CNB Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have bright future

BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
07/20/2017 12:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
An archive photo from 2010 shows Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing workers putting together wiring harnesses in Stilwell, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
An archive photo from 2010 shows a Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing worker putting together a wiring harness possibly for a military vehicle or aircraft in Stilwell, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
STILWELL, Okla. – For more than 48 years, Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have provided award-winning products and services to clients across the United States, as well as jobs for the Cherokee people.

With its main office in Stilwell, locals mostly refer to the company as Cherokee Nation Industries. However, a few years ago Cherokee Nation Businesses placed the company within the Engineering & Manufacturing division of Cherokee Nation Businesses along with Cherokee Nation CND, Cherokee Nation Red Wing, and Cherokee Nation Aerospace & Defense.

“We decided to come up with a name that more represented who we are and what we do,” Chris Moody, CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing Companies president, said. “We provide engineering and manufacturing services, so engineering and manufacturing as part of Cherokee Nation Businesses became our name.”

While CNI is largely known for assembling “military aircraft products”, that is only a portion of what CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing division does.

“Military aircraft is our primary niche, and wire harnesses and electrical assemblies is the primary product that we supply,” Moody said. “We also added additional capabilities, which are machine and metal working, and integration, which would be taking our electrical capability and our metal capability and combining them into a single product.”

Established in 1969, CNI began as a small business constructing relay switches for Western Electric Company with roughly 12 employees.

Today, it is has 300-plus employees, full-time and part-time, and four companies that make up Engineering & Manufacturing Companies: Cherokee Nation Distribution, CNI and Aerospace and Defense in Stilwell and the Redwing defense office in Huntsville, Alabama, and manufacturing in Pryor.

The companies have contracts with commercial clients such as Sikorsky, Boeing and Bell, but officials said they hope to start working directly with the federal government.

“Right now most of our work is commercial. A couple of years ago we started moving our strategy to focus more on government work,” Moody said. “Now we’re starting to win more work with the Navy, the Air Force and the Army. It hasn’t been a big piece of what we have done, but it will be as we are really going after that work and wanting to work directly with them.”

He said government clients have different product requirements that will allow the CNB business to grow. As business grows, the need for expanding may be a factor in the near future.

“The interesting thing about this business is we could get a call tomorrow, and it could be huge program, and in six months we cold be talking about needing another 40,000 square feet. So if something like that came up, we would be looking to expand,” Moody said.

The growth in employees, companies and clientele is not the only thing that has changed since the company opened its doors. Moody said the work the employees do is more sophisticated than ever.

“We started with a more simple product with WEC, and it was an electrical product, so the biggest changes are really in the complexity of the product we’re able to manufacture verses what we could initially and the technology it takes in order to communicate with our costumers,” he said.

He also said a few employees from 1969 are still with the company.

“We still have some of those original employees who are still providing really good service,” he said. “That’s one of the encouraging things. We’ve seen our employee base move along with the complexity of the product and technology.”

Moody credits the employees for the company’s success.

“The people are our greatest asset, and what makes us so unique is the value of our people,” he said. “That’s our product – the skill, talent and performance of our employees here.”

CNB’s E&M companies have 20 full-time and part-time production positions open. For more information about open jobs, visit http://cherokeenationbusinesses.com/careers/Pages/career-opportunities.aspx.

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