Alejandra Y. Castillo, national director of the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency
Published June 13, 2016
TULSA — This summer, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center) will host its second regional Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Oklahoma at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa, just outside of Tulsa.
The event will take place from July 11-14 and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation Businesses will serve as presenting sponsors of the event for the second time. The Hard Rock played host to the first regional RES in 2012, which has since expanded to all corners of the country.
RES Oklahoma will bring together tribal leaders, elected officials, representatives from business, established or aspiring Native American business owners, and many more to learn, brainstorm, collaborate, and network in an innovative and motivational atmosphere.
Alejandra Y. Castillo, national director of the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, will keynote at RES Oklahoma and also moderate a panel at the conference entitled, “Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Our Diversity.”
“Our first regional RES event, RES Oklahoma, laid the foundation for expanding our National RES event into successful regional RES events held nationwide,” said National Center President and CEO Gary Davis. “The National Center is excited to return to Oklahoma to host another powerful RES event at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with such tremendous support from the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses. So much opportunity was facilitated for attendees at our last RES Oklahoma event and I look forward to all the opportunity that will present itself to RES Oklahoma attendees this year. We are particularly pleased that MBDA National Director Castillo, who has worked tirelessly with the National Center to advance economic opportunity in Indian Country, will be keynoting at RES Oklahoma. We hope tribes and tribal entities, as well as corporate America, come out in full force for this top-flight business event taking place in the heart of Indian Country.”
In addition to seminars and sessions across a wide variety of topics and countless networking opportunities, the Office of Environmental Management and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) within the Department of Energy (DOE) will also host a Business Opportunity forum at RES Oklahoma. J. E. “Jack” Surash, P.E., DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition & Project Management and OSDBU Director John Hale III will be participating in the forum. Mr. Surash is responsible for developing and implementing site and project specific acquisition and contract strategies and for overseeing placement and execution of all Office of Environmental Management (EM) contracts in the field. These offices seek to partner with tribal entities in the cleanup effort of the Manhattan Project and the nuclear legacy of America’s Cold War defense, which is valued at approximately $6 billion per year. Topics to be discussed include the status of ongoing and upcoming procurement opportunities.
RES Oklahoma will feature RES staples such as its Native American business trade show, a Buy Native Procurement Matchmaking Expo, and an Interactive Access to Capital Fair. RES Oklahoma will again offer a one-day Entrepreneurship Boot Camp to help assist and strength American Indian small businesses.
The National Center is also excited to host its second Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!), a day-long event designed for Native high school and college-aged students interested in business and entrepreneurship to hone their skills and learn more about what it takes to become successful in business. Participants learn from accomplished entrepreneurs about the strategies, skills, and best practices that have helped them reach their business dreams. The first YES! took place at last fall at RES New Mexico, where over 200 Native youth attended.
The last RES event was National RES at the Mirage in Las Vegas, where the National Center celebrated 30 years of RES. Approximately 4,000 people were on hand to celebrate a momentous anniversary for the largest business event in Indian Country.