Ignacio, Colorado – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe announces the retirement of Bob Zahradnik, Operating Director of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund, which is the business arm of the Tribe. Bob worked for the Tribe for nearly 28 years. He has been a key player in the development of most of the Tribe’s businesses and the Tribe’s Financial Plan. He helped develop the Growth Fund Implementation Plan and was the Operating Director of the Growth Fund since its inception in 2000.
Bob was hired by the Tribe in 1988 and was the first engineer ever employed by the Tribe. He initially developed studies of the Tribe’s natural resources and advised the Tribal Council on how to best manage its energy resources. In 1989 he was promoted to the position of Exploration and Production Manager and managed all aspects of the Tribe’s energy development.
In 1991, he developed the business plan for Red Willow Production Company. Red Willow was the Tribe’s first successful business and is still by far the most profitable. In 1992, the Tribal Council approved the Red Willow business plan and appointed Mr. Zahradnik as its first president and only employee. Since then Red Willow’s activities have stretched from Alberta to New Mexico and from California to New York. Red Willow is now focusing on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico because it is still profitable at current low oil prices. Mr. Zahradnik has managed Red Willow in various capacities since March of 1992.
In 1994, he managed the acquisition of WestGas and its transition into Red Cedar Gathering. At its peak, Red Cedar treated and transported over 1% of the US natural gas supply. Mr. Zahradnik is the only member of the Red Cedar Management Committee to serve since its inception in 1994 and is currently serving as its Chairman.
In 1998 and 1999, he assisted the Tribal Council in the development of its Financial Plan and the Growth Fund Implementation Plan, which is the economic development plan for the Growth Fund. These documents are the foundation of the Tribe’s economic success, which is widely recognized in Indian country.
In 2001, he managed the Tribe’s first major real estate acquisitions. The Tribe’s real estate investments now stretch from San Francisco to Baltimore and are a growing part of the Tribe’s economic base.
Bob, 63, is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including 3 grandchildren, and his fly rods and motorcycles. “I want to thank the membership and the Tribal Council of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for the opportunities that they have given me and the strong support that has made their economic success possible.”
Clement Frost, Chairman of the Tribal Council, stated, “Bob Zahradnik has been absolutely essential to the success of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and has helped carve our place as a leader in Indian Country and a model for tribal economic development. It would be hard to overstate the impact of his contributions to the Tribe and its membership. That the Tribe is a cornerstone of the economy in southwest Colorado is due in large part to Bob’s leadership. The Tribe is extremely grateful for his contributions and years of service.”
Due to the strong existing management at the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund and Bob’s offer to assist with the transition, the Tribe anticipates a smooth succession of a new Operating Director.