Sault Tribe Thrive History
As a commitment to economic diversification, the Sault Tribe EDC established the Sault Tribe Thrive program to manage its efforts in connecting with Sault Tribe member business owners. Since its inception, under the direction of the EDC Executive Director, Sault Tribe Thrive has offered business experience, and a long history in regional economic development.
Since December 2019, Sault Tribe Thrive has grown its business directory, connecting with more than 150 Sault Tribe member business owners. The program received its initial funding in 2019, with a two-year Minority Business Development Agency grant as well as additional support from the Sault Tribe EDC.
Thanks to the assistance of key strategic partners, Sault Tribe Thrive has moved quickly to help tribal businesses grow. This includes providing support for Sault Tribe Inc. owned startups, Chippewa Government Solutions, Hawkeye Facilties Maintenance, Sault Tribe Online Gaming, and the Ojibwe Hazardous Abatement acquisition, in addition to the develpoment of the Tribe’s nascent Tribal Business Chamber of Commerce, the Sault Tribe Business Alliance.
Through the foresight of the Sault Tribe Board of Directors, the Sault Tribe Thrive is realizing its mission of diversifying the Tribal economy, implementing sound investments back into tribal communities, and improving the lives of tribal members near and at large.
Sault Tribe Thrive continues to grow, looking to the future, while never forgetting the rich economic history it is empowered to uphold. We are empowering economic prosperity for members of the Sault Tribe worldwide.
David Lockhart – Director of Business Development – Sault Tribe Thrive
Empowering prosperity for established and future business leaders
emerging from the Sault Tribe worldwide. We are a Minority Business
Development Agency grant-funded program positioned to build
partnerships, strengthen resources, educate members and promote
Sault Tribe Thrive operates under the Business Develpoment branch of the Sault Tribe EDC.
Under the direction of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors, the EDC Exectuive Director promotes the business and economic development interests of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians by providing leadership in the development of short-term and long-term economic and community development strategies and plans, achieved through professional service contracts, property sales and acquisition, as well as economic development-oriented negotiations.
Joel was hired by the Sault Tribe EDC in 2016 after serving in dual roles as Chief Operating Officer at UPWARD Initiatives and Chief Executive Officer of Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Northern Michigan University.
Joel is an enrolled member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He resides in St. Ignace, Michigan with his wife, and high-school sweetheart of over 27 years, where they raise their three children.
Director of Business Development
Under the direction of the EDC Executive Director, the Director of Business Development develops, coordinates and conducts outreach to Sault Tribe member owned businesses, marketing and advocating for Sault Tribe businesses and facilitating training on the benefits for tribal member businesses to return to Tribal Trust Land within the Tribe’s service areas.
David was hired by the Sault Tribe EDC in 2019 after serving as Internal Auditor for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Throughout his more than 10 years of service with the Sault Tribe he has fulfilled roles in Accounting, Marketing, and Human Resources. David holds an M.S.A. degree in Information Resource Management from Central Michigan University.
David is an enrolled member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He resides in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with his wife, three children, and two cats.
Real Estate Manager
Under the direction of the EDC Executive Director, the Real Estate Manager administers a full range of EDC property related management activities that include planning and the development of properties located on fee-simple and tribal trust land, as well as facilitating the acquisition and disposition of EDC properties.
Brenda began her career with the Sault Tribe in 1996 as the DeMawating Development Sales Manager. In 2000, she was hired as the EDC Real Estate Manager and has over 20 years of experience in Tribal Land Transactions. Brenda holds an A.D. in Office Administration from Lake Superior State University, in addition to holding a Michigan Real Estate License.
Brenda resides in Rudyard, Michigan with her husband Tim.
Director of Commercial Development
Under the direction of the EDC Executive Director, the Director of Commercial Develpoment manages all apsects of the Sault Tribe’s non-gaming EDC enterprises that include assessing current and future staffing needs, overseeing allocation of financial resources, and managing budgetary processes.
Sheryl began her career with the Sault Tribe in 1986 at Kewadin Casinos. In 2020, she was hired as the Director of Commercial Development and has over 30 years of expereince in business management, with 25 years as a tribal business management leader.
Sheryl is an enrolled member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She resides in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with her husband Russ.
Under the direction of the EDC Executive Director, the Project Specialist provides project management for the EDC’s numerous projects, developments, and initiatives. Past projects inlcude, rental property acquistion for DeMawating Development, business strartup for Gitchi Auto, Home, and RV Sales, construction of Odenaang Storage and the redevelopment of the Tamarack Business Center.
John started out with the Sault Tribe in 2017. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX, and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Management, Strategy and Leadership from Michigan State University.
John is USMC veteran, serving 8 years, as well as an enrolled member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. He lives in Sault Ste. Marie.
Business Support Coordinator
Under the direction of the Director of Business Development, the Business Support Coordinator is responsible for collecting and organizing data for the Sault Tribe Member-Owned Business directory, as well as distributing information on promotional, educational, and funding opportunities for Sault Tribe Member-Owned Businesses.
Justin started out with the Sault Tribe in 2019. He holds an A.A. degree in Business Administration from Alma College.
Justin is an enrolled member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He resides in Sault Ste. Marie with his wife and their young son.