Casino City Press Business Profile: TribalHub

22 April 2024

For over two decades, TribalNet, now known as TribalHub, has been a cornerstone for tribal governments, gaming enterprises, and healthcare facilities. Founded in 1999, TribalHub emerged from a need to navigate the complexities of technology and empower tribes to leverage it for self-sufficiency.

In the latest Casino City Press Business Profile, Mike Day, Founder & Executive Officer for TribalHub, shares the organization's journey and discusses TribalHub's evolution, its impact on connecting tribes and resources, and the success stories that showcase its transformative power.

TribalHub was founded in 1999.

TribalHub was founded in 1999.

With the 25th Annual TribalNet Conference & Tradeshow set 16-19 September at The Westgate in Las Vegas, Mike also takes a look at TribalHub's future and its vision for further empowering tribal nations through technology.

You founded TribalNet/TribalHub 25 years ago. Can you please share with us the founding vision behind TribalNet, now known as TribalHub, and how it has evolved over the past two+ decades?

Twenty-five years ago, tribal gaming was just beginning to develop across the nation. Tribes were working to use this newly emerging opportunity to offer casino gaming as a means to build their communities with the end goal of becoming a self-sufficient tribal nation. In order to reach this goal, they looked to understand the potential of using technology to enhance their operations. Navigating the complex landscape of technology vendors, regulations and best practices, however, proved challenging. This complex challenge is what led to the vision for TribalNet/TribalHub. First known as TribalNet, the organization was established in 1999 with the goal of bringing together fellow technology leaders along with a handful of solution providers to discuss common challenges, common technology solutions and to foster a collaborative network that would serve to educate other tribal technology leaders and continue to grow innovation within tribal governments and enterprises.

At this same time, a group of local tribal technology professionals in Northern Michigan, led by Mike Day, the then MIS Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the founder of TribalHub, brought together fellow area technology leaders along with a handful of solution providers to discuss common challenges, common technology solutions and to foster a collaborative network that would serve to educate other tribal technology leaders and continue to grow innovation within tribal governments and enterprises.

Annually, an industry came together; meetings of this community grew to larger and larger events through grass roots efforts and a shared goal of learning from each other and subject matter experts on the ways technology can be used to grow tribal enterprises and improve tribal membership services.

How did TribalNet become a central platform for connecting tribes, tribal employees, and resources in gaming, government, and healthcare?

Since its inception, TribalNet/TribalHub has been dedicated to building tribal organizations by fostering transparent communication, facilitating partnerships and providing resources to educate and give tribes tools to help them be successful. Through conferences, workshops, membership, and online forums, TribalHub has become a trusted space where tribal leaders and technology providers can exchange ideas, share insights and address common challenges and solutions.

What kind of impact has TribalNet's Annual Conference & Tradeshow had on technology professionals and executives working within these sectors?

There are so many positives that we have seen happen because of the TribalNet Conference & Tradeshow. By getting everyone together and growing TribalNet, we have changed the isolated individual rural tribe model to showcasing tribes as a national purchasing and revenue generating powerhouse in technology.

We have been able to connect more solution providers to tribes that they never would have known about and created the model for a lot of vendors that now have groups within their organization that are dedicated to supporting tribes. Some large organizations now have a dedicated team focusing on the needs of tribes because of our event showcasing the power, the relevancy and strength tribal governments, casinos and health facilities have.

In addition, we have been able to educate tribes about the number of possibilities technology can bring to their tribal communities, showcased best practices and saved a lot of people from making a lot of bad mistakes that their predecessors made and shared during the conference.

Today, TribalHub stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and community-building. Its legacy is not just in the technologies it has helped implement but, in the relationships, it has forged and the trust it has instilled among tribal nations, technology providers and its members alike.

With the 25th Annual Event coming up 16-19 September 2024 at the Westgate Las Vegas, can you please share what attendees can expect to see this year?

The TribalNet Conference & Tradeshow is the annual gathering of the TribalHub community. With this being the celebration of 25 years in the industry- It is not just another conference; it is an experience! This is the longest-standing event that is focused specifically on technology within Native American government, gaming, and health facilities – with topics that are relevant to what is going on both nationally and regionally. The attendees and vendors are open, engaged and ready to make valuable connections! In today’s world, it’s more essential than ever for business leaders to utilize cutting-edge technologies and leadership strategies across all departments to create sustainable growth and success. The TribalNet Conference & Tradeshow is a great opportunity to take advantage of a growing network of resources, experience and industry connections, ensuring that enterprise and government leaders are in possession of the tools and information that they need to thrive in their industries.

There are now 7 unique tracks- with the addition of AI’s Revolution this year. The agenda is robust and packed full of timely and relevant learning opportunities, put together by our amazing team of Advisory Board members. Other tracks include- Tribal Gaming & Hospitality Technology, Cybersecurity, General Technology, Leadership & Management, as well as Tribal Government Technology and Tribal Health Information Management.

The tradeshow floor is a really fun and engaging time. Attendees are ready to meet with vendors, there is a buzz of energy the whole time. And we always look forward to giving away a grand prize of $2500! Plus, three nights of networking events.

Additionally, what really sets this event apart from others is the community that has been built over the many years. Old friends seeing one another again, and new and valuable relationships being formed all the time. It truly is an event not to be missed!

Please describe some notable success stories or case studies where TribalNet's initiatives have made a tangible difference for tribal organizations or enterprises.

For 25 years, TribalHub has been building a nationwide community and network for leaders and decision-makers within tribal governments, gaming and hospitality enterprises, and health facilities. This community has since turned into the largest network of technology-minded leaders and teams from tribes across the country with countless stories of impact spanning over two-plus decades.

Finally, reflecting on your 20+ years with TribalNet, what have been the most rewarding aspects of your career journey in this industry, and what do you envision for TribalNet's future?

In the future I see technology taking tribal organizations, enterprises and health facilities to a new level. Gaming within a Native American community is designed unlike commercial gaming is designed to support the efforts of the tribe. It’s about people, services, and availability leading towards self-sufficiency. The most rewarding thing is helping tribes achieve that goal through technology. What was once thought of as only a cost center, a cost of doing business, it is now the most important revenue making innovation that changed the game.

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