August 16

Executive Spotlight: Steven Bilby, President of Cherokee Federal


For its latest Executive Spotlight interview, ExecutiveBiz had the opportunity to speak with Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Federal, about the significant growth and success the company has had in the federal sector, recent contract wins, the drive for IT solutions, including unmanned capabilities, data and other emerging technology as well as the importance of working to support its customers.

“The founding principle behind everything we do is service and supporting the customer. One thing you will always hear us say at Cherokee Federal is “Building, Solving and Serving.” This is how we work – and it’s much more than just a marketing slogan.” 

You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Steven Bilby below:

ExecutiveBiz: Your businesses have more than quadrupled in size over the past 10 years and have completed more than 5,300 federal missions. What has been the most significant factors that have led to Cherokee Federal’s growth and success in the federal market?

“There are three significant factors that have contributed to our growth; the obsessive focus on building our business around our customers’ needs, our desire to solve complex challenges and most importantly – having a talented team who is relentlessly serving the customer’s mission.

The founding principle behind everything we do is service and supporting the customer. One thing you will always hear us say at Cherokee Federal is “Building, Solving and Serving.” This is how we work – and it’s much more than just a marketing slogan. We’ve designed our organization to build, solve and serve across our three key stakeholders: our customers, employees and our shareholder – Cherokee Nation.

Additionally, we’ve put an operational focus on keeping things simple. As organizations grow, they tend to become bureaucratic and slow. In today’s market, our customers’ needs evolve and change quickly, and you can’t serve them if you’re slow and focused internally.

Lastly, at Cherokee, we lead with our heart and I think our customers see and feel that. I could talk about a myriad of contracts and other things that differentiate us from our competitors, but I believe working with a servant’s heart and mentality has guided our growth throughout the years.”

ExecutiveBiz: I found that Cherokee Federal has secured nearly $6 billion in contracts over the past six years. What are the most recent contracts you’re working on and how will they help your clients achieve their IT solutions and other goals?

“In today’s market, whether it’s telehealth, supply chain or unmanned systems, technology plays a critical role in every solution and contract.

As an example, we recently started a military supply chain contract that allows us to provide critical assets to nearly every member in this military branch. This is an opportunity for us to support the men and women who serve our country – a mission that we are deeply connected to philosophically and culturally.

We were selected because of the innovation we could bring by focusing on the people, process and technology within the contract. This approach will ensure these critical assets are available to support the warfighter with more efficiency and speed.”

ExecutiveBiz: How has CNB been able to drive its capabilities in emerging technologies and markets, especially in unmanned tech and data as well as global logistics and other areas?

“We’re an organization that loves to learn. We embrace change and are investors – not spenders. When we see opportunities to invest in the market, we do our due diligence.

When it comes to new capabilities, we stay focused on market needs and challenge ourselves to build a solution that solves our customers’ needs. Far too often, organizations focus on products over solutions. We take a different approach. First, we have conversations with the customer to identify the problem, then we bring the right technologies together to build a solution that fixes it. In any situation, we work to serve the mission, not the product.”

ExecutiveBiz: What differentiates Cherokee Federal from the other companies across the federal landscape to drive growth and innovative solutions for your clients and employees?

“We constantly analyze the market looking for gaps and seeking out customers who are underserved. Once identified, we outline an approach that identifies the people, processes and technologies that could be implemented to help meet mission objectives. It is in this niche where we truly focus on mapping out and delivering favorable outcomes for the customer.

On every contract we touch, we use this unique approach by asking, ‘How do we bring innovation to the process by breaking it down into sub-components and figuring out what approach is best for the customer?’”

ExecutiveBiz: How will Cherokee Federal continue to adapt to the ongoing challenges and changes in the federal landscape and continue to drive success in a post-pandemic world?

“In the future, we will continue to stay close to the customer. We are watching how they are evolving and adapting to this new world. The pandemic accelerated the digital world and forced the adoption of new technology and methods of working.

With all this change, it could easily distract us from the most important area of focus – which is serving the customers’ mission. Being in lockstep with the customer is paramount, as such, we are closely monitoring market trends. That means we must stay nimble and embrace change. By design, we have operational agility and can deliver to meet the evolving needs of our customers in a post-pandemic world.”



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