Entrepreneur Penny Emerson Shares Her Story

Posted: Tuesday, September 16th 2014 at 4:34 AM

Tuesday, September 30, 9:30-11 AM
at NAU's Native American Cultural Center

Penny Emerson, NAU alumna, put her education, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit to work, incorporating “Native Resource Development” on the Navajo Reservation in 1990. She continues to grow the company to meet the needs of national and international communities. The company employs over 500 people from multiple ethnic groups.  Her mission is to "Serve the Customer and the Employee."

Listen while she shares her story on September 30th at the NAU Native American Cultural Center [Google Map].


Ms. Emerson's Biography

Penny grew up on the Navajo Reservation and was encouraged by her mother and father to pursue a good college education. Her parents both worked for the Indian Health Service, as a nurse and in facilities maintenance. After graduating with a degree in Hospital Administration, Penny spent 15 years administering health and human service-oriented programs for the Navajo Nation and for other Native American Tribes in the western U.S. Then, in 1990, she recognized a huge unmet need on the Navajo Nation – the problem of transporting elderly and disabled patients to their medical appointments. To address this need, Penny put her education, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit to work, incorporated “Native Resource Development,” opened an office in the Navajo Nation Capital in Window Rock, Arizona, and started providing non-emergency medical transport services to her first patients. The company’s transport fleet became well-known and easily recognized due to the Navajo wedding basket logo on the doors of each vehicle.

After seven years of operation, in 1997, Penny moved her business headquarters to Gallup, New Mexico and was soon approached by a local business person who wanted to sell a small business that provided housekeeping services for a dozen homes in Gallup. Penny acquired the company and soon added various commercial accounts, and changed the name to “Reliable Janitorial Services.” Today RJS has evolved into Integrated Facilities Services and operates a robust portfolio of custodial and food service contracts from coast to coast, including hospitals/medical clinics, professional office buildings, commercial/industrial sites, and military/government facilities.

In 2003 Penny opened a home care division, known as “Quality Home Care” that provides in-home living assistance to low-income, medically fragile elderly and disabled individuals, a service that enables them to remain in their own homes and avoid the trauma and high cost of nursing home placement.

The company is certified by the US Small Business Administration as 8(a), SDB (small disadvantaged business), HUBZone, and Native American owned (Penny remains the 100% owner). In 2007 the company was recognized by the SBA with an award as the “Service Company of the Year.” During the 2013 New Mexico Small Business Week, Penny was awarded the Women in Business Champion of the Year! Ms. Emerson is a role model and source of inspiration to young Native women and men who seek to pursue a life in business, and she is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops. Penny has received numerous awards and recognitions, including Arizona Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award, gives her time generously through service on Boards of Directors for educational, non-profit, and community organizations, and she has initiated and funded scholarship programs to support the education of Native American students at Northern Arizona University. Visit our LinkedIn or Facebook webpage for current events. For additional information call our Corporate Headquarters located on the Santa Ana Pueblo, 505-867-5372

The Company employs over 500 people from multiple ethnic groups.



Categories: penny emerson entrepreneur alumni native american cultural center 2014 fall 2014