Sean McCabe [left] and Juan Massey [right] pose for a photo before a panel presentation at the 2020 Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas. (Courtesy McCabe Consulting LLC)
Native American economic development, fiscal management and government policy experts have launched a new company, McCabe Consulting LLC.
Sean McCabe (Navajo), Juan Massey and their team of experienced Native professionals are supplying the planning and implementation strategies necessary to spur Tribal economic development.
McCabe is leveraging his experience rooted in two decades of providing audit services, operating a successful CPA firm and serving as economic development director, CEO and CFO for several Tribal governments and organizations.
Massey offers unique insight, coming from over 20 years of economic and regulatory policy work and governmental relations experience, serving as division director for the New Mexico Economic Development Department and his history of working with Tribal communities.
McCabe approached Massey about a new venture following their tenure at Navajo Nation. He describes him as having “a real savvy business mind.” They worked together under the Begaye Administration to set up the opportunity zones, the Section 17 Corporation for the Managed Care Organization and other economic initiatives.
As economic development director at, McCabe realized the need for specialized technical services. “It really opened my eyes to the opportunities there and like with all Tribes, there’s a need for a certain level of expertise to get projects up and going. We have a lot of that experience in-house with our new company,” he explained.
In working with Tribes, their approach is rooted in examining financial health. “We look at the financials, because I think Tribes don’t get told what they can and can’t afford,” says McCabe. “We’ve seen consultants try to sell an idea and say they can triple revenues without looking at the financials. We can bring that through the CPA side.”
The new company works closely with their clients to discover economic prospects. “We’ve noticed some Tribes don’t really know what they have,” he says. “The fun of what we do is helping Tribes realize their potential; understanding how to make money from lease payments and understanding their taxing powers and capabilities.”
For non-Native clients that seek partnerships and investment opportunities, McCabe Consulting navigates procedures and complexities such as bureaucratic processes and jurisdiction.
In addition to the cultural nuances of diverse Tribes the hurdles can be daunting, says Massey. “Many non-Native companies approach Tribes wanting to invest or do business but then get discouraged when they find out about additional layers of Tribal regulations and bureaucratic procedures, which they often don’t understand. There’s also the lack of cultural perspective.”