Southern Ute Tribe hires one of its own to lead economic efforts

The Southern Ute Tribe's Leonard C. Burch Tribal Administration Building in Ignacio, Colorado. Photo: jsvanstar

The Southern Ute Tribe in Colorado has a new leader for its economic and investment arm.

Raymond A. Baker has been named executive director of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund. He will oversee the tribe's multi­-billion dollar enterprise, which includes energy production firms, real estate holdings and a private equity portfolio.

"The Growth Fund is a vitally important part of the tribe and a model of success in Indian country," Baker said in a press release on Tuesday. "I am looking forward to joining a great team of dedicated workers who have contributed to its success.”

Baker, who is a tribal member, joined the Growth Fund in 2016, following a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy. He succeeds Bob Zahradnik, who retired last year after 28 years at the fund. His work as operating director helped expand the tribe's energy operations, according to the Southern Ute Drum.

"The tribe looks forward to the exciting future for the Southern Ute Growth Fund under Mr. Baker’s leadership," Chairman Clement J. Frost said. Baker assumes his new position on February 6, the tribe said.