Penobscot Nation Hires Reagan Appointee to Help Grow its Economy


The Penobscot Indian Nation has hired the former inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency during the Ronald Reagan Administration to help stimulate economic growth for the tribe, reported the Bangor Daily News.

Matthew Novick, 78, joined Penobscot Indian Nation Enterprises (PINE), the tribal-owned holding company that aims to generate revenue and create jobs for its people by participating in the global economy, on March 26. Novick will help expand PINE's portfolio and oversee its contract compliance.

Tribal Chief Kirk Francis met Novick in early 2012 at a conference in Tampa, Florida, where Novick resides.

Francis said the tribe started PINE in 2005 when it encountered rough economic times and business at its bingo hall took a dive. “We’re very much in our infancy with this and have had huge success so far,” Francis said. “More than we ever imagined, I think.”

Among its projects, PINE is in the process of obtaining permits for a planned commercial wind farm in Franklin County.

“I was just enamored with what he’s trying to do,” Novick said March 27 at PINE headquarters on Indian Island, Maine, reported Bangor Daily News. “It’s a small tribe. He’s trying to build it economically, and I think he’s on the right track.”

Novick said he plans to evaluate the company's organization and recommend ways to improve operations and bring more contracts and job opportunities to the tribe.

Novick's prior government positions (he also worked as a budget analyst for the Department of Defense, according to The American Presidency Project, during the Vietnam War under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, among other positions) prevent him from working for any companies that deal with the government, he said. But there is a loophole that permits former government officials to work with tribes that contract with federal government entities.

And Novick has a strong track record of working with Indian nations. Novick played a pivotal role in starting Choctaw Management Services Enterprise, created to spur federal grants and contracts for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In its first year, the tribal enterprise earned $20 million in revenue. Within the next five years, it opened contracts with the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service and Department of Defense, and grew to $100 million per year, he said.

In his most recent role, Novick served as chief operating officer for Goldbelt-Cedar LLC, an Alaska Native Corp.