By Brian Powell
Chad Marchand is a businessman and economic developer, a broker and networker, a community and civic leader, and a multi-degreed student with a zeal for spreading educational opportunities for Native Americans.
Marchand is also a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, raised in Omak, a small town in north-central Washington on the border of the Colville Reservation.
Since leaving his hometown for Tucson and the University of Arizona, his dedication to Native Americans and indigenous people has led him to pursue jobs working alongside entrepreneurs and businesspeople and assisting tribes impacted by climate change. But he has remained tied to his roots. He is a Colville Confederated Tribes Bar member and is developing a 750-acre farm he owns near his hometown.
Marchand is also a Flinn-Brown Fellow who was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy in 2011, and today is one of 350-plus Flinn-Brown Fellows in a statewide network with a strong tribal citizen core representing northern, central, and southern Arizona.
Promoting Native American businesses
In October, Marchand was named director of business development and the Community Development Financial Institution Program for the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development at its national headquarters in Mesa.
“The National Center offered me the unique opportunity to continue working with tribal nations throughout the country, First Nations in Canada and indigenous populations throughout the world on issues that impact our economic growth,” Marchand says.
Marchand, who lives in Tucson, says tribes will approach his organization looking for assistance in bringing business onto tribal lands, while private businesses will look for ways to do more work on tribal lands. Marchand’s organization also promotes small Native American businesses applying for contracts, while the CDFI looks to provide loans or invest in small businesses.
His job requires regular travel, whether to Vancouver, British Columbia, to broker a relationship with First Nations or to the Navajo National Economic Summit to moderate a panel.
Previously, Marchand was a project coordinator for the UA Institute of the Environment Native Nations Climate Adaptation Program, where he worked with tribal nations on environmental planning and the impact of climate change on their communities.
He previously served as manager for the Neighborhood Business and School Alliance Program at Good Neighbor Ventures in Tucson, and as the community-justice unit supervisor for the Pima County Attorney’s Office. He currently sits on the Hughes Federal Credit Union board of directors in Tucson.
Higher education supporter
Attending UA brought Marchand south from his native Washington about 15 years ago. He has been a strong believer in education as a foundation for success and became active with boards and clubs at his alma mater.
He graduated from UA with bachelor’s degrees in political science and history and later returned for a master’s degree in public administration, with an emphasis in national-security policy.
In 2017, he earned a graduate certificate in terrorism analysis from the University of Maryland-College Park, and this spring he is scheduled to earn a second master’s degree in applied intelligence from Georgetown University. He hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in the near future.
In addition to pursuing his own educational development, Marchand is a strong believer that success across American Indian communities starts with education. He has served as a UA Honors College Advisory Board member, president of the American Indian Alumni Club at UA, and on the UA Presidential Advisory Council on American Indian Affairs along with other nonprofit boards in Tucson.
He would like to see graduation rates improve among Native Americans attending UA and other colleges, and would like to see greater resources dedicated to Native Americans in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fields.
“If we hope to have more entrepreneurship and small-business ownership, we need to start with education at the foundational level,” Marchand says.
Marchand was working at the Pima County Attorney’s Office when the opportunity arose to participate in the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership’s Flinn-Brown Academy, then a new program of the Flinn Foundation.
“It opened my mind to how government works, how things get done, and how I could be involved,” Marchand says.
While his work takes him around the state and country, Marchand sees room for greater service, hoping to become more active in Arizona policy and be appointed to a state board or commission. He also remains active in the Flinn-Brown Network by attending events in Tucson designed to connect Flinn-Brown Fellows from southern Arizona.
Currently, the 2019 Flinn-Brown Academy cohort is in the midst of its 14-session seminar series, which concludes with the annual Flinn-Brown Convention for all Fellows in May.
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