PIQUA – Stanford T. Williams, Jr. wouldn’t have achieved the success he’s attained without the support of others and now feels honored to pay it forward as a part of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Williams, vice president, chief inclusion and diversity officer for Cincinnati-based Messer Construction, was the keynote speaker at the 29th annual Achievement Week Celebration for the Xi Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. As part of his remarks at the Nov. 20 celebration at Edison State Community College in Piqua, Williams emphasized the importance of support systems.
“No one makes it on their own,” he said. “I don’t believe anyone makes it solely on their own. There has to be a foundation that exists.”
Williams has been a member of Omega Psi Phi for 23 years. He was drawn to the fraternity because of its cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift and its motto of friendship is essential to the soul.
“It was very obvious the purpose, the mission, the values that Omega Psi Phi had aligned with my values, my purpose,” Williams said.
“It struck me that I wanted to be associated with those kind of men with like ideals.”
The Xi Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi displayed its dedication to its cardinal principles on Nov. 20 with the presentation of $1,000 scholarships to four high school students – Sidney’s Donavin Johnson, Piqua’s Lance Reaves-Hicks, Troy’s Jayden A. Norris and Lima’s Jourdyn Rawlins.
“It’s absolutely critical for us to do that, for that chapter to do that,” Williams said of providing scholarships for students. “There are so many who are in need and so many who are deserving who don’t have the opportunity to benefit from other scholarships.”
Johnson, a junior at Sidney High School, maintains a 3.83 GPA while taking Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus courses through Edison. He plans on studying pharmaceutical science after graduating from Sidney.
Along with his educational success, Johnson also plays football and baseball for the Yellow Jackets. He assists with Sidney’s youth flag football program and works part-time at Wendy’s.
Along with support through a scholarship, Williams hopes each of the scholarship recipients take advantage of the networking opportunities Omega Psi Phi provides them and realize how many people want to see them succeed.
“It’s who we are as a fraternity and who I am as a man, uplifting our communities,” he said.
Williams received lots of support throughout his life, beginning with his parents who believed in him even when he doubted himself. He also attributed his success to mentors, coaches and strong faith.
Williams graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Curry College then earned a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in fiance and marketing from Howard University.
He joined Messer Construction – a $1.5 billion, 1,300 employee-owned general contractor – in 2005 as the director of economic inclusion. He was promoted to vice president and officer in 2008 and was promoted to vice president and executive in 2015.
He oversees the supplier and workforce diversity initiatives within Messer and has grown the company’s supplier diversity spending from $38 million to more than $200 million, which represents at least 20% of the company’s annual spending going toward minority and women-owned contractors. He also has increased the company’s hiring of diverse candidates to more than 15% each of the past three years and helped Messer receive numerous awards for its efforts in supplier and workforce diversity.
Williams also serves on boards and foundations including the Knoxville Area Urban League, Easterseals TriState, Messer Foundation, the Cincinnati Opera, Arts Waves Cincinnati and the Omega Life Membership Foundation.
He’s the vice chairman of the Board of Directors for Omega Psi Phi Life Membership Foundation and the 4th District representative for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
“Giving back is essential, at least to who I am,” Williams said. “I’ve been fortunate to receive so many opportunities to give back, and I’ve received so many opportunities to be blessed that in my opinion I feel better and more comfortable giving than receiving.”
Reach the writer at [email protected] or 937-538-4824.