Councilmember, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
Raised on the Santa Ynez Reservation as an aspiring entrepreneur, Mike Lopez has tapped into his background in business while serving in leadership roles for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
Elected to the tribe’s Business Committee in 2015, Lopez is in his third term on the board after serving more than 10 years for the Santa Ynez Gaming Commission. Prior to his journey into tribal leadership, he climbed the ranks within a local tile company – from sweeping floors to managing to becoming CFO – until purchasing the business and turning it into a success.
Lopez has also dabbled in side projects, including starting a tequila business as an import/export venture in recent years.
In addition to serving in a leadership role with his tribe, Lopez devotes his time to ensuring a prosperous future in Indian Gaming and to giving back to his community. He is currently serving a two-year term as the Vice Chairman on the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s Executive Committee, and he’s a member of the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County’s board of directors.