Dr. Joseph Williams named state Director of Economic Development for the Information and Communication Technology sector
Former industry executive and business-government-economics school dean at Seattle Pacific University will serve as principal adviser to Governor Inslee, director of economic development for the information and communication technology industry sector in Washington state.
The Washington State Department of Commerce announced today that Dr. Joseph Williams will lead the state’s efforts to develop and grow Washington’s $40-billion information and communication technology (ICT) industry sector, which employs nearly 200,000 people in some 14,000 ICT companies.
A former executive with Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, Dr. Williams was recently the Dean of the School of Business, Government and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. In this new role, he will serve as strategic adviser to the Governor, and primary point of contact for technology companies interested in doing business and expanding in Washington state.
Dr. Williams has had a distinguished career in the tech industry, in academia and the public sector. He has extensive experience working with angel investing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies and customers on the business models and economics of cloud computing. He serves on the executive board of Sound Generations and on the editorial board of IT Professional, writing a regular column on “Life in the C-Suite.” Dr. Williams authored three books and dozens of articles related to the ICT industry while he was a professor in the College of Business at Colorado State University in the 1990s.
“I’m pleased to welcome Joseph in his new role. Washington State’s dominant ICT industry is continually evolving. We must focus on strengthening STEM education, providing more pathways for the next generation of highlyskilled workers our companies need, and helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses that will create new jobs,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “With his successful industry background spanning the business and academic communities, Joseph will be an excellent liaison between industry and government as we work together to keep our state leading the world in IT innovation.”
“Information and communication technology and other industry sectors we target are the engines of our overall economy, but these key sectors have huge impact locally, where they are a critical component for strong, vibrant communities all over the state,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, where Dr. Williams will be based in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. “Communities everywhere depend on our incredible IT industry. Joseph’s position is a crucial part of our state strategy for meeting the diverse needs of local communities by supporting and expanding this important sector.”
“Our state’s ICT ecosystem is built on a dynamic foundation of companies and workers that are world class. I look forward to working closely with the Washington Technology Industry Association, Gov. Inslee, Director Bonlender and the amazing constellation of businesses and stakeholders located in communities across Washington to keep growing and strengthening this vital industry sector,” Williams said.
“The ICT sector has one main priority — talent,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association. “We are eager to work with Dr. Williams in building a strong public-private partnership to expand the capacity of our world-class higher education programs, recruiting brilliant engineers and entrepreneurs to the region, and expanding access to careers in tech for women, veterans and underrepresented minorities.”
Dr. Williams has degrees from the University of California-Berkley, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Texas-Austin. He assumes his new role, based in the Department of Commerce, May 2.