Cherokee Nation Honors Certified Native-Owned Businesses at TERO Awards Banquet

Cherokee 2023 TERO awards banquet
L-R: Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Jenna Gonzales of Express Vending, Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh, and TERO Construction Services Manager Larry Vance.

CATOOSA, OK – The Cherokee Nation recently honored hundreds of Native-owned businesses during the tribe’s 16th annual Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) Certified Indian Owned Business Awards Banquet.

The Cherokee Nation TERO has 733 Indian-owned companies and 180 artists that are TERO-certified vendors able to do business with the tribe and compete for government contracting jobs. In fiscal year 2023, TERO vendors earned more than $250 million in contracts with the tribe. During the banquet, the tribe also honored eight standout TERO businesses with awards.

“We are currently in one of the largest booms of capital projects we’ve seen in some time in the Cherokee Nation,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “Without these TERO vendors, the tribe couldn’t make the incredible progress and growth that we have made and continue to make. These Native-owned businesses, many of which are located on the Cherokee Nation reservation, are such a blessing in aiding the development for us to be better every day.”

This year marks 40 years since the Council of the Cherokee Nation unanimously passed a resolution to endorse and approve the formation of Cherokee Nation TERO.

“It’s an honor to get to celebrate all of these hard-working Native-owned businesses,” said Speaker of the Council Mike Shambaugh. “All of their hard work contributes to the overall well-being of the tribe.”

Eight of the tribe’s TERO-certified businesses received special recognition for their outstanding performance as part of the annual awards banquet.

D & E Construction & Concrete of Spavinaw received the Certified Indian Owned Business Community Leadership Award. D & E Construction & Concrete has been a TERO vendor for more than 15 years and has since completed hundreds of projects for the Cherokee Nation.

“We highly appreciate winning this award,” said David Crawford of D & E Construction & Concrete. “It feels like we’re part of the family.”

The eight certified Indian-owned businesses awarded for 2023 were as follows:

  • Certified Indian-Owned Consulting Firm of the Year: Direct 2 Completion, Tulsa
  • Certified Indian Owned Business Community Leadership Award: D & E Construction & Concrete, Spavinaw
  • Certified Indian Owned Business Customer Service Award: Express Vending, Muskogee
  • Certified Indian Owned Retail Business of the Year: Flower & Balloon Magic, Westville
  • Certified Indian Woman-Owned Business of the Year: Peters Agency, Sallisaw
  • Small Certified Indian Owned Business of the Year: Arnold Electric, Tulsa
  • Large Certified Indian Owned Business of the Year: Pryor Waste & Recycling, Pryor
  • Certified Indian-Owned Construction Company of the Year: Eric Rill Construction, Stilwell

During the banquet, Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Christina Justice also honored Natural Evolution with a special Spirit of Sustainability Award for the Tulsa-based company’s work in providing electronics recycling services.