A new joint venture unites two Albuquerque, New Mexico-based companies—one Native American-owned company with expertise in environmental services and working directly with tribes, and one that has spent several decades invested in major environmental cleanup programs.
Native-owned Keres Consulting, Inc. (Keres) has teamed up with Eberline Services, Inc. (Eberline Services), a radiological and environmental services provider, to create Keres Eberline Joint Venture, positioned to respond to federal environmental program opportunities set-aside for Native-owned businesses.
Among the venture’s targets, Keres Eberline Joint Venture will pursue environmental procurements associated with the Navajo Nation uranium mine cleanup, the Buy Indian Act, and Department of Defense contracts utilizing the Indian Incentive Program.
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Timothy Chavez, a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, founded Keres Consulting, Inc., in 2001. Chavez, Keres President and managing partner of Keres Eberline Joint Venture, hopes the strategic partnership will lead to federal contracts for cleanup of abandoned Navajo uranium mines, while providing jobs for Navajos. If awarded a contract, Keres Eberline intends to recruit Navajo workers, generating economic opportunity in remote areas. The DoD Indian Incentive Program provides a 5 percent rebate to subcontract to Indian-owned companies or organizations.
Federal contracting is an increasingly competitive market. “This joint venture creates a small business with diverse capabilities in environmental and radiological services—backed by a collective 75 years of professional services to federal agencies nationwide,” Chavez said in a press release. “We are excited about the possibilities and anxious to bring new work to the Native American-owned small business community.”
Chavez, an environmental engineer, has extensive experience working with tribal environmental issues throughout New Mexico and at Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) throughout the U.S.
Anthony Sattlou, president of Eberline Services and minority partner with Keres Eberline, said the history of Eberline Services follows many of the major environmental cleanup programs over the last 60 years, including the $2.3 billion River Corridor Closure Project, the nation’s largest environmental cleanup closure project, home to more than 760 solid and liquid waste sites associated with plutonium production near the Columbia River in Richland, Washington.
“Through this strategic partnership with Keres, we will extend this strong past performance and experience in environmental cleanup and apply it to environmental programs benefiting Native America,” Sattlou said in a release.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supporting a decades-long environmental cleanup initiative of abandoned mines funded by the responsible parties on Navajo Nation land with budgets expected to be in the billions of dollars. The Buy Indian Act gives the U.S. Department of Interior and its Bureaus authority to set-aside procurements for qualified Indian Economic Enterprises or Indian Small Business Economic Enterprises. All of these federal programs give preference to companies with Native American ownership equal to 51 percent or more.