Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

November 18, 2010

Recognizing the emerging 40 under 40

By Lailani Upham

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 2010 Under 40 recipient, Casey Lozar stands proudly with his father, Steve Lozar, CSKT Polson Tribal Council Representative; and his mother, Karol Lozar, Polson school district educator; at the annual Indians Progress in Business awards event last month at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Courtesy photo)
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 2010 Under 40 recipient, Casey Lozar stands proudly with his father, Steve Lozar, CSKT Polson Tribal Council Representative; and his mother, Karol Lozar, Polson school district educator; at the annual Indians Progress in Business awards event last month at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Courtesy photo)

MESA, Ariz. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development announced last month the recipients of the 2010 Native American 40 Under 40; and former local members Casey Lozar and Quanah Spencer were recognized for demonstrating impressive achievements in Indian Country.

The Native American 40 Under 40 recognition was incorporated as part of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's 40th anniversary. The 40 under 40 recognizes Indian leaders under 40 years of age who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, initiative and dedication in their businesses, communities and to Indian country.

Casey Lozar, an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Director of Corporate and Tribal Development for the American Indian College Fund said, "I felt as if I wasn't worthy of such a recognition. There are so many young Natives committed to strengthening our communities and addressing some of the issues that plague urban and reservation Indians. There are so many to choose from. Nonetheless, I am humbled to have been recognized alongside other emerging natives like Notah Begay III, Antonia Gonzales and Del Laverdure. I was taught that leadership isn't possessive; it isn't something that you personally own. Rather, leadership is a combination of experiences and knowledge that you have borrowed from role models, elders and family and have chosen to share with others."

Lozar was born and raised on the Flathead Reservation and has been involved with Indian education as a schoolteacher, coach and tribal cultural camp leader. He currently directs a team that develops partnerships with tribal governments and Fortune 500 corporations for the American Indian College Fund.

Lozar received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and completed his graduate work at Harvard University. He is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Colorado at Denver. Lozar resides in Lafayette, Colo. with his wife, Reagen who Lozar says keeps him in balance.

Quanah Spencer, Yakima tribal member and attorney at Seattle's Williams Kastner law firm, a firm with a nationally prominent tribal law practice, was also featured in Forbes business magazine as one of the recipients for the NCAIED 2010 "Native American 40 Under 40" honors.

Spencer received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Fort Lewis College and completed his law degree from University of Colorado School or Law in 2003. Spencer resides in the Seattle area with his wife, Gwen Lankford Spencer.

Prior to joining the Seattle law firm, Spencer worked as a public policy lawyer for the Yakama Nation, Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the National Congress of American Indians.

While serving with the National Congress of American Indians, Spencer represented the organization's constituent tribal governments on a vast array of legal and policy issues including: trust reform, legislative settlement of the Cobell litigation, homeland security, law enforcement, natural resources, gaming and other issues. During this time Spencer also provided strategic advice and counsel to tribal governments on the Energy Policy Act of 2005. He was active in submitting the policy papers to Congress that supported tribal sovereignty in approving tribal consent to rights of way.

Spencer provided consultation with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the past.

"We want to continue to recognize the hard work of a diverse group of young Native American leaders," said Eric S. Trevan, NCAIED president and CEO. "This year's elite group includes community organizers, elected officials, policy leaders, entrepreneurs and business professionals who exemplify the spirit of progress in Indian country."

The annual Indians Progress in Business awards event where Lozar and Spencer were recognized is presented by Raytheon, the oldest and known as one of the most prestigious Native American recognition events honoring Natives and businesses that support business development across Indian country.

Other award recognition include: the Jay Silverheels Achievement award, the First American Corporation Leadership award, the First American Entrepreneurship award and the American Indian Fellowship in Business Student Scholarship award.

Being raised on Flathead, Lozar calls the community a pretty diverse place. "We have highly successful Indian people from our confederacy as well as other Native leaders. There are knowledgeable elders and motivated youth. Our Native women are smarter and more determined than most in Indian Country. The non-Indian community brings a sense of passion and pride to the work they do on the reservation. The differing religious beliefs, dissimilar political inclinations and varied natural terrain make the social and cultural fabric of the reservation an exciting place with endless potential. The variety in the community has made me appreciate diversity, stay positive and want to work towards a brighter future for our people."

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