The San Diego 500, The Book of Influential Business Leaders, is the market’s most comprehensive product of people you should know in the business community. The 500 includes business leaders and executives who have founded or are running significant companies in terms of number of jobs, key products and services, experts who raise the level of the industry here and beyond and those who lead in the business community. The 500 is selected by the San Diego Business Journal newsroom.

Robert J. Welch

Tribal Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

Robert Welch Jr. is descended from a long line of tribal leaders and is following in his mother’s footsteps as chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. His executive, management, and business experience spans nearly two decades and he is one of Viejas Casino’s original employees. He served as a lobbyist for the tribe and built relationships with state and federal elected officials during the 2001 campaign that granted tribal nations across the state the exclusive right to tribal gaming. In June 2017, the tribe hosted a topping off ceremony for Viejas Resort & Casino’s new all-suite tower that will feature an additional 159 suites, a lush new saltwater pool, two new restaurant concepts with global cuisine, a spa, salon, fitness center and more.

ALMA MATER: Grossmont College

BUCKET LIST: Road trip through New England in the fall.

CAR YOU DRIVE: 2014 Kia Sol (neon green)

FAVORITE GET-AWAY: New York City

TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: State politics that challenge the sovereignty of our tribe.