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Chief Allan, Chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Photo by Jack McNeel)

Coeur d’Alene Chairman Receives 40 Under 40 Award

Jack McNeel
9/5/11

Coeur d’Alene tribal chairman, Chief Allan, will be named a recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 Award based on his impact on economic development. This prestigious award, now in just its third year, will be presented at the 36th Annual Indian Progress in Business event on September 6 hosted by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

This award comes from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). The award was established to highlight 40 American Indian leaders under 40 years of age who have demonstrated leadership and initiative which has caused significant contributions to their communities and to Indian Country in general.

In a press release from the tribe, Chairman Allan was quoted saying, “It is really an honor to be chosen for this award and I am humbled by the company of leadership I am privileged to join today. I truly appreciate the recognition of work for my community and feel energized to keep moving forward in ways that help and empower more tribal people in the years to come.”

Chief Allan is now going into his 7th year as tribal chairman. His decisions have helped guide the tribe in many ways, including financial stability. The tribe has a thriving economy and is now the largest employer in the Idaho panhandle. It provides over 3,900 jobs and over 308 million dollars in direct and indirect sales activities. Five new business ventures have been created during these past seven years in attempting to diversify their business ventures for long term stability. The largest of these new businesses is Berg Integrated Systems which makes steel structures that can be placed in remote areas for military and disaster relief efforts and also large capacity collapsible fuel tanks.

Asked what he was perhaps most proud of during his tenure as chairman, Chairman Allan responded, “I would say the expansion of the casino. I think it’s top-of-the-line super.” This past spring the latest expansion of the casino/resort was completed. It added 98 additional hotel rooms, a huge spa, a new steak house and bar, and extensive changes in the landscaping and parking facilities at a total cost of something less than the $75 million budgeted.

Allan has an undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University in political science.

Ernie Stensgar will be attending the award ceremony in Florida with Chief Allan. That’s very appropriate as Stensgar served as chairman of the tribe for a number of years and is current vice chairman. When Allan was asked who he gave most credit to for mentoring him his immediate response was, “I give all the credit to Ernie. He’s been pretty spectacular in that.”

Allan also pointed out with pride that another of the recipients of this year’s awards is another tribal member, Dennis Worden. He is now Legislative Director of the Native American Contractors Association in Washington, D.C. “He worked in my office way back when,” Allan commented. “He interned for me and Quanah Spencer and he’s doing really well in Washington, D.C. now so he was selected as well.”

The 40 men and women being honored this year by NCAIED come from across the U.S. and Canada. Winners range from business entrepreneurs and leaders of economic development to tribal officials, attorneys, educators and athletes, and museum and tourism directors. They were all nominated for the award and final selection was by a panel of NCAIED representatives.

Chairman Chief Allan added, “You know me. I’m a pretty humble person. I don’t like these kinds of things. I’m just thankful to the tribe for giving me the opportunity to do so many things in such a short period of time.”

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