SPOONER, Wis. -- I had a chance recently to sit down with an old friend of mine from high school, Paul King, for a chat at our favorite coffeehouse, the Dock Coffee. Paul is back working in the area after spending 17 years working in the casino world.

What kind of coffee are you drinking today?

I'm having a triple espresso with a glass of ice water.

Is coffee a big part of your day?

The first thing I do when I wake up is grind some beans and start the coffee pot.

I was thinking back how long it has been since I’ve seen you, I think it was shortly after we graduated high school together in Shell Lake back in ’95.  What did you do after graduation? 

The following fall I started college at UW-Stout. I graduated in December of '99 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism. College was a great experience for me I loved it; living on my own, meeting new people and trying new things.

It was shortly after your graduation you went to work in a casino, correct? What drew you to that?

I liked to stop at Turtle Lake Casino from time to time on my way back home to Shell Lake and thought it would be a fun job. I liked the fast-paced environment and the entertainment the casino had.

What did you do at the casino? 

I started cooking in their restaurant for the first three months before I was able to transfer into the table games department. Then I dealt Blackjack and Craps for about 4 years then moved into a Floor position for the next 4 years then moved into a Pitboss/Floor position for the last 9 years.

But you have now left the casino after, what, 15 years?  

I was there for 17 1/2 years.

What are you doing now?

For the last couple of months, I've been working wat my Dad and Sister's insurance agency: Dan King Agency.

How is that going? 

Great, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into but she helps me every day with learning our computer system, processing policies and claims with all the different companies, and dealing with customers.

What is the difference between DKA and say, American Family Insurance?  

We're an independent agency so we sell for 15+ companies so we have the flexibility of finding you the best coverage at the cheapest price by comparing quotes from multiple companies

Was there interest on your part in working at the Dan King Agency when you were younger?  

Not really it was always my Dad and Sisters thing so I never gave it much thought.

How has your life changed now that you are no longer at the casino and working at DKA?

I've gotten into a more "normal" 9-5 Monday thru Friday job. At the casino, I always had to work the weekends and late into the night so this is a huge change for me.

What are three things about you that people might not know?

  1. I'm married to my lovely wife Terri and we have two boys Max who is 4 1/2 and Jax who is 1 1/2
  2. I'd like to consider myself a farmer, but I only hay about 25 acres that I sell for a little extra money
  3. I absolutely love living in this area and never plan on moving

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