Derrick Watchman is the Chief Executive Officer for the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. Formerly he was Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at JP Morgan Chase Bank’s Native American Banking Group. He provided tribal financial and banking services, including structuring over $500 million in tribal credit transactions and treasury services. Derrick is a member of the Navajo Nation and was raised on the Navajo reservation. Derrick was principle with Watchman & Associates of Window Rock, Arizona providing business advisory and development services. He is formerly the Chief of Staff for the Navajo Nation where he managed the Executive Branch program and services.
Mr. Watchman has also served as Director of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Previously, he worked for the Wells Fargo Bank handling Native American banking and financing. Mr. Watchman was Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of the Navajo Nation’s Dinè Power Authority where he advised on Navajo Nation energy projects. He also held the Navajo Tax Commission Director post. Mr. Watchman also worked with Prudential Capital Corporation as a private placement banker. Among several directorships, he is the current chairman of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Board of Directors. Mr. Watchman holds a MBA from the University of California and a Bachelors degree from the University of Arizona.
For 27 years, Susan Masten has advocated for the rights of Native People in her community and across the nation. Her life of public service began when she was elected one of the original Presidents of the Native American Student Association at Oregon State University. After graduation, she returned home to the Reservation and found herself on the front lines of the salmon wars, a battle to protect her people’s natural resources, cultural identity, tradition and fishing rights. Susan Masten was instrumental in securing the Yurok’s rights to the Klamath River Basin, which were reaffirmed in her uncles’ U. S. Supreme Court case Mattz v. Arnet.
Susan Masten is the founder and Co-President of Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations (WEWIN) 2004, and she is also a founding member of the Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods High School, which will open its doors to students in the fall of 2005 in Klamath, California. At home, Susan Masten is active in traditional Yurok practicesincluding fishing on the Klamath River and caring for her family’s basket collection and dance regalia. She lives with her husband, Leonard, and has a son, Greg and a daughter, Crystal and is the proud grandmother of eight.
Ray is a member of the Washoe Tribe and is Senior Vice President at City National Bank. Ray has years of banking experience, primarily in commercial lending. Ray’s experience include: twenty-two years at First Interstate Bank in San Francisco.
First Interstate experience included: formal credit training, asset based lending, branch management and credit administration management. Civic Bank of Commerce (which has now become City National) experience include: Special Asset Management for six years in Oakland, California; Credit Administration management and Account Management in San Francisco office.
Brown is active in the economic development activities of the Native American community in the San Francisco Bay area. Ray’s community service activitiesinclude serving on: the Board of Directors of the Washoe Development Enterprise (Washoe Tribal Development Corp) in Gardnerville, Nevada, U.S. Senate Select subcommittee on Indian Affairs – testimony for proposed legislation, Founder/Chairman, Board of Directors, American Indians in Business, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, Oakland, California, Board of Directors, St. Paul’s Day School, 6 years, Oakland, California, U.S. Army, Finance Officer, 1st Lieutenant -Germany from 1967-1969. Ray received a BS Business Administration from Oregon State University and an MBA from Golden State University.
Ray has been a member of the NCAIED Board of Directorssince 1977.
Joan Timeche is executive director of the Udall Center’s Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy (NNI) at the University of Arizona. NNI serves as a self-determination, development, and self-governance resource for Native nations in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
Ms. Timeche has more than twenty years experience working for or with tribal governments in education, business and economic development, and governance. Her skills include administrative management, teaching, is a master facilitator, and is a regular speaker at both regional, national and international conferences on topics related to Indian economic development and tourism. She assisted in the start-up of the Arizona Native American Economic Coalition, the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association where she continues to serve on the board, and the American Indian/Alaska Native Tourism Association. Ms. Timeche also served on boards of two new tribal economic development corporations – the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation from 2005-2009 and since 2001 on the Tohono O’odham Economic Development Authority. She authored “Doing Business on Arizona Indian Lands;” and founded the Native American Youth Entrepreneur Camp which received the ‘RES 2006 Native American Youth Entrepreneurship of the Year’ award.
Past employment has included: NNI Assistant Director (2001 to 2009); program director of Northern Arizona University’s Center for American Indian Economic Development (1992 to 2000); and director of the Hopi Tribe’s Education Department (1982 to 1990). She currently serves as board member of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development; directs NNI’s Native American Youth Governance Camp; and in November 2010, received the 2010 Native American Recognition Days award for “Woman of the Year.”
A citizen of the Hopi Tribe from the village of Old Oraibi, she received a B.S. in social work and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Northern Arizona University.
President & CEO
Gary “Litefoot” Davis is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Mr. Davis currently serves as President and CEO of the National Center For American Indian Enterprise Development. Before being appointed as President and CEO of the NCAIED, Mr. Davis served on the organization’s Board of Directors.
He has served as Vice-President of Native Affairs for the Triple Five Group, owners of the world’s largest retail shopping malls; the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall and he previously served as co-chair of the National Indian Gaming Association’s, American Indian Business Network. Though his company Litefoot Enterprises, Mr. Davis has facilitated an array of cross sector business opportunities in Indian Country ranging from acquisitions, casino gaming, hospitality, land development, green energy and pharmaceutical initiatives.
Mr. Davis is a successful feature film actor and starred in such major motion pictures as, The Indian In The Cupboard and Mortal Kombat, Annihilation. He has also appeared on the television programs: C.S.I. Miami, Family Law and Any Day Now.
Mr. Davis began realizing his entrepreneurial dreams twenty years ago. His first business, the Red Vinyl Records recording label, began in 1991 and has since released dozens of award-winning albums distributed throughout the world. It continues to develop and record new Native American talent. The lyrics from Mr. Davis’ music are currently used today to teach both high school and college level students throughout the United States, and internationally, about historical and contemporary Native American issues and views.
Mr. Davis’ diverse entrepreneurial spirit has grown to include successful pursuits in the world of fashion through his popular “Native Style®” clothing line and in footwear through the development of his own branded line of sneakers- aptly named the Litefoot “FlexArrow®”, the Tribal Medicine Network, part of a strategic partnership with Wal-Mart to provide prescription medicines to Tribal Nations at deeply reduced pricing and the Litefoot Entertainment Group - a full service booking, merchandising and marketing company that specializes in expanding the reach of successful Native American public figures.
Mr. Davis continues to motivate and inspire audiences as a highly sought after public speaker. He has lectured at various colleges throughout the United States ranging from Virginia Tech and Oregon State University to Sitting Bull College.
Mr. Davis recently self published his first book, “The Medicine of Prayer”; an inspirational and semi-autobiographical work that has sold thousands of copies in the United States and Canada.
Philanthropically, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout the United States bringing hope and empowerment to over 450 Native American communities as the spokesperson of the “Reach The Rez Tour” and he also helped raise nearly $1.5 million to ensure the success of the effort.
For over two decades, Mr. Davis has meshed his success as an entrepreneur, with his passion to better the future of Indian Country and served as a source of inspiration for thousands of Native people across North America.
John Echohawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, was a co‐founder of the Native American Rights Fund in 1970 and has been its Executive Director since 1977. The Native American Rights Fund has been involved in most of the major Indian rights litigation since 1970. He serves on many national boards and has received numerous service awards and other recognition for his leadership in the Indian law field. In 1992, he served on the Clinton‐Gore transition team for the Department of the Interior and in 2008 he served on the Obama‐Biden transition team for the Department of the Interior. B.A., University of New Mexico (1967); J.D., University of New Mexico (1970); admitted to practice law in Colorado.
Joel Frank Sr.
Joel Frank, Sr. was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and raised on federal reservation lands of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Joel M. Frank, Sr. has dedicated his career to the furtherance of economic prosperity and the protection of stable government for American Indians. As a national figure in American Indian affairs, Mr. Frank has earned a reputation for integrity and accomplishment as an advocate and spokesman for Indigenous peoples worldwide. Joel Frank, Sr. was one of the first Indians to attend college, at both Dade Community College and St. Thomas University.
Mr. Frank spent two years in the United States Marine Corps, assigned to special classified security duty,
both in the United States and overseas.
Urban was born in the village of Santa Cruz and grew up in Komatke, a village on the north side of the Gila River. He attended St. John’s Indian Mission School at Komatke. He then attended Arizona State University at Tempe, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1960. Urban served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves as an enlisted man from 1953 to 1960 and as a U.S. Marine Corps officer from 1960 to 1980. He served in command and staff positions in the United States and in foreign countries including Vietnam. He was transferred to the retired officers’ list with the rank of Major in 1980. Urban was selected as Operations Manager of the Gila River Indian Community in 1981 and held that position until 1986 when he was appointed as Community Manager. He retired as Community Manager in February 2006. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Lone Butte Industrial Development Corporation, a Tribal Corporation. Urban has been a member of the NCAIED Board of Directors since 1995.
NANA Development (NDC) is the wholly owned division of NANA Regional Corporation; an Alaskan Native Corporation. NDC today has operations in all fifty states, over fourteen thousand employees with revenues exceeding one billion in sales. Clyde leads NANA’s efforts in establishing global strategic partnerships and mentors a new generation of team members for NANA. Prior to Clyde’s current position, he served as President of NANA Services in Seattle, Washington, growing that pure startup to $20M in revenue before turning over the company to new leadership and moving up to the parent organization. Clyde also spent more than eight years operating a privately held company with national customers like Safeway, Pay & Save, and Lamonts Apparel, as well as Alaska Government organizations like the State of Alaska, the City of Fairbanks, and the North Star Borough School District. For the last 20 years, Clyde has been committed to the growth and successful operational execution of NANA’s businesses.
Margo Gray‐Proctor is President of Horizon Engineering Services Co., an award‐winning, 8(a) Native American,woman‐owned civil engineering firm. The firm provides civil engineering consulting and design for gamingdevelopments, hotels, hospitals, airports, transportation and master planning, as well as project management forprojects.
She received her education at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK and the Tuck School of Business,Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. In addition to many state and local activities, she currently serves as theChairwoman of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) and is a Board memberfor the American Indian Business Network Board Member for National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). She alsoCo‐Chair the Economic Development Sub‐Committee for the National Congress of American Indians, and is anactive member of Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations. Margo has been keynote speaker fornumerous conferences across the U.S, advocating for Native American businesses.
Gray‐Proctor is proud Osage business woman who has built a profitable business in a traditionally male industry.Her leadership and determination has won her numerous prestigious honors and awards and including beenselected as The Journal Record’s “50 Making a Difference” recognizing Oklahoma’s leading Women. Ms. Proctoralso received the “Badger Award for Tenacity and Perseverance in Business” by the American Indian BusinessLeaders Association and the “Georgeann Robinson Humanitarian Award” presented by the Oklahoma Federationof Indian Women. Her flagship company, Horizon Engineering Services Co., was the 2007 recipient of the “StateBusiness of the Year” award bestowed by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma, 2005 recipientof the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Indian Business Owner of the Year award, the2004 recipient of the National Indian Business Association’s Outstanding National Native American Woman‐OwnedBusiness award and many other honors, and has been featured in http://www.workingwomen.com and “Smart WomenTake Risks,” a book by Helene Learner.
Her background includes many years in tribal law enforcement and tribal government services. She is active in herOsage culture and holds the position of Head Cook at the “Jenny Gray Chapter” of the Native American church, ahigh honor for a woman in her Osage culture.
As a strong competitor in “Corporate America”, she encourages Indian entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, andcounsels tribal leaders to create government and legal environments that will enable Indian businesses to thrive.She married to Adam Proctor and resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is very proud of her 3 sons and 7 grandchildren
Michelle L. Holiday
As a member of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Michelle Holiday – also known as Na-Sta’ Peme or “Good Heart Woman” – is deeply connected to her Tribal heritage, which continues to contribute greatly to her identity, career path, work ethic and commitment to helping to represent Native American tribes.
Michelle has had an expansive career in helping to advise senior executives as their subject matter expert on energy policy, utilities, business strategy and tribal matters. During her time with Edison International and Southern California Edison (SCE), she held various management positions in their government affairs, public affairs, customer service, and equal opportunity departments allowing her to work on energy policy, large transmission, independent power and renewable projects, stakeholder engagement and diversity initiatives.
After more than 20 years of public affairs, tribal and energy industry experience, the company’s founder, Michelle L. Holiday is uniquely positioned to help clients successfully navigate from the tribal council chamber to corporate board room and Congressional offices.
Karlene Hunter is CEO and co-founder of Native American Natural Foods. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Ms. Hunter has more than 25 years of experience working on educational and economic development on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where Native American Natural Foods is based. The Kyle, S.D., company, founded with her longtime business partner Mark Tilsen, is the second business Ms. Hunter has started on the reservation.
In 1996, Ms. Hunter and Mr. Tilsen created Lakota Express, a direct marketing and customer care management company. Focused primarily on fund-raising for non-profit organizations, Ms. Hunter has led the direct marketing campaign for Oglala Lakota College for more than 21 years. More than million has been raised under Ms. Hunter’s leadership, including raising the funds for the establishment of the first library on the reservation and the creation of new college centersin each of the nine districts on Pine Ridge.
Well-known throughout the Native American community for her local and national service record, Ms. Hunter serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Rights Fund; the National Indian Business Association; and the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Hunter, who holds an MBA from Oglala Lakota College, hasreceived numerous awards, including the 2007 SBA Small Business Woman of the Year for South Dakota. Recognized in 2003 as one of the 100 Best Minority Suppliers by the Minority Business Network, Ms. Hunter received the National Director’s Pioneer Award in 2006 from then-Department of Commerce Secretary Ronald Langston. She has also been awarded the President Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship; Indian Business Woman of the Year from the National Indian Business Association; and the Rising Star Award from the Business Women’s Network and Diversity Best Practices
Larry G. Kinley
Larry Kinley is involved in the development of social and economic opportunities for his people and was involved in the formation of the Alliance of American Indian Leaders, advocates of tribal self- determination and sovereignty who called together tribal leadership, scholars and lawyers to research historical documents, court case, and tribal archives in an attempt to determine the original intent of the drafters of the U.S. Constitution and their consideration of the present and future relationship between the emerging union and Indian tribes. Larry holds a Bachelor Degree from the Chaminade College in Honolulu. Larry is also a commercial fisherman. Larry has been a member of the NCAIED Board of Directors since 1988.
Patricia (Pat) Parker’s career as a successful government contractor begins with her dedication to her community. Her leadership and business acumen stem from an accomplished history of service to guarantee positive results for not only her Federal clientele but also the community at large.
Her ability to grow NAMS from one small contract to a company that has routinely pushed the boundaries of its $7M size standard comes from personal knowledge of her market…both upstream and downstream. With a background in communications, she quickly rose during her tenure with Indian Health Service. She became Director for Communications where she managed the Indian Health Service’s newly established communications arm. During that time she became well acquainted with how federal contracts are administered from a project officer and contracting officer representative’s perspective and it was this experience that led her to the foundation of NAMS with her sister Tonya Parker.
Pat never strayed from her belief that, when doing business with the federal government, the business bottom line must be balanced with the philosophy of service and dedication to public service. She represents NAMS’ abilities to government officials, leaders of private and non-profit corporations and American Indian and Alaska Native leaders. She maintains a dedication to giving back to her community with the same passion and energy that she brings to her federal clients.
Pat’s diverse education includes attendance at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa University’s School of the Dramatic Arts and the University of Maryland, where she studied theatre, journalism and public relations. Her studies and experience in journalism, public relations and theater combined with her desire to create a venue to provide contemporary messages and images of American Indian people was the catalyst for producing Windows to Our Ways. Windows to Our Ways was a public service program dedicated to promoting the diverse culture of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The show was produced at and aired on Fairfax Public Access Television. Pat believes that using most powerful media tool to communicate, educate and entertain, from an American Indian point of view, will not only bring a greater understanding of the culture but also provide a platform for Indian unity. The community based programming was largely underwritten by Pat and her sister Tonya.
Forest County Potawatomi tribal member, Kip Ritchie, serves as COO, for the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation. He is a founding member and served on its Board of Directors from 2003- 2008. Prior to his appointment as COO, Kip has served as Senior VP for the PBDC since 2005. Through the organization, Ritchie promotes the importance of investing in the tribe’s future by diversifying resources beyond gaming.
Ritchie began his career in Indian Gaming in 1997 when he joined Potawatomi Bingo Casino as Director of Marketing and was promoted to Assistant General Manager in 2004. As Assistant General Manager, he participated in the development of strategic business planning and management of the casino’s leadership team.
Ritchie was recognized by the Business Journal as one of Milwaukee’s “40 under 40” in 2000. In 2002, Potawatomi Bingo Casino received the prestigious Lamplighter Award from the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau, largely credited to Ritchie’s work within Milwaukee’s tourism community. Ritchie is a graduate of University of Wisconsin- Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. Kip serves on the Children’s Health Alliance Board of Directors, Froedtert Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, the Native American Contractors Association Board, College Readiness 21 Advisory Board, Native American Finance Conference Board, National Indian Gaming Association—Associate Member Board and American Indian Business Network Advisory Board. Since 2000, Kip has served as the Chairman of the Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Kip resides in Pewaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and two children.
Ronald J. Solimon
Ron Solimon is the President & CEO of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Inc., a state-chartered not for profit corporation, and Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc., a federally-chartered for profit corporation. Both corporations are owned & operated by the 19 Pueblo Indian tribes of New Mexico and headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ron is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian Tribe of New Mexico. Ron earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from New Mexico State University in 1973 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University Of New Mexico School Of Law in 1976.
Ron serves on several national, state and local boards and commissions, including the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, Walking Shield, the New Mexico Workforce Development Board, the New Mexico Commission on Community Volunteerism, the Tourism Association of New Mexico (TANM), the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), the Laguna Development Corporation (LDC), and the newly-formed Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation.
Ron’s wife Elaine is the Executive Director of ARC A in Albuquerque, New Mexico -a not for profit organization that serves people with disabilities. They have two grown children. Their daughter Kristin is a licensed physical therapist who lives and works in Tucson, Arizona where her husband Judah is a first year resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Their son Justin is an attorney with the Nordhaus Law Firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico where his wife Lucy is a third year law student at the University Of New Mexico School Of Law.
Ernie Stevens, Jr.
Ernie Stevens, Jr. is the Chairman and national spokesman for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) in Washington, DC. Stevens is currently serving his fifth two-year term as the organization’s leader. NIGA, established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non- voting associate members representing tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country.
From 1993 to 1999 Stevens served as an elected councilman for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He is a former First Vice-President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). As a respected leader in Indian Country, Stevens also serves on the Native American Rights Fund National Support Committee (NARF), is a Board Member of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), and serves on the Native American Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Stevens is the co-founder for Dreamseekers Foundation of American along with Hulk Hogan to provide contributions to tribal nations that face adversities such as poverty, violence and lack of various resources, specifically focusing on efforts to improve health care and education for Native youth and their families. Stevens has earned an Associate’s degree from Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. He is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.
He and his wife Cheryl of 30 years have five children, and their 9th grandchild was born on Christmas Day 2008.
Richard Tall Bear
Mr. Tall Bear is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate located in Sisseton, South Dakota. He is the owner of Tall Bear Solar, a solar development company with extensive experience in the industry. Mr. Tall Bear is currently developing a 20 megawatt solar farm in the Imperial Valley of California that will deliver energy to San Diego Gas and Electric. The project represents the first minority owned energy in the country and will be completed in July 2014 with 100% minority contractors. Mr. Tall Bear also holds a FERC- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license which gives them the ability to buy sell and trade power across the United States electrical grid.
At the beginning of 2010, Richard wanted to start a business that honored his father’s efforts in protecting the environment. So he started Tall Bear Solar. Tall Bear Solar is a solar contractor specializing in residential and commercial PV solar installations for Indian country.
Mel Twist founded his own general engineering and building construction firm specializing in commercial and industrial building construction and rehabilitation. As President and sole owner, he has employed and trained American Indians and provides part-time employment for four students each year. His commitment to Indian youth also includes participation with the Jr. Achievement Program at Sherman Indian High School, educational sponsorship, and assistance to Indian orphanages. Mel was recognized by CAMAC as the “Outstanding Indian Contractor” in 1985 and received “Award of Excellence” in 1986. He was selected by American Illustrated Magazine to be part of an article on American Indian businessmen that was published in both Russia and Austria and was selected by KTLA, Channel 5, to be one of five Minority Business Owners featured in their special “Making-It/Minority Successes.” Mel has been a member of the NCAIED Board of Directorssince 1987.