Meet Geoffrey Colpitts: Delivering value with operational excellence
Geoffrey Colpitts served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy Reserve for 30 years. During his successful military career, he flew as a naval flight officer on P-3C Orion aircraft specializing in anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance for 18 years; he established the first U.S. military command in Mogadishu, Somalia in more than 25 years; and he attained major command as a Navy Installation Commander.
“I wanted to serve my country in an honorable profession,” says Geoffrey. “The excitement of being a naval aviator and seeing the world were a huge draw.”
As commanding officer of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, he ran a city supporting nearly 10 thousand people with airport, power generation, water, dining, security, law enforcement, entertainment, recreation facilities and $1.5 billion in assets.
Geoffrey retired as a Navy Captain in 2018. He then joined Cherokee Federal as the program director for Cherokee Nation Mission Solutions (CNMS), a Cherokee Federal company.
“The Navy gave me far greater responsibilities at an earlier age than my civilian peers, which rapidly developed my leadership skills,” says Geoffrey. “I came to Cherokee with no experience in federal contracting, but I was able to learn the Cherokee business and processes.”
Today, Geoffrey serves as operations general manager for two Cherokee Federal companies, CNMS and Cherokee Nation System Solutions. He uses the skills he gained in the military – mentorship, leadership, management and prioritization – to manage a vast array of projects, issues and people.
“Geoffrey is a skilled leader and manager with a firm understanding of Cherokee business practices and processes,” says Scott Edwards, vice president of operations at Cherokee Federal. “He mentors his people to achieve success both personally and for the customer.”
Not long after joining Cherokee, Geoffrey began supporting the company’s three staffing contracts with the Department of State valued at over $240 million. He learned about the contract and the customer while building an effective team to successfully support the customer’s needs. His successful management of the contracts directly led to a follow-on contract valued at $200 million.
“Geoffrey keenly understands our customer’s viewpoint,” Scott says. “With his extensive military experience, he brings clear insight and guidance to operational execution and business development efforts.”
Translating military experience and skills to a common civilian perspective is challenging. Geoffrey advises service members who are making the transition to a civilian career to start the process early.
“Be willing to learn a new business from the bottom up and create your own worth,” he adds. “Seek out fellow veterans at your new workplace and share the camaraderie. Be proud of your experience and don’t change your values and ethics. Others will seek you out.”
Geoffrey wanted to relocate to the Tulsa area from overseas, but geographic limitations are difficult to overcome in a military transition. He feels fortunate that it became possible with Cherokee.
“Cherokee is a great place to work,” Geoffrey remarks. “Being home in Northeastern Oklahoma and seeing how my efforts and success contribute to the health and welfare of my neighbors is rewarding. I am proud to tell people I work for Cherokee. It is truly a company where you can create your own worth to the organization and chart your own path.”
Who We Are
Cherokee Nation Mission Solutions and Cherokee Nation System Solutions are a part of Cherokee Federal, a team of tribally owned federal contracting companies focused on building solutions, solving complex challenges, and serving the nation’s mission around the globe for more than 60 federal clients. Cherokee Federal’s team of companies, with more than 3,300 employees, manages nearly 2,000 projects of all sizes across the construction, engineering and manufacturing and mission solutions portfolios — ranging from advanced data analytics and telehealth to cybersecurity, cloud and logistics.
Cherokee Federal is a division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the economic engine of Cherokee Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. Its mission is to diversify and grow the economy of Cherokee Nation. Company profits support future business investments, as well as programs and services for tribal citizens. Cherokee Federal also believes in the value of a diverse workforce and in investing in the brightest talent to keep the company moving forward.