Are you interested in teaching for The Falmouth Institute? Click here for more information.
John William (Bill) Cadotte
Maria K. Clark
Dr. James Floyd
Marissa J. Gehley
Brenda S. Golden
Christopher M. Grant
Lisa D. Harjo
Timothy J. Humphrey Sr.
Vernon G. Lujan
Anita Shah DeHaan
Christopher T. Stearns
Gina St. George
Colleen C. Whitehead
Jenny Andretich is an instructor for the Falmouth Institute who joined our team in May, 2010. Ms. Andretich comes to us with 9 years of experience in the food service industry. She has worked for two of the nation's top food service companies. She is currently the food service director at the corporate headquarters of the American Dental Association in Chicago, IL. Prior to managing the cafe and conference center at the ADA, Ms. Andretich was the retail manager at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL and the Food Service Director at Governor's State University in University Park, IL. Her areas of expertise include human resources, food service, and asset management. She also holds a B.A. in History and Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Adam Bailey, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, joined the law firm Hobbs Straus as an associate in February 2013. He is a 2011 graduate of the UCLA School of Law, where he received his J.D. with a specialization in Critical Race Studies. During law school, Mr. Bailey was an active member and officer of NALSA. He worked on UCLA’s Journal of Environmental Law and Policy and the Dukeminier Awards Journal on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law. Mr. Bailey was a term-time clerk for the Hualapai Court of Appeals and the Hopi Tribal Appeals Court. He was also a member of the UCLA Law Review, where he was selected to be a Senior Editor. He authored his student note entitled Threading the Needle: The Fort Peck Tribe’s Associate Membership: A Modern Model for Tribal Affiliation.
Mr. Bailey has returned to Hobbs Straus, having worked for four years in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as a legislative specialist before enrolling in law school. Prior to his previous work at the firm he served as a legislative associate for the National Congress of American Indians. Immediately after graduation from the UCLA School of Law, Mr. Bailey practiced labor and employment law for Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton.
Mr. Bailey graduated with honors from Harvard University. His thesis exploring President Clinton’s executive order on tribal consultation received magna cum laude.
Mr. Bailey enjoys fishing and hunting, hiking, cooking, traveling, keeping current on news and politics.
Mr. Bantum is the President of Bantum Consulting Services, which specializes in providing Information Technology consulting services to faith based, non-profit, for profit, governmental and healthcare organizations. He has over 25 years of accounting and technology consulting experience, including experience in providing consulting, database and forensic accounting services to the healthcare industry. Raymond is a CPA, a CITP (Certified Information Technology Professional) and a CMC (Certified Management Consultant). He has served in the U.S. Air Force and received a Top Secret Security clearance while in service to his country. He was also an auditor with the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche. He is a member of the AICPA, the Maryland Association of CPA’s, and the National Association of Black Accountants.
Brien Law, LLC is wholly-owned by Russell A. Brien. A member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, he has been practicing law since 1993. His practice has been broad based, including work in general business, bankruptcy, municipal, corporate, securities and real estate.
In addition to his active Indian law practice, Mr. Brien frequently speaks on Indian law and reservation-based economic development at seminars across the country. In his business and finance practice, he has represented one of the largest servicers of commercial mortgage loans in North America. During his career, Mr. Brien has represented issuers, sellers and servicers in securitization transactions involving the issuance, on an aggregate basis, of over $150 billion in securities backed by mortgage loans. In connection with this practice, he's listed in the Best Lawyers in America for Structured Finance Law.
Mr. Brien graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1992. During his time in Ann Arbor, he was an active member of the Native American Law Students Association, serving as President during the 1991-1992 academic year. Mr. Brien earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 1989, where he was recognized as a Summerfield Scholar.
Christopher Burke is an experienced trainer in the fields of management, leadership, workforce development and construction. In addition to teaching for Falmouth Institute, he currently serves as a Project Manager for the Gila River Indian Community, where he manages up to 50 employees on a variety of projects, ranging from remodels to turnkey subdivisions. As the owner of TruWest Construction from 1999-2009, Mr. Burke oversaw successful completion of an average of 10 major projects per year on the general side of the business and up to 100 homes per year on the framing side of the business. Mr. Burke’s real-world experience managing projects and people in Indian Country, his contagious enthusiasm for learning and growing, his ability to communicate clearly and effectively in the classroom and beyond, and his strong people skills make him a valued adjunct faculty member with Falmouth Institute.
Melanie Burkhart, OD Specialist II and National Strategy Manager for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of WI, brings over 18 years of experience working within the Tribal Structure. She worked for many years in the Human Resource field specializing in interviewing, project management, facilitation, team building, consensus building, and conflict resolution. As the National Strategy Manager she worked closely with Executive and Divisional level staff with their strategy execution, including developing objectives, measures and implementation. Her current role is with the Oneida Business Committee, helping with their reorganization efforts and reviewing strategy, vision and mission. She has been conducting orientation with newly elected Business Committee members for the past 12 years.
Ms. Burkhart has many years of experience working on organizational development projects, including HRIS system implementation, policy analysis, compensation study, and most recently Balanced Scorecard. She has a BA in Business Management and Communications and an MA in Organizational Behavior.
Karla Bylund, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, has over twenty years of experience in the Human Resources profession, fifteen of which has been at the Manager and Director level. The majority of Ms. Bylund’s career has been in Indian Country, having worked for the Prairie Band Potawatomi, Sac and Fox Nation, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Sandia Pueblo and the Pueblo of Pojoaque. She has worked in both gaming and non-gaming industries, and holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Bylund’s professional accomplishments include developing, implementing, and managing an effective tribal member employment program, revising and successfully implementing employee handbooks, and consistently reducing turnover rates and increasing team member satisfaction ratings. Her action-oriented approach in the workplace is mirrored by her active and engaging teaching style. In the course of Ms. Bylund’s career she has developed many effective training programs in customer service, leadership development, supervisory skills, sexual harassment and compliance. Ms. Bylund believes in leaving an organization better than she found it and has developed many of her own successors over the years.
John William (Bill) Cadotte
Born in Duluth, MN in 1946 one of three sons of John and Marie Cadotte, Bill Cadotte is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. He and his wife Jacqui-Marie (Miller), a member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe in northern Minnesota and of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans in northern Wisconsin, have three sons and a daughter and are the proud grandparents of eleven grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Mr. Cadotte graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974, from Mankato State University with a M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation in 1982 and from Stanford University with a M.S. in Business Management in 1987. He has worked for the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe for the past 40 years, serving in various roles, including Executive Director, Comptroller, General Manager, Contracting Officer, Tribal Economic Development Special Projects Officer, and currently, Chief Procurement Officer. Mr. Cadotte has been actively involved with the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and youth hockey programs of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe.
Mr. Cadotte formerly served as a Board member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and the Minority Business Development Board for the Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce. He serves on the Wisconsin Economic Policy Board, which is charged with the responsibility of assisting the Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce to establish and implement broad economic development policies for the State.
His personal strength comes from his family, being a singer with the Badger Drum of Lac Courte Oreilles and as a member of the ChiDeWeigan Society.
Olin Calderon is a Human Resources professional with over fifteen years of experience working in various industries on and off Indian Country. Mr. Calderon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Human Resources Management from the University of New Mexico. He has the distinguished designations of being a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) from World-at-Work Society of Certified Professionals, a Certified Labor Relations Professional (CLRP) from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute, and a Certified Professional from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM-CP). Along with Mr. Calderon’s advanced certifications in Human Resources, he is currently a trained workplace mediator and a member of Pi Alpha Alpha (pAA) National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.
Mr. Calderon is the Human Resources Director for the State of New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (formerly the New Mexico Department of Labor). Mr. Calderon was the former Human Resources Director at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico and former HR Director for Isleta Business Corporation (Isleta, New Mexico) which included both tribal government and enterprise employees. His interest includes employment issues faced by Human Resources professionals in Indian Country.
Chris Cantrell is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. He was an associate with the law firm Hobbs Straus from 2007 to 2008 and rejoined the firm as of counsel in 2013 in the firm's New Mexico office.
While in law school at the University of Arizona College of Law, Mr. Cantrell participated in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Clinic as a law clerk with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. In addition, he served as a Note and Comment Editor for the Journal of International and Comparative Law.
Since graduating from law school, he has devoted his legal career to the practice of Indian law. In addition to Hobbs Straus, Mr. Cantrell worked for law firms in Colorado and New Mexico where he represented Indian tribes and tribal organizations on a range of issues. He has drafted and negotiated numerous commercial contracts for tribes; drafted tribal codes and regulations relating to environmental, hunting, property and gaming matters; advised tribes on various tax issues; and assisted with real estate transactions, financings and incorporation of tribal businesses. Of note, Mr. Cantrell has assisted with several complex financings for the development of tribal gaming and hotel facilities. His practice at Hobbs Straus primarily focuses on transactional and gaming matters.
Mr. Cantrell enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest.
Maria K. Clark
Maria K. Clark is a Director of a tribally-owned and operated health and human services department in New Mexico. She possesses a BA in Accounting from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. Ms. Clark worked for the Indian Health Service for 24 years – first as an auditor for nine years; then as a Director of Contract Health Services for four years; and as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer for a large service unit for 11 years. Ms. Clark has also been a surveyor for the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) for over ten years. In this position, she is able to survey a multitude of ambulatory health care organizations seeking accreditation across the nation (surgery centers; student health centers; tribal and IHS health centers; etc.).
Ms. Clark is of Chippewa, Wyandot descent and is enrolled with the Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma as part of the Cherokee Nation. Ms. Clark currently resides in Los Lunas, NM, which lies about 20 miles south of Albuquerque. She has three sons ages 23, 22 and 9. Ms. Clark has lived in the Southwest for most of her life with the exception of a few years in Colorado when she was young and when she attended college.
Stephanie Crowder brings extensive grant life cycle expertise to support tribal grant projects from conception to close out. Early in her career, Ms. Crowder served as a researcher, writer and technical advisor for a Department of Education grant program, serving low-income, first-generation students in the second most economically disadvantaged region of Texas. Later, she served as the Learning & Development Manager for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma providing writing and development skills to some 3000 plus tribal employees. As a grant consultant, researcher and writer, Ms. Crowder has assisted in procuring 12 million in funding from government sources, private and corporate foundations.
Ms. Crowder has had the pleasure of assisting tribal organizations receive and sustain grants from the Department of Education, Department of Justice, NB3 Foundation, SAMHSA, U.S. Soccer Association and Indian Health Service. She has used her skills to help native organizations effectively communicate, protect and sustain their vital interests and has used her expertise to not only acquire grants, but to bring grants into compliance saving her clients close to six million dollars in potential paybacks to funding organizations.
Ms. Crowder holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, graduating with honors from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma.
Anita De Haan is a Senior Manager with Moss Adams LLP’s Tribal Services Group. Ms. DeHaan has practiced public accounting since 2007 and specializes in financial statement audits, single audits, and indirect cost proposal services for tribal governments. She also has experience working with tribal housing authorities, health facilities, schools, casinos and other tribal enterprises. Having served various tribal governments and their enterprises throughout the country, Ms. DeHaan is able to provide valuable insight and best practice recommendations to tribes about their internal controls, policies and procedures, and overall operational improvements to better serve their citizens. She also offers technical expertise in the laws and regulations of GASB, GAGAS (Yellow Book), and OMB Uniform Guidance (single audit), to provide clients with useful and timely recommendations to adopt new standards and remain in compliance with applicable requirements.
Christine Dennis, CPA, has worked with multiple tribes throughout the United States over the last 23 years, providing training and technical assistance for Federal Regulations for Tribal Housing Authorities, Tribal Entities, and Fiscal Management. Ms. Dennis’ specialty areas include Procurement, Super Circular compliance, Financial Management, Self-Monitoring, NAHASDA Essentials, and Admissions & Occupancy. She has provided training and technical assistance for Northwest ONAP, Southwest ONAP, Eastern Woodlands ONAP, Northern Plains ONAP, and Southern Plains ONAP via multiple providers, as well as assisting housing authorities in developing and improving their own policies, procedures, and internal processes. Ms. Dennis is passionate about charitable organizations such as St Jude’s Turns Tulsa Pink, and enjoys reading and watching football in her spare time.
As Deputy General Counsel for Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Mr. Eberhart performed legal services and advised tribes, clients and programs for an 800 employee organization covering 42 tribes and tribal organizations spread over 235,000 square miles. He mentored the Human Resources Department, oversaw corporate compliance and governance, and was the staff member assigned to transportation matters. He is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Before TCC, Mr. Eberhart was In-House Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Fairbanks Native Association, where he performed legal services and directed the Human Resources Department for a 350 employee social services organization with 14 locations.
Since 1991, he has served as an Arbitrator, Mediator, Hearing Examiner, and Hearing Officer, including as a labor and employment, commercial and construction arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association; arbitrator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; hearing examiner for the Alaska Human Rights Commission; and hearing officer for the University of Alaska. Mr. Eberhart is an adjunct lecturer for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He teaches two business law courses and a course called Employment Law for Human Resource Practice.
He has a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City, and a law degree from Seattle University. Mr. Eberhart was admitted to the Alaska Bar in 1981. He later worked in Australia; qualified in law through the University of Sydney; and is a member of the Law Society of New South Wales, Australia. His focus has been on labor and employment, construction and commercial law.
He served for nine years on the Fairbanks City Council, including as the City Council representative to the Public Safety Commission. In October 2013, Mr. Eberhart was elected Mayor of the City of Fairbanks, Alaska.
With more than 20 years’ experience in Human Resources management, Linée Ferguson’s expertise includes HR startups, recruiting strategy, compensation, coaching leaders through difficult employee issues and implementing HR Technology. For 11 years, Ms. Ferguson was the Human Resources Manager for the Education Division of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Ultimately, Ms. Ferguson’s mission is to help build extraordinary organizations that fulfill their potential. In pursuit of this mission, she launched Master the Workplace, LLC in 2013, a firm dedicated to promoting and helping businesses achieve success through effective people management practices.
Ms. Ferguson is a trained mediator, certified background investigation adjudicator and certified workplace financial education trainer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and a Master’s degree in Urban Studies (Human Resources concentration) – both from Georgia State University. She also holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. Ms. Ferguson serves on the City of Mesa’s Merit System Board in Arizona.
Dr. James Floyd
Dr. Floyd has over 30 years' experience in working for Native American organizations. His major area of focus is in community and economic development of tribal communities and Native villages. He has led and advised on multiple strategic planning, governmental organization, and community and economic development technical assistance efforts throughout Indian Country.
Dr. Floyd has a B.A. in Psychology and Economics, a M.A. in Economics, and a PhD from Portland State University.
Most recently, he was part of a design and implementation team that created a comprehensive organizational assessment process for tribal communities that identifies strengths and weaknesses in governmental and economic operations.
Dr. Floyd directed the creation and operation of Native eDGE for the White House Domestic Policy Council and coordinated the effort with 14 federal agencies. The initiative was a strategic planning web portal for economic development technical assistance. James supervised the transfer of Native eDGE to the National Center for American Enterprise Development (NCAIED) where it is still used for technical assistance efforts of the organization.
He was part of a departmental team at HUD charged with liaison for implementation of the Program Evaluation rating Tool (PERT) used by OMB for performance evaluation of federal programs. He trained HUD staff on development and monitoring of performance measures for Native American programs. James was also part of the HUD departmental team charged with development of a business reference model for IT operations within the department. Prior to joining HUD, Dr. Floyd worked as a consultant to HUD and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes on strategic planning, self-governance, and community and economic development.
John Friel, CPA, is Director of Financial Services with the Falmouth Institute, who provides a wide range of financial management services to tribal governments. Mr. Friel leads the team that prepares and negotiates indirect cost proposals for the hundreds of Falmouth IDC clients. Other services include: Training, internal controls analysis, cost allocation policy facilitation and corrective action plans in response to audit findings issued in according with A-133 audits.
Mr. Friel achieved the status of master trainer due to his outstanding achievements in workshop presentation and methodology. He has consistently demonstrated an understanding and sensitivity to the issues faced by attendees in the workshops he conducts.
Marissa J. Gehley
Marissa J. Gehley is the founder of KNOW consulting, Kids Need Our Wisdom. She has more than 30 years of experience in education as a former teacher, counselor, child welfare and attendance specialist and coordinator of school safety and the Burbank OutReach Center. Additionally she is a trainer for the California School/Law Enforcement Partnership.
Ms. Gehley is proud to have contributed to several articles published in the nationally syndicated column “A+ Advice for Parents” by Leanna Landsmann. She has presented hundreds of workshops for community leaders, educators, parents and students in areas such as bully awareness/prevention, suicide prevention, effective communication techniques, school and neighborhood safety, diversity, relationship violence, child abuse and neglect and developing effective community partnerships. She holds a BS in history and social science and an MA in counseling.
Brenda Golden is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She grew up outside of Clearview, Oklahoma on “Harjo Hill”, attended Sequoyah Indian High School, served in the US Air Force for 8 years and resided in Central Oklahoma from 1986 to 2013. She currently resides in Eastern Oklahoma having relocated to work for her tribal nation. Ms. Golden has three daughters (one deceased) and four grandchildren.
She has a Bachelor's in Business Administration in Marketing and a Master’s in Business Administration both conferred from the University of Oklahoma. Ms. Golden graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law with a Juris Doctor and is a member of the National Native American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Bar Association and the Eastern District of Oklahoma Federal Court. Ms. Golden serves on the OBA Access to Justice Committee and as Co-Chair of Public Relations for the OBA Indian Law Section. She takes part in activities of the Mvskoke Women’s Leadership, Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women, and WhispernThunder.
Ms. Golden has previously worked to increase public awareness on such issues as saving sacred sites, racism by police and in the justice system, female incarceration in Oklahoma and abolishing celebration of 89er days and the land-run re-enactments in public schools. She has been a source of information in independent media as current hostess of Womyns Warrior Talk and previous hostess of Red Town Radio from 2009 to 2013 and writing as the Oklahoma City Native American Examiner from 2008 to 2013. She is co-founder of the Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties (S.P.I.R.I.T.).
Her professional work experience includes over 15 years in Human Resources and Executive Management and 10 years with the State of Oklahoma. She has dedicated the last 10 years to working with tribal governments and native organizations. Ms. Golden is an outspoken activist, advocate and seeker of justice for the people. She has presented oral testimony before the U.S. Congress, the U.S. State Department and written testimony to the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues regarding Native American treaty rights and inherent retained rights. Ms. Golden has met with several Governors of the State of Oklahoma, the Attorney General and countless members of the Legislature to lobby for human and civil rights for American Indians.
Currently, Ms. Golden continues to live in Eastern Oklahoma and operate a Sole Proprietorship of legal services. She specializes in Indian Law, Property Law, Oil and Gas, Mineral Rights, Civil Cases, Human Rights, and Civil Rights.
Christopher M. Grant
Christopher M. Grant is the former Chief of Detectives (Captain) of the Rapid City (SD) Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division and the former commander of the Rapid City Area Gang Task Force. He retired from active law enforcement in 2004 after serving his community for 27 years.
He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota (USD) with a Master's Degree in Political Science, and is an adjunct criminal justice instructor for USD. He is also a graduate of the 181st session of the FBI National Academy.
Since 1990, Mr. Grant has presented gang-awareness training to hundreds of law enforcement, educational and civic organizations, and he has spoken at numerous regional and national conferences and seminars. He has been recognized as an expert witness on the gang subculture in both state and federal court, and he specializes in gang awareness training programs dealing with Native American involvement in the street gang subculture.
As a Grant Writer and Project Manager, Jon Grant develops funding programs for Indian tribes. With more than 24 years of experience in Grant Writing, Project Development and Program Management, Mr. Grant has been an adjunct instructor for Falmouth since 2004. Prior to his current position, he most recently worked for Dry Creek Rancheria in Healdsburg, California as the grant and Contract Writer, where he was responsible for new grant development, BIA 638 contract negotiation and compliance, and assisted in assuring grant compliance with agency requirements and OMB Circulars. He has successfully written grant applications for: U.S. Dept of Energy; U.S. Dept of Justice (BJA, TCAP and OJJDP); U.S. Dept of Interior (BIA and NPS); Institute of Museum and Library Services; U.S. Dept of Education; U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services (ACF, ANA, Children’s Bureau, SAMHSA); U.S. Dept of Agriculture (Rural Development); U.S. Dept of Transportation; U.S. Dept of Commerce (Economic Development Administration); State of California (Caltrans and Office of Emergency Services).
Mr. Grant has been a Project Director for two medium sized substance abuse prevention programs and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs for American Indian tribes. His background also includes child welfare and juvenile justice services. He has extensive experience in Social Services including TANF and Child Welfare development including the development of four TANF programs and three child welfare systems. He also assisted in the development of three tribal courts.
Mr. Grant holds a B.S. in Psychology from Missouri State University. He is committed to continually upgrading and expanding his skills and plans to complete his Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Sarah Gunderson has been providing accounting system setup, training, and support for over 20 years. She has owned and operated her own accounting firm, Accounting By Computer, since 1990. Ms. Gunderson has provided consulting for setup, conversion and training with Peachtree (Sage), QuickBooks, MIP and has a high level of expertise with Excel.
Ms. Gunderson has many years of experience working in the accounting industry, including managing and directing accounting conversion processes, developing accounting systems and procedures, and training all levels of employees on software systems and accounting. She has worked with a wide-range of industries including non-profits, government departments and segments, tribal government, construction, and property management. Accounting By Computer has a client list of over a thousand and Ms. Gunderson has worked with over 500 of these clients in the last 18 years. She received her accounting degree from University of Washington and is a licensed CPA for Washington State.
As an adjunct faculty member at the Falmouth Institute for over 10 years, Nat Hall facilitates high quality, customized training to clients from Tribal governments and organizations across the United States.
Mr. Hall brings more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources Management and Training to the Falmouth Institute. Prior to his current position, he had served as Health Administrator and Director of Human Resources at Copper River Native Association in Copper Center, Alaska; Director of Human Resources at Memorial Hospital of Texas County in Oklahoma and Director of Human Resources for Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska. Nat most recently has worked for Bristol Bay Industrial, LLC, Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s holding company for their Oil and Gas businesses in Anchorage, Alaska, where he served as their Human Resources Manager and Employee Concerns Program (ECP) Manager.
Mr. Hall has also served for the last 2 years on the Alaska Process Industry Career Consortium (APICC) Board of Directors and is currently the Treasurer for the Board. Mr. Hall is a member of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), the National Association of Employee Concerns Programs (NAECP), The American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP), and the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Mr. Hall holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He also has earned his Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certification as well as his Employee Concerns Investigator certification. Mr. Hall is married with two children and enjoys many outdoor activities. Mr. Hall also has been a sports broadcaster for such sports as High School Basketball and Football, College Basketball and Football, Semi-pro Baseball, Arena Football, and other live events.
Lisa D. Harjo
Lisa Harjo works as the Executive Director for Native American Cancer Research. She is the Principal Investigator on a project with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and provides administrative leadership and oversight for the organization. She supervises staff and maintains all corporate documents and standards. She also provides health education, training, recruits American Indians for cancer screening, and supports cancer survivors through education and outreach in the Denver Metro Area.
After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Native American Education and Child Development in 1974, Ms. Harjo spent the next twenty years teaching all ages from preschool through higher education. She also worked for many years in the field of non-profit organization management and development. She received her Masters of Education in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver in the early nineties. She co-authored several books in the field of education. She has worked for decades with American Indian tribes and other organizations, facilitating group meetings and trainings, and assisting communities in building consensus and unity of visions.
Ms. Harjo lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, three daughters, grandson, and three granddaughters.
Michael Hawkes is presently the Executive Director of the Alamo Navajo School Board, Inc., an organization made up of five divisions and over 54 programs and 280 employees. He is also the president and owner of Ensenar HR Solutions, which specializes in HR Metrics and audits, personnel and administrative policy development, and administrative investigations. Mr. Hawkes serves as the chairperson for the Native American Health and Welfare Trust Fund group, and has served as Vice-Chair on the New Mexico Lottery Board. As Executive Director, he has developed and provided project management to various infrastructure projects from Health Centers, Staff Housing to Water and Waste Water; initiatives totaling over 17 million.
Before serving in Alamo, Mr. Hawkes served for 24 years and retired as a Deputy Chief/Inspector from the New Mexico State Police. While serving the State of New Mexico he was the state’s representative for Homeland Security, Community Oriented Policing, Internal Affairs investigator and undercover narcotics investigator with cases crossing the United States.
After Mr. Hawkes completed his Bachelor of Science Degree at New Mexico Tech University, he graduated from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management with a Master's Degree in Public Administration. In addition, he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds a PHR certification. Mr. Hawkes has been a trainer since 1985 and has over 5000 hours in training and education in train the trainer, first line, mid-management, management and executive level management training.
Kristine Hill brings over 20 years of experience in workforce development. She is currently the Administrator for the Oneida Vocational Rehabilitation Department, where she is responsible for providing job training resources to Native Americans with disabilities. She has been directly involved with the design and implementation of transition activities specific to disabled teens entering the workforce upon graduation and the active supervision of vocational counselors and staff. Prior roles include management of the Employee Development, Career Services and Training Departments of the Oneida Tribes gaming division. She has participated on and lead teams involved in Leadership Development, Organizational Strategy Management, and Compensation, and served as project manager to lead a team in the development and implementation of a gaming degree program supported and run by a local technical college.
Ms. Hill holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management, a Master's degree in Management and Organizational Behavior and is currently working on her Doctoral studies in Administration and Leadership.
Joe Hobot, Ed.D
Dr. Joe Hobot is a descendant of the Hunkpapa Band of the Lakota Nation from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and was born and raised in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s Degree from the University of St. Thomas, and a Doctorate of Education from Hamline University.
He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian OIC, having served with the organization since 2006. He previously held the position of Director of Education, overseeing the progress of the organization’s alternative high school, its Adult Basic Education/GED program, and the Takoda Institute of Higher Education. He also served as the Lead Teacher of Takoda Prep with an emphasis on Social Studies, and as an Instructor in the AIOIC post-secondary school as well.
Dr. Hobot was recently appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve on the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership’s board of directors. He is also a director on the boards of the Native American Community Development Institute, the Women’s Environmental Institute, chairs the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors group, and is a member of Equity Works. He is the 2015 recipient of the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce’s Bear Award and was named a 2016 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Most recently, Dr. Hobot became a fellow through the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Timothy J. Humphrey Sr.
Timothy J. Humphrey, Sr. is a Senior Attorney with Stetson Law Offices. P.C. in Albuquerque, NM. He received his Bachelor’s Degree with honors from New Mexico State University, a Masters of Social Work from the Worden School of Social Services in San Antonio, Texas, and his law degree from the University of Montana in 1983.
Mr. Humphrey has had a wide range of experience with tribal courts, including employment as the Court Administrator to the Blackfeet Tribal Court for two years after graduating from law school. He worked as an independent contractor for six years with Kevin Gover at Gover, Stetson & Williams, P.C., focusing on environmental issues, tribal corporations, code development, and gaming before leaving to work for Stetson Law Offices, P.C.
Mr. Humphrey brings important experience in the fields of cultural resources and environmental assessments and works extensively with tribal housing clients. He has been instrumental in the development of tribal environmental laws and regulations, including but not limited to solid waste management, housing codes and policies, and the development of on-Reservation construction documents and forms. He was involved extensively with the negotiations that resulted in the first EPA approval of a tribal municipal solid waste facility permitting program. He currently also provides services in the areas of financing, Low Income Housing Tax Credit project development and funding, tribal economic development, and development of alternative energy projects. He is licensed in New Mexico and Montana.
Ms. Hunt has thirty years of Records Management experience while in service to Native American tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of the Special Trustee, National Cancer Institute, Department of the Interior and the United States Air Force. The diversity of this experience resulted in many years of classroom training development and facilitation, policy/procedure development and implementation, recovery restoration projects and case management through the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
Ms. Hunt is the founder and president of Full Circle Preservation, LLC, where she devotes herself to safe-guarding and preserving individual Indian and tribal records by providing consultation, technical assistance and training to tribal, federal, state and local governments. She is also an active member of ARMA International and Native Professionals.
Ms. Hunt’s passion for protecting and restoring the Native culture through historical records over the past several decades has led to her becoming one of the leading subject matter experts in her field.
She is a member of the Cherokee Nation and granddaughter of original allotees in eastern Oklahoma.
Craig Jacobson joined the law firm Hobbs Straus as an associate in 1998, and has extensive experience in the areas of environmental and natural resources law and real estate law. Mr. Jacobson began to focus on natural resources and environmental law while in law school, believing that these areas are vital to the well-being of tribes as sustainability has become a central value for many Native communities.
While in law school, Mr. Jacobson began working in Indian country with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in Washington State. He assisted the Tribe in the creation and management of an environmental department, development of an on-reservation health clinic, and negotiation of Title I and Title IV agreements with the Federal Government. This experience allowed him to witness and participate in community development first hand, and become involved with the issues of healthcare improvement, employment, the protection of natural and cultural resources, and economic development.
Mr. Jacobson was a sole practitioner focusing on environmental issues in Indian Country, Title IV Self-governance (both BIA and non-BIA), and Indian Health Service related issues. He has experience in complex environmental issues, state and federal environmental regulatory analysis, as well as the development of tribal environmental codes and regulatory schemes.
Mr. Jacobson also has a wide range of experience in BIA self-governance, cultural resources issues, real estate transactions, and housing issues. He has written a law review article, “Indian Tribes and the Base Re-alignment and Closure Act: Recommendations for Future Trust Land Acquisitions,” co-authored with Geoffrey D. Strommer, in the North Dakota Law Review, September 1999. Mr. Jacobson is a volunteer board member for the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center in Oregon. He enjoys sports with his family and renovating their one hundred year old house.
Lisa Jaeger has served as the tribal government specialist for the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks Alaska since 1979. The Tanana Chiefs is a non-profit Native corporation that provides technical assistance and service delivery to 37 federally recognized tribes in the Interior of Alaska. She has traveled extensively into the villages of the Interior and other parts of Alaska assisting tribes in designing tribal government structures and procedures; drafting constitutions, ordinances, codes and policies; and assisting tribes on land issues and in the development of their tribal courts.
Ms. Jaeger has also been very involved in the development of Circle Peacemaking in Alaska and collaborative efforts between the Alaska Court System and Alaska tribal courts. She teaches Indian law and tribal government courses for the University of Alaska, National Judicial College and through a wide variety of other collaborative training efforts. She has written handbooks for Alaska tribes on tribal government, code drafting, Alaska Native lands and tribal court development. The tribal court development handbook for Alaska tribes is available online here. Ms. Jaeger is the producer of multiple films on tribal court development for Alaska tribes, of the documentary film entitled, "Tribal Nations, The Story of Federal Indian Law." Information on that film can be found here. Information about a 60-minute documentary film called "Alaska Tribes: The Story of Federal Indian Law in Alaska in 2012," can be found here. She has produced a website on Federal Indian Law in Alaska in collaboration with the University of Alaska, which can be found here and a website for tribal court administration, which can be found here.
Ms. Jaeger has undergraduate degrees in biology and secondary education and a Master’s degree in Northern Studies-Indian Law from the Universities of Arizona and Alaska.
Lars Landrie has been providing wealth management services since 1993. His specialty area of focus is working with Tribal governments and enterprises to manage their investment assets. He helps them develop investment committees and create investment policy statements and he educates tribal councils to take full control of their varied investment accounts. Mr. Landrie is a partner with Moss Adams Wealth Advisors and the chair of the Personal Financial Planning technical discipline group at the firm level, which sets the policy and procedures for personal financial planning.
Sarah Lawson is an attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. She focuses her practice on Indian law, with over a decade of experience advising tribal governments on a variety of matters including real estate, land use planning and development, and tax. Ms. Lawson is widely regarded as an authority on issues involving Indian trust land, and has increasingly been assisting tribes with Alaskan trust land and the BIA. She is an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Ms. Lawson began her work in Indian Country as in intern with the Assembly of First Nations in Canada, where her research on Indian residential school abuse and impacts laid the groundwork for the Indian Residential Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). During law school she was a law clerk for the Oneida Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Native American Rights Fund in Washington D.C., where she worked on the Indian trust class action suit Cobell v. Salazar.
Ms. Lawson serves as an appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System and has taught courses on the history of federal Indian policy, rights of tribes, Indian self-determination, and legal studies for Northwest Indian College. She is as a member of the boards of the Northwest Indian Bar Association, National Tribal Land Association, and is past president of the board of directors for Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theater.
Prior to joining Schwabe, Lawson served as General Counsel for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Trust Services Director for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O'Odham Nation in Sells, Arizona. Lawson received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, and is admitted to practice in Washington, Wisconsin and Arizona.
Matthew Lesky is an attorney with Stroup Meengs, PC. He worked for tribes and tribal governments for nearly ten years prior to joining Stroup Meengs, PC. He was the Tribal Prosecutor for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians for six years; prior to that he was in-house counsel for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
As a prosecutor Mr. Lesky was responsible for handling criminal prosecutions and all child welfare matters. He also participated in the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act/SORNA at LTBB. He was also part of a team that trained law enforcement officers and other service providers how to effectively investigate and prosecute elder abuse and exploitation as part of an NCALL/OVW Abuse Later in Life grant. Mr. Lesky provided in-house training to tribal social workers on how to testify effectively in court and on the application and implementation of LTBB’s child welfare laws. He has been a presenter at Michigan SCAO ICWA-training.
As in-house counsel Mr. Lesky worked on a variety of issues, including gaming regulation and licensing, contract negotiation, human resources development, drafting statutes, regulations and policies, employment and labor law, and litigation within tribal court. He continues to practice in tribal court and serves as defense counsel on the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Waabishkii Miigwaan healing-to-wellness court.
Mr. Lesky graduated cum laude from Michigan State College of Law in 2005 and was one of the first two people to receive a certificate from the law school’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is licensed to practice in Michigan and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Michael Lewis is an enrolled member of the Peoria Tribe of Indians in the state of Oklahoma. He is a CPA and has an MBA with honors from Oklahoma City University. Mr. Lewis has been the Controller for several Indian Tribes and recently retired from the Osage Nation in Pawhuska Oklahoma. He has over 20 years of banking experience as Controller/Treasurer, was a Managing Agent for the FDIC, a special Project auditor for the Oklahoma Tax Commission and a Tax Specialist and later an agent for the Internal Revenue Service. Mr. Lewis currently serves on the Audit Committee for the Peoria Tribe and has a small tax practice.
Vernon G. Lujan
Vernon G. Lujan has worked for the Pueblo of Pojoaque since 1995 as Director of the Poeh Arts Program and Poeh Cultural Center and Museum with his most recent appointment as Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. He formerly worked for numerous museums including the Institute of American Indian Arts, Museums of New Mexico, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Harwood Museum of the University of New Mexico and the Smithsonian Institution.
As an adjunct faculty member, he has taught for the Falmouth Institute and the University of New Mexico in the Native American Studies and Fine Arts Departments. Mr. Lujan is a grant writer and contributing author and editor for numerous publications such as the Taos County Historical Society; Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Annual Visitor’s Guide; Santa Fe New Mexican; and various archaeological reports for both the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies and Historical Research Associates. He continues to be a scholar and tour guide for the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.
Mr. Lujan is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Taos, speaks Tiwa fluently and is an articulate voice for current and historical Pueblo viewpoints. Vernon received his Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico and attended Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico, the latter where he received his Bachelor of University Studies degree in Southwest Studies.
Mr. Lujan is an active participant and community member at the Pueblo of Taos. When he is not volunteering his time, teaching, working, or writing, he spends his very precious remaining spare time with his family and his hobbies, which include fishing, hunting, woodworking, moccasin making and reading.
Brian Mathers has worked in non-profit, educational, and tribal settings for more than 25 years. His work as a trainer, program developer, project manager and administrator has focused on helping non-profits and tribal organizations build their capacity to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Throughout his career he has helped organizations establish effective programs in the areas of food security, early childhood education, indigenous language preservation, refugee resettlement, child abuse prevention and many others. His particular interest is in helping organizations adequately plan and prepare for the entire life of innovative projects -- from conceptualization through planning, implementation, evaluation and sustainability.
An independent trainer, mediator and professional speaker, Wes Miller applies more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of Human Resources and Mediation to a consulting practice specializing in mediation, customer service, team building, business communication, management skills and leadership practices. During the recent foreclosure crisis, he was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to mediate home owners and lenders. Additionally, he has successfully run a mediation practice that offering divorce, victim-offender, employment and business mediation. Throughout his career, he has designed and delivered a number of training efforts for organizations in the gaming, hospitality and retail industries and has assisted a number of startup and existing operations establish successful management and customer relations policies and procedures.
Larry Monshor, CPA and MBA in accounting, specializes in conducting training sessions in Finance, including Financial Literacy, OMB Circular Compliance, Procurement – Commercial, Understanding Federal Travel Regulations, Basic Budgeting, Basic Bookkeeping, and Preparing Year-End Financial Statements.
Mr. Monshor spent many years as an engineer and manager at a large Midwestern electric utility where he gained extensive procurement, management and budgeting experience. He also earned a CPA license from the State of Michigan. Working with Midwest Professionals as an auditor and tax consultant, Mr. Monshor has years of experience in tribal auditing.
He received his Bachelor's degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Accounting from Davenport University in 2004.
Margaret Nelson is Alaska Native and a life-long Alaskan now residing in Anchorage, AK. She currently owns her own company and is a licensed as a real estate salesperson in the state of Alaska. Previously she has served as a Senior Vice President of Business Development at two Alaska Native corporations--Calista Corporation and Upeagvik Inupiat Corporation--bringing in more than $25 million in business to those organizations. She also has served as President/CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center during its development and opening, employing more than 140 cultural representatives with an operating budget of more than $5 million. She has also served Vice President of Tourism at Goldbelt, Inc., an Alaska Native village corporation. Ms. Nelson prides herself on her outstanding record of Alaska Native hire. Ms. Nelson has 30 years of experience in corporation management, strengthening financial approaches, diversifying earned income opportunities and developing business strategies and commercial ventures especially SBA 8(a) startups and acquisitions.
Walter Nope has over 25 years of experience in the tribal finance and tribal policy arenas, serving in various roles, from Chief Financial Officer to Tribal Administrator to Executive Officer to Economic Development Director. While a Certified Public Accountant, Mr. Nope performed audits, management advisory services, compilations, preparation of financial statements, preparation of tax returns, business forecasting, financial projections, and budgeting. Mr. Nope has decades of experience preparing Indirect Cost Proposals and negotiating Indirect Cost Rate Agreements; working with Single Audit auditors; designing, setting up and implementing financial management systems and maintaining and monitoring compliance procedures of federal programs.
Mr. Nope has drafted ordinances and resolutions for numerous tribal matters including Elections, Enrollment, Federal Contracts, Federal Grants, HUD Pilot agreements, and Indirect Costs Proposals. He prepared drafts of a revised constitution, including constitutional amendments, as well as preparing Tribal Election policies and procedures and training Tribal Election Officials. Mr. Nope has facilitated strategic planning sessions/developed strategic plans with tribal leaders and written numerous funded grants including Tribal Management grants, Administration for Native American Grants, Indian Community Development Block Grants, and the Department of Agriculture Grants. He has also served as a negotiator on behalf of Indian Tribal Governments with third parties to resolve issues, and has developed restructuring and work out plans for organizations with serious management and financial problems. Mr. Nope served as an appointed tribal delegate to the USET Board of Directors for 7 years.
A skilled facilitator, Mr. Nope uses plain language and an acute understanding of the needs of his audience to explain complicated financial and policy matters in a way that makes sense, with an emphasis on practical application.
Patina Park is Lakota and an adult adoptee originally from Cheyenne River Sioux. She serves as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center. In this role, she provides leadership and manages overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, working with the Board of Directors to determine depth and growth of operations. Ms. Park previously served as a tribal attorney with the Ho-Chunk Nation and has extensive experience representing families involved in ICWA proceedings in both state courts and tribal courts, as well as serving as an appellate court justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community of Minnesota for 5 years. Ms. Park enjoys facilitating trainings nationwide for tribal and state governments, attorneys, judges, community members and service providers. She is a graduate of Hamline University School of Law where she currently teaches Federal Indian Law and Children and the Law, and she received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University.
As a long-time Las Vegas local, Brian Pearson has spent the last 20 years working with technology to get the most out of office automation. Brian earned his Bachelor’s degree and Master's degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He has been instructing classes in Microsoft Office, Network Security, Records Retention and Electronic Document Management for Falmouth for the past seven years. He is a devoted husband and father of three small children. He enjoys spending time with his children and working with computers.
Pam Peters, MPA, is guided by her strong understanding of tribal sovereignty and its impact on tribal governance and human resources employment. An enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Ms. Peters brings with her over 30 years’ experience in the Human Resources Management field, and over a decade of experience as a Tribal Government Manager/Director. Her areas of expertise include implementing change processes, writing policies/procedures and Tribal Ordinances, and implementation of work force development programs for tribal communities. She has delivered training programs to numerous and diverse audiences in the areas of Human Resource Management, HR Policy and Procedures, Cultural Competence and Tribal Governance. Ms. Peters holds a Master’s Degree in Tribal Governance and Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management. In addition to serving as an adjunct faculty member for Falmouth Institute, she serves as an adjunct faculty member for South Puget Sound Community College and is a faculty member of The Evergreen State College. She also manages her own Tribal HR Consulting firm. Her dedication to outstanding human resources management for Tribal Governments and her engaging teaching style make her a passionate and effective facilitator.
Richard Phelps, CEO of the Falmouth Institute, has conducted hundreds of workshops for Alaska Native and American Indian tribal governments. His areas of expertise include self-determination contracting, indirect cost issues, budgeting, finance and acquisition. In addition to his numerous training assignments, he provides technical assistance to tribal organizations on matters such as business development and financial management. Prior to founding the Falmouth Institute, Mr. Phelps was a senior trainer at Sterling Institute. He holds a B.S. Degree in Accounting and a degree in Management.
Terry Rainey is the President of Ink Impressions, Inc. and its Automated Election Services division. With more than 14 years of service, he has seen the company through its evolution from a business forms manufacturer and distributor to its position today as a nationally known provider of automated election, enrollment, voter registration and security data management products and services to public, private and Native American organizations. He has supervised the management of over 700 elections in the public and private sectors and has supervised the design and installation of over 30 of the company’s enrollment and database management applications.
An independent trainer and professional speaker, Lisa Riggleman directs a consulting practice specializing in customer service, team building, business communication, management skills and leadership practices. She also serves as a personal speech coach and consultant as well as an adjunct faculty member with Webster University graduate school and the College of Southern Nevada. Ms. Riggleman is a senior consultant for Falmouth Institute, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the education, communications and human resources fields. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree from West Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Wyoming, and is certified in Human Resources from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Cordell Ringel is the sole owner of RCS, Inc. He started this company in October of 2001 after retiring with 32 years of experience in transportation engineering as the Regional Engineer of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Engineering Office.
RCS, Inc. specializes in all aspects of Native American Transportation Programs and Projects. Mr. Ringel utilizes his 44+ years of experience working with Native American Tribes on transportation related programs providing technical assistance and expertise to Tribal Governments. His Native American clients are then able to gain knowledge, expertise and experience that over time will assist them in building transportation capacity, in gaining confidence, self-sufficiency, and the ability to assume the full responsibility of their programs.
Mr. Ringel assists Tribes in Program Management, Long Range Transportation Planning, Project Development, Road Inventory Updates, Safety Programs, Training and Program Development. He is a technical expert Tribes can call on for assistance on any type of transportation initiative, project or program.
Mr. Ringel has worked as a professional transportation consultant to the Montana – Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, an organization which represents the Tribes in Montana and Wyoming. He has done consulting work for the Montana Department of Transportation, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., ICG Group, Dye Management Group, and currently works as a program management consultant to the Fort Peck Tribes.
Prior to retiring and starting his own business, Mr. Ringel worked at the Federal level with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Under his direction, the BIA carried out a “force account” program on all the reservations. Under this program, the Tribes and the BIA run the equivalent of a large private construction company. Mr. Ringel also managed the transportation planning, design, maintenance, facility and safety programs of the BIA Regional Office.
Mr. Ringel has served on numerous regional and national tasks forces throughout his career. He also completed various assignments as Agency Superintendent at Blackfeet and in the BIA Central Office. Most recently, he served as one of the federal representatives to the IRR Program Negotiated Rulemaking Committee appointed by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, January 1998. After serving two years a federal representative, he retired and was subsequently reappointed to the IRR Negotiated Rulemaking Committee by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, January 2003 as a tribal representative to represent the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council and member Tribes for the concluding sessions in 2003.
Mr. Ringel received a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master's of Highway Engineering from Brigham Young University. He is a professional engineer licensed in the State of Montana.
Mr. Rivkin is a former Chief of Police with a suburban Chicago Police Department and former owner/operator of an Illinois based private investigation firm, brings more than thirty five years' experience in law enforcement, internal investigations, security systems and asset protection to his current position. He worked for Lord & Taylor, a major specialty store based out of New York City, as Assistant Director of Security and then spent thirteen years as the Corporate Director of Asset Protection for the H.C. Prange Company, a $600 million per year retail business. As well as conducting hundreds of internal investigations, his responsibilities included developing internal controls and security related policies.
Prior to joining Falmouth, Mr. Rivkin has performed duties as General Manager of a midwest privately owned private investigation firm, including conducting internal theft investigations and interviews as well as managing the staff of Security Consultants and investigators.
He has been a member of American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) for the last thirty years and maintained a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation for fifteen years. He has held several offices including President of the local ASIS chapter. For the last several years Mr. Rivkin has served as a board member of the Brown County Economic Crime Committee, a group of businessmen in the community volunteering their time and experience to prevent crime. Mr. Rivkin has also served on the Executive Board of an area Crime Stoppers group for the last eight years.
Mr. Rivkin currently serves Falmouth Institute as Consulting Services Manager and frequently conducts training in Falmouth Institute’s sessions, including Casino Surveillance, Background and Character Investigations and Employee Theft in Indian Country. He has extensive experience in Indian Country and has worked with several tribal casinos in both investigations and consulting and advisement. He currently serves two Tribal agencies as an Adjudicator for their PL 101-630 compliance programs.
A Registered Health Information Administrator, Eduardo Sanchez has 20 years of experience in Health Information Administration with various healthcare facilities. He is currently the Director of Health Information Management and Privacy Officer for a 240-bed acute care facility in South Texas. He has experience in implementing electronic patient care records and other various healthcare systems.
Mr. Sanchez's expertise is coding and billing functions, and the appropriate release of patient care information, along with other aspects in patient information administration. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix.
Anita Shah DeHaan, CPA
Anita Shah DeHaan is a Senior Manager with Moss Adams LLP’s Tribal Services Group. Ms. DeHaan has practiced public accounting since 2008 and has been working exclusively with Tribal governments since 2009. She specializes in financial statement audits and single audits under the standards required by OMB for Tribal governments. Ms. DeHaan also has experience working with Tribal housing authorities, health facilities, schools, casinos, and other Tribal enterprises. Having served various Tribal governments and their enterprises throughout the country, Ms. DeHaan is able to provide valuable insight and best practice recommendations to Tribes about their internal controls, policies and procedures, and overall operational improvements to better serve their membership. Additionally, as part of providing audit services, Ms. DeHaan has technical expertise in the laws and regulations of GASB, GAGAS (“Yellow Book”), and OMB Single Audit, to provide clients with useful and timely recommendations to help them successfully implement new standards and remain in compliance with applicable requirements.
Mark Siadal is a Senior Manager with Moss Adams, LLP. He has been in public accounting since 2006. His focus is serving tribal casinos and their related business enterprises. Mr. Siadal also has experience with other commercial clients and benefit plans. He is both knowledgeable and efficient in the performance and supervision of the audit process. Mr. Siadal's experience includes financial statement audits, NIGC MICS outsourced internal audit services, testing of compliance with the NIGC MICS, testing of compliance with various state compacts, and surprise tests and observations for gaming operations.
Mr. Siadal is an instructor for the Falmouth Institute with a focus on Casino Accounting and Internal Auditing. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management Information Systems from Eastern Washington University and his Master of Business Administration degree from Western Washington University.
Kelly Skenandore-Holtz, Training & Development Manager for Oneida Casino located in Wisconsin, brings over 13 years of experience working with the Oneida Nation to the Falmouth Institute. From her first year of employment as the Executive Assistant under the direction of the Human Resources Manager to an executive host for the Nation's casino to her current role as a member of the National Strategy Management Team for the Oneida Nation, Ms. Skenandore-Holtz has gained unique experience working in Indian Country that is evident in her presentations.
She has developed and provided training to employees at all levels of the organization and is enthusiastic in her mission to assist in the development of successful leaders in the workplace. She has worked with various employee development programs such as a supervisory certificate series which qualifies for Technical college credits, team building, customer service, new employee orientation, leadership development and strategy execution.
Ms. Skenandore-Holtz has experience working with many organizational development projects and has assisted in the development of an improved performance appraisal system, vision and mission implementation and has worked as a member of a nationally awarded cross functional team of volunteers focused on leadership development. Most recently, she has worked as a member of a National Strategy Management Team focused on an organization-wide restructuring project surrounding the development, execution and management of strategy in the organization.
Ms. Skenandore-Holtz holds a baccalaureate degree in Communicative Disorders and a Master's degree in Management and Organizational Behavior.
Christopher T. Stearns
Chris Stearns, Navajo, sought a career in Indian law as a way to help protect the legal and human rights of Native Americans. His practice focuses on the areas of campaign and elections law, political advocacy, government relations, self-governance, and energy law.
After starting his career with Hobbs Straus, Mr. Stearns left the firm to serve as Deputy Counsel for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs under Chairman Bill Richardson. He later served four years as Democratic Counsel for the Committee on Natural Resources under Chairman George Miller where he oversaw national legislation on tribal self-governance, health care, federal recognition, and gaming. In 1998, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first-ever Director of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy where he helped Energy Secretary Bill Richards craft Indian energy policy and build tribal relations.
Mr. Stearns is currently in his second term as Chairman of the Washington State Gambling Commission, the second oldest gambling regulatory agency in the nation. He was first appointed to the Commission by Governor Jay Inslee in 2013. In the past two years, the Commission has successfully renegotiated numerous tribal-state gaming compacts, including a major market-based class III machine increase. The Commission has been an international leader in the criminal investigation of unlawful internet gaming, and has taken on leading roles in policies surrounding fantasy sports, internet poker, and skill-based gaming.
In 2000, Mr. Stearns was selected to serve as the North Dakota State Presidential Campaign Director for Vice President Al Gore. He was the first-ever Native American appointed to such a senior position within a presidential campaign. Mr. Stearns returned to Hobbs Straus in 2001. He later spent four years as the political advisor to the President of the National Congress of American Indians.
Mr. Stearns has also worked on Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in New Mexico, on Governor Bill Richardson’s 2002 campaign in New Mexico, and on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaigns in Washington State. Mr. Stearns is an active member of Seattle’s Native American and social justice communities. He is the President of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Indian Health Board. He also served two terms as Chairman of the City of Seattle’s Human Rights Commission where he led efforts on police accountability, on jobs assistance legislation for people with criminal records, and he also testified before the United Nations on indigenous rights. Mr. Stearns helped establish Native Vote Washington, a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to increase Native American participation in elections.
Vickie Steinhoff, M.A.C.P.T.
Vickie Steinhoff is a Human Service Program Development Specialist with over 20 years of professional Social Service experience in tribal, state and nonprofit programs in the Midwest and Southwest. Most recently, Ms. Steinhoff served the Arizona Department of Child Safety as the Statewide Specialist on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), where she professionalized a process for Qualified Expert Witnesses (QEW) and participated in creating Policy for ICWA - QEW, Transfer and Intervention. Her areas of expertise include child welfare and tribes’ exclusive jurisdiction, concurrent jurisdiction and Implications of PL-280.
Ms. Steinhoff’s passion for bridging cultural gaps has helped her assist in strengthening Government-to-Government relationships between state and tribal governments. Her accomplishments include re-establishing state and tribal ICWA liaison meetings, assisting in developing state and tribal intergovernmental agreements, and participating in the development of tribal consultation policy. Ms. Steinhoff has participated in the application and implementation of the Title IV B funding for several tribal programs, and currently is working on a project for developing detailed reports specific for American Indian/Alaskan Native populations within a state system.
Ms. Steinhoff is a Certified Public Instructor and holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management with an emphasis in Cross Cultural Negotiations. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Communication from Averno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Jessica D. Stewart, CPA
Jessica Stewart has over six years of experience in tribal gaming. She is the lead manager in the Moss Adams Pacific Southwest Tribal Gaming Practice and provides audit and accounting services for tribal gaming and hospitality clients, food and beverage operations, tribal retail business, and resort properties throughout the country. She is experienced in all aspects of accounting for casinos, including assistance on large financing transactions, debt restructuring, and bond defeasance. In addition, Ms. Stewart has extensive experience performing internal audit functions and agreed-upon procedures related to both Class II and Class III MICS.
Ms. Stewart is a member and involved with several associations including, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New Mexico Society of Certified Public Accountants, and Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants. She holds a Master of Accounting and Policy and Planning.
Gina St. George
Gina St. George has over 20 years of combined public accounting, hospitality, and gaming industry experience. Her past titles include restaurant manager, controller for a tribal gaming hotel and casino, and financial and compliance auditor.
Prior to joining Moss Adams, Ms. St. George spent over 10 years in the restaurant industry giving a unique perspective into the operations of hospitality clients. She gained hands-on experience with inventory controls, labor management, and point-of-sale systems coupled with accounting, financial analysis, and fraud training offering a wealth of assistance to clients. After many years as an assurance services provider and business consultant for Moss Adams, Ms. St. George was hired as the Controller for a large multi-location casino hotel.
Since returning to Moss Adams in 2010, Ms. St. George frequently presents at restaurants, hotels, and tribal gaming industry conferences. Topics include Fraud Prevention and Detection, Casino Accounting and Internal Auditing, and Title 31 Compliance.
Ms. St. George is a member and involved with several associations including, the ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners), IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors, Gaming Audit Group) and HFTP (Hospitality Finance and Technology Professionals).
Sherry Stowe has over thirty years’ experience in the social work field. She has been a case manager, community organizer, quality assurance reviewer, foster care worker, foster home recruiter, social worker, trainer and family services coordinator. She has experience in supporting consumers with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, brain injury, physical disabilities, and aging issues. Ms. Stowe has worked directly with individuals, families, service agencies, and governmental entities to address the needs of her consumers.
Geoff Strommer joined the law firm Hobbs Straus in 1992 and is managing partner of the office in Portland, Oregon. His involvement in Indian law grew from interests in constitutional issues and American history. Mr. Strommer works with tribes on a wide range of issues, primarily self-determination and self-governance. He is dedicated to working with tribal clients to help them develop stable and strong tribal governments that are able to deliver a range of high quality services to tribal members.
Mr. Strommer is nationally recognized for his knowledge of and experience working with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). An active participant in the ISDEAA’s developments and implementation since 1992, Mr. Strommer worked on efforts to draft and lobby for amendments to various titles of the ISDEAA. He was involved with the development of regulations to implement Titles IV and V of the Act as well as for the Indian Reservation Roads program. His work under the ISDEAA also includes negotiating contracts, compacts, and funding agreements with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and other federal agencies, including the first funding agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2003).
Mr. Strommer has successfully litigated a number of ISDEAA-related disputes in administrative forums and federal court. He has represented a number of the Firm’s tribal clients as they have pursued Contract Support Cost (CSC) claims against the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The CSC cases litigated by attorneys at Hobbs Straus have established important legal precedents, and in recent years he has been involved in negotiating settlements with the Government that total over one hundred and fifty million dollars for the Firm’s tribal clients.
Mr. Strommer has also been very involved in advising tribal clients on a broad range of matters related to the implementation of the provisions of the reauthorized Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2012 he served as lead counsel for the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and close to 450 tribes that joined the NIHB in an amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court in support of the U.S. government’s position that the ACA, and by extension the reauthorized IHCIA provisions in the ACA, was lawfully enacted. National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Sebelius, et al., 132 S.Ct. 2566 (2012).
Over the years, Mr. Strommer has also worked with a number of tribal clients to interpret and revise constitutions, bylaws and ordinances. In addition, he has significant experience assisting tribal clients with acquiring and placing land into trust, and was involved in the first-ever transfer of land to a tribe under the ISDEAA and the Base Realignment and Closure Act.
In 1997, Mr. Strommer was adjunct professor of law at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College, where he co-taught a federal Indian law course. From 2000-2001, he was an instructor in the Department of Health and Human Services Executive Leadership Development Program, where he taught a negotiation-skills course. He has also written a number of articles on Indian law issues, including: Geoffrey D. Strommer & Craig Jacobson, Indian Tribes and the Base Realignment and Closure Act: Recommendations for Future Trust Land Acquisitions, 75 North Dakota Law Review 509 (1999); Geoffrey D. Strommer & Stephen D. Osborne, “Indian Country” and the Nature and Scope of Tribal Self-Government in Alaska, 22 Alaska Law Review 1 (June 2005); Geoffrey D. Strommer & Stephen D. Osborne, The History, Status, and Future of Tribal Self-Governance Under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, 39 American Indian Law Review 1-75 (2015); and Geoffrey D. Strommer, Stephen D. Osborne, & Craig A. Jacobson, Placing Land Into Trust in Alaska: Issues and Opportunities, forthcoming in the American Indian Law Journal (2015).
Mr. Strommer is a veteran and served an active tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps. He grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, and enjoys traveling the world with his family. He is an avid mountain climber and has climbed a number of peaks in the U.S. and abroad.
Amy Sutherland, CPA, Senior Manager has practiced in public accounting and private industry since 1999. Her focus is on providing accounting and business advisory services for Tribal governments and enterprises, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Sutherland’s experience includes financial statement audits and federal compliance audits, as well as business consulting services including finance department reviews, organizational assessments, and internal control evaluations. Ms. Sutherland is a leader in the Moss Adams Government and Not-for-Profit Group. She is also actively involved in the not-for-profit community as a finance committee member of a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization. She is a member of the AICPA and the WSCPA, and currently serves as chair of the AICPA Content Committee of the CPA Exam and is a member of the AICPA Board of Examiners.
AmyAnn Taylor is the Attorney General for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. Her involvement in Indian law grew from her interests at a young age in politics and government affairs. As the Attorney General for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Ms. Taylor has been a driving force in the Tribe to organize its internal government processes and extend its relationships with all levels of government, while preserving and exerting the Tribe’s inherent sovereignty. While Ms. Taylor is responsible for all legal affairs at the Tribe and its business entities, highlights of Ms. Taylor’s service include, renegotiation of the Tribe’s Tribal-State Gaming Compact, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to the Tribe, and the development a Tribal-State Joint Jurisdiction Court – only the second in the nation.
Previous to her role as the Attorney General, Ms. Taylor was an associate at LaPena Law Corporation – a small boutique Indian Law firm in Sacramento, California. There she worked for tribes across California, focusing on developing Tribal laws, policies, court systems, constitutional reorganization, enrollment matters, cultural repatriation and monitoring.
Ms. Taylor earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Communications: Public Relations from Brigham Young University and a law degree from University of the Pacific; McGeorge School of Law. She currently resides in Sacramento, California and in her free time enjoys her family, serving in her local church congregation, reading, sports of all kinds, and improving on her photography skills.
Raina Thiele worked in President Obama's White House as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where she focused on tribal governments and advised on climate change, arctic and energy issues. She was also a lead organizer of President Obama's trip to Alaska in the fall of 2015.
Previous to her role in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Ms. Thiele served for nearly 5 years in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she worked on a wide variety of issues, including tribal legislation, international affairs and energy. She managed a multi-billion dollar federal portfolio and advised senior White House staff on how best to leverage and allocate resources.
Ms. Thiele earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yale College and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Ms. Thiele was born and raised in Alaska in the Mat-Su Valley, Kenai Peninsula, Bristol Bay and Alexander Creek. She was brought up commercial, subsistence and sports fishing with her parents; subsistence hunting; and picking berries. She is Dena'ina Athabascan, Yup'ik and German.
She currently resides between Washington, D.C. and Alaska and, in her free time, enjoys making jewelry, reading, volunteering and being politically active.
Anne Thundercloud comes from the Ho-Chunk Nation, based in Wisconsin, with thirteen years' experience working within tribal and state governments. She is an entrepreneur who started her own PR consulting business in 2011. Her areas of expertise include communications, public relations, media relations, event management and social media management, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Ms. Thundercloud is an experienced writer who studied English at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and also certified in Destination Management at Madison College. She uses her experience to help promote Native tourism.
Her interests include reading, writing, researching, helping her fellow Native Americans and exploring avenues that allow her to express her creativity.
Kurt Tucker, CPA
Kurt Tucker is a partner with the Michigan firm of Midwest Professionals. For the Falmouth Institute, he consults with tribes in the areas of accounting and auditing. Kurt specializes in conducting training sessions in the Finance arena, including OMB Circular compliance, Indirect Cost Proposal preparation and Understanding Federal Travel Regulations. Mr. Tucker spent many years as a staff CPA, conducting and participating in tribal audits for over 20 tribes. He worked extensively in a partnership with Egghardt and Associates, where he participated in tribal audits. After spending several years as an independent consultant, he joined forces to form Midwest Professionals. His goal with Midwest Professionals is to provide quality service specializing in the tribal auditing. He received his BS from Wake Forest University and his Accounting degree from Central Michigan University.
Alex Vollmer, CPA
Alex Vollmer, audit supervisor for Midwest Professionals, P.L.L.C., has participated in over one hundred audits of American Indian tribal governments and other tribal entities. His areas of expertise include compliance with federal grants and contracts, generally accepted accounting principles for state and local governments and generally accepted government auditing standards. He holds a B.S. Degree in Accounting from Central Michigan University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Staci Warne, MCT
Staci Warne is a highly skilled Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with over 15 years of experience in training individuals at all skill levels. She obtained her MCT certification in 2008 and holds an array of other certifications such as Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Microsoft Office master Instructor, and Ic3 Internet and Core computer instructor certifications. She has become a Google Partner and obtained her GAIQ, Google Analytics Certification. She has also partnered with Microsoft to be a reseller of office 365 subscriptions to help businesses gain access to the cloud. She has been a Financial Analyst and a lead technology trainer for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as well as a lead technology trainer at CompUSA. Ms. Warne has traveled around the country providing quality training, to thousands of professionals in businesses and organizations of all types. Ms. Warne’s style is not to train "out of the book", like most training instructors, but offers individual insights, and augments course materials with her own "tips and tricks" to meet your needs.
Sue Watrous is the Fiscal Officer for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan where her primary responsibilities include ensuring that the tribe is in compliance with the laws and regulations pertaining to Federal awards. In her 11 years with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, Ms. Watrous has worked in grants management for the tribal housing authority, as part of the construction project management team and as part of the team that implemented a performance-based budgeting system, which the tribe has used for more than 10 years with great success.
Prior to working for the Saginaw Chippewa, Ms. Watrous was employed in the construction field. During her years in construction, she was responsible for job costing and budgeting and regulatory compliance at it pertains to federal construction projects.
Ms. Watrous has taught Accounting and Computer Applications (Excel, MS Word) at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Michigan and is currently working on a Masters of Management degree at Walsh College in Michigan.
Colleen C. Whitehead
Colleen C. Whitehead has over ten years’ experience working as a Consultant to tribal government and health programs. She also has experience managing and directing public and community oriented programs, including comprehensive and integrated health and human services programs. Ms. Whitehead has a comprehensive understanding of community healthcare systems and the applicable principles, procedures, regulations and standards. She has quality experience working with tribal governments and administrations on assessing existing health programs to determine the potential for pursuing P.L. 93-638 Title I or Title V contracting/compacting and identifying additional health programs and services to be contracted—including the review of staffing, budget analysis, current services, unmet service needs and service indicators. Ms. Whitehead is able to provide on-going technical assistance in budget development, Federal and state contract negotiations, public law legal interpretations, health care service delivery and administration, organizational management, government contracting, accreditation, law enforcement, federal budgeting processes, and financial and contract compliance.
April Wilkinson (Kiowa/Delaware) brings over a decade of P.L. 93-638 planning and negotiation, health care planning, program design, and hands on practical experience working for and with tribal organizations and national BIA and IHS workgroups. Her experience is primarily with reservation-based and rurally-located tribal communities, where she specializes in partnership-building to localize a spectrum of services to tribal communities. She enjoys working with tribal groups and organizations to identify community and organizational needs, develop culturally responsive and tribally-driven visions, set goals and create pragmatic action plans that maximize tribal resources and create economic return.
Academically, Ms. Wilkinson holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and is currently a Juris Doctorate candidate at the University of New Mexico School Of Law. Her areas of interest include tribal partnership-building, tribal organization capacity-building, health care compliance, community engagement and strategic planning, and improving health and programmatic services for tribal populations. The classes she presently teaches for Falmouth include The Indian Self- Determination Act: Contracting and Compacting Under P.L. 93-638, Managing Contract Health Services under the Affordable Care Act, Strategic Planning, and Innovative Economic Opportunities in Tribal Health Care.
Mr. Williams is the Chief of Staff for the City of Fairbanks and is responsible for the administration of municipal government operations. He handles strategic planning and oversight of the City and oversees City functions such as human resources, information technology, finance, engineering, public relations, a police department, fire and EMS services, 911 call center and public works department. He is responsible for planning and executing City-wide operational and capital budgets in excess of $35 million annually.
Mr. Williams was the former Chief Information Officer at Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) in Fairbanks, Alaska. He crafted and executed a technology road-map for 42 Interior Alaska villages with primary service offerings in health care and social services. During his time at TCC, he led dozens of IT capital project implementations, to include a corporate wide ERP system, electronic health records, document retention system and 3rd party medical billing systems.
Mr. Williams retired from the United States Air Force in 2007 and led operations both in garrison and in combat; he was awarded the Bronze Star plus multiple meritorious service and commendation medals. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2005 and earned an MBA in 2011.
Kristi Williams joined the law firm Hobbs Straus in September of 2015, opening the Firm’s Alaska office. Ms. Williams was born in Fairbanks and is of Gwichyaa Gwich’in and Koyukon Athabascan descent. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley in anthropology with minors in public policy, and Native American studies. Prior to law school, Ms. Williams attended the Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) and received the Outstanding Student Award in Federal Indian law. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law and completed the Indian Law Certificate Program. She received Clinical Honors as a second year law student and was actively involved in the Indian Law Committee, Tribal Law Journal, as well as the Native American Law Students Association and the Women’s Law Caucus.
During her first summer of law school, Ms. Williams worked as a legal intern for U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and post law school began her career in Washington, D.C., working as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Ms. Williams transitioned to the Department of the Interior, as Counselor in the Office of the Secretary, where she provided policy guidance to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. Ms. Williams became a member of the District Columbia Bar in 2012, becoming the first Gwichyaa Gwich’in licensed attorney. Most recently Ms. Williams owned a consulting firm in Anchorage that specialized in Alaska Native tribal advocacy.
Having served as legislative and policy advisor in the U.S. Senate and at the Department of Interior, Ms. Williams is well informed on Alaska Native and American Indian issues. She has expertise in government-to-government consultation, small business and economic development issues, strategic planning, negotiations, as well as legislative and appropriations advocacy. Ms. Williams and her husband Ben love the outdoors. In their spare time they can be found fishing, foraging, and exploring Alaska with their young son, Liam.
Michael Willis has been an attorney with the law firm Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker since 1998. His practice encompasses economic development, tax law and policy, tribal transportation infrastructure, and program implementation under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Act.
Mr. Willis was part of the team of Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker attorneys that counseled the tribal committee in the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) rulemaking and drafted comments on the proposed IRR rule on behalf of a number of tribes. He has advised and continues to advise tribes regarding their assumption of the IRR Program and the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) under self-governance agreements and Federal Highway Administration program agreements.
Mr. Willis has been engaged in tribal transportation advocacy in the reauthorization of TEA-21, SAFETEA-LU, and MAP-21 and worked extensively to advance legislation creating the Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program at the Department of Transportation. He has been an active member of the workgroups formed by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Intertribal Transportation Association (ITA) to advance their joint reauthorization strategies. He also participated in the development of tribal consensus positions on MAP-21 as part of the Tribal Transportation Unity Caucus and frequently presents on tribal transportation issues at quarterly meetings and annual conferences sponsored by the Self-Governance Communication and Education Consortium.
Transportation and tax policy have been primary focuses areas of Michael's practice. In 2005, he was a primary drafter of the Intertribal Transportation Association's (ITA) Supreme Court amicus brief in the Prairie Band Potowatomi Nation fuel tax case. Mr. Willis has been advising the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) on tax policy matters since 2011. He has advocated for tribal tax reform provisions and has prepared comments to the IRS for tribal clients on such issues as the tribal general welfare exclusion, per capita distributions of income derived from trust resources and tribal governmental retirement plans. Mr. Willis has worked with tribes in the development of their general welfare ordinances and advises tribal governments on a variety of taxation matters, including best practices to protect tribal revenues from state and local government taxation. His 2014 article, "The Power to Tax Economic Activity in Indian Country," was published in the quarterly magazine of the American Bar Association's Section on Environment, Energy and Resources.
Mr. Willis is a fluent Spanish speaker with background in advocacy on indigenous peoples' issues, having worked in Guatemala, Bolivia and Colombia.
Ms. Zehren-Thomas graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law after graduating in the top of her class and being admitted to the Order of the Coif for her law school achievements. In 2007, Ms. Zehren-Thomas joined Daniel W. Hester to form the law firm of Hester & Zehren, which is solely devoted to the practice of Indian law. Ms. Zehren-Thomas represents Indian tribes and Indian organizations primarily in the areas of protection and enhancement of water rights and tribal natural resources. In addition, she represents clients on a myriad of employment, health, and tribal sovereignty matters, and has been involved in cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act, tribal economic development, and Native American prisoners’ religious rights. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Colorado and in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.