Andrea “Andie” Everett is a storyteller, but not in the way you may think. Everett’s company, MatriARC PROJECTion LLC, is focused on helping non-profits, tribes, schools and startups by using geographic information systems (GIS) to tell their stories.
From mapping changes to the Rio Grande River to forecasting impacts on ancestral corn, Everett’s stories use data to provide solutions.
“For me, it’s about helping organizations and communities mobilize and thrive,” she said. “Data allows us to monitor and track outcomes for their social, environmental and humanitarian work.”
A woman of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Everett has always believed in contributing to the community and protecting the natural environment, but it wasn’t until recently that she was able to live out her dream of having a business that helps preserve the legacy of the land and people within the Southwest region.
Everett holds multiple degrees in environmental science, including a graduate certificate in geographic information science and technology, but had been working in different fields while keep up on her GIS skills on the side.
Everett heard about New Mexico Community Capital’s Native Entrepreneur in Residence (NEIR) 90-day program and decided to apply. The program, funded by a 2021 U.S. Bank Market Impact Fund grant, focuses on building the businesses of Indigenous entrepreneurs through mentorship.
In 2021, the U.S. Bank Market Impact Fund made a $1 million investment to 20 nonprofit organizations driven by a diverse group of exceptional emerging leaders focused on creating effective community-led solutions to the increasing economic disparities. This year’s funding supports a variety of organizations and programs focused on green energy initiatives in low-to-moderate income communities with an emphasis on supporting people of color and/or women.
Participating in the program provided Everett the foundation she needed to go out on her own. “I’ve always stayed up on the technology and skills,” she explains. “My mentor, Phoebe, encouraged me to make the jump into going into business for myself.”
“It is fulfilling to be able to share my experience with other indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Phoebe Suina, Andie’s mentor and owner and president of High Water Mark, LLC. “Through our time together, I have watched Andie gain confidence, grow, and be successful in moving forward with her business.”
And she’s seeing great success, recently receiving her first substantial contract with La Semilla Food Center, an organization focused on fostering a healthy, self-reliant, fair and sustainable food system within the region. “This project is really the embodiment of my cultural values,” Everett said. “It is an example of being able to help businesses in alignment with my value system.”
Last year, Everett became certified as a drone pilot with the Federal Aviation Administration. Drones provide a deeper level of imagery and are especially beneficial when land cannot be accessed following a natural disaster such as a wildfire or flood. Being able to provide drone imagery during these times is another service Everett is excited to be able to offer.
Everett admits the move to go into business on her own was intimidating but is grateful for the support she received through the NEIR-90 program. “I’m honored to be using what I’m trained for to do good for our community and land.”