WHO WE ARE
Akiptan is proud to bring you the team of people who are helping to make a change in Indian Ag Finance. Below you can meet our team of staff and the professionals from across the country that make up the Staff and Board of Directors.
Senior Loan Officer
(Cheyenne River Lakota)
(Cheyenne River Lakota)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tomie grew up, and currently resides on, a cattle ranch near Parade, SD. Tomie is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She is a graduate of Black Hills State University and joined the Intertribal Agriculture Council from Dacotah Bank in Mobridge, where she was an Agriculture Banker. In this setting, she developed a trained eye for Ag Lending and Finance. She served as Intertribal Agriculture Council's Great Plains Region Technical Assistant advocating on behalf of Tribal producers for fair and equitable financing, functional access to USDA programming, and innovative business structures. She has moved positions to the Assistant Director of IAC's American Indian Foods Program. In her new capacity she works with American Indian and Alaskan Native owned businesses to provide export education and technical assistance in order to facilitate access into domestic and international markets. Tomie enjoys working in the Ag industry helping producers succeed and looks forward to assisting producers across Indian Country.
Harlan is a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Mr. Beaulieu is currently the President of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, he has served in this capacity from 2000 to the present. Prior to that time, he served as a board member and vice president starting in 1990. Mr. Beaulieu’s service with the IAC provided him with a platform to educate politicians associated with agriculture at the Tribal, County, State and National levels. He has testified before the U.S. Congress and lobbied for American Indian inclusion in the Farm Bill. Mr. Beaulieu advocated for recognition of Native people as America's first farmers. Over the years the IAC has made significant advancement in recognition of the agriculture issues of our Tribes and individual members. Mr. Beaulieu is a former Tribal council representative for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and has served in this role for 8 years. He is currently the Realty Officer for his Tribe and has had this position for the past 32 years. Mr. Beaulieu served 8 years as the Minority Advisor on the Minnesota Farm Service Agency, USDA. Mr. Beaulieu is a graduate of Assumption Abbey Preparatory School in 1967. He is a veteran of the United States Army serving 1969 - 1972 with an honorable discharge. Mr. Beaulieu graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree Industrial Technology/Business Administration from Bemidji State University. He obtained a Farm Management Certificate from Bemidji Technical College. Mr. Beaulieu is a farmer & rancher. He is a proud father and grandfather.
Lakota Vogel is the Executive Director at Four Bands. In this role, Lakota provides leadership for Four Bands, establishes new and fosters existing partnerships, and leads and manages efforts to reach organizational goals. Prior to becoming the Executive Director, Lakota served as the Assistant Director at Four Bands for five years. Lakota is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America and taught on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation at Todd County High School. Lakota obtained her Masters in Social Work Degree from Washington University in St. Louis with the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies. Lakota individualized her course of study to concentrate in economic security and social development through the life course of American Indians.
In addition to her educational experience, Lakota has completed a summer fellowship with National Congress of American Indians. She has served on the Native American Alumni Board of Directors at the University of Notre Dame. Lakota initiated program evaluations at the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and Washington Internships for Native Students to develop program components for American Indian participants. Lakota is excited to be back home on Cheyenne River and to be able to spend time with all of her family, especially her nieces and nephews.
Stacy Leeds is an experienced leader in law, higher education, governance, economic development and conflict resolution. She serves as Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. Leeds is Dean Emeritus, University of Arkansas School of Law and the first Indigenous woman to lead a law school. She served as the inaugural Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at University of Arkansas from 2017-2020.
An educator and scholar of Indigenous law and policy, Leeds previously directed the Tribal Law & Government Center at the University of Kansas and Northern Plains Indian Law Center at the University of North Dakota. She began her career in legal education as a William H. Hastie Fellow at University of Wisconsin School of Law. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, an American Bar Foundation Fellow and a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award.
Leeds has law degrees from University of Wisconsin (LL.M.) and University of Tulsa (J.D.). She received her M.B.A. in the executive program for strategic leadership at University of Tennessee. Her undergraduate degree (B.A.) in history is from Washington University (St. Louis).
Chris Beyerhelm is the Vice President of Enterprise Portfolio Management at the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC) which works with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help provide broadband and internet services to America particularly in rural areas. Prior to working at USAC, Mr. Beyerhelm served as the Associate Administrator for Operations and Management with the Farm Service Agency (FSA, part of United States Department of Agriculture. In this position, Mr. Beyerhelm was responsible for overseeing the Farm Service Agency's budget, finance, administrative, management and internal control functions. Mr. Beyerhelm previously served as Deputy Administrator for Farm Loans Programs where he oversaw a $20 billion loan portfolio and managed the direct and guaranteed lending programs at FSA. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, Beyerhelm began working with FSA where he served in various capacities for 38 years.
Before coming to Washington, DC, he served as Farm Loan Chief for the Iowa Farm Service Agency from 1991 to 2006.
Beyerhelm grew up in Iowa and now resides in Virginia with his wife Barb. They have two adult children and nine grandchildren.
Zachary Ilbery is the Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at Elmore City-Pernell Public Schools in Oklahoma within the Chickasaw Nation. Ilbery previously served as the National Leadership Development Specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. Ilbery grew up on a cow-calf operation in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Checotah, Oklahoma where he is an enrolled tribal member. Ilbery currently owns a cow-calf operation and partners in his grandfather’s operation as well. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in Agricultural Education and holds a teaching certificate in the agricultural education area. While at Oklahoma State he developed a curriculum in regards to Native Agriculture within Oklahoma. Ilbery serves on the Board of Directors for the Intertribal Agriculture Council as well as currently serving as the Eastern Oklahoma Board of Director for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance. Ilbery was a founder of the Seminole State College Agricultural Degree Program in Seminole, Oklahoma and a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree for beginning farmers and ranchers. Ilbery was actively involved in the FFA as a high school student, and continues to do so still. Ilbery has won several awards in the FFA, including earning his America FFA Degree. Ilbery’s passions include advocating for youth involvement in agriculture and the promotion of agricultural literacy on a national scale.
Padgley (Akimel O’Otham and Pii Paash) is a member of the Gila River Indian Community from Sacaton, AZ. Currently, she is the Western Region Technical Assistance Specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). In this role, she serves the Tribes, Tribal producers, and youth in Arizona and Utah. Gonzales graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Agribusiness Economics and Management. Throughout her college career, she interned with the IAC and within her Tribes ag development program and Tribal farm. Those experiences offered valuable insight into land development and commercial agribusiness practices.