American Indian Chamber of Commmerce

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calendar of events

2013 Chamber News - A year in Review in reverse --- from the end to the beginning

Our 2013 Native American Heritage Month Luncheon Warriors & Scholars!
14th Annual Presentations of the
Prestigious Warrior Awards congratulations to:

the Southern California Indian Center, Inc.

American Indian Tribal Leader
Richard Gomez, Vice Chair
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Tribe
With Former Warrior Awardees
Lynn Valbuena & Andrew Masiel, Sr.

Annual Student Scholarship Awardees

Where’s Chato? Why on the side of a building in Downtown San Diego.

chatoOur own Ruben Chato Hinojosa, actor, writer, artist and veteran is one of the faces of the ad campaign promoting the San Diego Film Festival. Special Chamber member ticket discount listed below – 50% off admission price. Congrats Chato on your selection for this very nice advertisement.

Click below for more information on the festival and our AICC-Cal discount. You can only access this special discount pricing through this link! Festival Discount CLICK HERE!

Thank You - Chamber Member Participants At the AICEF PTAC Workshop Pechanga Resort

We enjoyed great attendance -- and the presentations, keynote speech, venue, food and workshop room accommodations were first rate.  Picture highlights of the day are below – enjoy!

The gang.

SCE’s Dennis Thurston         Pechanga Tribal          
                                                 Councilman Andrew Masiel

AICEF PTAC Manager Venessa Gleich conducting the workshop.

 An EXPO Worthy of It’s 10th Anniversary –
Thanks Everyone

It was one of our best-attended EXPOs ever, with great speakers, one-on-one American Indian businesses’ access to opportunities, personalized presentations to decision-makers, insightful keynotes, awesome Tribal Leaders and great sessions.

“Building Success Through Tradition,
Culture & Partnership

EXPO Year 10- Photo from EXPO’13 10th Anniversary Welcome/Networking Reception

 EXPO Year 1- Photo from EXPO’04 Our First Welcome/Networking Reception

We thank everyone who participated in the EXPO which featured three days of American Indian business entrepreneurial development and procurement opportunity access. Above is just one set of photos that is indicative of the growth of our Chamber and the EXPO over the first 10 years of the conference.

Sycuan Chair Danny Tucker Keynote at EXPO Luncheon

Awesome Leaders Presented At Tribal Leader Summit

Chamber Board, AICEF PTAC & Advisory Council Prepping for Sunday Sessions     

Later Ben Hale & Daughter Entertained

In This Room EXPO Participants Had Personalized Presentation Access to
East Bay Municipal Utility District, Los Angeles World Airports, Toyota, Verizon, SCE, AT&T

In This Room EXPO Participants Had Personalized Presentation Access to the Central Intelligence Agency,
the Walt Disney Company, PG&E, Verizon Wireless, Turner Construction & The Boeing Company

And In This Room EXPO Participants Had Personalized Presentation Access to the California Water Association

And Where Else But At the Chamber EXPO Do You Receive Personalized Coaching From Dr. Scott Vowels (above)
& NBCUniversal’s Christine Simmons Prior To Presenting - Our AICEF PTAC – Was Also There To Coach
But Natives Can Access Our PTAC Daily
Not Just At the EXPO

A Packed House Enjoys Tuesday’s EXPO Luncheon – Our Adults & Our Youth Together For A Great Meal & Program

Again it was a stellar year, we honored Sempra’s Jeff Thorsen for his unbelievably great work on behalf of Native business development.   Shown below in our community honoring ceremony.

We Were Honored To Conduct A Community Honoring of
Our Good Friend & Native Business Advocate Extraordinaire,
Jeff Thorsen from the Sempra Energy utilities.  Jeff Is Holding The Lovely Kachina Presented To Him From the Chamber Business People, Many of Who Are On The Stage With Jeff.

We look forward to next year’s EXPO, you will not want to miss hearing from folks like Northrop Grumman’s Gloria Pualani and Vicky Harper-Hall who were the corporate luncheon keynoters; or SCE’s Vice President of Procurement, Walter Rhodes who was our Monday dinner keynoter; our esteemed financial educational panel for business, our partners from NACA and NAFOA on Indian Country Initiatives or the many numbers of corporate, government and tribal folks who spoke on EXPO panels or participated in our Networking Sessions.

A Session for our Vets by Our Native Vets –
Thanks to Jeff from Heritage Global Solutions
For Keeping On!

Presented by Eagle Sponsors

Southern California Edison
California Water Association

(100 Water Associations Including)
San Jose Water Company California American Water Company
California Water Service Company • Golden State Water Company
Park Water Company • San Gabriel Valley Water Company
Suburban Water Services
Comcast NBCUniversal
Northrop Grumman
Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy utility
SDG&E, a Sempra Energy utility
PG&E (not pictured) • Toyota (not pictured)

Raven Supporters –
Wells Fargo
Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians

Thunderbird Sponsors –
Southwest Gas
The Walt Disney Company
Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians

EXPO Supporters –

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay
East Bay Municipal Utility District
Metropolitan Water District
New World Environmental, Inc.
Glow Electric, Inc.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

We Were Happy To Host 140 Youth From Santa Ynez To Los Angeles To Agua Caliente To San Diego County Tribes
For Our Annual Jr. American Indian Chamber Youth EXPO. 

Our 10th Anniversary Youth EXPO was a great success with approximately 140 youth attending.  Kudos to the Walt Disney Company’s Arnice Lamb, Wells Fargo’s Cora Gaane, for their leadership of the Youth EXPO—and to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Michael Barber for his Youth Keynote address; Native Entrepreneur, Rachel Stanhoff for her business talk and Native Academic, Tishmall Turner for her academic discussion at this year’s Youth EXPO.

Our Youth EXPO was phenomenal due to the work of many and additional thanks goes to the youth team coaches that included Christine Simmons from NBCUniversal, Brian McDonald of SCE, Sandy Dixon of Cal Poly Pomona, Michael Barber of the CIA, Joe Smyth from the CIA, Cora Gaane of Wells Fargo, and others who assisted the youth teams with their entrepreneurial exercise on building a business with brand, logo, slogan and personnel to sell an aerospace product or service to Northrop Grumman. 

Gloria Pualani from Northrop lead the judges panel on selecting the winning teams.  Prizes for the top teams included: 12 Disney Tickets, 10 Universal Studios tickets, baskets from Nestle and an iPod from Wells Fargo banking.  All who attended received Chamber “swag” in a drawstring backpack.

The Youth EXPO was presented by Southern California Edison, Wells Fargo, the Walt Disney Company, Glow Electric, Inc., New World Environmental, Inc. and NBCUniversal.


Latest Chamber News!

Record Number of Our Chamber Member Native Businesses Nominated & AD PRO and Osceola Consulting
Win Their SOTY Categories!

A record number of five of our Chamber member Native businesses were nominated for the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council’s Supplier of the Year (SOTY) awards. 

Congratulations to all of our nominees: (pictured left to right above) Osceola Consulting; New World Environmental; Diversified Utilities; AD PRO and Glow Electric.

Osceola Consulting and AD PRO won in their classes.  Thank you to the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council and the corporations who nominated our members.

More Chamber Highlights

Annual June Recognition Luncheon Hosted the Autry &
Presented By Metro A Huge Success

Above - Maurice and the frybread team ready for luncheon service

Thank you to our great partners at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who once again sponsored and the Autry who hosted this delicious and networking focused luncheon.

Above left – Anne and team “flip” frybread, while left our Native
cooks prepared a yummy stew.

This luncheon included a welcome from new Autry President Rick West, a welcome and update from Sherman Gay of Metro – who actually stated that they “have money to spend for projects -- come on and bid.”

Chamber Corporate Advisory Council chair Arnice Lamb, co-Chair Dennis Thurston and Tribal Advisory Council leader Lynn Valbuena also spoke regarding the Chamber’s first half of the year efforts and our work forward in 2013.

Above left – Aaron Emi from Toyota speaks on EXPO presentation expectations from the corporate view point while our PTAC Manager, Venessa Gleich, provided an overview of our Sunday presentation formats and how our PTAC and our Advisory Council will assist in business preparation for these great opportunities.

We also held a workshop training presented by our American Indian Chamber Education Fund – Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Chamber Advisory Council Entrepreneurial Excellence team regarding preparing for our personal business presentations to be held on Sunday afternoon, July 21 at the EXPO.

Above from the left – Arnice Lamb of the Walt Disney Company, and Olivia, Sara and Cheri of the Chamber board visit during the luncheon

Thank you to the Autry – Diana Terazzas, Metro, and everyone who participated for making this event a wonderful use of your business, community and personal time.

Chamber Members About The State

Chamber President, Tracy Stanhoff has been honored to speak at several events in the past couple of weeks –as the keynoter before a packed house of Los Angeles Unified School District parents and students for their annual Title VII Graduation Celebration – congratulating the graduates and those students on a great year.

Above – the auditorium was packed to capacity, on right the graduating students of the year dance in celebration of their efforts

Next Tracy presented at Victor Rocha of’s first annual Indian Country Online Conference held at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula. 

Victor Rocha speaks prior to Tracy’s panel

And then, Tracy co-MC’d the Annual California Small Business Day in Sacramento – along with the Honorable Gwen Moore, Latin Business Association President Ruben Guerra, and NFIB’s John Kabateck. 

The Honorable Gwen Moore, who was the author of GO-156, welcomes the crowd to the California Small Business Day Luncheon that Betty Jo Toccoli produces with many of the State of California’s finest legislators honoring small businesses in their districts

From left, Linda, Nadia, and Jacque were co-hosts of the Chamber table at California Small Business Day

... And, Chamber members were out in force at the Edison Electrical Institute Conference in Santa Clara. 
David, Allison, Gretchen and Adam, in their “finery”
attend the EEI events

April Meeting Photo Highlights

Above, Chamber Secretary Sara Finseth of Redtail Hawk Enterprises welcomes attendees to our Joint Southern California/San Diego Chapter meeting hosted by the great folks at Southern California Edison (SCE) on April 24.

Below, Elizabeth Cabral, Vice President of Hal Hays Construction provides her “Perfect Pitch” – these pitches were filmed by Jim Ruel, assisted by David Morgan of InterTribal Entertainment / Southern California Indian Center for Chamber member review and use.  A packed-house participated in this entrepreneurial capacity building exercise that was a meeting idea put forth by Advisory Council Co-Chair Dennis Thurston of SCE.

Above, special thanks to our panel of experts, members of our Advisory Council: Elke Chenevey, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; Jaymee Lomax, SDG&E; Dennis Thurston, SCE; Monica Heredia, Verizon; and Yolanda Padilla, Michelle Chieks and John Steadmon of the Southern California Gas Company – for providing support and input back to all presenters.

Below, Chamber members surround State Senator Joel Anderson, who presented during our luncheon portion of the Chamber’s Annual Legislative Day and Northern California Chapter meeting hosted by AT&T on April 25.  The Chamber member companies represented in this photo are Burleson Consulting, Blair, Church and Flynn Engineers, TNT Industrial Contracting, Native American Enterprises, AD PRO, Costello/Kennedy Landscape Architects and Osceola Consulting.


Above left, the Chamber thanked AT&T’s Ileana Winterhalter for her support in hosting and organizing our Legislative Day luncheon with a piece of Ute Mountain Pottery.  Above right, Chamber Treasurer and Northern California Chapter Coordinator, Randy Twist, with the Department of General Services (DGS) Director, Fred Klass.  Randy and Chamber President, Tracy Stanhoff, visited with Fred and Eric Mandell in an afternoon meeting at DGS headquarters discussing Native American business initiatives with state contracting.

It Was The Event of
March--  The Sold Out,
American Indian National Chamber Dinner 

The American Indian National Chamber dinner at Cabo Wabo on the Las Vegas Strip on March 12 was a sold-out matchmaking, procurement networking, good food, and breath-taking view success.

American Indian Chamber members from all over the U.S., joined together with our corporate, government and tribal leader partners for this annual dinner meeting which featured a three-course meal, a spectacular view of the Strip and, of course, unparalleled networking access to decision makers sourcing Native businesses.

National Chamber dinner pic

The presidents and board members of the California, Rocky Mountain, New Mexico and Oregon American Indian Chambers provided attendees with a short update of their Chamber activities - with Oregon's Herb Fricke, California's Tracy Stanhoff, NACA's Denise Pollock and New Mexico's Russell Pedro - shown above.

A big thank you to our partners from SCE, SDG&E, Boeing, NAFOA, NACA, Verizon, SoCalGasCo, Comcast, NBCUniversal and more for conducting matchmaking meetings and supporting this great event. 

Dawn Gilbert of Verizon, was so committed to this National Chamber event, she flew in just for this afternoon/evening to help our businesses connect with Verizon.

We are looking forward to 2014's dinner and to planning a first ever annual American Indian National Chamber meeting/procurement conference - stay tuned.

A Huge Thank You!
Southern California Edison Supports Chamber at
RES Conference

The Chamber thanks Dennis Thurston and our great partners at Southern California Edison (SCE) for their support of our Chamber trade show booth space and registrations.

Craig Hayman (above) from SCE was one of several SCE attendees who worked the booth and conducted several one on one meetings with American Indian business attendees during the show.

We also thank, Jaymee Lomax of SDG&E, who also assisted the Chamber by staffing our booth and meeting with many of our businesses there for the events in Las Vegas.

Venessa Gleich, below, manager of our Procurement Technical Assistance Center was also on location at the conference and at the National Chamber dinner to help facilitate the matchmaking and provide on-site technical assistance consulting to our businesses.

And, kudos, to Chamber intern Sophia, who coordinated the National Chamber dinner with the attentive staff at Cabo Wabo.  Great job Sophie! 

Native Nations Inaugural Ball at National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC Picture Highlights

Sharing some photos from the big day/night of activities.

 capitol at inauguration
A view from the balcony of the NMAI of the U.S. Capitol and inauguration activities – SoCalGasCo’s Jeff Thorsen (not pictured) joined Chamber members in the fun.

kevin gover  tracy  chief pylie
NMAI Executive Director, Kevin Gover; Chamber President, Tracy Stanhoff; and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief, Gregory Pyle; enjoy that evening’s Native Nations Ball.

Cali gals
(front row) San Manuel’s Audrey Martinez; Agua
Caliente Tribal Council Member, Jessica Norte; NMAI board member San Manuel’s Lynn Valbuena; (back row) NMAI Resource Council and Chamber Member, Allison Hicks; and NMAI board member Brenda Pipestem

varene chairman macarro
Native American Finance Officers Association Vice President, VaRene Martin; and Pechanga Band of Luiseno Band Chairman, Mark Macarro.

Final Update Regarding the Chamber’s Non-Award of the MBDA Native American Business Enterprise Center Grant - Our Debrief

Thanks to Dee Alexander, Native American Policy Advisor at the Department of Commerce, the Chamber received our non-award debrief.  

In our debrief teleconference, we were provided with a number of where we ranked on the list of bidders and with the notes from the three panelists reviewing the proposals submitted.

Although we can take issue with many of the proposal reviewers' points, there were other notes of where we could have done a better job of documenting our case studies of our great success in business development, access to capital, and other capacity building functions we do through our Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Chamber itself - however, the feedback was useful.

So this debrief was extremely helpful for any future proposal writing with the Department of Commerce.

However, from what we can gather, no one who bid has anywhere near the expertise, connections and community partnerships with our people, like we do.

Again, to avoid any confusion we are providing you all with the following information.

The Hispanic Chamber of Arizona has opened an office in Pasadena to provide services under this grant.  AGAIN, PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT THE CHAMBER PROVIDING THESE SERVICES.

Asian, Inc. will or has opened a Native American Business Enterprise Center in Fresno.  Asian, Inc. will also have to charge for its services.

We are still not happy with the non-award -- as the monies for the Native American Business Enterprise Centers have been awarded to fine organizations whose expertise and mission are not Native.  But, we do have a clearer sense of the grant panelist's expectations.

 We still believe that Native dollars need to stay in Native communities!

Our Chamber’s PTAC provides services free of charge. Bottom line – call our PTAC for business consulting assistance 213-341-0104.



213-448-2330 OR