In his new role, Clay will work with the Board to diversify the Tribe’s economic interests and expand business opportunities for Tribal members
The Noo-Kayet Development Corporation (“NKDC”)—the economic development arm of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (“PGST”)—has announced the selection of its new CEO, Troland “Troy” Clay, a recent Michigan transplant with deep business roots in financial management, investment planning, and business diversification for tribal entities.
In his new role, Clay will oversee the existing business assets and operations of NKDC, while diversifying investments to help guide the financial future of the Port Gamble S’Klallams. This includes executing projects outlined in the Tribe’s Master Plan, sourcing new investment opportunities, and managing existing business entities such as The Point Casino & Hotel, Gliding Eagle Marketplace, Kountry Korner, and Miller Bay Properties.
“Troy’s appointment and leadership style represent a new economic direction for our Tribe,” said PGST Chairman Jeromy Sullivan, who also serves on the NKDC Board of Directors. “We’re proud of the groundwork that has been laid by our previous CEOs; we also know that we must grow our business holdings to ensure financial sustainability, as well as employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for our community. Troy can help lead us in this direction.”
Over the last decade, Clay has served as the President and CEO of Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment enterprise of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, based in southwestern Michigan. Clay is also a member of the tribe.
The first person in his family to graduate from college, Clay served in the U.S. Navy and attended Western Michigan University through the G. Bill. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration.
After a stint working for the Seminole Tribe in Florida, Clay returned home to Michigan where he was elected Treasurer of his tribe’s government and gaming authority. Gaming operations were launched and expanded under his tenure. Later, he helped found Mno-Bmadsen, after the Pokagon Band Tribal Council recognized the need to diversify the tribe’s economy to ensure economic interests were not wholly dependent on gaming revenues.
As President and CEO of Mno-Bmadsen, Clay—who has been recognized by multiple organizations for his business acumen—headed a team in charge of following a long-term plan for managing investment portfolios in professional services, manufacturing, construction, and real estate. It is this experience he hopes to deploy in his new position with NKDC.
“I’ve been leading (Mno-Bmadsen) for 10 years and its success is proof positive that our investment strategy has worked,” said Clay. “After sitting down with the (NKDC) Board and explaining my leadership philosophy, how I value and manage employees, and my overall business philosophy, we clicked. The Board wants to diversify and grow what they have. I have the experience of building a diversification arm from scratch. It’s a good fit and I’m excited about the work ahead.”
Clay begins as CEO of NKDC in mid-January but has already started laying the groundwork with a plan to engage with every facet of NKDC’s family of companies beginning on Day One.
“I need to spend time learning from and gaining trust with the employees and the Tribal community so I can lead our investment planning and work using my experience, but also catering it to the unique strength of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. The work will revolve around the Tribe’s economic goals and strategically growing existing investments and assets as well as new ones—including the more important asset, which is the Noo-Kayet family of employees,” said Troy.
A key part of Clay’s strategy is constantly evaluating business actions to make sure they are hitting benchmarks. He believes that empowering a talented family of employees, good communication, and the ability to pivot when needed are essential to long-term success. This is especially relevant today: Clay arrives at his new position during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“(In my previous position) we put together a core action plan, assigned a COVID task force that met weekly, and started executing a communications plan with our employees,” said Clay. “The number one goal is safety for all employees. After that, it’s ensuring stability to minimize any damage financially or operationally that we can avoid, if at all possible. This can only be done by keeping lines of communication open and making good and timely decisions for employee safety followed by business stability.”
Clay is looking forward to working with the NKDC Board and implementing programs that provide training and opportunities for PGST members.
“I am blessed to be able to do something I love with people who are passionate about their futures. I love seeing people grow and look forward to helping the Tribe achieve their goals,” said Clay.
ABOUT Noo-Kayet Development Corporation
The Noo-Kayet Development Corporation is the economic development arm of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and is organized to provide strategic guidance, business management, analytics, entrepreneurial startup assistance, feasibility analyses, and funding for new and existing tribal businesses. For more information about NKDC, please visit www.noo-kayet.com.
About THE PORT GAMBLE S’KLALLAM TRIBE
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, originally known as the Nux Sklai Yem or Strong People, are descendants of the Salish people who have been well-established in the Puget Sound basin and surrounding areas since 2400 B.C. In the late 1930s, the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation, located on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State, was established. Many of the Tribe’s members, who total about twelve hundred, still live there today. For more information about the S’Klallam Tribe, please visit www.pgst.nsn.us.