About LDF Business Development Corporation

About LDF Business Development Corporation

The Business Development Corporation was created by the Lac du Flambeau tribe to mirror successful tribes, create jobs, and generate revenue outside of gaming.  As an economic arm of the tribe, the BDC and businesses under its umbrella are designed to contribute to the general fund while at the same time, maintain investment capital for future projects/business ventures.



Mission Statement

The mission of the BDC is to diversify the tribe’s non-gaming revenue sources and create career opportunities for the tribal community.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to build sustainable, profitable, businesses which provide career paths for citizens of the tribal community, embodying tribal goals and objectives, while respecting the Lac du Flambeau cultural values. By developing business opportunities and creating strategic partnerships, we will positively impact economic growth and career opportunities. This holistic approach to economic development will build a strong, healthy Nation as we shepherd progress into the seventh generation.

Board of Directors


Gary Christensen is a Sales Executive in the Pharmaceutical Industry, specializing in asthma and allergy. Before working in health care, Gary worked in banking and finance. Currently, Gary lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and son. When he isn't working or spending time with family he enjoys mountain biking. Gary has been with the Business Development Committee since its inception.

•US Army 1992-1995
•US Navy 1996-2001
•1990 Graduate of Lakeland Union HS
•2010 Graduate of Columbia College B.S. Criminal Justice
•2012 Graduate of University of Phoenix MBA in Health Care Management

Vice Chairman

Chris Soulier joined the Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corporation in 2014 as a Board Member, later appointed to Treasurer. He assists LDF Financial Services new business development opportunities and facilitates relationship development between the company, it’s strategic partners, service teams and the Tribal Insurance Initiative. Chris brings to the LDF Business Development Corporation, 15 years of business experience, a commitment to empowering Indian Country though Economic Development, leadership and an extensive network of relationships in the business community. Chris is the proud owner of Access Unlimited, LLC, a small consulting group operating on a national level through strategic partnerships to offer enhanced benefits and services for any size business. He enjoys being active in his community through coaching youth baseball, softball and cross country skiing at all age levels. Chris is the proud father of Samantha (14) and Braden (12) and has been married to his wife Dawn for 19 years. He is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and currently residing in Waunakee, WI.


Mary Peterson has an AAS in Accounting from North Centeral Technical college and a BS in Health Services Administration from Upper Iowa University.  Mary brings with her 7 years of management and supervisory experience in Accounting and Disabilities/Long term care environments, 9 years budget development and management experience, 9 years payroll management experience and 18 years accounting experience in general ledger, accounts receivable and payable.

Mary began working with children with special health care needs at GLITC, Inc in 1995.  Three years later, she became the Aging Director for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.  After that, she moved on to being the Aging & Long Term Care Director and later the Controller for the Lac du Flambeau tribe.  Some of her other jobs include being a Finance Officer and Rural Development Specialist.

Mary has served on many committees including State of Wisconsin-Children with Special Health Care Needs, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Education Committee, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Council, Wisconsin Long Term Care Reform Committee, Who’s Who in Professional Business Women, Aging and Disability Resource Center Board of the Northwoods and Lac du Flambeau Tribal Treasurer.


Patricia Hillestad Education: Bachelors in Business Management from Alverno College. Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from UW-Milwaukee. Currently working on a 2nd Masters with expected graduation May 2016 from Univ of MN, Duluth, Tribal Administration and Governance.

18 years of experience in the Managed Care field with 12 years of Supervisory/Management experience.

Began working at Peter Christensen Health Center in LDF over 2 years ago as the Quality Improvement Coordinator involved in the development of WI’s first tribe to implement Comprehensive Community Services. Recently worked on the development of Gookomis Endaad’s (Residential MH/AODA Facility in LDF) operational policies and development. Presently working at PCHC’s Financial Manager responsible for business services and financial management oversight.


Kelly Jackson brings over 20 years of experience in intergovernmental relations, program, project and policy development and management. She also provides leadership, conflict resolution, meeting facilitation and strategic planning. She currently leads the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Tribal Affairs program focusing on enhancing tribal government-to-government relations in the transportation industry and Native American owned disadvantage business enterprise development. Prior to joining WisDOT, Kelly was the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, where she led numerous inter-tribal initiatives on both a regional and national basis and administered the Division of Historic Preservation and the Division of Archeology. Kelly has held several governor and presidential appointments and assisted with national policy development and statutory and regulatory changes in environmental and cultural resource protection. Kelly is also is a co-owner of 4Directions Consulting, LLC and the sole owner of Spirit of a Woman Productions which is an entertainment firm offering services in Indigenous music and entertainment with an emphasis on women’s personal and professional development programs. She is an award winning recording artist with a special interest in philanthropy. As an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, her personal knowledge of the unique nature and diversity that exists in Indian country complements her professional expertise and commitments to tribal sensitivity, diversity, economic development and public relations.


Mr. Brent McFarland is a serial entrepreneur, starting at age 8 selling cranberries from a roadside stand, Brent has spent much of his professional career starting and building businesses. His professional career began as insurance underwriter, and aggregated into asset management, restaurant owner, and real estate development. A native of northern Wisconsin, he returned to his roots in 2006 to pursue hunting and fishing but was soon engaged with tribal leadership to establish a “due diligence” program for vetting tribal business opportunities. “The fundamentals of wealth management, ‘Create multiple streams of revenue to mitigate risk’ are the cornerstone of healthy business development in Indian Country”.

Hired in 2011 as Business Development Director by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Indian Tribe, he worked with the tribal council to create the LDF Business Development Corporation. In his own words, “The book ‘Rebuilding Native Nations’ by Miriam Jorgensen was our road map. Her research showed that tribes which separated business entities from political influences were 7 times more profitable.” Since 2012 the LDF Business Development Corp. has shown substantial growth: -0- employees in 2012 to over 62 employees at the end of 2015.

Giving back to the community is important to Brent. He serves on the Wisconsin Economic Development Association board of directors, local community arts foundation, town business development board, the Lions Club and is a Master Mason. He is a father to Cameron, Olivia and Margaret. And an especially bad influence to his granddaughter Mimi. His favorite travel and mischief companion is Frances.

Director of Lending

Melissa Doud is a Lac du Flambeau Tribal member born and raised in LdF.  She graduated Lakeland in 1989 and went to college for one year before joining the Army. She was stationed and has been to various places like South Carolina, Korea, Japan, Guam, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Richardson Alaska, Fort Knox Kentucky, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. She also did one tour in Iraq from 2003-2004 and retired as an E-7 with 20+ years of service.  She earned her Associates Degree in Business Management from Hawaii Pacific University and went on to earn her Bachelors Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

Melissa worked for the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Accounting department. She also worked as an Accounting clerk for GLITC-Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. She also worked for Chippewa Valley Bank for 7 years as a personal banker.

In 2012 she became a member of the Business Development Board of Directors and was the first employee of the Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corporation as the Lending Operations Coordinator.   She is now the Call Center Manager with a vision of helping her tribal community through economic development while practicing and preserving culture.

Melissa serves on the LdF Indian Bowl Board and is the LdF tribal representative for Grow North-a Regional Economic Development Corporation.


Beth Gilsoul