Dr. Joseph Williams to join Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

ICT sector lead

Dr. Joseph Williams

Industry accomplishments during Williams’ tenure include doubling the number of slots for computer science degrees at state colleges and growth of tech apprenticeships for women, minorities, veterans. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Commerce announced today that on June 23 Dr. Joseph Williams will leave his information and communications technology (ICT) sector lead position to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as director of its Seattle office.

Over the past three years, Dr. Williams has served as a strategic adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee on tech industry public policy. During his tenure as the ICT Sector Lead for Commerce, Dr. Williams worked to promote a run of unprecedented economic growth in the state’s tech industry and helped incubate emerging economic activity in blockchain, 5g and artificial intelligence (AI) sub-sectors.

“The ICT industry has been a primary driver of our state’s sustained economic success, and Joseph’s knowledge, leadership and outstanding relationships have been instrumental in some significant wins,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Growth in this sector continues to be a force strengthening communities all over the state, with impact stretching far beyond the Puget Sound metro area.”

Notable among industry accomplishments during Williams’ tenure as Gov. Inslee’s ICT sector lead is the legislature’s doubling the number of slots at the University of Washington for computer science degrees. Lawmakers also supported the Washington Technology Industry Association’s Apprenti program, which has grown into a national leader for promoting ICT apprenticeships for women, minorities and veterans. He was also integral to establishing the Internet of Things (IoT) Council, bringing together the brightest minds in the state engaged in promoting the potential of technologies creating an internet of things to bring efficiency and transparency to multiple industries. Dr. Williams also co-founded industry councils for blockchain and for drone technologies.

During his time as ICT sector lead, Dr. Williams was named to the Berkman Klein Center’s prestigious Assembly program and was appointed a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute. He was heavily involved in promoting rural broadband programs, including Gov. Inslee’s newly created state broadband office.

A former executive with Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, Dr. Williams also served as Dean of the School of Business, Government and Economics at Seattle Pacific University before being appointed to the industry sector lead team at Commerce.


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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