On a mission to “inspire Native American and Black youth to explore coding and other information technologies at free workshops both on and off the reservation.” Warriors Code Inc. provides youth and veterans with marketable skills that can help them secure a job and a brighter future. Dr. Anthony Newkirk serves as President and CEO of 2 organizations; Mobile Nations Technology, founded in 2010, and Warriors Code Inc., founded in 2019.
Dr. Newkirk and the Warriors Code Inc. participants celebrate each accomplishment. “Small victories gradually increase their confidence…,” says Dr. Newkirk, with regards to the Warriors Code Inc. program participants that complete the entire training program. “Training indigenous individuals into I.T. job opportunities is one of our major successes…, says Dr. Newkirk. Anthony challenges his students by having them go through the EDX Course in programming from Harvard University. Dr. Newkirk takes those who successfully complete the online course on a skydiving adventure to help these students further challenge and surprise themselves.
Anthony says, that while some Warriors Code Inc. program participants “just need an opportunity to excel.” Many of the participants have experienced major trials in their lives, including mental health challenges. “…Not a lot of people finish the program…” He explains, “In the world of behavioral health, you have a lot of people who are just not ready to take on this challenge. We talk about that stuff; how I’ve been through what they’ve been through…” says Dr. Newkirk.
Born in Chicago Illinois, Dr. Newkirk served in the United States Air Force for more than 10 years and ended his service as an Ammunition Specialist. A job that requires good focus, organizational skills, the ability to work well under stress, as well as an interest in STEM (Science |Technology |Engineering |Math). Like many other STEM professionals, Anthony grew up with an interest in science fiction before science. In 1977 Star Wars was released. Young Anthony Newkirk found a hero in Luke Skywalker. “I’ve loved [Star Wars] since I was 6 years old…” says Anthony, who would himself grow up to serve a cause through his military service.
Before leaving the military in 2000, Anthony realized that there was “good money to be made” in the Information Technology field. But his transition from Air Force to CEO of was not smooth. He served 3 years in prison for 3 DUIs, but he was able to continue his education. Dr. Newkirk earned a bachelor’s degree not long after his release in 2008. By 2009 he earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Ottawa University. In 2010, he became a Keller Graduate, earning his MBA. He says “…I’m time sensitive and love continuous improvement…”and it shows. In 2019, at the age of 48, Dr. Anthony Newkirk earned his PhD in Information Technology from Capella University.
Dr. Newkirk was motivated to start his own business because he has a particular way of doing things that encompasses his desire for continuous improvement and so, he decided to create his own opportunity. “In 2009, apps were starting to get big. I realized that not many Black/Native Owned businesses were providing these services. I decided to fill that need.”
Dr. Newkirk is of Native American and African American descent, and is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community and an Akimel O’odham tribal member. Keeping in touch with his culture, helping others build success, and carving out his own path, Dr. Anthony Newkirk provides a strong model of overcoming, achieving, and giving back. But Anthony acknowledges one of his mentors, Matt Kristo of the Gila River Business Owners Association, and owner of VMK Enterprises. “He’s walked a lot of the same paths I did…” Newkirk says of his mentor. “…We’ve talked a lot of our cultural ways…he still comes by at least once a month just to sit and talk.”
Regarding his association with NABEDC, Anthony is thankful for the guidance and support he has received from the NABEDC staff. Equally, staff at NABEDC are enthusiastic about their association with Dr. Newkirk. “This is definitely a wonderful relationship, and we appreciate everything about Dr. Newkirk, his journey, and engaging us with his students.” Says Kaaren-Lyn Graves, NABEDC Program Director. “Dr. Newkirk invited NABEDC on a cultural awareness tour the Gila River Indian Community. I received the most amazing education lesson (stuff never found in a textbook) from his colleague and friend Ginger Martin. From the moment we left our meeting spot at the golf course near the Wild Horse Pass Sheraton Hotel, it was an education lesson filled with cultural enrichment, and an amazing history lesson…”
Dr. Newkirk introduced Kaaren and NABEDC to his students. As a result, NABEDC helped two Warriors Code Inc. students set up their own businesses. “…which creates economic development for the State of Arizona -this was a huge deal!” says Kaaren. She continued, “… I will begin working with one of his students on obtaining her designations so she can compete with other business owners in information technology fields”
NABEDC introduced Dr. Newkirk and his Warriors Code Inc. program to the City of Phoenix Mayor’s office. This meeting resulted a small Veteran’s Day event, complete with news coverage. “…NABEDC received full verbal recognition from the City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego for the work we do and for supporting our clients”, recalls Kaaren. “On a related note,” she says,
“…because of our direct relationship with Dr. Newkirk, we also received written and verbal recognition at the Indigenous People’s Day event.”
Dr. Newkirk’s relationship with NABEDC also resulted in an introduction to the “City of the Phoenix, Arizona @ Work program”, for “on the job training” funding opportunities. These Programs will help Warriors Code students enhance their skills allowing them to become more competitive for information technology careers, which is helpful, because according to Dr. Anthony Newkirk, he has a lot of things he still wants to accomplish. And once Anthony gets started on something, “…it’s going to get done.”