NCAIED Board Of DirectorsThe Dedicated Individuals Serving The National Center For American Indian Enterprise Development
Derrick Watchman is President and Owner of Sagebrush Hill Group LLC, a gaming, banking, finance, and economic development advisory, acquisition and development company. Derrick is a member of the Navajo Nation and was raised on the Navajo reservation. He is the former Chief Executive Officer for the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, the gaming operator for the Navajo Nation casinos. Formerly, he was the Chief Financial Officer for Navajo Gaming. Prior 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. Previously, he worked for Wells Fargo Bank managing 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 a member of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development board of directors and a director for the Native American Bank, Denver, Colorado. Mr. Watchman holds a MBA from the University of California and a Bachelors degree from the University of Arizona.
Burton W. Warrington – Menominee, Prairie Band Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk currently serves as the President of Indian Ave Group (IAG), a business consulting firm and Of-Counsel to Fletcher Law, PLLC, a law firm providing clients with both legal representation and strategic public policy consulting services. Mr. Warrington’s career includes a unique mix of legal, business, management and policy experience. As President & CEO of Prairie Band, LLC he developed and managed the economic holding company for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. As a Counselor to the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs – U.S. Department of Interior during President Obama’s first term, he was involved in a variety of national issues including Indian gaming, economic and energy development, fee-to-trust issues, and natural resource and cultural rights protection.
Mr. Warrington is a licensed attorney who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration – Tribal Management from Haskell Indian Nations University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he also received his Tribal Lawyer Certificate.
TreasurerNANA 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.
SecretaryUrban 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.
President and CEO
Chris James has served as the President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development since January of 2017. He is responsible for guiding the organization in its day-to-day operations and implementing its longterm strategic initiatives and vision. Prior to joining the National Center, Chris was an Associate Administrator at the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA), worked in Native American Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and managed the Sequoyah Fund – an enterprise of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
From 2011 – 2016, Chris served as Associate Administrator at SBA, where he was a Senior Executive Service (SES) appointee of President Barack Obama overseeing both the Office of Field Operations, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Office of Native American Affairs. His extensive portfolio included Native American outreach, program management, and tribal consultation.
While at SBA, Chris’s responsibilities included representing the SBA at White House events and in state, local, and congressional affairs, as well as serving as a liaison to domestic and international corporate partners and stakeholders. He also established and oversaw SBA’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. As the head of the Office of Field Operations, he managed a workforce of over 800 people with an annual operating budget of over $200 million, and worked on programs and services that affected all 50 states and every U.S. territory. He was also the officer on record for Tribal Consultation, and worked with the White House and senior cabinet officials to craft best practices for accomplishing economic development in Native American communities.
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. Over 100 communities took a public pledge agreeing to simplify the business formation requirements for entrepreneurs in their areas. He was also the agency lead on the SupplierPay program, which encouraged private companies to quickly reimburse their suppliers. Nearly fifty Fortune 500 companies took the pledge.
While at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009-2011, Chris acted as liaison between the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Native American tribal governments, and other federal government agencies and approved over $120 million dollars in funding to deserving applicants. In part thanks to his leadership, the number of certified Native CDFIs increased by 30%, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program saw an increase in applicants.
During his time working in the federal government, Chris was an active member of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, the White House Rural Council, White House Community Solutions Task Force, and the White House Interagency Group on Insular Affairs.
Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Chris was the Associate Director for the Cherokee, NC-based Sequoyah Fund. While there, he was responsible for the daily operations of the fund, which is a Native American CDFI and an enterprise of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He has a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master of Entrepreneurship from Western North Carolina University.
Mr. James is originally from Cherokee, North Carolina – home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – and is of Cherokee descent. His family has owned small businesses on the Qualla Boundary for more than 50 years. Chris, who is based in the Phoenix metro area, is married and has three school-aged children.
DirectorJohn 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.
DirectorMargo Gray is President of Margo Gray & Associates. 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 a Board member for the American Indian Business Network Board Member for National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). She also an active 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 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 her Osage 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
President | Greenfire Management Services, LLC
Forest County Potawatomi tribal member, Kip Ritchie, serves as President of Greenfire Management Services, LLC—a subsidiary of the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation (PBDC) located in Milwaukee, WI. Prior to his appointment as President of Greenfire, Ritchie served as Interim CEO/COO, for the PBDC. He is a founding member and served on its Board of Directors from 2003-2008. Prior to his appointment as COO in 2009, Kip served as Senior VP for the PBDC for four years.
Ritchie’s career in Indian Country began in 1997 when he joined Potawatomi Bingo Casino as Director of Marketing and was later promoted to Assistant General Manager.
Ritchie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. In addition to serving on the Board of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development, Kip serves on the Board of Directors for the Native American Contractors Association, Children’s Health Alliance, Froedtert Hospital Foundation, Blue Stone Strategy Group, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, New Mexico Community Capital, Northern Lights Community Development and Mno Bmadsen Corporation—the economic development arm of the Pokagon Potawatomi Tribe. Since 1999, 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.
Ernie Stevens, Jr.
DirectorErnie 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.
DirectorCharlie Galbraith is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and partner in the Native American Practice Group at Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Galbraith served in the Obama White House as Deputy Associate Counsel for Presidential Personnel and as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs where he managed the relationship of the White House with all Tribal Governments and Native American people. Before working for the White House, Mr. Galbraith served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, and as a Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Tim Johnson in his Washington, D.C. Senate Office. He also worked for then-Senator Barack Obama during his first campaign for President by organizing the Native American Domestic Policy Committee, which comprised a nationwide group of tribal leaders and activists. When not at work Charlie enjoys being outdoors and can often be found running, cycling, mountain climbing, hiking, kayaking and playing basketball and baseball.
Joel Frank Sr.
DirectorJoel 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.
Ronald J. Solimon
DirectorRon 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.
DirectorJoan 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.
DirectorHelvi Sandvik is the President of Kidways, LLC., a management consulting firm focused on strategic planning, business development and execution, serving indigenous and non-indigenous clients across the US and Internationally.
Prior to establishing Kidways, LLC., Helvi served as the President of NANA Development Corporation, for 17 years. She was responsible for leading a management team and overseeing the growth of the company. During her tenure, NANA Development grew from a company with annual revenues of $50 million to one of revenues of over $1.5 billion, employing more than 15,000 people worldwide, serving clientele in a variety of business sectors, including government contracting, oil, gas, and mining support, hospitality and professional and management services. Through the successful execution of its business strategy, NANA operations eventually extended from above the Arctic Circle to Australia; to 50 states nine countries and four continents
Helvi is originally from the northwest Alaska village of Kiana. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Prior to joining NANA, she spent 12 years with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation where she served as transportation planner, director of statewide aviation, and finally deputy commissioner.
Throughout her career Sandvik has been involved in a number of local and national organizations. She currently is a director of the Alaska Air Group, and its three subsidiaries, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Airlines, and Virgin America. She is a past commissioner of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, former chair of the Seattle branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and former chair of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a Board member of the Native American Contractors Association, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the Alaska Energy Authority, and United Way of Anchorage. She has also served as an advisor and Trustee for the Aqqaluk Trust, a non-
profit organization that supports educational scholarships, Inupiaq language revitalization, and cultural sustainability of the northwest Arctic Region.
Sandvik has received numerous awards in recognition of her professional and personal achievements.
Lillian Sparks Robinson
DirectorLillian Sparks Robinson is the CEO and Owner of Wopila Consulting, LLC, an American Indian and woman owned small business that provides a wide range of specialized consulting and strategic development services to federal, state, and tribal government clients.
A member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Lillian has worked in Washington, D.C. for nearly 20 years, devoting her career to supporting the educational pursuits of Native American students, protecting the rights of indigenous people, and empowering tribal communities. In 2010, Lillian was appointed by President Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve as the Commissioner for the Administration for Native Americans. In this role, she worked on programs and policy impacting Native languages and education, social development, and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Prior to her service at ANA, Lillian served as the Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), where she worked extensively on education policy and appropriations impacting American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. A former staff attorney at the National Congress of American Indians, Lillian has received numerous awards and recognition, including being named as one of seven young Native American Leaders by USA Today Magazine, one of “40 Under 40” from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, and American Indian Woman of the Year.
A graduate of Morgan State University and Georgetown University Law Center, Lillian resides in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, Corey and son, Connor.