Alumnus: Leadership, teamwork leads to success in business
Mark Williams makes tough decisions every day.
He leads approximately 2,300 employees and manages organizational resources in an unstable economy.
“You run a large organization through leadership and teamwork,” said Williams, ’86, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “You put the right group of individuals together to achieve the best results. Our success also is based on the diversity of people and ideas within the organization.”
Williams is the sixth person to head the Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for the management and conservation of Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources.
The department also protects and conserves Georgia wildlife, and provides outdoor recreation through its 1 million acres of public lands in natural areas, state parks and public fishing sites.
The management skills Williams needs to operate the complex organization are the ones he developed while studying sciences at Georgia College.
“Georgia College taught me the importance of leadership and teamwork,” said Williams. “The small campus provided many opportunities to serve in various roles.”
The biology major was president of fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and a member of the Army National Guard/Army Reserve.
“My site visit confirmed Georgia College was the right fit for me,” he said. “I knew I wanted to pursue a major in science. I found that home in Herty Hall.”
The Covington, Ga., native also met his wife, Pam Harris Williams, ’87, at Georgia College. His wife of 23 years earned a bachelor’s degree in education.
“As commissioner I spend a good deal of time on the road and away from my family,” Williams said. “It’s been challenging to work away from Pam and our two girls, Mary Katelyn and Miranda. I credit Pam for holding down home base while also teaching full time.”
Throughout Williams’ career, he has worked his way into leadership positions — a high school teacher, football coach, solider, real estate broker and state legislator.
An Army National Guard veteran, Williams earned the position of first lieutenant at age 22. He later represented the 178th district in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Currently, he chairs the Coastal Marshlands and Shore Protection committees and is on the boards of the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, Land Conservation Council, Jekyll Island Authority and Savannah River Council.
“I have a passion for the outdoors,” Williams said, “so it’s a privilege to spend my days as a steward of the resources that make Georgia such a great place.”