Hosted by the Oneida Indian Nation’s Office of Economic Development for the second year, this conference and procurement fair welcomed more than 200 local business representatives interested in partnering with the Oneida Nation and its enterprises. The event provided valuable insight into working with one of the region’s largest employers on a variety of vendor and business development opportunities.
Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (October 8, 2019) — On Friday, October 4, a record number of local businesses and other community stakeholders gathered at Turning Stone Resort Casino for the second annual “Doing Business with the Oneida Indian Nation” conference.
Hosted by the Oneida Indian Nation, this half-day networking event welcomed small businesses from across Central New York interested in partnering with the Oneida Indian Nation on vendor and business development opportunities.
Over the course of five moderated panel discussions, attendees heard from Oneida Indian Nation leadership, long-time vendors and key decision makers in the region’s economic development.
Attendees also had the chance to network directly with Oneida Indian Nation representatives during a procurement fair, where they could learn more about partnership opportunities in food and beverage, hospitality, trades, human resources, sales, IT, and additional departments.
Partnering with the Oneida Indian Nation
Today, the Oneida Nation’s enterprises number in the dozens and continue to grow. “As we expand, so does our need for vendor partnerships,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter. “And that’s for everything we do — from hospitality and food services, to construction and renovation, to cutting-edge information technologies.”
Current vendors for a range of services spoke throughout the day, focusing on their experiences as providers, general contractors or as separate business entities located on Oneida Indian Nation land.
Sal Valente, chief marketing officer of Heidelberg Bread, said that working with the Oneida Indian Nation has expanded his company’s horizons. “They’ve really taught us to look for innovative ways to make new products and helped us to hone our practice. We’ve been able to go out and capture many other accounts because of that.”
Vice President of Clinton Movers David Litz: “Having an account this big has put us at the forefront of the industry. And it’s free advertising—with our trucks around all the time, our guys in their uniforms. It’s gotten us a lot more work.”
Anthony DePerno, president of Victory Sign: “Our experience has been nothing but smooth. From day one it was so easy to build relationships and communicate directly with the people actually making the decisions. We work very closely with the directors and vice presidents.”
His company has been a vendor of the Oneida Nation for 18 years and a tenant for much of that time as well. “Becoming a tenant has been one of the best decisions we ever made,” DePerno said. “It puts us within 15 minutes of all their properties. This makes it very easy to meet their demands and has helped us grow tremendously.”
Discussing Economic Development with Key Regional Leaders
The importance of relationship building was a central theme throughout the day. “We couldn’t have done any of this by ourselves,” said Ray Halbritter, in conversation with CEO of CenterState Corporation for Economic Development Rob Simpson and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. “Our collaborations and our team have made it all possible. Relationships are critical to our success.”
County Executive Picente echoed the sentiment. “There’s been a rebirth of Oneida County in the past seven years, and with the Oneida Nation, we’ve worked to build a new economy,” he said. “The outlook is bright and we’re going to keep building. It’s all about partnerships.”
As its enterprises continue to expand, the Oneida Indian Nation relies on local businesses to aid in that growth and remains committed to reinvestment in Central New York. In 2018, the Oneida Indian Nation paid $99 million to more than 1,000 vendors in Oneida, Madison and Onondaga counties, and added several new ventures as it worked to assure the health of the local economy.
FOR MEDIA: to download photos from the Doing Business with the Oneida Indian Nation conference, click HERE.
About the Oneida Indian Nation
The Oneida Indian Nation is a federally recognized Indian nation in Central New York. A founding member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy), the Oneida Indian Nation sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary War and was thanked by Congress and President George Washington for its loyalty and assistance. Today, the Oneida Indian Nation consists of about 1,000 enrolled Members, most of them living in Central New York. The Oneida Indian Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,750 people, include Turning Stone Resort Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino, Point Place Casino, Maple Leaf Markets, SāvOn Convenience stores, an RV Park and three marinas. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to rebuild the Nation’s economic base and provide essential services, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs, to its Members.