Sam WilliamsProfessor of Practice Urban Studies Institute
Williams, in his position as a professor of practice, has helped the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies create a new Urban Studies Institute and serve as its Assistant Director for External Affairs. He also participates in scholarly and practitioner-oriented events for the university’s urban initiative, guest lectures in the school’s various policy and leadership courses and builds bridges to the metro area local governments and businesses for Georgia State students.
Prior to retiring in 2014, Williams led metro Atlanta’s high-profile business community 17 years as chamber president after leading the downtown Atlanta business community as president of Central Atlanta Progress. He was a partner with Portman Properties, a global architect-development company, and the first staff member for Research Atlanta.
Williams has earned a national reputation for harnessing the power of business leaders to make cities thrive. He has penned a new book, The CEO as Urban Statesman (Mercer University Press, 2014), in which he uses case studies to argue that business leaders can and should contribute to their communities by using their business skills to solve public policy problems.
Williams holds degrees from the Harvard Business School and Georgia Institute of Technology.