Former Student honored with Outstanding Alumni Award

Williams alumniThe Texas A&M College of Engineering at Texas A&M University honored Department of Mechanical Engineering former student Jimmy Williams with an Outstanding Alumni Award on April 20.

Williams, who serves as executive director and Distinguished Service Professor of the Engineering and Technology Innovation Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University, explained his life as a student didn’t seem so long ago. Returning to Texas A&M to accept an Outstanding Alumni Award was not only an honor for Williams, but also a chance to revisit the first stone on the path to his career.

"It is great to be recognized, and it's a place that I am just so proud to have been associated with because when I went to school here the student population was in the 30,000 range, which we thought was huge then,” Williams said. “Now, 30 years later, we have doubled it. We have doubled it not just in number, but I think we have doubled it in the impact that we make.”

Williams said the core values taught at Texas A&M carried over to his professional career and aided him in his journey to achieving success.

“The values that we have are not always so broadly articulated, but I think they become a part of how you do things,” Williams said. “I think those things tend to be the center of why you do what you do. When I've led major, large organizations, how you treat people gets to be really important, doing things in a selfless way, honoring and respecting those who have given more than you can ever give.”

Williams admitted throughout his career he didn’t often pause and reflect, there was always another problem or challenge he was eager to take on.

“I was a little city kid who didn't know a lot about what engineering was all about, but I had the audacity to take it on and in that process it's taken me places in the world that I would never have traveled to. It's been a great journey,” he said.  

Williams received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M, his master’s degree from Lindenwood College and his doctoral degree from Washington University. Previously, Williams served in positions at Pall Corporation, Alcoa and The Boeing Company. He is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M and is the 2017 chair elect. Williams is also known for his work on the mechanical engineering industry advisory council, where he held a position for several years.