Bauxmont-Flynn uses architect firm to help tribal communities
TULSA – For the past year and a half, Cherokee Nation citizen Cray Bauxmont-Flynn has overseen the EFG (Edmondson Flynn Group) Design & Architecture firm as its principal owner and chief operating officer and continued to give to tribal communities and expand on Native American-related endeavors.
“A part of our DNA with this firm since its inception has been giving back to tribal communities,” he said. “And I want to continue that endeavor, expanding upon it. There’s not a lot of Native American architects. I think besides just doing work for them we have to be a part of their process in helping them expand and to seeing new potential endeavors and economic development.”
Bauxmont-Flynn said he knew he always wanted to be an architect. He received his formal education in Europe at the Institute of Design in Rome, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and a master’s in business administration from Columbia University in New York.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work and live on almost every continent, except for probably Antarctica,” he said. “So I’ve done a wide range of various projects from custom residential projects to hospitality and gaming projects, facilitating mixed-use senior skilled nursing facilities, health care hospitals and educational facilities. So I’ve worked almost in every sector and that’s kind of what led me to our firm here. All the work the firm has done since its inception has been a lot of Native American work, encompassing all of those various components and sectors.”
A 34-year industry veteran, Bauxmont-Flynn said he uses his experience in knowing what communities need.
“Given my vast experience and knowledge, I’ve also been on the real estate and development side so I understand some of what smaller communities need and how to plan for the future, not just the needs of today, but the needs of tomorrow,” he said. “I think incorporating that into various Native tribal communities we can assist them in not just providing design services but also economic development opportunities be it businesses, be it wellness programs and mentorship and educational components.”
EFG, formerly ERA Design & Architecture, started in the 1950s under Larry Edmondson, whose wife Donna, a CN citizen, took over when Edmondson died four years ago. Knowing Bauxmont-Flynn, she called on him as her successor.
“The firm started in 1956 in Miami, Oklahoma, by Larry Edmondson,” he said. “It moved to Tulsa in the early (19)80s and continued on in doing a lot of tribal work, a lot of it for the Cherokees. I’ve known Donna for about 12 years, and she reached out to me to be her successor. So that’s how I got involved in being the principal owner and CEO of the firm. They’ve been doing tribal work nationwide for probably about 30, 40 years.”
Its tribal work includes the designs of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., the Sac and Fox Cultural Center in Stroud and the Cherokee Casino Grove. EFG is also a Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified business, having done business with the CN and Cherokee Nation Businesses.
He said he wants to create more mentorship programs and community outreach.
“I think one of the things I always tell my staff you can’t always have a hand out, expecting projects to come to us,” he said. “We have to get back to our communities, especially out tribal communities, assisting them sometimes pro bono. I definitely believe in education and providing them a source for youth to succeed that are interested in our industry.”
In addition to his EFG role, Bauxmont-Flynn has developed a firm to create custom-made, locally produced furniture. “I want to work with a lot of the local members that are artisans in creating some pieces. The line is called Amatoya, it’s Cherokee for ‘rainmaker’ and it used to be a chief who I’m descended from. That’s going to be launching next year.”
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