Cherokee Nation honors top Indian-owned businesses of 2013


Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Kristy Calhoun and Randall Jaques of Five Star Office Supply, and Tribal Councilor Don Garvin.

CATOOSA, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation recognized its top certified Indian-owned businesses of the year for 2013 at the tribe’s sixth annual TERO Awards Banquet at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa Thursday, November 21.

There are 795 certified Indian-owned vendors registered with the Cherokee Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office, and each fall eight stand-out businesses are recognized with an award. Through the TERO program, Cherokee Nation has invested more than $1 million in Cherokee entrepreneurs.

“Through our TERO efforts we are putting more Cherokees and other tribal citizens to work every day,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “American Indian small businesses are the engine of our local economies and one of Cherokee Nation’s greatest assets. When our small businesses are strong and growing, our communities are strong and growing.”

Cherokee Nation TERO negotiates for job slots for contractors doing business with the Cherokee Nation and refers certified Indian-owned businesses to fill those vacancies. In 2013, TERO vendors earned more than $63 million in contracts.

“The number of TERO-certified vendors has grown from about 200 six years ago to nearly 800 now,” Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan said. “They have grown to the point where thousands of Cherokees and other Native Americans are able to support their families, the local economy, the great state of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation.”

This year more than 125 new businesses earned TERO certification.

“Being TERO certified allows small independent businesses like us to compete against the big box retail stores,” said Randall Jaques, sales representative at Five Star Office Supply in Muskogee. “It gives us relevance in the marketplace.”

Some of the businesses recognized include Vance Electric, owned by Cherokee citizen and Tahlequah resident Randy Vance. Vance Masonry, which helps build homes for the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, won “Small Business of the Year.” Collins Electric in Pryor was recognized as Woman Owned Business of the Year. Owner Jennifer Collins says the TERO program helped her company grow from two employees to 27. Another Pryor company, Digi Surveillance, was recognized with the Customer Service Award. Owner Tom Hagen’s company provides video security and access control. His clients include Tinker Air Force Base, W. W. Hastings Hospital and Bank of Oklahoma. Hagan said the common denominator for TERO businesses is that they all help each other grow.

The eight certified Indian-owned business for 2013 are as follows:

Community Leadership Award – Jerry's Excavation, Hulbert, TERO certified since 1995
Customer Service Award – Digi Surveillance Systems, Pryor, TERO certified since 2008
Consulting Firm of the Year – HP Engineering, Tulsa, TERO certified since 2009
Construction Company of the Year – Indian Nation Fire Sprinkler, Broken Arrow, TERO certified since 2012
Retail Business of the Year – Five Star Office Supply, Muskogee, TERO certified since 1999
Woman Owned Business of the Year – Collins Electric, Pryor, TERO certified since 2004
Small Business of the Year – Vance Masonry, Tahlequah, TERO certified since 2012
Large Business of the Year – M. Ross Inc., construction, Muskogee, TERO certified since 2005

Cherokee Nation News Release
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