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Rick Grams II: Building Multiple Successful ANC and Tribal 8a firms

 In Blog, Success Profiles

Working for over 20 years in different Tribal and Alaskan Native-owned companies, Rick Grams II shares his experience and his insights in doing business with the federal government.


Rick Grams II graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Information Technology and a master’s degree in Management from Colorado Technical University.

He has also worked with multiple successful Tribal and Alaskan Native-owned companies for over 20 years in different roles including being a General Manager, Director of Operations, Executive Director, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Information Officer. 

Grams also contributed volunteer service time in each of the company’s vicinities which include his position as a Chairman of a government ethics committee in Alaska and as a member of the Fairfax County Government Information Technology Board in Virginia. 

Currently, he is the Vice President and General Manager of Miami Technology Solutions, an SBA certified tribally-owned 8(a) company.


Rick Grams II started working with Alaskan-native companies in 2000 after his naval career. Then, he moved to Virginia where he grew along with the same career and became a program manager of larger agencies.

Over the years, he learned about the similarities of the Alaskan native corporation model and the tribal model. 

“There is no difference. It’s simply a matter of the ownership. The tribes out of Alaska are part of the, you know, part of 13 regional corporations. So they’re considered the Alaska native corporation model. The tribal model is, is a very similar model, same structure, same organization, same regulatory aspects.”

On his current position in the Miami Technology Solutions, they continued to build on the same scope of areas which are logistics and information technology. They do everything at the level that is profitable, lean, and sometimes dynamic and creative. 

“It’s not only going to be, we’re going to make this work but we’re going to make this work and we’re going to make sure that the client is satisfied with it.”

In order to achieve this goal and make an environmental success, Grams also understand that they need to create a new mindset from a technology perspective for their employees. With this, their company has team buildings and does office games during their breaks. 


“I’m just getting up out of the desk, doing something non-professional… no goal set, no, no sitting there reading a proposal or critiquing anything, just displaying cornhole, you know, 15 minutes, total refreshment, everybody’s smiling at the end, you know, get back to work and do your thing. It’s good.”


1. Be Familiar With Your Vision.

For starting companies, Grams advised to be familiar with your vision for that company because as a startup, sometimes, you need to follow another path and get the necessary resources no matter where it’s coming from so that you can take the company to become what you want it to be. 

“When we’re small, we don’t have the luxury while we may go into the market wishing to be, you know, company X, but you run across a revenue stream that would really only apply if you were company B instead of company X. You have to be willing to convert to company B for a time period. So you can get back on the path to becoming company X because without revenue, you’re not going to have company X to pursue over the long haul.”

2. Be Willing To Grow. 

In the federal marketplace, you need to do market research and proposal writing apart from creating and providing solutions to the government.

Even if it’s not your strength, you need to learn how to do these activities because it provides you an understanding on how to do it differently the next time. 

“I did not expect to also be the one, you know, sitting down writing proposals, mapping out far regulations, you know, search and reps, those types of areas. That was not something that I expected to do… but the determination and the willpower to, to get past that in order to make the projects that I was involved in successful.”

3. Be Out In The Midst Of The Market.

Conferences and events will be of no use if you don’t know how to target your clients. You need to talk to them directly in order to get their attention and to understand what they needed from constructors like you. 

“Nothing that I’ve been a part of seeing a win in the environment with has had to do with the simple status of, of being either an AMC or a tribal aid. Most of it has had to do with walking the halls, knowing the agency that you’re targeting, knowing what their budget constraints are, and yet knowing their internal politics as well.”

4. Be People-Centered.

It might be an old cliche but the greatest businesses know how to deal not just with their clients but with their people… their employees.

This is due to the reason that when your client sees that you know how to take care of your employees, it speaks volume to what your company really is.

“Nothing in business happens, happens without people understanding each other’s capabilities, and needs, and goals.”


If you want to watch the full video of the interview with Rick Grams II as he shares his experience and insights in doing business, then be sure to click the links below:

064: Rick Grams II – Building and Growing Multiple Successful ANC and Tribal 8a firms

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