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Joe Ruiz, Army Vet & Federal Contractor Joins UHT as VP of Business Development
Joe Ruiz, Army Vet & Federal Contractor Joins UHT as VP of Business Development 150 150 Ulu HI-Tech

HONOLULU — Since Ulu HI-Tech achieved 8(a) certification in September of last year, our team has worked diligently to ensure we’re ready for the federal marketplace. Now, we’re excited to announce a new addition to our team who will spearhead business development.  

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Joe Ruiz as Ulu HI-Tech’s Vice President of Business Development. As a distinguished Army veteran and seasoned federal contractor with over 30 years of experience, Joe is a recognized expert in crisis, contingency, and continuity communications. Additionally, Joe has continued to contribute to our nation’s defense through various projects related to Computer Network Defense (CND), Information Assurance (IA), and Cyber Operations. He possesses an in-depth understanding of our nation’s communications infrastructure and has actively contributed to its defense and network security.  

With his unparalleled expertise, dedication, and experience, we’re excited to see what’s on the horizon.  

Graphic announcing Joe Ruiz as VP of Business Development for Ulu HI-Tech listing his areas of expertise and former positions.


Ulu HI-Tech now has a federal contract advantage with SBA 8(a) certification
Ulu HI-Tech now has a federal contract advantage with SBA 8(a) certification 150 150 Ulu HI-Tech

HONOLULU – Hawaii-based company Ulu HI-Tech was officially accepted into the Small Business Administration 8(a) Program on September 7, 2022. This 9-year program allows the company to receive set-aside award and sole source award contracts from the federal government, creating more job opportunities and advantageous company teaming opportunities.

“Getting certified as an 8(a) company was well worth the time and effort,” says Hali’a Hester, CEO of Ulu HI-Tech. “Now we have a competitive edge in federal contracting that will not only benefit us, but the companies and people we work with. Part of our kuleana (responsibility) with our federal contracts is to prioritize hiring local talent and teaming up with local companies to get the job done.”

The Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) program also offers a simpler procurement option to federal contracting officers, who are required to contract a portion of their overall work to small, disadvantaged businesses that participate in the 8(a) program. Contracting officers benefit from the expedited sole-source 8(a) contract award process and exemption from competitive thresholds for Department of Defense 8(a) sole-source contract awards. Sole-source awards are contracts awarded, or proposed for award, without competition while set-aside awards are contracts in which only certain contractors may compete.

“When I found out about this SBA program, I was excited to see a path to provide for those who live here in Hawai’i and hopefully make a difference in our community,” Hester says. “That truly is my heart behind forming Ulu HI-Tech and our parent organization, Ke Kumu Ulu.”

Hester formed Ke Kumu Ulu, a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) non-profit, in 2021. The mission of Ke Kumu Ulu is to provide educational, business, and community activities and programs to Native Hawaiian people in the State of Hawaii. Currently, Ke Kumu Ulu is partnering with Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘O Pūʻōhala to support STEAM initiatives for students, as well as Kula No Na Po’e Hawai’i for digital strategy and consulting.

“This 8(a) certification is also a win for Ke Kumu Ulu, because 51% of Ulu HI-Tech’s profits go the parent organization,” Hester says. “And those profits go right back into helping our local communities by funding programs and partnerships with fellow Native Hawaiian non-profits and institutions. It’s an amazing way to work with others to increase our positive impact throughout Hawai’i.”

For more information about Ulu HI-Tech or Ke Kumu Ulu, please email [email protected].
Learn more about the 8(a) program at

HOLO Card service manager contract awarded to Ulu HI-Tech
HOLO Card service manager contract awarded to Ulu HI-Tech 150 150 Ulu HI-Tech

HONOLULU – The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services (DTS) awarded the HOLO Card service manager contract to local firm Ulu HI-Tech. The contract also awarded two local subcontractors, HI Tech Hui and Poukihi, along with TransSIGHT, a California based transit and revenue collection systems expert.

Ulu HI-Tech was awarded for the HOLO Card service manager contract, which will expand the card’s use to the Honolulu Rail and Handi-Van in 2021 and other City managed services in the future. This contract will create local jobs with the possibility of more throughout the life of the contract.

Ulu HI-Tech is a Native Hawaiian, woman-owned organization that has extensive program and IT management, field services, logistics, and coordination experience in Hawaii. To fulfill the extensive duties of the contract, Ulu HI-Tech is partnering with the following subcontractors:

  • Poukihi, a local financial services company, will perform account and reconciliation services and overall financial services.
  • HI Tech Hui, a local cybersecurity and infrastructure services company, will provide cybersecurity support, service desk, small equipment field services, and call center services.
  • TransSIGHT, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and transit systems and data expert based in California, will provide program management, strategic leadership, change management support, system integrator oversight, quality assurance, analytics, and data warehouse leadership and guidance.

For more information about the HOLO Card program, please call Ulu HI-Tech at (808) 427-5505.