Cherokee Nation Businesses purchases Colorado IT company

BY CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE
Special Correspondent
11/16/2009 07:09 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses recently purchased a computer and information technology services company, adding another type of business under the entity’s umbrella.

ITX, a Fort Collins, Colo.-based company, was purchased Sept. 11, and is owned 100 percent by CNB. CNB is wholly owned by the Cherokee Nation.

The purchase adds capabilities to the tribe’s business portfolio that it didn’t possess before, said Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Services Group and ITX.

“Information technology is an area in which many Cherokees are either interested in or currently have a solid foundation, so we feel this gives us the opportunity to grow, train and expand a Cherokee workforce in a well-paying industry,” he said.

Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts said she’s excited about the purchase of ITX.

“There are a significant number of Cherokee Nation citizens and other Indians in northeastern Oklahoma who have the technical skills to grow ITX here at home,” she said. “Technical jobs provide higher-paying careers which can transform not just one family but all future generations of the same family and extended family members which they support.”

The company, which is a leading full-service computer and information technology services provider in the federal and commercial sectors, currently has 140 employees. Both the company and its employees will stay in Fort Collins rather than being moved to Oklahoma, Bilby said.

“ITX has an established base of commercial and governmental clients that are well serviced from its current location,” he said. “We are in the process of replicating that service model here in northeast Oklahoma.”

He said CNB hopes to create about 50 jobs in Oklahoma within the first year of owning ITX.

“They will be high tech, professional grade jobs with excellent benefits and pay.”

The purchase of ITX is an example of the tribe’s commitment to diversity in economic development beyond gaming, Cowan Watts said.

Bilby said the purchase was important to the Cherokee people because it “builds on a capability that many Cherokees already possess and a field that many more are interested in entering.”

He said buying ITX would provide “excellent jobs for Cherokees, as well as a clearly defined career path.”

Bilby added that there is a lot of room for personal growth and advancement within ITX and that CNB officials were excited to provide that opportunity to CN citizens.

“ITX helps CNB enter a field they previously didn’t occupy, further diversifying the company’s portfolio,” he said. “ITX has also been quite profitable over the years, and we’re confident we can keep that momentum going. ITX will help provide another revenue stream to the Cherokee Nation, which ultimately helps fund service programs for Cherokee citizens.”

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