The Growth Fund Management Committee manages existing investments and reviews and presents new investments to Southern Ute Tribal Council. They ensure that the investment portfolio meets diversity, risk, and liquidity requirements. The Management Committee also reviews and reports Growth Fund performance to Tribal Council periodically.
Growth Fund Operating Director – Non-Energy
Patrick Vaughn is responsible for overseeing the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s off-reservation real estate and private equity business units with a combined market value in excess of $1.1 billion. He serves as a director on the Growth Fund Management Committee which advises Tribal Council on all of its enterprise business investments including real estate, private equity, energy exploration, production, and midstream companies. Previously Pat was President and Chief Operating Officer of GF Properties Group – the real estate investment company of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund. GF Properties Group is a diversified $800 million company with investments across the U.S. in Apartments, Hotel, Industrial, Mixed-Use, Office, Retail and Land Development properties. Pat has been directly involved in developing and managing income properties and large scale land development projects for over 30 years. Pat also served as Vice President and Mountain Region Manager for Terrabrook, the largest developer of master-planned communities in the United States at the time. His responsibilities included managing local project teams in Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Southern California in charge of ten planned communities. Pat also served as the President of Park Land Company, a Denver based income property owner/manager and land developer. Pat earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geophysics from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Growth Fund Operating Director – Energy
John Stafford is responsible for overseeing the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s on- and off-reservation energy business units comprised of Red Willow Production Company, Red Cedar Gathering Company, and Aka Energy Group, LLC. Additionally, supervision of the Southern Ute Department of Energy falls within his job duties. He also serves on the Growth Fund Management Committee. Most recently, John was President of Laris Oil & Gas, LLC, a private oil and gas exploration company that he founded in 2002. Prior to Laris, he was Vice President & General Counsel for Patina Oil & Gas, Corporation, a publicly traded company on the NYSE that was subsequently acquired by Noble Energy for $4.9 billion. As an Attorney in private practice he represented several clients that entered into Section 29 Tax Credit transactions with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. These transactions enabled the Tribe to benefit financially from the enhanced development of coal bed methane and tight gas reservoirs. Prior to becoming an Environmental and Oil & Gas Attorney, John was a Senior Geologist for ARCO Oil & Gas Company where his work included operations on other Indian reservations including the Blackfeet, Crow, Fort Peck and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations in the State of Montana. John earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Syracuse University, a Master of Science degree in Geological Oceanography from Texas A&M University and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver. He is a Professional Geologist in the State of Wyoming and is licensed to practice law in Colorado and Wisconsin.
Growth Fund Finance Director
Darrell Owen is the Finance Director of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund. Mr. Owen also serves as a member of the Growth Fund Management Committee and a manager of GFMC, LLC. Mr. Owen was appointed to these positions in March, 2015.
Mr. Owen has worked for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe since 2003 in various finance and accounting positions. Mr. Owen served as the Growth Fund’s Chief Financial Officer during the four years prior to being appointed Finance Director. Before working for the Tribe, Mr. Owen spent over ten years in the energy industry in finance, mergers and acquisitions, and operations. Mr. Owen holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College.
Tribal Council Representative
Councilman Christopher Adam Red is a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and proudly serves the tribal membership on the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council. Councilman Red was elected in December 2016.
Prior to his election, Councilman Red worked for the Tribe in various capacities with the Southern Ute Permanent Fund and the Southern Ute Growth Fund. While at the Tribe’s Permanent Fund, Councilman Red was employed with the Southern Ute Division of Wildlife, as well as the Southern Ute Tribal Rangers. At his most recent position as a GIS Specialist with the Southern Ute Department of Energy (DOE) for the Southern Ute Growth Fund, he created, displayed, and maintained GIS data. Councilman Red collaborated with numerous state and federal agencies regarding Oil and Gas activities on the Southern Ute Reservation and gained valuable experience in business and leadership during his career.
Upon his graduation from Ignacio High School, Councilman Red attended the University of Northern Colorado where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Minor in Multicultural Anthropology. He currently serves on the following boards and committees: Royalty Policy Committee, Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group (ICEIWG), Intertribal Buffalo Council, Environmental Policy Committee, Tribal Policy Committee, Tribal Security Committee, Johnson O’Malley (JOM) Program Committee, Title VI Committee, Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy Parent Advisory Group, and Growth Fund Management Committee.
Councilman Red enjoys spending as much time as he can with his two daughters, Sierra, 12 and McKayla, 6.
Tribal Council Representative Alternate
James M. Olguin
Tribal Member At-Large Management Committee
Tribal Member At-Large Management Committee
Tom Shipps is the senior partner in the Durango, Colorado law firm of Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, LLP, which has served as the general legal counsel for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for more than forty years. He has served as the legal advisor to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund and as a member of the Growth Fund Management Committee since its inception.
As a young attorney, Mr. Shipps assisted the firm’s founder, the late Frank E. “Sam” Maynes, with a growing practice that included general representation of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, numerous water districts, and the community’s rural electric cooperative. Principal areas of his early practice involved tribal governmental administration and jurisdiction and monitoring tribal oil and gas lease compliance and related litigation.
In the course of his career-long representation of the Tribe, he has been a negotiator of a number of intergovernmental agreements, including: the initial tribal gaming compact with the State of Colorado; congressional confirmation of the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation; Memoranda of Understanding on oil and gas regulation among the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission; and the Taxation Compact Between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, La Plata County and the State of Colorado of 1996. He served as the lead counsel for the Tribe, from the trial court through final arguments before the Supreme Court, in the seminal federal case involving ownership of coal bed methane gas on federal and tribal lands (Amoco Prod. Co. v. Southern Ute Indian Tribe, 526 U.S. 865 (1999)). Successful settlement of that case provided initial capital for the Tribe’s extensive economic diversification through the Growth Fund.
As the legal advisor for the Growth Fund, Mr. Shipps has been the senior legal counsel in thousands of commercial transactions ranging from oil and gas acquisitions and mergers, commercial real estate purchases and development, syndicated financings, and venture capital investment. His recognized advocacy on behalf of tribes led to his appointment by the Secretary of the Interior to the Federal Royalty Management Advisory Committee and to the Royalty Policy Committee under the Clinton Administration and both Bush Administrations. Mr. Shipps has authored a number of professional articles addressing Native American natural resource regulation and development, and he has been a lecturer at programs sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association.
Mr. Shipps received his law degree from the University of Houston (J.D. 1979) and his undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College (B.A. 1976, summa cum laude). In addition to serving as president of his law school’s academic honor society, while in law school, Mr. Shipps assembled and co-edited a casebook on Native American law, DANIEL L. ROTENBERG & THOMAS H. SHIPPS, THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND THE CONSTITUTION (1978).