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Our Staff

  • Erin Abrahamson

    Chief of Staff

  • Emerald Skye Byrd

    Director of Strategic Partnerships

  • Charmayne Charlie

    Administrative Specialist

  • Melissa Cody

    Export Business Development Specialist

  • Mikaela Garcia

    Digital Media Coordinator

  • Yvette Fielder

    Program Director

  • Carla Ghafari

    Multimedia Assistant

  • Tricia Grossman

    Senior Staff Accountant

  • Kyia Jackson

    Business Development Specialist

  • Chris James

    President and CEO

  • Chris Jeansonne, Jr.

    APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

  • Joan Begay Notah

    Project Director

  • Crystal Pierce

    APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

  • Mabel Tsosie

    APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

  • Lauryn Ross

    Junior Staff Accountant

  • Stan Sams

    APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

  • Jessamyn Tracy

    Director of Special Projects

  • Adolfo Vasquez

    APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

  • Kathleen Weeks

    APEX Accelerator Senior Office Manager

  • George Williams

    APEX Accelerator Program Manager

  • Rich Yehling

    Chief Financial Officer

Erin Abrahamson

Chief of Staff

Erin is the Chief of Staff for the National Center. She started working with NCAIED back in May of 2017 as the Administrative Assistant and has leveled up throughout the years due to her exceptional work ethic. Prior to the National Center, Erin worked with Native American youth in many different capacities, mostly after school programs and summer programs for 10 years.

Erin was born and raised in Washington State and is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. She moved to Arizona 10 years ago for the sunny weather and is currently finishing up her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy at Grand Canyon University. Additionally, in July of 2020 she completed the Event Design Collective program to become a Certified Event Designer to help support our annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES).

Emerald Skye Byrd

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Emerald Skye Byrd is the National Center’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. She is a member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Nokko Clan. She holds a Master’s in Advertising from Savannah College of Art & Design (Atlanta, GA), supported by a Bachelor’s in Digital Media, and an Associate’s in AVATAR from Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA). During her time at LSU, she served as the Native American Student Organization’s Vice President from 2010-2012 and as President from 2012-2014. She has been and remains active in her tribe’s educational and cultural activism since age 16, often representing the Coushatta Nation in national events.

Creative solutions are her specialty. At age 19, while working with the Coushatta Tribe, she designed and produced her first mobile app, a dictionary of the Koasati language still in use today.

Byrd’s career in Marketing encompasses a broad background of its many facets, extensive experience in language and cultural activism, database management and research, branding, social media management, digital creative and production, with strong focus on public relations. She has collaborated with numerous corporations in Atlanta, Georgia while pursuing her Master’s degree. She has been employed at Coushatta Casino Resort for 5 years, and with her tribe for 9 years prior and is now a part of the National Center’s team.

Charmayne Charlie

Administrative Specialist

Charmayne Charley is the Administrative Specialist for The National Center of American Indian Enterprise Development. She is an experienced administrative assistant with 15 years of working alongside leadership teams by providing them with consistent clerical support. Having held positions in the HR, medical, and business fields, Charmayne is able to adapt her skills to meet the needs to various clients.

Charmayne has a background in working with the health services division at a federally funded nonprofit health center that services the urban Phoenix Native American population and others. Additionally, she has worked within the Environmental, Health, and Safety departments of a global organization with a focus on supporting occupational health clinics. She brings a positive, cooperative attitude, and enjoys working on a team to provide support where necessary.

Charmayne is enrolled with the Dine (Navajo) Nation and is originally from the Four Corners region and grew up in Dennehotso, Arizona on the Diné (Navajo) Nation. Charmayne is inspired daily by her sisters and their children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with them to watch movies, hike, or sew/craft.

Melissa Cody

Export Business Development Specialist

Melissa Cody is an Export Business Development Specialist for the Arizona Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Export Center at The National Center. Melissa an enrolled member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation from Tuba City, Arizona. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Arizona State University, and then her Master Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. She has worked in the private sector, Indian Health Service (IHS), and retired from The Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue a second career. She has served as a Management Analyst at IHS and DOE and finished her tenure as a Senior Public Utilities Specialist with The Department of Energy. Her background is in finance, accounting, human resources, energy, procurement, tribal liaison, and has held various management positions.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, playing sports and spending time with her family and friends. Melissa likes to work with non-profits, Native American tribes and communities, and constantly volunteers for community service projects on and off the reservation.

Mikaela Garcia

Digital Media Coordinator

Mikaela Garcia originates from the village of Kykotsmovi in Hopi, AZ and belongs to the Snake and Roadrunner people. Garcia started working with her family’s non-profit, Black Mesa Trust by using film to archive traditional stories, teachings, and create videos to educate people on important issues. From a young age she was taught to be a steward to land, animals, and people in order to preserve and obtain the environment for the next generations. Working in the media industry she over time labeled herself as a messenger to people. Since being the Social Media Specialist for Sky Bear Media, she has worked with organizations such as National Center for American Indian Enterprise and Development, where she’s been able to help create creative and engaging content promoting Indigenous businesses.

Yvette Fielder

Program Director

Yvette is a Program Director at The National Center. She enjoys working with tribes and native business owners to assist them with helping them reach their business goals.Yvette Fielder is an enrolled member of Three Affiliated Tribes and descendant of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, her clan is the Midibahdi which in the Hidatsa language means Waterbuster. Previously, Yvette worked as a project manager for her tribe in North Dakota commuting between the valley of the sun in Arizona to the high plains of North Dakota. She has a long history of working with tribes and clients in various program management settings from Business, Economic and Workforce development and gained her experience over the years through hard work and persistence. In her early career as a personal banker, she earned many certifications, and later worked in Accounting for two school districts in Arizona. One of her most rewarding careers was with the Gila River Indian Community for ten years in Early Education overseeing the program that worked with off reservation childcare programs, and an early education program with twelve classrooms serving children in the community from 6 weeks of age up to 13.

Yvette graduated with honors from The University of Phoenix with her Master’s in Public Administration and her Bachelor’s in Management with a minor in Business. Yvette also completed a certificate business program with The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Yvette also was involved with the communities’ foster care program and became a foster care parent for ten years. She views her biggest accomplishment as raising her five children, who have grown to be exceptional young adults. Yvette is very proud of her cultural heritage and often is found creating various artwork in her spare time using the Buffalo bone to create contemporary jewelry and painting landscapes of places she has visited.

Carla Ghafari

Multimedia Assistant

Carla Ghafari is the Multimedia Assistant at The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications: Multimedia Journalism from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP), and an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Victor Valley College.

Picking up photography at a young age, Carla has expanded her knowledge and experience in the field of digital media and productions. She participated in her high school film festival, landing her first-place awards for two of her short films. During her time at CPP, Carla was a journalist for the school newspaper. She also joined an on-campus club with the title of Multimedia Coordinator, where she applied her passion for social media marketing and graphic design. Since then, she has built her involvement on both a self-taught basis and through professional work experience. 

Carla works within the communications department to help represent NCAIED in the best way possible and continue to grow the organization. She assists in a variety of projects and assignments including social media, marketing, production, content creation and much more. 

Tricia Grossman

Senior Staff Accountant

Tricia Grossman is the National Center’s Senior Staff Accountant. Her accounting journey began in community college when she first took accounting as an elective and realized she loved the field. She then went on to obtain her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!). Having worked in the medical finance/accounting industry for most of her career she shifted to a smaller private accounting firm when she moved to AZ in 2007. There she worked with a variety of clients in several industries (construction, real estate, and a few physician clients). Prior to joining the National Center, her most recent foray was in the public accounting sector for a very large nationwide corporation.

Tricia recently completed the required coursework to obtain her project management professional certification (PMP) and is currently studying for the PMP licensing exam as well as continuing her accounting education.

In her free time Tricia enjoys being active and outside in nature, walking her 2 dogs, paddleboarding, hiking, trail running and competing in ultramarathon races! She is involved in the triathlete/running community in AZ, volunteering at many of the local races to support other athletes as well as being a brand ambassador for Ragnar Relays. Her passion in life is to continue to encourage and empower people to succeed both personally and professionally using athletics as the avenue to help people realize they really can achieve anything given the opportunity and commitment. Her favorite part of working with NCAIED is they have the same goal in providing these empowerment opportunities to Native communities local and nationwide!

Kyia Jackson

Business Development Specialist

Kyia Jackson, is the Business Specialist for the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Kyia is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in American Indian Studies and Minor in Sustainability from Arizona State University. She was formally the Export Business Development Specialist for the National Center’s Minority Business Development Agency Export Center where she was responsible for supporting clientele through their expansion in international markets. Prior to her time at the National Center, she worked for the Economic Development Program of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. During her time there, she assisted Tribal members with economic planning, establishing or expanding their businesses, hosting business workshops with community partnerships and created tourism activities. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, sewing and spending time with her dogs which led her to co-found a nonprofit focused on rescuing abandoned animals within her community.

Chris James

President and CEO

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Chris James is the President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, the largest business development and technical assistance training organization in the country for  American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses. A former Associate Administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury official, Mr. James has doubled the National Center’s revenue during his tenure, expanding procurement and training programs throughout the country while boosting attendance to the annual Reservation Economic Summit by nearly 30% in the last five years.

Mr. James manages a team of nearly 30 staff and contractors based in seven offices across the country, all focused on enhancing the resilience of small and medium enterprises, promoting holistic community planning, and supporting tribal governments and small business owners in developing a strategic approach to economic development.

Fostering strong relationships with supplier diversity offices at Fortune 500 companies such as Lockheed Martin, Nike, Google, Square Inc; Northup Grumman, Alaska Airlines, Microsoft and IBM, the National Center has grown the number of businesses it supports from 200 per year, to more than 1,000.

Mr. James also leads the National Center’s advocacy work, coordinating with allies and tribal governments to hold local, state, and federal government officials accountable and constructively promoting policy changes that support access to capital and resources for small business incubation and growth. Under his leadership, the National Center has launched a Native Edge Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and the National Center now boasts over $4 billion in procurement it has helped National Center clients secure.

From 2011 – 2016, Mr. James was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Associate Administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where he led the Office of Field Operations, and the Office of Native American Affairs, and where he established the SBA’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Managing a workforce of over 800 people with an annual operating budget of more than $200 million, Mr. James oversaw programs and services that affected all 50 states and every U.S. territory, and served as a liaison to domestic and international corporate partners and stakeholders. Mr. James was also the officer on record for Tribal Consultation.

Among his accomplishments at SBA was the creation of Startup in a Day, which worked with cities and Native American communities to create streamlined platforms to allow entrepreneurs to apply for all relevant business permits in an expedited manner. Mr. James was also the agency lead on the SupplierPay program, which worked with nearly 50 Fortune 500 companies to speed up payments to suppliers.

Prior to SBA, Mr. James was an Associate Program Manager at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009-2011, serving as a liaison between the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Native American tribal governments, and other federal government agencies. During his tenure at Treasury, he approved over $120 million dollars in funding to deserving applicants, and helped grow the number of certified Native CDFIs by 30%.


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Chris Jeansonne, Jr.

APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

Chris Jeansonne is a Procurement Specialist at APEX Accelerator, serving in the APEX Accelerator’s newest satellite office location in Marksville, Louisiana.

Chris is a lifelong resident of Bunkie, Louisiana.  He attended school at Louisiana State University and is a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran. He has worked with the Federal Bureau of Prisons as an instructor and in 2008 received their Director’s Award for Distinguished Service.  He has also been honored by the U.S. Attorney General for Exceptional Heroism. Chris has two daughters, Natalie and Rylee.

Chris has over 20 years of regional operations management, serving as a financial director, sales, marketing and business development coordinator, Chief of Operations, and mentor.  He has been focused on establishing lasting relationships with staff, vendors and, most importantly clients, with one goal in mind: Providing the highest levels of customer appreciation and satisfaction. Chris’ ultimate goal in life is to make a positive difference in as many lives as possible.

Joan Begay Notah

Project Director

Joan Begay Notah is the Project Director for the Arizona Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Export Center. Previously, she served as the Senior Procurement Specialist for the PTAC program and dedicated more than 5 years to the program. She also served as the Interim Program Manager for the PTAC program. Prior to the PTAC, she was the Project Director for the AZ Native American Business Enterprise Center funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). She has over 25 years of experience in business development, grant management and federal procurement. Her NABEC program was recognized as MBDA’s highest performing program, highest number of awarded contracts and jobs.

She is a board member of the Dineh Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the board of directors for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, the Arizona State University Native American Alumni Board, and has served on the Indian Parent Committee for the Chandler Unified School District. Joan is a Certified Supplier Diversity Professional (CSDP) by the Alliance for Supplier Diversity Professionals (ASDP).

Joan is an enrolled member of the Diné (Navajo) Nation from the community of Kin-Dah-Lichi’i, near Ganado, Arizona. She graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and graduated with highest distinction with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Grand Canyon University.

Crystal Pierce

APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

Crystal (Cris) Pierce is a Procurement Specialist with APEX Accelerator hosted by the National Center. The American Indian APEX Accelerator assists American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian owned small businesses to effectively compete in government contracting on the federal, state, and local government levels. Cris works with businesses in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Eastern Region.

Cris has a long-standing relationship with the National Center and its predecessor, the United Indian Development Association (UIDA) that dates to the Decade Dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of UIDA. She was part of the first Indian Progress in Business (INPRO) Awards Dinner, the first Reservation Economic Summit (RES), and so many other firsts for the organization. She served the organization in many capacities including Project Director for the California Indian Business Development Center and for the North Carolina Native American Business Enterprise Center funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency. Cris returned in 2019 to the position of Procurement Specialist with the National Center American Indian APEX Accelerator. On hiatus from the National Center, Cris was Program Manager for the regional APEX Accelerator hosted by the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Oil City.

Cris is a member of APEX Accelerator and is a Certified Procurement Professional (CPP). Cris is a graduate of Niagara University. She pursued a career in government and public relations until she was introduced to the organization now known as the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

Mabel Tsosie

APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

Mabel Tsosie is the Procurement Specialist of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) American Indian APEX Accelerator at the Navajo Nation Satellite Office. Her previous positions with the NCAIED and APEX Accelerator include Lead Event Registration Consultant, Event Marketing Specialist for APEX Accelerator Matchmaking events & APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist Contractor. She has worked with NCAIED APEX Accelerator program since 2008.

Ms. Tsosie is a former employee as a contractor to the General Services Administration (GSA) when Federal Technology Services agency administered federal technology contracts for tribal/federal agencies and military installations. Mabel has over 20 years of experience in business and technology spanning into public and private sectors, having delivered professional services tailored to minority entities utilizing cultural competency with the Native Community with her business, Spottedhorse Infosystems LLC. Her experience with both Federal and Tribal Governments makes Mabel a welcome addition to the APEX Accelerator.

Even since she was young, Mabel was always fascinated with business machines. Her fascination became a passion when she obtained Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems at Arizona State University. Today, Mabel has a passion to infuse digital solutions into organizations with information and business management needs.

Lauryn Ross

Junior Staff Accountant

Lauryn Ross is the National Center’s Junior Staff Accountant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in art from Carroll University. Prior to the National Center, Lauryn was given the opportunity to work with the Cross Cultural Experience Program in Thailand. During her time there she was able to gain experience working with other cultures and even learned how to speak Thai. Lauryn is excited to be a part of the team and is eager to apply her knowledge and skills to the finance team.

During Lauryn’s free time she enjoys spending time with animals and quality time with her family. Her favorite hobbies include, painting and collecting puzzles.

Stan Sams

APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

Stan is the Colorado APEX Accelerator in the Denver, Colorado satellite office.  In 2011, the APEX Accelerator received the “Economic Impact Award” from the Association of APEX Accelerator for fostering significant economic impact through direct and acknowledged assistance to a APEX Accelerator client business in obtaining government contracts, thereby creating and retaining jobs.

Stan is a member of the Cherokee Nation and brings more than 25 years of business development and management experience to his role with the APEX Accelerator. He is well versed with the 8(a) program and various disadvantaged business certifications, having previously been a client of the APEX Accelerator, and gained these certifications with his own business.  His experience with federal, state, and local contracting procedures makes him a valuable resource for all Native-owned companies in Colorado.

Stan currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce and previously served as the Vice Board Chair. He also regularly devotes time to non-profits as a business, marketing, and brand advisor.

Stan holds a BFA Degree in Marketing Communications and Design from Colorado State University. He is also a member of several industry organizations in the marketing and design professions.

Jessamyn Tracy

Director of Special Projects

Jessamyn Tracy is the Project Director of the Native Edge Institute. A dynamic program manager, skilled trainer, expert analyst, and dedicated educator, Ms. Tracy has more than 20 years’ experience working with federal, state, and local agencies providing technical assistance, training, and consulting services. She has worked with nonprofits of all sizes serving national, local, and regional areas, helping them to build capacity and better fulfill their missions. Prior to the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, Ms. Tracy worked for the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center, Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and Alfred University.

Ms. Tracy has provided technical assistance and helped tribal communities build their response to violent crimes, particularly gendered violence. As a public speaker, she has provided keynotes, webinars, blended learning, and in-person training and assistance to over 4,000 professionals in the United States and its territories. Ms. Tracy has taught courses in research, social sciences, data analysis, and criminology at Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Alfred University, and Shenandoah University. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice from The Florida State University, and the Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School. Originally from Alaska, Ms. Tracy has resided in the national capital region for over a decade.

Adolfo Vasquez

APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist

LTC Adolfo E. Vasquez, USA, Ret., is currently a Procurement Technical Advisor with APEX Accelerator in New Mexico. He is also the Native American APEX Accelerator counselor and Veterans Advisor for New Mexico. Adolfo has served as the Deputy District Director for the NM Small Business Administration, and he is a former Commander of a Defense Contracts Management Area Office, a former Warranted federal contracting officer and is a Certified Verification Counselor for the Veteran Administration’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) program. He has over 35 years of experience as CEO, Procurement Officer, Administrative Contracting Officer, Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR), Quality Assurance Deputy Director, Deputy Federal Contracts Finance Comptroller and Federal Contracts Payment Operations Director. LTC (Ret) Vasquez is also a retired math and business development teacher in NM public schools for 15 years and an Adjunct Professor at University of New Mexico.

His “in the trenches” experience in logistics and program management, government contracting and procurement, FAR compliance, Quality Assurance, federal contract payments, fiscal accountability and small business development, training, counseling and marketing make him an invaluable consultant to any entrepreneur or seasoned business owner.

He holds an MBA with a minor in Contract and Logistics Management and is a graduate of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Certification Program. He retired as a DAWIA level 2 & 3 in Contracting, Production, Quality and Manufacturing, Program Management, Purchasing and Test and Evaluation. He also holds a Level 3 APTAC Certified Procurement Technical Advisor Certification. In 2014 and 2017 he was awarded the NM SBA Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year and the NM SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year awards respectively. LTC Vasquez is married. His wife Shannon and he have 5 grown children and 2 grandchildren and reside in the Placitas, New Mexico.

Kathleen Weeks

APEX Accelerator Senior Office Manager

Kathleen Weeks has been with the National Center APEX Accelerator since February 2013.  She started her position as the PTAC Administrative Assistant and within a few months was promoted to the PTAC Office Manager.  In October 2016, she took on a dual role as both Interim Executive Assistant and PTAC Office Manager until March of 2017 when she returned to her sole role as the Office Manager.  By 2020 she was wearing hats for multiple roles in addition to her previous duties, including marketing, graphic design, bookkeeping & accounting, and IT/computer maintenance, so thus she was promoted to Senior Office Manager.

Mrs. Weeks is a mother of four, which taught her how to organize everything.  Using this skill, she started volunteer work for the school system in the early 1990’s and was referred to as “the person to go to when you want to get things done” by the Superintendent of Marietta City Schools.  Again, acquiring many varied skills, she moved into the work force, with only a few business courses to show on her resume and almost no professional work history.  She went from substitute teaching, to organizing photo shoots for little league teams, to weekend supervisor for a litigation support services company owned by Brown College of Court Reporting.  Then she proved herself to the company manager and started her administrative role at Litigation Technologies in the late 1990s.

Kathleen has since acquired over 25 years of experience in the administrative management arena where she has handled a vast array of responsibilities from assistant positions to supervisory and management roles.  Her motto is, “I don’t claim to know everything, but if I don’t know it, then I WILL find out”.

George Williams

APEX Accelerator Program Manager

George Williams is the Program Manager of APEX Accelerator. His previous positions with the NCAIED include Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Interim Operations Manager & RES Sponsorship Coordinator, APEX Accelerator Program Manager, and APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist. He has worked with NCAIED APEX Accelerator program since 2000. Mr. Williams is a former employee of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, Georgia having worked for over sixteen years in the areas of Procurement, Subcontract Management, and Aircraft Manufacturing.

In 2011, the National Center American Indian APEX Accelerator received the “Economic Impact Award” from the APEX Accelerator centers for fostering significant economic impact through direct and acknowledged assistance to an APEX Accelerator client business in obtaining government contracts, thereby creating and/or retaining jobs.

Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. He is a Level III Certified Contracting Assistance Specialist with the APEX Accelerator and a Certified Supplier Diversity Professional with the Alliance of Supplier Diversity Professionals. He also serves as the Music Leader at Kingston United Methodist Church and supports other volunteer efforts in the local Kingston, GA area.

Rich Yehling

Chief Financial Officer

With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality and real estate development industries, Rich has established a successful track record of managing a variety of financial and administrative functions while partnering with the Executive team in the planning and execution of strategic objectives. As Chief Financial Officer, Rich has built efficient and effective teams within the Accounting/Finance arena, in addition to Sales, Information Technology, Human Resources and Purchasing functions.

Rich served as Chief Financial Officer of the Phoenician Resort (Scottsdale, AZ), shortly after its opening, and was a member of the executive team that took this 650-room luxury property to a 5-Diamond, 5-Star status, the only one to be recognized as such in the Southwest U.S. After a 9-year tenure with the Phoenician, he was recruited by Desert Mountain Properties (Scottsdale, AZ), a premier 2,400 member, private master-planned community encompassing 8,600 acres and boasting 6-Jack Nicklaus designed Signature golf courses. He served as Co-President and Chief Financial Officer over the course of 12 successful and demanding years.

Rich continued in the role of Chief Financial Officer with Pacific Links International, a start-up golf owner/management and golf member subscription company founded in Beijing, China. During his 6-year tenure, he built and staffed the infrastructure for two regional offices located in Oahu, HI and Las Vegas, NV, servicing approximately 675 employees. Rich was engaged as a transaction specialist in his final three years with Pacific Links, assisting the President and ownership with the divesture of 12 golf courses located in the U.S. Recently, Rich completed a 2-year stint as General Manager with The Springs, a 817-private residential and golf community located in Rancho Mirage, CA.

Rich is a graduate of the University of Denver, and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Arizona. Rich currently resides in Chandler, AZ, with his wife and 2 sons, and enjoys scuba diving, photography, and travel.