2004, when new Iowa legislation opened the door for additional casino licenses. Wild Rose received one of only four licenses awarded that year by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, and in 2005 was awarded its second license.
Before starting Wild Rose, Mr. Kirke was co-founder, chairman and CEO of Kirke-Van Orsdel, Inc. Established in 1974, KVI grew into one of the largest third-party benefits and insurance administrators in the nation, with a dozen offices across the country and nearly 2,000 employees. Mr. Kirke sold KVI in 1998 to Fortune 500 companies Marsh and ADP.
Mr. Kirke then launched Kirke Financial Services to invest in new companies and entrepreneurial enterprises. Working with Dr. Richards, Kirke Financial’s first strategic acquisition was MEDTEC, developer and manufacturer of targeting and fixation devices used in radiation therapy. After growing the company’s revenues and profits tenfold in six years, Kirke Financial sold MEDTEC to Roper Industries.
A long-time champion of public service, Mr. Kirke advocates community involvement and civic contributions. Republican and Democratic governors have tapped him to serve on such high-profile boards and committees as the Grow Iowa Values Board and the Iowa Future Growth Committee. Most recently, Gov. Terry Branstad conferred on Mr. Kirke the title of Honorary Colonel in recognition of his strong leadership and respect within the community.