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OVF May Economic Award Winner: The Chickasaw Nation, Governor Bill Anoatubby

April 23, 2019 3:06 PM | Anonymous

“LEARN TO MAKE DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, AND THEN CREATE SOME NEW THINGS.”

Here’s a line of advice from Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby: “Learn to make do with what you have,” says the leader who is receiving the honor on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation, “and then create some new things.” That wisdom is evidenced in the tribe’s government, management, and investments.

“Chickasaw Nation Industries (CNI) is a federally chartered corporation owned by the Chickasaw Nation,” explains the Governor. “We had to acquire the support of our people to form the organization back in 1996. So we sent out around 15,000 ballots, and the charter was approved.”

“We started out small. But we’ve grown and today we’re approaching around 40,000 registered voters. We have more than a dozen subsidiaries with over 2000 employees in 40 states.”

Some of those employees reside in places like Marietta, a rural community in southern Oklahoma. In 2004, when the Chickasaw nation learned that the town’s local manufacturing facility was about to shut down, the tribe stepped in and acquired the business. “We took the leap,” recalls the Governor of the time when 50 employees almost lost their jobs. “We kept the business going and were actually able to expand it.”

Today CNI operates Filtra-Systems out of the plant in Marietta. “One of the products, and it’s very exciting, is the Scout Mobile Water Filtration System,” says Governor Anoatubby. “It can recycle up to 10,000 barrels of produced water, which is water utilized in drilling and fracking operations. The water can then be reused instead of being sent to the disposal well.”

Another subsidiary of CNI is Corvid Technologies. “The engineers at Corvid work with supercomputers. They do predictive modeling for different entities from NASCAR to the US government.”

“For example, the computer programs developed at Corvid show what effect an IED has on a vehicle. This saves the government money because an actual vehicle doesn’t have to be used.”

“This is not only a good business to be in; it’s also a growing business. We expect to add 350 employees in the years to come.”

Long term investments that deliver positive economic impacts are clearly important to the Chickasaw Nation and its leader; after all, Governor Anoatubby has invested more than 30 years in tribal leadership. While making do in order to create new is one of his guiding principles, due diligence is another. “We probably invest in about 1% of the opportunities we evaluate,” he says. “We always ask if the business will support the economic goals of our Nation and improve the quality of life for our people.”

There is one investment opportunity, though, to which the Governor and his tribe regularly say ‘yes.’ “We fund over 5000 scholarships today,” he says. “And now we are seeing young people coming back to work with us. They have all kinds of expertise, from business to finance to investments. So we’re very thankful for that.”

Governor Anoatubby is also thankful for the Oklahoma Venture Forum. “Some of the work that’s been done by our people is being recognized. It’s very nice that the OVF would give our Nation this economic impact award.”


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