David first discovered the great need for housing in Indian Country while working as the manager of community affairs for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in 1993. He was tasked with examining the credit and capital needs of tribes in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which stretches 1,800 miles through six states.
While visiting about 30 reservations within the district, the tribal leaders he met detailed homelessness, overcrowding, ever-growing waiting lists for housing and ever-dwindling funding sources.
On one trip in April 1994, while driving in Montana, David realized that none of the tribes he visited had any Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects, and with prior experience developing affordable housing, he worked to help. (Watch David tell the story in this video.)
In 1995, he created a company named Travois, an homage to the set of poles that Plains Indians tied together to carry valuable things across rough terrain. This inspires our motto: “You know where you want to go; Let us pull some of the weight for you.”
(Painting by Kevin Red Star, 2010, “Going Home”)
By listening to what tribal leaders were telling him, and building a company around that core skill, David put Travois on the path we follow to this day.
We continue David’s example of listening to our clients’ needs and goals, and we devise solutions to help them reach the horizon. Travois expanded services to meet the needs we heard and now offers financing, housing and economic development consulting, architectural design and master planning services, and compliance and asset management.
When it comes to our focus on the client’s goals, we are still the same company we were in 1995. When it comes to the tools we can offer, Travois has made the constant changes our market has demanded for more than two decades.