RES California To Address Economic Diversification, Energy, Internet Gaming and More

"Sustaining Economic Momentum" is the theme of RES (Reservation Economic Summit) California, hosted by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, June 17-19. The event will kick-off with a golf tournamet at Pechanga’s beautiful, award-winning Journey Golf Resort.

Presenting sponsors include Chuckchansi, Incorporated, a tribal enterprise dedicated to diversifying the economic holdings of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California, and Native American Financial Services Association, which provides vital services to tribal governments serving the under-banked with better short-term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country for the benefit of our tribal communities.

Anticipated attendees to the three-day event are respected tribal leaders, state and local elected officials, and top CEOs. The event will feature networking and teaming opportunities, a three part Tribal leadership seminar, business development sessions, a business trade show, an American Indian art market and much more.

RES California is part of the expansion of the NCAIED’s highly successful National Reservation Economic Summit (National RES). Next year's annual National RES will be held March 17-20, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Below, Indian Country Today Media Network breaks down a few select RES California forums and panel sessions.

Tribal Business Leaders Forum

Sponsored by the NOVA Corporation, the Tribal Business Leaders Forum is a dynamic collaboration between executives of Tribal Enterprises and Alaska Native Corporations. Tribal Business Leaders will communicate their experiences regarding Indian Country’s economic development, accomplishments, obstacles and aspirations with each other in order to build Tribal economic alliances and broaden the scope of domestic and global economic opportunity for Indian country.

Gary Davis, NCAIED President and CEO, will moderate the discussion between Tony Sanchez, Jr., president of the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Chance Alberta, chairman of Chukchansi, Inc.; Derrick Watchman, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprises and chairman of the NCAIED; and Randy Wilson, chief operating officer and executive vice president of NOVA Corporation.

Tribal Economic Diversification: Tribes Diversifying Primary Revenues and Growing Economies in 2013 and Beyond

The first track on economic development delves into tribal economic diversification and growing economies in 2013 and beyond. Progressive tribes are recognizing the declines in gaming revenue and federal funding, states the NCAIED agenda, and they are planning for future sustainability. They are taking into account what will lead to successful financial growth with respect to their culturally rich communities.

This panel discussion will focus on how to successfully use planning to accomplish key priorities by identifying and prioritizing core issues facing Native Nations; establishing realistic goals, objectives and actions in line with the overall "big picture"; building consensus and developing ownership throughout Tribal business organizations; focusing available funding and staffing resources on key priorities; creating more effective economic development direction and priorities for your Tribe or organization.

Moderator Kip Ritchie, COO, Potawatomi Business Development Corporation and NCAIED Board Member, will engage Brian Patterson, president of the United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. and Bear Clan Representative to the Oneida Indian Nation’s Men’s Council and Clan Mothers; as well as Jamie Fullmer, chairman and CEO of Blue Stone Strategy Group; and John Mooers, president of Blue Stone Strategy Group.

Renewable Energy Investment, IRS Investment Tax Credit and the Solar Opportunity

This panel will focus on three topics pertinent to California Tribes:

1) Renewable energy as an investment from Electric Vehicles to Solar Farms,

2) The recent IRS ruling on the Investment Tax Credit and what it means for Tribes, and

3) Solar Distributed Generation and Net Metering in California.

Panelists include Richard Tall Bear, CEO of Tall Bear Solar and NCAIED Board Member; Mark Sampson, vice chairman and EVP of Potomac Energy Fund; and Elliot Hinds, partner at Akin Gump in Los Angeles.

Sovereign Nations and E-Commerce Business and Employment Opportunities in the Financial Services Industry

Tribal lending companies can provide positive economic development impact, and benefit their communities through social giving, education, employment and increased opportunity, both on and off reservation lands. This breakout session teaches how to develop and provide financial products and services, which responsibly meet consumer need with transparency, value and convenience.

Moderator Barry Brandon, executive director of the Native American Finance Services Association, will host the session with panelists Rob Rosette, partner at Rosette LLP, and Dr. Kate Spilde, director of research at the Native American Finance Services Association.

Economic Development: The Business of Food

A session dedicated to the food services industry, a multibillion dollar and growing sector in Indian country, will cover a cross-spectrum of areas, including wine and wild rice to food bars and orange juice. The focus is how Tribes and Native entrepreneurs can gain momentum and create sustainability to ensure Indian country competes without he global food services supply chain.

The session will be moderated by Ross Racine, executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. Panelists are Mark Tilsen, president of the Native American Natural Foods; David Lewis, corporate vice president of sales development at Food Services America; John Dembeck, director of business development at the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc.

Energy: Tribal Utility Formation and Financing

Learn why the opportunity in Indian country for Tribal Nations to create their own Tribal utilities has never been better. Tribes can provide energy at rates of return more favorable to tribal members than local utility, and Tribal utilities can buy power at wholesale as efficiently as local utilities, states the RES California agenda.

John Lewis, chairman of the Gila River Indian Community Utility Authority, will moderate the discussion with George Tiger, principal chief of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and Brian McDonald, tribal liaison of public affairs for the Southern California Edison.

Finance: New Market Tax Credits

On April 24, 2013, the U.S. Treasury announced $3.5 billion in New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Awards. Unfortunately, no Native Community Development Enterprises (NCDE) was selected for an award. Briefly, the NMTC Program permits taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in investment vehicles known as Community Development Entities. In Indian country, those are the NCDEs. The NMTC, established by Congress in December 2000, permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income tabbies for making equity investments in vehicles known as Community Development Entities. The credit provided to the investor totals 39 percent of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a seven-year period. For every dollar invested by the Federal government, the NMTC Program generates over $8 in private investment. This strong record of spurring economic growth is one of the reasons why President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 budget included an expansion and permanent extension of the New Markets Tax Credit. This panel will dicsuss the "real world" of Indian country NMTC and the process for making informed decisions. The NCAIED will feature both scenarios in which a decision was made to initiate a project and a decision not to use this initiative for a reservation-based project.

Moderator: Pat Parker, CEO of Native AMerican Management Services and NCAIED board member, will lead Karlene Hunter, CEP and co-founder of Native American Natural Foods and NCAIED board member; Charles Cayton, director of government operations at Harrison, Walker & Harper; and Michael Bland, CDE manager at Travois, Inc. in discussion.

"The Way" Leadership Advantage Seminar Presented by Chukchansi, Inc.

The Way, Inc. will present concepts from its Leadership Advantage Seminar suite at RES California, including Dr. Robert Watts, “People Are Never The Problem”, “Swim SidewayZ”, and “L.A.D.S.”

For more information, download the RES agenda via the conference website:

Internet Gaming

This breakout session will help participants determine if their tribe is ready for online gaming. With Internet gaming legislation looming in several states, this session will bring attendees up to speed on new developments as well as regulatory structures and their unique provisions for online Tribal gaming operations.

The panel will address sovereignty, taxation and the economic benefits of online gaming for Indian country. Panelists will additionally discuss preparations tribes should take now from finding the right software partner to specifics around marketing your online gaming platform.

Moderator Rob Rosette, partner at  Rosette LLP, will  lead the conversation with James Williams, Jr., chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association and NCAIED board member. Also invited is Gerry Gionet, founder of GEObet Online Gaming Network.

For the full RES agenda, visit the conference website at


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RES California To Address Economic Diversification, Energy, Internet Gaming and More