A Message from Our President

I hope your 2020 is off to a fantastic start. For the National Center, a new year means that the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) is just around the corner. Have you secured your spot in Las Vegas yet? I encourage you to book your ticket today and join us from March 1-5. We will once again have a jam-packed agenda and thousands of leaders from across Indian Country and corporate America as a part of the top business event in Indian Country. I’m particularly excited to welcome Martin Sensmeier as one of our keynote speakers. Martin is an accomplished actor who is playing Jim Thorpe in an upcoming biopic about the Native American sports legend. Want to hear what Martin has to say? Visit www.res.ncaied.org to get your tickets.

Of course, the National Center is much more than RES. Last week, we held our first Native Edge Institute in Denver. The Native American Bank headquarters hosted us for the event, in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Current Colorado Lieutenant Governor Diane Primavera and former Congresswoman Betsy Markey spoke to those who registered for the event, to go along with experts across the contracting and procurement fields. You can check out some of the footage on our Facebook page, like this clip of my leadership and management presentation with John Shoraka.

This week, we’re in Atmore, Alabama for our first Native Edge Institute in the Deep South. We’re excited to see the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ beautiful Wind Creek Resort and Casino and hear from expert speakers and presenters. These include Poarch Band Chairwoman Stephanie Bryan and PCI Aviation’s Mal McGhee. In 2019, the Poarch Band received our American Indian Business of the Year Award at RES. With help from the Minority Business Development Agency, we’re really looking forward to seeing the great things the Poarch Band is doing when we travel to Alabama next month.

The National Center is growing and adding new perspectives to our Board of Directors. We are thrilled to welcome three new board members – William D. Lowe, Lynn Dee Rapp, and Jana Turvey. I hope you’ll take a minute to learn more about these three incredible leaders and their background in economic development. We’ve also welcomed two new members to our expanding team: Ali Rumbaugh, who is a Native Edge Institutes Program Coordinator, and Amber Childs is our new Business Development Specialist. Ali and Amber will be great resources for our organization, and I hope you get the chance to meet them soon.

Thank you again for your support of the National Center. I hope to see you at RES, one of our Native Edge Institutes, or a National Center event down the road.


Chris James
President and CEO
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

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