Many American Indians look at their struggling tribes and want to improve members' lives. Travis Parashonts has done that with Suh'dutsing Technologies, a Cedar City-based provider of information technology services, software and equipment that is owned by the Cedar Band of Paiutes.
Suh'dutsing, which means "cedar" in Paiute, is the official name of the Cedar Band. The company's name reflects its goals of providing high-quality IT services and products and creating a sustainable source of income for the tribe.
Parashonts has helped start several economic-growth projects for the Cedar Band, including a travel center and a planned golf course community. Suh'dutsing Technologies grew out of a meeting in 2002 between tribal officers and an IT company that wanted to partner with an American Indian IT firm.
Parashonts and others formed Suh'dutsing and helped the company obtain certification in the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program. But by the time they received the certification, the partner company had gone out of business.
Undaunted, Parashonts decided tribal members would run Suh'dutsing themselves. With a small grant from Utah's rural development office and a some cash from the Cedar Band, the company started marketing its services.
In 2004, Suh'dutsing landed its first client, the Department of Interior, which signed a multimillion-dollar contract. Within months, the company was ranked in the top 25 8(a) companies in the United States, and in the top 30 Indian-owned companies in the country.