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Chad Cottet named S&K Technologies Chief Executive Officer

By Alyssa Kelly
Char-Koosta News

(L-R) S&K Technologies Board of Directors vice chairman Steve Dupuis, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Chad Cottet, new board member Kevin Howlett, and chairman E.T. Bud Moran met with Tribal Council to discuss the tribally owned corporation. (Alyssa Kelly photo) (L-R) S&K Technologies Board of Directors vice chairman Steve Dupuis, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Chad Cottet, new board member Kevin Howlett, and chairman E.T. Bud Moran met with Tribal Council to discuss the tribally owned corporation. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

PABLO — S&K Technologies Inc. announced Chad Cottet, 43, has been selected as the tribally owned corporation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He replaces Tom Acevedo, who ended his 10-year career in September.

Cottet, a CSKT member, is not new to S&K Technologies business operations; he served as chairman of the company’s board of directors for seven years. Cattot has spent the past 16 years working for major government/defense contractor DRS Technologies, which is a low-voltage services and installation company. “My experience working in the field and serving on the board has given me an understanding of S&K Technologies as a whole,” he said.

The first order of business for the CEO was meeting with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal (CSKT) Council who serves as shareholder representatives for roughly 7,500 tribal members. St. Ignatius district representative James Steele, Jr. noted that the recent federal government shutdown marks a critical need for the company to generate revenue in order to maintain tribal government operations.

“I think it’s important to remember the reason this company was started in the first place: to bring money in to the tribe, which is essential to providing services to the membership,” Steele said. “This company exists not because of any of you or any of us but because of the membership. It’s important to remember these roots because often times these tribal corporations distance themselves from the tribal people.”

Cottet said S&K Technologies is one of few corporations of its kind operating debt free, which is made possible by maintaining cash leverage for potential projects and contracts. This past year, the corporation reached a milestone by providing CSKT with its largest annual dividend payment to date: $4 million. “Although we’re acquiring these multi-million dollar contracts, that money doesn’t necessarily go straight to the company in one payment,” he said. “These contracts are spanned over several years and cover all costs of the project.”

Polson district representative Charmel Gillin asked that the CEO provide more information on S&K Technologies business charter and operations. “Would you be open to reviewing the business model to determine at what point can we increase dividends to shareholders (and) to provide additional support to the tribal government?”

The new CEO and the board of directors agreed to organize an informative presentation on the corporation’s work and business operations for the membership. The presentation could take place during district meetings hosted across the reservation. “I’m only in my third week serving on the board so I’ll be learning right along with the membership,” board of director’s member Kevin Howlett said. “I’m still learning about technology. They just recently made me get a smart phone that I’m figuring out.”

The group also discussed the status of a 2016 federal suit that S&K Technologies’ Adelos filed against one of the world’s largest corporations, Halliburton, for allegedly obtaining its propriety information and illegally patenting its technology, services, or product. A private firm has taken on the suit and its expenses. In spite of Halliburton’s recent motion to dismiss the allegations, the case is in a state of continuance.

S&K Technologies, Inc. is a corporation based in St. Ignatius that is wholly owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Founded in 1999, the corporation started as a small tribal business investment that has grown into five subsidiary companies: S&K Aerospace, S&K Global Solutions, S&K Logistics Services, S&K Engineering & Research, and Adelos.

The Corporation is overseen by a five-member board of directors, which include chairman E.T Bud Moran, vice chairman Steve Dupuis, Treasurer Jason Smith, Bob Gauthier, and the most recently added member Kevin Howlett.

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Q&A with S&K Technologies new Chief Executive Officer Chad Cottet

What is your educational and or work experience background?  
I hold a number of certifications in Program/Project management, have over 15 years of management experience, and previously worked for a major government/defense contractor for over 16 years, most recently as Director of Operations.

What interested you in the position? 
I was fortunate enough to have been appointed to the S&K Technologies Board of Directors several years ago and served as the board chairman for seven years.  That opportunity gave me a great appreciation of the company, the employees, and the charter of the company.  I knew that I wanted to return someday in a more comprehensive and direct role.  

What do you feel makes you an asset to the company?  
Honesty, Integrity, Energy, and Experience.

What are some new components you will bring to the company as CEO?  
Honestly, the components are all in place.  SKT has an amazing team, an informed board of directors, and a shareholder dedicated to the mission of the company.  What I am entrusted with is ensuring those components are working and communicating well and to lead the company to continued success in the future.

What is unique about S&K Technologies as a company?  
There are many things that make SKT unique, however if I had to name one thing, or the biggest thing, it would be our charter.  The company was created to win contracts, perform on those contracts, create profit, and deliver that profit to the Shareholder for the economic advancement of the Tribal community.

What message do you have for the membership?  
SKT is an amazing and dynamic corporation that provides dividends to the tribes, employment opportunities to the membership (a great majority of those are out of state), scholarship opportunities, and has supported local communities and events since 1999.  

Anything else you would like to add?  
I plan on attending a number of the Tribal Council District Meetings in the near future to discuss SKT, who we are, what we do, and where we are going in the future!  Hope to see you there.

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