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American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona Appoints First-Ever Executive Director

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Loren Tapahe, a member of the Navajo Nation, was appointed as the first-ever executive director of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona.

The chamber's board president, Carlyle Begay, announced Tapahe's new role at its May 2011 networking luncheon.

"This is a momentous occasion not only for the Chamber, but for those American Indian businesses in Arizona who look to the Chamber for support, especially during these tough economic times," Begay said at the luncheon.

The chamber was founded in 1995 to support American Indian businesses and entrepreneurs in Arizona. The chamber has operated the last 16 years through the volunteer efforts of its board of directors.

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Tapahe has been a chamber member since its inception, and has also served in a board capacity for several years, followed by volunteering as the board's president in 2007 and 2008. An active business owner in the American Indian community through his own endeavors, Tapahe most prominently served as publisher and owner of Arizona's only statewide American Indian monthly newspaper, Arizona Native Scene.

Tapahe's media background runs deep; he served as the general manager for the Navajo Times in the early 1980s and as the press officer and later the chief of staff for the fourth president of the Navajo Nation: Milton Bluehouse. Tapahe has also worked with the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development for several years assisting Navajo entrepreneurs with business plan development and loan packaging.

"The Chamber is reaching another level of exciting development. With Mr. Tapahe's expertise and experience, the board is confident in Mr. Tapahe as managing the growth of the organization and expansion of services over the next couple of years," Begay continued. "He has extensive knowledge, network and understanding of issues pertaining to business growth and development."

Once Tapahe begins his new position on June 6, 2011, Loren will help establish and open a chamber headquarters, stated the chamber's press release. Members can also expect to see more trainings and seminars, networking opportunities and the expansion of services and discounts offered through their annual memberships.