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Campus News

Meet Gretchen Adams

Meet Gretchen Adams  photo
Gretchen Adams. Image used by permission.

Friday, April 11, 2014 – Gretchen Adams, Tacoma Community College’s newest Trustee, has a background that includes both education and entrepreneurship. She first received a childhood introduction to the pros and cons of running a business by observing family members who owned and operated their own businesses.

“I was inspired by the passion, freedom, commitment, and personal growth they achieved working with employees and customers,” said Adams.

After completing her education in Richmond, Kentucky, Adams moved to Seattle in 1983, and to Brown’s Point in 1998. She’s worked in Washington’s K-12 and college systems, developing curriculum and providing classroom instruction at schools including UW Seattle, Everett Community College, Lake Washington Voc-Tech and Bellevue Community College.

In 1999, Adams and her husband Everette started a project management consulting firm, Systems Consulting, LLC. The couple has experienced great success using their complimentary skill sets to attract and retain clients.

“We let market demand dictate the direction and services we provided,” said Adams.

As President, Adams secures contracts and manages company operations. Under her leadership, the company diversified their offerings to combat industry lulls. In 2010, while the Great Recession was in full swing, Systems Consulting, LLC signed its largest business contract. As a result, the company doubled in size and expanded its geographic footprint. Systems Consulting, LLC currently has offices in Washington, Colorado, California and Maryland. A recent Business Examiner article examines how Adams negotiates traditional gender roles and other issues to achieve success for her company.

As a member of the Pierce County business community, Adams sees increased opportunity for TCC to enhance workforce development and training, extend its reach through technology and continue to attract and retain top talent that compliments its educational mission. From an employer’s point of view, the college also serves as a talent pool, resource provider, fellow employer and community leader.

“TCC’s commitment to education, community and to the socio-economic development of the region is in line with mine, as a citizen, aunt and employer,” said Adams. “TCC is narrowing the achievement gap, providing a skilled and educated work force and providing employment opportunities for the community.  The national recognition of the Achieving the Dream program and the highly anticipated Harned Center for Health Careers are two recent examples of the reach and impact TCC has on the region. By creating an environment that is conducive to learning and success, TCC will continue to grow and serve as a model by which others can explore.”   

“The mission, albeit challenging is obtainable. As with many industries, finding and implementing new and innovative ways to fund programs, attract and retain students, teachers and staff will be key going forward. Whether that is looking at other models or creating new ones.”

Adams is very active in the Pierce County community. In addition to the TCC Board of Trustees, her affiliations include Tacoma Rotary 8, Multicare Health Foundation Board, Women in Transportation, and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

She offered some advice for students hoping to start their own businesses:

“If considering opening your own business, take business, marketing and accounting classes. Decide which role you will play in the business, because it’s difficult to effectively perform all positions.” 

And for students seeking employment:                                                    

“Seek to intern within your field while in school and/or while out of school (summers/high school). Relevant experience on the resume makes you more competitive to potential employers. Don’t wait for someone else to provide internship opportunities, seek your own internships by going to the employer, telling your story (goal) and asking if they have or would consider an intern. Paid or unpaid, the experience will prove invaluable.”

For additional information, please contact:
Rachel Payne
Communications Consultant
Phone: 253.460.4381


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