Fast fact: Since Williams became president of Time Striping in 2012, sales have more than doubled, and its workforce has grown to 150 employees.
What is the best business advice someone has ever given you? My dad told me to (No. 1) surround myself with good people and treat them well and that (No. 2) I will only be as successful as the team around me. No truer words have been spoken as I have the most amazing team of management and crews in the River Valley. We work hard, and we play hard. We stay involved in our communities, and we give back. Do we have misunderstandings along the way? Of course. But we communicate and work through them in order to continue to thrive as a successful business.
Do you think artificial intelligence (AI) can take jobs in your industry? The transportation industry is seeing new technology developed every day with autonomous vehicles. I’m not certain AI is a major concern at this point as we still need to maintain the safety of our traveling public by providing safer roads, which is rather labor-intensive. But, I do try to keep up with AI as it seems to be a major headline these days.
What’s your favorite movie or television show? I’m much more apt to be found with a book in my hand or one playing in my car as I travel. My favorite television show is an old series, “Made in America,” where John Ratzenberger travels America to showcase how things are made right here at home. I loved learning about manufacturing processes and skills of people right here in our own backyard. We truly live in a fascinating world.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why? What a wonderful thought this is. No hesitation to answer that I would trade places with my mom. She passed very unexpectedly eight years ago and has missed out on so much in our family. Allowing her to see her grandchildren and their successes would mean the world to me. Plus, I wouldn’t mind the chance to stroll the Streets of Gold and see my loved ones who have passed on and tell them all about the family.
What are your thoughts on working from home? While this will not be a popular thought to many, I am not a proponent for working from home. Please consider the field in which I work … road construction. Not much of that can be done from home. Our industry was considered “essential” during the COVID-19 epidemic, so we never closed our operations. We learned so much through each quarantine of each crew, but we never stopped. I truly believe being here, in person, to see one another face-to-face is imperative to success. We all need that human connection and interaction. I don’t think it is fair for my road crews to have to go out and work on the roads every day but the office personnel get to work from home. The guys need to see us here, working right alongside them.
If you had $1 million to give, what would you support? I would have to spread it around as I couldn’t choose just one thing to support. There are so many worthy organizations that offer so many services and opportunities that I could never rate one more important than the other. Although I must say that I do see a true mental health crisis at present, and I would focus my support toward suicide prevention and at-risk youth. The worldly pressures from the media, social media and peer pressure are tragically overwhelming, and we need to better equip folks with skills to cope with trials and troubles.
Which skills do you think are most important when it comes to leadership? Communication. Whether it be verbal or non-verbal, communication is key. People need to know you are listening to them and that you are hearing their concerns. It doesn’t matter if I am speaking with a contractor or an employee, I expect to be heard so I must give the same in return. We have our own lingo in highway safety just as every other industry speaks in their own terms. I often have to remind myself and my employees that the other side may not have a clue what we are talking about, so remember to fully explain your situation or concern. A proper attitude is imperative. We all know that things roll downhill, so we need to make certain our attitude is in check when dealing with others. I see this in my supervisors regularly as they are constantly training crew members and will get frustrated in time. That frustration only leads to frustration down the line, which diminishes productivity. Take a step back and reevaluate the situation at hand. Treat everyone with kindness. Bottom line … always follow the Golden Rule.