by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
RALEIGH - Tony Hayes, the chief executive officer of the North Carolina Indian Economic Development Initiative, has a goal to increase the number of American Indians doing business in North Carolina.
Tony Hayes Paying Attention to Concerns
of Native Business Owners
His busy days may include meeting with state lawmakers or American Indian business owners. In order to make an impact, Hayes has served on several boards and committees to further American Indian-owned businesses, including the North Carolina Minority Support Center. Currently, Hayes serves as the treasurer of the United Minority Contractors of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Indian Economic Development Initiative has staff trained to assist an American Indian simply interested in starting a business. The staff can help the new business owner to navigate the governmental requirements. The staff is also ready to assist established American Indian-owned business gain more of the market share.
“I’ve made it my job this year of putting a bigger D in the word diversity.
I want to see diversity expanded beyond African Americans and Hispanics. It has to include American Indians,”
commented Hayes in regards to how Indian businesses are doing in North Carolina.
“We are making headway.”
One additional goal Hayes has is to build a consortium of American Indian general contractors in the state.
Kelsie Ballance and Christina Theodoru
The North Carolina Economic Development Initiative works with Indian-business companies. Last Thursday, two of Hayes staff members, Program Manager Christina Theodoru and DOT Project Coordinator Kelsie Balance, attended the North Carolina State Construction Conference in Raleigh and stopped by the booth of Metcon Construction.
Metcon Construction, based in Pembroke, employs some 70 employees. The staff of the North Carolina Economic Development Initiative is very familiar with Metcon Construction because Hayes and Metcon Construction’s owner, Aaron Thomas have worked closely to gain market share of construction for Metcon.
Donna Locklear, Marketing Manager at Metcon
Based in the heart of Lumbee Country, Metcon Construction is a design/build and construction management company. In some cases, Metcon Construction self-performs on construction jobs. The company is committed to hire tribal members. One recent job had achieved 60 percent American Indians on the job.
“I believe advocacy on behalf of American Indians is important to making headway,”
said Hayes, as he hurried to get on to his next meeting.
In addition to his position at the North Carolina Economic Development Initiative, Hayes is the tribal chair of the Occaneechi Band of Saponi Nation. The tribe is based in Mebane, North Carolina.
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