The Cherokee Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office has a list of 747 certified Native American-owned business vendors that it buys supplies from or hires to complete construction and infrastructure jobs. Each fall, those companies helping the tribe further succeed are recognized with an award.
“The Cherokee Nation understands that helping TERO businesses prosper leads to growth in Cherokee communities, a more stable economy and stronger Cherokee families,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We couldn’t be happier to recognize these certified Indian-owned businesses for their commitment to employ Cherokees and produce quality products that continue to further the economic vision of the tribe.”
In the past year, the Cherokee Nation has spent more than $40 million on contracts with Native American-owned businesses and invested more than $1 million in Cherokee entrepreneurs.
“We are just incredibly thankful to the Cherokee Nation for this award and looking forward to doing even more work with the Nation in the future,” said Kristene Watson, owner of Inara Creative Specialties in Tahlequah. “Without TERO, I wouldn’t be as successful. It is a very competitive market, and TERO allowed me access to opportunities I would not have had otherwise.”
Community Leadership Award – TEDCO Properties, Chelsea, Okla.
Ted Foster, a retired teacher and coach, founded TEDCO Properties in 1997. TEDCO has since completed the construction or rehabilitation of more than 400 homes for the Cherokee Nation. TEDCO takes pride in helping Cherokee workers, especially youth, and teaching them the trade so they can earn a living.
Customer Service Award – RC Sales/Adventures in Advertising, Miami, Okla.
Bob Smith and his wife, Martha, started RC Sales in 1989 in Miami, Okla. Bob Smith helps promote his clients’ enterprise and image with branding or logo items, from apparel to promotional and specialty advertising. RC Sales has been a certified TERO business since 2006.
Consulting Firm of the Year - Scott & Associates, Muskogee, Okla.
Scott & Associates, Inc. has been in business since 1973 and is a 100 percent minority business enterprise and major Cherokee employer. The business is capable of architectural, engineering, surveying, drafting and soil testing services. They have worked for all Five Civilized Tribes' housing authorities, the Osage Nation Housing Authority, the seven tribes in northeast Oklahoma and numerous other tribes throughout Oklahoma.
Construction Company of the Year – Rill Construction, Stilwell, Okla.
Lewis Rill has been in the construction business for more than 30 years. His construction expertise is in framing homes, and he has worked on countless homes in northeast Oklahoma. Rill employs 11 Native American employees on average. Rill has also worked with the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority building new homes for Cherokee citizens.
Retail Business of the Year - Meigs Jewelry, Tahlequah, Okla.
Meigs Jewelry is a full-service, family-owned jewelry store that has been serving the Tahlequah area for more than 50 years. Along with its hallmark establishment in downtown Tahlequah, Meigs Jewelry also opened a second location in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in 2009. To showcase its strong roots and celebrate its partnership with the Cherokee Nation, Meigs also designed a Cherokee Heritage Collection custom designed by Todd Mutzig and Justin Scott. The design is inspired from historic Cherokee pottery and paintings.
Woman Owned Business of the Year - Inara Creative Specialties, Tahlequah, Okla.
Inara Creative Specialties opened in March 2011 and is 100 percent Cherokee owned. It specializes in marketing and promotion and social media and website development consulting. Owner Kristene Watson is a Cherokee citizen from Claremore and Northeastern State University graduate. She now works with many Cherokee entrepreneurs helping promote and grow their companies.
Small Certified Indian Business of the Year - Springwater Fence Co., Tahlequah, Okla.
Springwater Fence is owned and operated by Steven and Christy Springwater. Since 1999, the business has specialized in chain link, vinyl, wood, ornamental and farm fencing. In 2006, the company added temporary construction fencing to its services.
Large Certified Indian Business of the Year – Flintco, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Springdale, Ark.
Flintco was founded in 1908 and is in its third generation of private family ownership. Flintco is the largest Native American-owned company and one of the largest commercial contractors in the nation. Flintco provides a full range of construction services from its eight offices, three of which are in Oklahoma. Flintco is often selected as the contractor of choice in the areas of health care, education, sports, corrections, hospitality, governmental and community facilities.