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RES 2009 goes green and global

LAS VEGAS – With a rapid expansion in “green” development in so many business sectors and a promise of stimulus funding for environmentally sensitive projects, the 23rd Annual Reservation Economic Summit is right on target with its theme of “Going Global, Thinking Green, Generating Growth.”

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development will host the event, known as RES 2009, from March 9 – 12 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

This is NCAIED’s 40th anniversary. The nonprofit organization, which a small group of American Indian leaders began in 1969 as a grassroots economic development organization, has blossomed over the years into the largest and longest running national American Indian business development conference and trade show in the country.

Attendees include American Indian entrepreneurs, tribal economic and business development decision-makers, tribal leaders, government and corporate executives and buyers and sellers seeking Indian suppliers and contractors.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s conference with more than 350 trade fair exhibitors. The RES 2009 Arts and Crafts section is sold out.

Ron Solimon, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and chairman of NCAIED’s board of directors, outlines some of the unique opportunities of RES 2009 in an audio announcement on the center’s Web site at www.ncaied.org.

“A couple of highlights include great networking opportunities with top corporate, government and American Indian tribal business leaders as well as a trade fair, a procurement pavilion, and more than two dozen informative learning sessions,” he said.

The conference is packed with presentations, breakout sessions, receptions, networking opportunities and other events. Each day begins with a general presentation followed by breakout sessions. The session tracks are categorized as teaming, global, green, growth and tribal.

The RES 2009 Opening Welcome Session Tuesday, March 10, will kick off the conference with remarks on the event theme. The opening remarks will be followed by a number of breakout sessions over the course of the conference that will address key business topics in Indian country with a special focus on green issues and renewable energy sectors. Planned presentation titles include “Developing Green Careers,” “Green Native Energy Projects,” “Opportunities with Major Corporations Going Green,” “Government Green and Contracting Updates” and “Generating Green Business.”

Other presentations will include a Tuck School of Business training session called “Working Together to Build Business,” and breakout sessions called “Teaming with Unions to Rebuild America,” “Distance Learning on the Rez,” and timely discussion on “Accessing Economic Opportunities through the Stimulus Package.”

A new feature at RES 2009 is the American Indian Business Trading Post, which is designed to give tribal governments, tribal casinos, tribally owned and large individually owned American Indian companies access to quality American Indian suppliers from across the country. The Trading Post is powered by a proprietary software system that matches tribes and tribal businesses with types of American Indian businesses that best suit their needs.

This Native to Native (N2N) business activity is the result of a new partnership between NCAIED and the National Indian Gaming Association. The N2N initiative is expected to generate a significant amount of buzz and business opportunity.

RES networking paid off for Travis N. Parashonts, CEO and chairman of the tribally owned Suh’dutsing Technologies. Parashonts, a member of the Cedar Band of Paiutes of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, founded the company which provides IT systems and services to the government and private industry. RES gave Suh’dutsing Technologies the exposure and opportunity to market itself, Parashonts said.

“We were given an opportunity to make a presentation during RES that resulted in a 5-year contract worth $200 million. That is wonderful news for our IT company. We were also able to develop positive relationships with other major IT companies who were there presenting. I found it to be a positive and productive conference.”

This year’s RES will also feature the 21st Annual National Center Golf Classic at the Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock. Golfers will be provided with meals and refreshments throughout the day, a golf shirt, goodie bags filled with giveaways and business networking opportunities.

RES 2009 aims to generate $1 billion in contracts with the goal of increasing collective Native buying power and economic stability within each nation. It’s a natural and logical development for the indigenous peoples who first developed trade on the continent, said Margo Gray-Proctor, Osage, the president of Horizon Engineering Services Company and vice-chair of the NCAIED board of directors.

“Now more than ever, Native Americans are joining forces to compete in business and industry at the very top levels in the U.S. and abroad,” she said. “Our ancestors developed the first commerce and trade systems in America, so it is fitting that we once again find our voice in this arena – and RES 2009 is the place to hear and be heard.”