ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fort Sill Apache Industries on Friday opened an office in Downtown Albuquerque to house one its subsidiaries, Apache Homelands, which is looking to the government contracting market — as well as the private sector — to provide employment for its tribal members.
The business development effort aims to provide clients with a range of business services that includes program and project management, construction, information technology, logistics and facilities management.
“Since our official federal and state recognition as a native New Mexico tribe, it is extremely important to our people that we continue the process of repatriation to our homeland,” Jeff Haozous, Fort Sill Apache tribal chairman, said in a ceremony launching the new enterprise at 400 Gold SW.
“With close proximity to our aboriginal territory and a wide range of potential customers, opening an Albuquerque office will benefit the tribe and our tribal members,” said Haozous.
The local office is managed by John Melton, who brings to the company 40 years of federal contracting experience with Native American-owned businesses.
Apache Homelands won’t be the only pueblo or tribe in New Mexico looking to tap into the government contracting market, Melton said.
He said Apache Homelands looks to build business by emphasizing its stable tribal leadership and established businesses that employ Native Americans producing quality work and services.
The tribe, which is based in Oklahoma, operates a casino-hotel that employs about 400 people, the majority of them non-Native Americans, said Haozous. The tribe also focuses on military base operations for customers such as Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Some of the jobs include building maintenance, road repair and security services.
“Kirtland has a big target on it,” Melton said of pitching future business at the military base. White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss are also on Melton’s prospect list.
Apache Homelands has applied for U.S. Small Business Administration certifications, such as being a small disadvantaged business 8(a) program participant and designation as a HUBZone firm to compete for government contract work.
According to Haozous, job creation and economic development will be the foundation for the eventual repatriation of many of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe’s 731 members to New Mexico.