NACA announces transition of executive directors

Board commends Sarah Lukin’s exceptional leadership, welcomes Jim Gray to the position

WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2011): The Board of Directors of the Native American Contractors Association (NACA) announced today that Sarah Lukin will be stepping down as NACA’s Executive Director to return to her home state of Alaska. In a related announcement, the Board appointed former Chief of the Osage Nation, Jim Gray, of Skiatook, Oklahoma to follow Ms. Lukin as the organization’s next Executive Director.

“Sarah has done an outstanding job promoting the critical role, mission and value of Native 8(a) during her two years at NACA,” stated NACA Chairman Lance Morgan. “Her contributions have positioned NACA for great success moving forward. We are thankful for her devoted service to our organization, and wish her the very best as she plans her return home.”

Ms. Lukin will be departing NACA this month to return to Alaska, where she will join Afognak Native Corporation as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. She will remain actively involved with NACA, where she will serve on the organization's Board of Directors.

“The opportunity to represent NACA these past two years has been an extremely rewarding experience,” Ms. Lukin stated. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. The challenges facing Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations and the communities they serve are real. I look forward to working closely with Jim, the rest of the NACA Team, and our membership in my new capacity as a member of the Board.”

To ensure a seamless transition, the Board of Directors announced that Mr. Jim Gray will take over as NACA’s new Executive Director following Ms. Lukin’s departure. Mr. Gray has extensive experience working with Indian tribes and Native advocacy organizations in the areas of government contracting, energy and tribal constitutional reform. Prior to his eight years serving as Chief of the Osage Nation, Mr. Gray was the co-publisher of the Native American Times, a national Native-owned and operated newspaper dedicated to reporting stories of interest to Indian Country. His previous positions include serving as Tribal Co-Chair of the Trust Reform and Cobell Settlement Initiative, Tribal Co-Chair of the BIA Budget Advisory Council and Chairman of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes.

“Jim is an exceptional choice to continue NACA’s legacy as the leading voice for Native Enterprises,” Mr. Morgan continued. “His proven leadership and experience on Native issues will be a tremendous asset to the organization and its membership. We are looking forward to working with him and wish him great success in his new role.”

Mr. Gray is a member of the deer clan and hails from the Pawhuska District. As Chief of the Osage Nation, Mr. Gray created a 25-year strategic plan and undertook a massive government reform effort to draft its own constitution, design its own government and define its own membership.

His leadership honors include: Tribal Leadership Award, American Indian Chamber of Commerce, 2009; Tribal Leader of the Year, National Center on Indian Economic Development, 2008; High Honors, Harvard Project, Harvard University for Osage Government Reform Project, 2008; Chairman’s Leadership Award, National Indian Gaming Association, 2008; and a Lifetime Achievement Award, U.S. Department of Commerce, 2007.

“NACA has a spectacular reputation as being a strong and determined advocate for Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations and Native Hawaiian Organizations. I look forward to supporting our Native communities as they pursue economic self-determination,” Mr. Gray stated. “I’m thrilled to be joining the NACA team, and can't wait to get started.”

For more information, please contact Jennine Elias with NACA at (202) 758-2676.

The Native American Contractors Association (NACA) is a national Native advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. NACA represents and serves Tribal, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) across the nation on issues relating to the economic self-sufficiency of America’s indigenous people, focusing on our members’ participation in government contracting and the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program. NACA’s members represent over 475,000 Tribal Members, Alaska Native Shareholders, and Native Hawaiians.

For more information visit the Native American Contractor's Association Web site.