JR Hurt: Seneca Cayuga Nation's New Director of Economic Development

JR Hurt is a man with a plan. The Seneca Cayuga Director of Economic Development is one of the Nation’s newest employees, and he’s already making a considerable impact. We recently sat down with Mr. Hurt to talk about his history, his current position, and his hopes for the future. 

JR’s unique career actually began in sports medicine. A former athlete himself, Mr. Hurt was inspired to pursue sports medicine after an experience with physical rehab following a serious injury. He began on the clinical side before eventually transitioning to operations. 

Over the next 20 years, he was instrumental in running numerous multi-specialty practices. His most recent stint was with Sam Hider Health Center, a Cherokee-owned clinic. (JR is a Cherokee Tribal Member himself, and helped the Nation with business development from ‘12 – ‘14.) 

Since joining the SCN team in August, Mr. Hurt has been focused on creating additional resources for the tribe. “While the various Departments operate from grants received, the Economic Development companies will generate income through businesses, either by starting new ones or acquiring existing ones,” he explains. 

Having previously helped other Tribes with economic development, JR is uniquely qualified to do the same for Seneca Cayuga. He is currently developing a strategic plan for the Nation as a whole, one that aims high while staying grounded in reality. 

“I asked the department heads what their department would look like if they had all the resources they wanted. How would they run it? What improvements would they make? We may not get there, but what if we get half-way there? It would make a huge difference for Tribal Members.” 

This concern for the wellbeing of Tribal Members has also manifested with more tangible results. Along with the Business Committee, Mr. Hurt was instrumental in securing a year-long Ramsey+ subscription—a free and invaluable resource for Nation Members and their family. Ramsey+ gives Members the toolbox they need to successfully manage their finances. (We’ve included the sign-up link and QR code at the bottom of this article.) 

Having gone through the course himself, JR believes it could really change people’s lives. “The idea behind it is really to help our tribal members manage their money instead of their money managing them. The Nation is fortunate to provide financial assistance when possible, but now we’re giving them the knowledge and tools to manage these resources.” 

Resources like Ramsey+ can ultimately be used to combat the disproportionate poverty levels affecting Native American populations. Education, paired with financial assistance, is a great starting place for individuals. 

For the Nation as a whole, JR has high hopes the broader strategic plan will succeed. He is already thinking about far-off projects with huge potential. “There are some great opportunities out there. And we’ll do everything we can to make them happen.” 

On a personal note, Mr. Hurt is a family man and active member of the community. He and his wife Brooke share six children and three grandchildren. Together, they spend their free time coaching various sports and volunteering at their local church. 

Welcome aboard JR! We’re grateful to have you. 

Scan the QR code to get your FREE Ramsey+ Membership: 

You can also use the URL below: