Leadership Spotlight: Bill Pratt

Leadership Spotlight: Bill Pratt

Welcome to RELI Group’s Leadership Spotlight series! In this series, we’ll delve into the background, passions and philosophies of some of Team RELI’s best and brightest minds. Each post includes the same five questions, offering a comprehensive glimpse into the folks that make RELI great.


In today’s Leadership Spotlight, get to know Bill Pratt, RELI’s Executive Director of Customer Relations. Bill joined RELI in January 2024, bringing a wealth of over 40 years of experience from both the private sector and federal government roles, including significant positions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense. His career has been marked by his ability as a strategic leader, notably in spearheading change management initiatives, enhancing communication on complex technical topics, and mentoring staff. Bill’s diverse expertise spans IT acquisition, systems engineering, infrastructure and operations management, procurement, contract management, and more. Before joining RELI Group, Bill was the Director of Enterprise Technology Governance in the Chief Technology Officer Directorate at DHS, where he served for over two decades.


Can you share a pivotal moment in your career that influenced your path in government contracting?

A pivotal moment in my career came during my tenure at DHS. In 2013, I was recruited from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to join DHS headquarters with a specific mandate: to streamline the System Development Life Cycle, or Systems Engineering Life Cycle as it’s known at DHS, and implement Agile program management across the agency. This was a transformative period as we became the first major agency to successfully adopt and mandate Agile practices.

This experience not only shaped my career, but also demonstrated the impact of cohesive and innovative approaches in government operations​. It even prompted a GAO audit to understand how we accomplished this ambitious goal, something other agencies were struggling with then and, in some cases, still struggle with today. It’s my hope that I can package the lessons I learned throughout this process and deliver them to agencies across the government, serving as a powerful resource to streamline operations throughout the federal space.


What drives your passion for working in government contracting?

As someone who spent more than two decades working at DHS, I was fortunate to be a part of many exciting initiatives. I loved being able to improve processes, incorporating automation and other efficiencies to streamline operations. Of course, in that time, there were also many great ideas and programs that never quite got off the ground, whether due to funding limitations, policy changes or shifting priorities.

Now that I’m in a government contracting role, I have a unique opportunity to reapproach many of these initiatives I started during my government service – and continue working on some of the biggest pain points in federal IT modernization. With RELI Group, I’m able to continue influencing positive change and support agencies across the federal government in achieving their goals​.


How do you approach leadership and team building?

Leadership and team building for me are centered around collaboration and fostering camaraderie. This is especially important in today’s remote environments. I have always enjoyed brainstorming and working closely with teams to refine ideas and solutions. One of my most rewarding experiences was managing a large group of interns at DHS, ensuring they were integrated into the team and felt valued. Regular informal meetings, like our “What are you doing this weekend?” sessions, helped maintain a strong team spirit and open communication. This approach is crucial in maintaining morale and productivity​.

I also try to be a leader in the truest sense of the word – I set the direction and empower my team to execute their tasks with autonomy. I believe in serving as an advisor and supporter, rather than a micromanager. And I’ve learned to adapt to the diverse motivations of my team – I’ve come to understand that not everyone is driven by the same ambitions, and value the collaboration that comes from working with a diverse team.


What innovations or trends in your sector excite you the most?

I am particularly excited about the advancements in automation and artificial intelligence (AI). I’ve always been a bit of an early adopter – during my time at DHS, I had the privilege of establishing its first emerging technology branch, mainly focused on shaping policies. The potential for AI and automation to transform business processes is immense. These technologies promise to streamline operations significantly, allowing for quicker and more accurate responses to the ever-changing demands of government contracting​​.


Can you discuss a project or initiative you’re particularly proud of?

As mentioned above, I am extremely proud of my work on the Agile Acquisition Transformation at DHS. This initiative rewrote the agency’s IT acquisition process and required collaboration with all other DHS headquarters’ directorates and key components. These efforts not only improved IT acquisition and delivery for subsequent programs, but also served as a model for other agencies still grappling with similar transitions.

From a personal perspective, I’ve been a drag racing journalist and announcer for nearly 40 years, a passion project that I’m very proud to share. What started as a printed publication in 1986 turned into a website I launched in 1996 and have maintained ever since. I am now the curator of the world’s largest drag racing website with an extensive database of over 123,000 entries, chronicling the careers of pro and semipro racers from around the world. It serves as a historical repository, documenting the evolution of the sport over the years.

In addition to maintaining the website, I also regularly publish articles, news stories and features covering the latest events, trends and developments in drag racing, and host a weekly podcast where I interview both contemporary and legendary figures from the drag racing world. I also serve as an announcer for numerous drag racing events, including professional shows and events across the country. I even visited Australia as an announcer! Through this experience, I’ve honed my organization, time management, and public speaking skills – all of which have benefitted me tremendously in my professional career.


Bill Pratt’s journey through government contracting is a testament to the power of innovation, collaboration, and a relentless drive to improve systems and processes. His experiences and insights continue to inspire and shape the future of government operations. We are grateful to have him here as part of Team RELI!