Page 1

Kimberly Lewis: Tribal Approach to Commercial Development

MORONGO: FROM SAND + ROCKS

FORT MOJAVE: BUILDING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS

RILEY: ENGINEERING COST SAVINGS

NATIVE-AE.COM | SPRING 2019 | INAUGURAL ISSUE

1

Spring 2019


“Brightening the future for Native Communities�

Founded in 1995, ETD assists project developers in navigating the tribal and federal environmental regulations in Indian Country. Since then, we have grown to meet other needs of tribal communities by providing project management, strategic communications, and planning services. We are an award-winning professional services firm that has successfully completed hundreds of projects to the benefit of Native American self-determination. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS We develop meaningful communications strategies that identify target audiences and key messages to help organizations build confidence and earn public trust. We apply these concepts to public relations campaigns, public outreach efforts, and stakeholder engagement. PROJECT MANAGEMENT We employ the practice of initiating, planning, executing, directing, and closing the work of a team to achieve the project scope, timeline, and budget. We apply our approach to construction management, environmental project management, and site master planning. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE For the past 24 years, our NEPA experts have prepared over 500 Environmental Assessments for tribal projects. We advise our clients to ensure conformance with relevant environmental laws, regulations, standards, and other requirements, such as permits to build or operate. COMMUNITY PLANNING We carefully craft land use plans, conservation plans, and economic development plans for communities and organizations throughout Indian Country. Our plans guide the future action of a community or organization by presenting its vision for the future with long-range goals ETD INC. info@etd-inc.com | (928) 779-6032 www.etd-inc.com

2 Spring 2019


9

COVER STORY KIMBERLY LEWIS

4

PUBLISHERS LETTER

8

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

13

GAMING + CONSTRUCTION MORONGO BAND OF MISSION INDIANS

17

PLANNING + BUILT ENVIRONMENT FORT MOJAVE INDIAN TRIBE

21

PLANNING + CONSTRUCTION PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN TRIBE

25

ENGINEERING + PIPELINES RILEY ENGINEERING LLC

29

TRENDING NEWS

3 Spring 2019


FROM THE PUBLISHERS

Adrian Dotson, Chief Editor

I

grew up in an environmental consulting and construction management firm owned by my parents. I’ve spent my life hearing discussions about the business and very interesting projects they were working such as The View hotel and visitor center at Monument Valley, the Flagstaff High School Dormitory for Native students, and the Twin Arrows Casino Resort. For me at the time, this was the height of economic development in Indian Country, and I was proud of my parents for being a part of it. I was inspired to apart of it as well and I wanted to use my strengths in communications and writing. I took an alternate career path in public relations, where I worked with education and healthcare entities as a contractor. I saw the firsthand disparities facing Native American communities in education and healthcare. However, it wasn’t until I joined my family’s company where I saw the disconnect when it came to communication and economic development. The lack of a hub to see new and innovative development projects in Indian Country that companies like ours worked on. I remember my dad, who’s a construction manager, subscribed to publications that showcased major infrastructure and economic development projects across the country. I thought it would be great to produce a similar publication for Indian Country, so that everyone knows what’s going on

4 Spring 2019

and to anticipate the opportunities and build on past projects. In 2017, I was part of a team that developed an economic development strategy for a changing economic landscape, my role was to write an economic development marketing plan to accompany the strategy. What I realized was that all communities must engage in strategic marketing and public relations to attract skilled professionals, businesses, and industries to create job opportunities and grow the tax base for public programs such as for youth and elderly. NATIVE A+E is a platform to promote + innovation in Indian Country by helping tribes market their economic development projects to industries, investors and site selectors to fuel tribal economies. This platform is a place for exchanging ideas, celebrating prosperity, and creating new opportunities. We hope our readers enjoy the content within this publication as well as on our website and social media. We hope that it brings value and empowerment to tribes and professionals in the areas of planning design and construction. We look forward to improving this publication with each quarterly issue.


Dennis Welsh, Executive Editor

A

s tribal people, we are gifted storytellers that have handed down our oral histories for thousands of years since our beginning. Unfortunately, our people have not been the primary authors of our history, since the arrival of the European colonizers. So we have had to rely on non-native history books and other forms of media to inform mainstream society and ourselves about our historic events and the development of our native communities. As a tribal youth growing up on the Rez without a telephone, television or the internet, I believe it was a blessing for us because we were not shaped, influenced or brainwashed by the media to place limits on our capacities. As a result, I grew up thriving with selfconfidence in our ability to excel at anything we put our minds to, especially when we work together as a tribe. I also grew to understand that media is a powerful tool that can used to help shape and influence the day-to-day lives of our people in Native America & the World in a positive way. When it comes to building tribal economies, there are a lot of talented native business owners and tribal enterprises that offer great products and services, especially in the fields of architecture, engineering and construction. However, many of them don’t get the recognition they deserve, therefore, they are unable to effectively market their products and service to the world. It’s also hard for us tribal people to talk about

ourselves because in the tribal way we are taught to be humble, and that our work will speak for itself. That’s why we started the NATIVE A+E media platform to help native communities and native businesses tell their stories about the projects they’ve planned, designed and built, as well as the obstacles they had to overcome on each unique project. At NATIVE A+E, we understand the need to connect and empower native people and business through different forms of media. By telling our stories, we are also able to inspire each other to promote native-to-native business, which is the only way to truly build sovereign, tribal economies that control and maximize the billions of dollars that we generate before it leaves our reservations. Our future is in the palms of our hands, when we promote and believe in ourselves. Because if we don’t promote ourselves, who will? D.W.

5 Spring 2019


Marketing Advertising Public Relations Campaign Strategies Branding & Corporate Identity Website & Graphic Design Video Production Promotions

We Make It Rain. rainmakermediagroup.us 480-744-8668


CREDITS Chief Editor Adrian Dotson Rainmaker Media Group Executive Editor Dennis Welsh Rainmaker Media Group

“NATIVE A+E IS A PLATFORM TO PROMOTE GROWTH + INNOVATION IN INDIAN COUNTRY BY HELPING TRIBES MARKET THIER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS” - ADRIAN DOTSON,

Copy Editor Delilah Orr, PhD Marketing Amanda June Smoke Fire Media Creative Devyn Dennison Dreamcatcher Creative + Shon Quannie 4X Studios Digital Rocky Tano ObsidianWeb

CHIEF EDITOR

PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD

Kimberly Lewis FUEL Development Co. Eunice Tso ETD INC. Stanford Lake TERRAFORM Development Pierre Dotson Ridge Contractors

7 Spring 2019


2019 CALENDER March

25-29 Reservation Economic Summit Las Vegas, Nevada

April 1-4

Indian Gaming Tradeshow + Convention San Diego Convention Center

13-16

APA National Planning Conference San Francisco, California

May

13-15

Native Business Summit Hard Rock Hotel + Casino Tulsa, Oklahoma

8 Spring 2019


9 Spring 2019


Tribal Approach to Commercial Development By Kimberly R. Lewis, FUEL Development Co.

I

grew up watching our tribal land bordering the city of Chandler, Arizona that expands from desert and farm fields into buildings and parking lots. As a child, my mother and I would drive from our apartment in Phoenix to our family home on the reservation, and I distinctly recall two very different worlds and environments. I never imagined the land would transform from farming industries; old dairy farms and alfalfa fields bordering our reservation boundaries and replaced by MultiMillion Dollar corporations the likes of Intel, PayPal, and Wells Fargo. These two distinct worlds influenced me to pursue my education in communications and in organizational management and complete my real estate license. I spent many years in the private sector managing property, selling houses, developing planned communities, and even developed an air park that built custom homes with airplane

10 Spring 2019

hangars. I was immersed in real estate development and caught on to the core principles involved for financially sound projects that created jobs and opportunities for businesses. Prior to making my crossover to working within our tribal community, I understood the importance of master planning and the various processes involved in building consensus from the community, so this helped prepare me for my next chapter in my career: Tribal Land Development. In 2003, I was hired by my tribe as the Development Manager to oversee and lease the Wild Horse Pass mixed-use development; a 2,400 acres commercial & retail development. Prior to zoning this commercial mixed-use area, the tribe’s had been actively leasing land nearby since the 70’s --a large 500 acre industrial park attracting companies such as concrete plants, steel fabricators, and many other manufacturers that realized the

tax advantages and lower costs of leasing prime land next to the city. What I had noticed was “the tail was wagging the dog” when it came to planning and commercial development. Outside consultants and developers were telling the tribe how to develop the land while tribes were still building capacity and the knowledge base to understand what they really wanted to do with their land. We were not taking charge of developing our land and resources and it bothered me that non-Indians, who were not stakeholders in our tribe, held so much influence in how we developed our land. I saw this as an opportunity to educate our leadership. I took it upon myself to educatae our development board and convince them to take a step back, rethink the scenario and lay out our own plan and our own guidelines. I told them that as the directors, they need to dictate how we want to approach developing our land


11 Spring 2019


overtime. I noticed the difference from my experience working in non-tribal world, that the concept of “time” is not considered the same in corporate America. Time for us, we believe we’ve got time and we must always consider future generations and there’s beneficiaries down the road. In corporate America, the development model is

“working within the business life cycle,” we must develop quickly and flip the land. At that time, we had no plans and we had no permitting process. We didn’t know the true value of our land, we didn’t market it as commercial. Over time, we were able to create a masterplan and create a strategy for leasing land, which resulted in our first-class golf courses, casino resorts, commercial buildings with high end office spaces, and our high end, destination retail shopping plaza. We borrowed the strategy from one of the most successful diamond brands in the world, the De Beers Group. They are the world’s largest, oldest most valuable diamond company for one reason: they limit the amount of diamonds that they release into the market every year, so the price always goes up. I use

12 Spring 2019

diamonds as an example to understand the land, if we put a limited amount of land on the market and we advertise it to outsiders for lease, we can increase the value of land by virtue of simple supply and demand principles. Tribes can also increase the value of our land by means of effective economic and regional marketing to showcase all that our communities have to offer for commercial development. It is critical to have collaboration within the tribal government department, enterprises and the leadership in order to successfully develop major projects that are in-line with vision of the community. And of course, it’s always important to have the community involved when developing land use and master plans for land development.


Riley Engineering, LLC is a professional civil engineering firm capable of performing a wide array of civil engineering services to various public agencies and private firms. Riley Engineering is located in Tucson, Arizona and is a 100% Native American (Navajo) owned civil engineering firm. Riley Engineering can assist clients through all phases of a project from preliminary and conceptual planning to final construction. Riley’s clientele includes: municipalities; utility providers; federal and state government agencies; tribal nations; mining companies; and commercial and residential site developers. Riley Engineering Specializes in: •

Site Civil Infrastructure Design

Grading and Drainage

Surface Water Hydrology

Flood Studies

Open Channel Hydraulic Modeling

Water Supply Studies

Water Distribution System Design

Storm Drain and Wastewater Collection Systems

Advancing Infrastructure for Native Nations

Riley Engineering believes that a robust infrastructure is critical to improving the socioeconomic status of Native Nations and is committed to helping build stronger Native Communities.

Riley Engineering, LLC Tel 520.505.4651

www.riley-eng.com


Morongo: From Sand + Rock to California Dream

T

he Morongo Band of Mission Indians are known as one of the most successful Indian tribes of North America when it comes to tribal gaming and providing services to its membership. The reservation, located at the foot of the beautiful San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountain in the Southern California, spans more than 35,000 acres,.

According to Morongo Tribal Chairman, Robert Martin, prior to the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, they were facing the same challenges as many other tribes including high unemployment and welfare. NATIVE A+E sat down with the chairman to talk about new projects and past experiences that set Morongo down its current path of tribal prosperity. Chairman Martin recalled what his father had said to him about the tribe’s economic future before gaming, “If you can figure out a way to sell rocks, we’ll make a future.” Ironically, one of Morongo’s first business ventures was a sand and rock company that was able to hire 10 to 12 tribal members. The company trained tribal employees to work the rock crushing machines, encouraged their employees to apply for CDL licenses, and also started a scholarship program. Martin shared how Morongo’s future changed when one tribal member started a modest bingo hall in 1983. From this building evolved one of the oldest and most successful Indian gaming facilities in California. The high stakes bingo hall, started by the tribal member, was bought out because the tribe’s sovereign immunity did not extend to tribal members and their businesses.

14 Spring 2019


15 Spring 2019


Then from 1985 to 1986 the high-stakes bingo created a lot of jobs. Tribal members felt good about being employed. The tribe had a 0% unemployment rate. Between 1989 and 1990 the tribe built its first casino that was managed by the tribe. It did very well. In early 2000, the planning for the new casino, which opened in 2004, began. Martin said that one of the biggest accomplishments has been the $250 million resort and a 36-hole golf course at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. Today, Morongo is the third largest gaming tribe in the state of California with its own fire department and public safety and public works department. The tribe also has its own tuition-free, accredited elementary school. It has given out $470,000 in college scholarships to all Native American students across California. Martin told NATIVE A+E, “The tribe provides health care for its tribal members and provides transportation for tribal residents in Riverside County.” All of these accomplishments have been made possible by competent leaderhsip. The chairman, who had owned a successful residential construction contractor business for many years, used his experience to guide Morongo to its economic and community aspirations. “It was all a matter of timing and need,” explained Chairman Martin, referring to their tribal casino’s success. “130,000 vehicles drive

16 Spring 2019

through the vistas of the Banning Pass each day. However, financing is always hard, especially early on.” In 2018, Morongo Casino began a major renovation and expansion project. They broke ground for an increase of 65,000 square feet in gaming space. There will be 800 to 1,000 new slots and a new bar. Plans also are in place for a new 750 space parking structure. This will add 425 full-time jobs and several hundred construction jobs. The project is to be completed by 2020. Two Native American-owned construction firms were selected to complete the substantial expansion and renovation project at the AAA Four-Diamond Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa. The tribe selected Sage Mountain Construction, which is owned by a Morongo tribal member, Tom Linton, and Hal Hayes’ Construction. Other construction partners include Yates Moorefield LLC. “We’ve put together a top-notch construction team that brings together the best in the business,” said Chairman Martin. “We do use Native American preference when contracting out services and Sage Mountain Construction was one of the most competitive bids we received for the casino expansion.” Other projects down the road include continued development around the casino such as retail, housing and new travel center to break ground in 2019.


17 Spring 2019


Building Environments Prioritizing Health + Education Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

T

he Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, located in the Mojave Desert on the edge of Needles, California, is innovatively addressing priority concerns facing their community on the Colorado River. NATIVE A+E visited with planning director and owner’s representative, Wayne Nelson (Fort Mojave), to discuss the master planned developments happening in their community. He shared Chairman Timothy Williams and Vice Chairman Shan Lewis’ vision for a local place of relearning the almost extinct traditional Mojave language & customs. He also discussed the need to look at statistics to identify priorities such as health, wellness, and education. The tribe opened its 5,100-squarefoot facility hemodialysis center in March 2018 and a 48,598 squarefoot wellness center facility in December 2018, a culmination of years of planning that will also produce a new school, cultural center and housing subdivisions. The tribe is ambitiously planning to open the new grade school by the beginning of the school year in response to the Fort Mojave Valley elementary school closing down. The new school will have a full language immersion tract similar to the program at Salt River Indian

18 Spring 2019

Community. Fort Mojave currently has its own high school, and has plans for a junior high at some point. Nelson has been with the tribes planning department for 12-years, he informed NATIVE A+E, “The local elementary school closed down some years ago, and Mohave Valley doesn’t have a grade school. Many of the tribal members have to travel anywhere between 18 to 35-miles for their kindergarten to fifth-grade students…. What the tribe wanted to do was not have to ship our kids off to school somewhere else... because our language is starting to die off. So with the closing of the elementary school, the chairman and the council decided we’ll build our own school and we’ll educate our own kids... Statistically, tribal kids don’t usually do well in school: English, math and science.” To complement the construction of the new grade school, the tribe is building a multi-purpose language and cultural center geared toward maintaining, revitalizing and documenting the Mojave language as well as developing the means to fulfill and preserve Mojave culture. One of the most impressive aspects of this story is the fact that the tribe is able to self-fund the projects

through strong planning, discipline and leadership by the council and tribal departments. The first thing they did, from a financial standpoint, is eliminate debt. It took a number of years to get there, but when they did the master plan evolved. As Tribal Chairman Timothy


Williiams posited, “What are needs of the tribe? When you look at it statistically speaking, healthcare is number one, then you look at the educational leaks that we have, and of course you always have your traditional and cultural needs and the reduction of our language. So we wanted to address it by priority. The data speaks

to priority versus just opinions. A lot of people have opinions. But when we talk about the number of people with obesity or pre-diabetes, hypertension, the effects they are having overall… then these are some of the one areas we want to focus on.” Fort Mohave wants to influence and recreate their community and social environment, so they are

19 Spring 2019


projects on their own. This ultimately means that they make their own rules. No one is telling them to follow a specific regimen for nutrition classes or other programs as most grants require the recipients to follow some parameters. NATIVE A+E saw first hand, the innovation and creativity during the interview and tour of the new wellness center. The center is intended to prevent disease: strengthening the human body to fend off complaints before they start. “We did use one grant. That was Special Diabetes Program for Indians, and that was for the equipment,” explained Chairman Williams.

“There are really three parts to what we are trying to do: it takes the individual to want to make changes in their health; then what is the tribe able to do and what environment are we creating? In addition you always have IHS; how are they able to help? We aren’t depending on them, but in this case they were able to help.”

Featuring a multiple-court wood-floor gymnasium big enough to run two or more events simultaneously, surrounded by a second-story mezzanine with an indoor running track, the wellness center offers something for people of every age, from a playroom full of bounce-houses for the youngest to a lap pool, spa, classrooms and a teaching kitchen. A full workout gym offers dozens of complex training machines plus free weights and crossfit stations. Nearly three dozen TV screens surround the workout area.

20 Spring 2019

As the chairman put it, “I think with the incorporation with the wellness center, we’re going to see the strongest and most well balanced kids that are out there, who are prepared by knowing who they are as a Mohave person, but who are also able to succeed in our society, do things and be independent.”


Increasing tribal employment opportunities through advanced skills training for tribal leadership and staff. Promoting Native-Owned businesses. Diversifying economic development opportunities by providing targeted market insight to tribal leadership.

ABOUT Tribal Indemnity, LLC is a Native woman-owned management consulting business that is focused on tribal community advancement. Our consulting team is made up of experienced and licensed management professionals who employ progressive strategies to promote self-governance and self-reliance through tailored consulting, project management, and apprenticeship programs. By growing internal capabilities and offering insightful solutions to your Nation’s leadership committees and administration, we alleviate the daunting and costly tasks associated with managing your community’s programs.

RISK MANAGEMENT & CONSULTING At Tribal Indemnity, we focus on internal capacity building. Our goal is to help build the infrastructure needed for your organization to excel even after our contract is completed. Review our list of management services, and contact us today to see how we can help you. • • • •

Risk Solutions Human Resource Solutions Tribal Grant Management Federal Contracting

CONTACT: +1 (800) 307-8548 tribalindemnity.com SafetyTraining@tribalindemnity.com


L

ocated in the southwestern part of the Tucson, Arizona, amidst suburban communities, and adjacent to the eastern section of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, sits the Pascua Yaqui Indian reservation. The tribe first received recognition in 1978, along with the transfer of 202-acres of federal land. In 1978, the tribe wasn’t thinking about gaming, but economic development is always the primary priority for any tribe. NATIVE A+E sat down with Pascua Yaqui Tribal Councilman and

22 Spring 2019

Casino Del Sol Marketing Director Francisco Valencia to discuss how their development projects are progressing and how they are able to stay true to their original vision. Valencia says he always refers back to their master land use plan, a working plan that was started back in 1978. Valencia spoke about how new leaders come in with different ideas and want to try new things. “We don’t have much land as it is, we were originally given 202-acres of federal land, and then we put over 2,200-acres into trust. So to

me, and what I tell our council is to look at our master land use plan and base our developments on that because when you piecemeal projects, you might end up saying, ‘We should have done it differently, or this should have gone somewhere else,’ and there is no access to the elders [who authored the plan.]” In 1978, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was not enacted, so the tribe was trying to figure out what kind of economic develop they could do.The federal government had trust


Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe Planning Rooted in Wisdom

responsibilities, but the tribe wanted to know what they could do. They considered traditional medicine and thought about how they could market it. The tribe used to have an adobe block company and a nursery for traditional plants. Today they’re starting a construction company, which will soon be in operation, and also be a Section 17 corporation. Usually tribes set up boards to oversee tribally owned corporations where the level of autonomy varies from tribe to tribe. Valencia explained how he sees the process of setting up a board to oversee their expansion projects and other corporate intiatives.

times tribes set up a board that is independent. Then, sometimes it goes against the grain that the plan had set out in the long run or starts to invest in something that the tribe wouldn’t be invested in,” said Valencia. “So we want to make sure that it runs in conjunction with the leadership of the tribe, that it’s not so independent, and that it has to answer back to the tribal leadership and the people. The people are the shareholders, and businesses need to be held accountable.”

“Again, trying to set it [a board] up in a way that it’s going to work with our long term goals and our plans and our master land use plan is hard because a lot of

23 Spring 2019


“The way I see it is, if we didn’t have our culture and if we didn’t have our language, we wouldn’t be a tribe; and we wouldn’t have economic development opportunities; and we wouldn’t be able to negotiate and enter into a compact. Only tribes can do that. That’s why in our operations, we have a cultural leave policy. We can take cultural leave to participate inceremonies. You know, it’s important because you get more participation in the culture, and you support the ceremonies to make sure that they get completed. It’s something that our elders left, and we shouldn’t forget who we are or where we came from.” Along with the new ventures, the old ventures are being revamped with expansions to the Casino Del Sol property. The expansion was always part of the the “program,” part of the long-term plan for Yaqui economic development according to Valencia. The expansion includes Estrella at Casino Del Sol, a new 6 story hotel, complete with150 rooms, a kids’ arcade, a pool with water slide, a covered walkway that connects to the casino, meeting rooms, and a workout facility. It has a landscaped RV Park with 75 spaces, and the Convention Center Expansion includes 9600 SF for more meeting spaces. Their CEO is Kim Van Amburg. The expansion is meant to attract more visitors, and the tribe saw opportunity in travel lodging where there was room to grow. The casino’s “first tower” allowed them to go ahead and develop a hotel at a lower price point to attract those who are not high roller gamers, including families. They are now able to host them all on one property. The casino and the

24 Spring 2019

tribe are working toward becoming a destination resort and casino. Right now, they are one of only two tribal resorts to have a Starbucks franchise. Other places just brew Starbucks. “You have to have the amenities in order to meet your goal, and our goal was to be a four star property,” explained Valencia. He continued, “Our casino here is called Casino Del Sol, and for us, we call our creator Father Sun. We also wanted to incorporate the Spanish architecture that’s been part of our culture. We felt the Mediterranean had that same type of Spanish architecture. For us triangles represent sun rays, upside down triangles represent rain drops, diagonal lines represent agriculture, and diagonal dotted lines represent our migration. We were a very nomadic tribe so we migrated all over the western part of this continent.”


WHY TRIBAL NATIONS CHOOSE TO BE BOLD Bold Concepts can help your tribal business diversification goals by working with you to establish or increase your Federal Construction Footprint. With over 25 years of experience within the federal construction market and over 15 years of experience within Indian Country, Bold Concepts provides comprehensive construction support services for tribal organizations.

Schedule your consultation today. •

Bonding Enhancement

Operations Development

Leasing/Locating Personnel

Direct Sales

Gary Bailey Director of Client Development 301.219.6125 GBailey@boldconcepts.com

814 W. Diamond Avenue, Suite 200 Gaithersburg, MD 20878 | 301.258.8870 | www.boldconcepts.com © 2019 BOLD CONCEPTS, INC. All rights reserved.

Advertise with us!

Spring 2019


Engineering Cost Savings into Water Resource Projects Riley Engineering LLC

R

onson Chee is a Professional Engineer (PE), an entrepreneur, and holds a Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees (PhD) in Civil Engineering, and he’s only 33 years old. Yup… 33… He has an impressive resume of experience, ranging from a computer aided drafter and designer; to a project engineer; and a principal engineer.

26 Spring 2019

He’s active in academic research, serves as a board member of Navajo Engineering & Construction Authority, acts in a leadership role in his professional chapter of AISES, and is a mentor to Native engineering students at the University of Arizona, his alma mater. What’s more impressive is the rate his engineering firm has grown since launching in August


Chee’s company, Riley Engineering, LLC is a 100% Native American (Navajo) owned civil engineering firm located in Tucson, Arizona. Their capabilities include the following: site civil infrastructure design, grading and drainage, surface water hydrology, surface water supply studies, flood studies, open channel hydraulic modeling, water distribution system design, and storm drain and wastewater collection systems. They also currently service the mining sector where they engineer stormwater controls and manage stormwater runoff to comply with environmental regulations. ​​​ Though they currently service the mining sector, Riley Engineering isn’t heavily involved in actual mining engineering. They are more focused on projects where management and protection of water resources are critical. Currently, they are involved in designing large stormwater control structures as part of mine reclamation efforts as well as designing stormwater channels to ensure that downstream water resources are protected from mining activities.

“A good example of one of our projects is one that is on [Tohono O’odham] lands… For this, we have some personal investment. They are T.O. and I’m Navajo. They need someone to do a good job, and I’d rather it be us than a nonnative firm. I really want to do it right ... We know it will be a good product for the tribe.” “Riley” is Dr. Chee’s middle name, in honor of his late maternal grandfather Riley Jones. Chee grew up on the Navajo Nation and is proud to call Leupp, Arizona his hometown. Experiencing firsthand socio-economic challenges and infrastructure deficiencies, he felt compelled to help improve living conditions on the Navajo Nation as well as other Native and tribal nations. Since starting his business, he is proud to say he provides the highest value of professional engineering service by, building trust, building a technically competency team, providing exceptional customer service, and solving complex problems.

For his PhD dissertation, Chee looked at the Navajo Reservation as a case study, trying to figure out what can be done to improve the water infrastructure. He wanted to take on the obvious problem which is lack of running water as approximately 30% of homes on the Navajo Reservation don’t have running water and sewage. Chee investigated the issue, talking with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Indian Health Services and the people who work to address the disparity. What he found was a lack of an economy on the reservation, an economy that generates taxes and revenues for utility markets, essentially customers paying water utility bills. “When you have a lot of users, it off-sets the costs of construction and operations, Navajo is scattered, and the communities are small, so it costs too much to operate and to get the infrastructure in place. The other thing we found was the lack of large industries on Navajo. Most

27 Spring 2019


of the customers are residential who pay a fixed rate. When you have big businesses paying into water and electric utilities, it creates revenues for the utility companies. Here in Tucson, the industrial businesses subsidize the cost for residential customers and help with operation and maintenance costs. To see Navajo develop our only choice is to build the infrastructure to attract industry. It’s like “the chicken and the egg” situation, you have to start somewhere.” Chee’s dissertation describes custom planning and engineering tools that were developed specifically to address the water infrastructure planning issues on Navajo. Those tools include a water pipe installation construction cost estimation model (WaterCOSTE) to improve the accuracy of capital cost estimates; a hydraulic optimization model (WaterTRANS) that improves design efficiency for branched water transmission systems (typical for rural Native communities); and a decision support system (DSS) that allows candidate water transmission projects to be ranked while considering economic development, health improvement and environmental protection objectives. Estimates derived from WaterCOSTE are used as input into WaterTRANS to find the least-cost system designs. “We developed this tool to help choose and prioritize projects based on the impact it will have on economy, environment and health,” Chee explains. “With that, we developed some pipeline design tools and a cost estimation tool that was published last year in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pipelines Journal. Basically, we built a cost model that mimics all the processes of installing water pipe all the way up through 64-inches in diameter. It’s all based on

28 Spring 2019

the pipe size. The pipe size determines the excavator, determines the labor, and other direct costs…. You know, if tribes spend more on engineering, they can save millions on construction costs.”


NEWS TRENDS

Spending Bill Passed $100M Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill maintains additional $100 million for tribal housing that was added last year. Congress has passed full-year fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations and the President signed the bill into law February 15. The Omnibus spending bill maintains the additional $100 million for tribal housing that was added last year. The bill also keeps the requirement that the additional funds to be allocated among eligible Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act recipients through a competitive grant process. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) still has not yet released the funding provided last year, so tribes should expect up to $200 million becoming available this year. National American Indian Housing Council will work with our members

30 Spring 2019

and the HUD Office of Native American Programs to understand how and when the new funding will be made available. The bill also maintains additional funding for Training and Technical Assistance and for the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG). The Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentVeterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) funding, however, has been decreased again to only $4 million, which is $1 million lower than last year and $3 million less than original funding for the program. The decrease comes despite data showing nearly all HUD-VASH vouchers being used last year.


Gila River Health Care Corporation

Sacaton, Arizona – In harmony with the vision of our forefathers, the Gila River Indian Community established Gila River Health Care to care for its people. Many years later, the Community is proud to announce the opening of its’ newest healthcare facility, Hau’pal (Red Tail Hawk) Health Center on August 1, 2018. The new facility is a creation of unity and partnership with $73 million dollars in funding provided by Indian Health Service. The collaboration represents decades of perseverance and will establish Gila River Health Care (GRHC) as a key player in the delivery of regional tribal healthcare. Chairman of GRHC’s Board of Directors, Myron G. Schurz stated, “I am privileged to serve my Community during this time of growth. The opening of this state-of-the-art healthcare facility will help not only our people, but all Native Americans.” Hau’pal (Red Tail Hawk) Health Center will significantly strengthen health care services for Native American patients living in central Arizona. The new outpatient health center has a projected user population of 15,220 GRIC members and other Native

Americans from federally-recognized tribal communities. On March of 2018, Gila River Health Care began offering Behavioral Health Services (BHS) at the new facility in anticipation of later opening a full suite of outpatient healthcare services. Beginning August 1st, BHS will expand to include individual and group counseling for mental health and substance abuse. Additionally, all services will open on August 1st and include: Primary Care, Pharmacy, Laboratory, Medical Imaging, Physical Therapy, Women’s Health, Podiatry, Diabetes Care, Optometry, Audiology, Dental, Emergency Medical Services and Alternative Therapies. Service eligibility for patients is subject to Indian Health Service guidelines, and to determine eligibility, patients must contact their home service unit. Historically, O’odham people have always been peaceful, caring, and hospitable. “It’s deeply embedded in our himdak (culture)”. The opening of the Hau’pal Health Center represents the end of decades of work, and more importantly, a victory for the members of the Gila River Indian Community.

31 Spring 2019


SPS+ American Indian Veterans Memorial SPS+ Architects Complete Concept for the American Indian Veterans Memorial

SPS+ Architects recently completed conceptual design for the American Indian Veterans Memorial. The Memorial, a unique interpretive landscape design, is proposed to be located at Steele Indian School Park in Central Phoenix. The Memorial’s design not only captures the essence and spirit of the project itself but blends many conversations, from City of Phoenix representatives, Tribal veteran’s family members, and many Tribal Nations who have supported this journey for two decades. Kent Ware, Vice President with American Indian Veterans Memorial Organization explains, “The memorial will honor all American Indian Veterans.” The design team at SPS+ Architects understood that the sacred eagle plays a critical role in the story behind the American Indian Veterans Memorial. The

32 Spring 2019

eagle symbolizes freedom, spirituality, mystery, and journey – and therefore becomes a leading concept associated with reflection and remembrance. The Memorial will integrate into the landscape seamlessly with its well-considered design. Richard K Begay Jr., AIA, Associate & Lead Designer at SPS+ Architects states, “Arriving at processional stairs, visitors will be greeted by two upright steel structures, which artistically express an eagle’s wings – they ‘Carry the Spirit of the Warrior’ from day to night. As a cycle that never stops, therefore, the memory of the American Indian Veteran will be lasting and forever.”


Change Labs Tuba City Incubator Change Labs Co-Working Hub Means Business for Navajo Nation

Native architecture and engineering firm Terraform Development is expected to break ground on Change Labs’ 4,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar location in Tuba City later this year. Change Labs will be the anchor tenant in the firm’s new Towering Cliff 8 development, an ultramodern mixed-use building on eight acres in central Tuba City, the Navajo Nation’s largest town. “We want Change Labs to meet the real wants and needs of business owners, that’s why we’re here tonight,” said Fleming, a former Silicon Valley CEO who has been leading workshops and listening sessions and gathering data across the Navajo Nation since 2013. “Should we prioritize on-site child care, a jewelry-making studio, or a T-shirt press? Tonight, is a promise to the community: change is coming.” In addition to a coworking space with tools and

resources like desk space, laptops, and printers, Change Labs will offer artist residencies and business incubation services, giving business owners access to training and mentorship. “Our people are entrepreneurial — from selling burritos to cutting hair at home — we find ways to make money to support our families. But we don’t always think of ourselves as business owners,” said Change Labs Director of Business Incubation Jessica Stago. “These small businesses are part of a vibrant, if largely invisible, local economy. If we can support and grow these jobs, the economic impact in our communities will drive down poverty and create better and more sustainable professional opportunities.”

33 Spring 2019


Indian Affairs Announces $74.2 Million

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney announced the Blackwater Community School, located within the Gila River Indian Community in Coolidge, Ariz., will receive $30.1 million dollars, and the Quileute Tribe will receive $44.1 million dollars for the Quileute Tribal School located on Quileute reservation in La Push, Wash., to award designbuild contracts for new school buildings. In 2016, Indian Affairs selected both schools as two of 10 schools for replacement through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) replacement school construction process. The Blackwater Community School has elected to manage the project using a design-build contract for their new school through a Public Law 100-297 Grant and the Quileute Tribe has elected to manage the project using a designbuild contract for their new school through a Public Law 93-638 SelfDetermination Contract. The Division of Facilities Management and Construction for Indian Affairs (DFMC) will provide oversight verification throughout the project and will be available to provide technical support to the Blackwater Community School and the Quileute Tribe. The replacement project for Quileute

34 Spring 2019

Tribal School authorizes a new 60,950 GSF campus supporting a projected K-12 grade enrollment of 79 students. The replacement project for the Blackwater Community School authorizes a new 88,547 GSF campus supporting a projected K-5 grade enrollment of 409 students. “A school’s environment is as important as the lessons taught in the classroom,” Bureau of Indian Education Director Tony Dearman said. “We are proud to work with Indian Affairs to build a new school where we can deliver excellent in-classroom instruction on the first day it opens its doors.”

The Blackwater Community School is the third NCLB School to completed planning. To ensure compliance with Arizona State and Gila River Tribal requirements and enhanced community involvement this project provides a Language/ Cultural Lab, Science Lab/ Traditional Farming and Gardening classroom, Art Program Classroom and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Classroom. This project will be fully compliant with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Protocol and the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings.

Quileute Tribal School was the second 2016 NCLB School to complete the planning phase and first to complete a preliminary 20% design. To ensure compliance with Washington State requirements and enhanced community involvement this project provides a Language/Cultural Lab, permanent stage space, and a wood carpentry vocational shop. This project will be fully compliant with Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol and the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings. The current school facility is in a designated tsunami zone near the ocean. The new school site is located at elevation safely outside the tsunami zone.

The Laguna Elementary School received the first award of $26.2 million to award a design-build contract on May 2, 2018. Within the next few weeks, Dzilth-Na-ODith-Hle Community School in Bloomfield, N.M. will begin the preliminary design stage and will be the fourth school to be funded. The remaining six schools are expected to complete the planning phase by the end of 2018.


35 Spring 2019


36 Spring 2019

Profile for NATIVE A+E

NATIVE A+E | SPRING 2019 | INAUGURAL ISSUE  

Spring 2019 NATIVE-AE.COM | SPRING 2019 | INAUGURAL ISSUE FORT MOJAVE: BUILDING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS RILEY: ENGINEERING COST SAVINGS MORONGO...

NATIVE A+E | SPRING 2019 | INAUGURAL ISSUE  

Spring 2019 NATIVE-AE.COM | SPRING 2019 | INAUGURAL ISSUE FORT MOJAVE: BUILDING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS RILEY: ENGINEERING COST SAVINGS MORONGO...

Advertisement