The Potawatomi Business Development Corporation (PBDC) has announced the appointment of Kip Ritchie as its chief executive officer, making him the first tribal member to hold this position. The PBDC, owned and operated by the Potawatomi Community of Forest County, Wisconsin for the past 20 years, aims to diversify the tribe’s business interests beyond gaming to ensure its future stability.
Ritchie, who previously served as the Interim CEO and Chief Executive Officer, expressed his commitment to the growth of the PBDC and the significance of its success for the Potawatomi Tribe of Forest County. As CEO, Ritchie will provide strategic, financial, and operational leadership for the company, overseeing PBDC affiliates and subsidiaries such as the Potawatomi Federal Group, Greenfire Management Services, Data Holdings, Sagewind Development, Fireside Market, and Wigema Leasing.
Ritchie shared his vision for the company, emphasizing the importance of building upon the already initiated diversification efforts. He expressed the desire to create a strategy for success based on the knowledge gained so far. Sagewind Development, the recently launched real estate development arm of the PBDC, is set to develop industrial and multifamily projects in Kenosha, serving as an example of the tribe’s ability to diversify beyond gaming.
Ritchie also mentioned the PBDC’s involvement in the travel center business and its exploration of opportunities in the electric vehicle sector as part of their future plans. He expressed his deep sense of honor and privilege in taking over the position, recognizing the PBDC as an important organization that the tribe takes pride in.
The PBDC currently has around 50 employees in its Milwaukee office and approximately 800 employees worldwide, including subsidiaries and contractors. Despite challenges such as inflation, rising costs of supplies and raw materials, a tight labor market, and a slowdown in the banking system, Ritchie encourages entrepreneurs and leaders to remain opportunistic in navigating these concerns.