John H. Williams comes from a family with a long entrepreneurial history–a tradition he continued when he founded the Williams Companies in 1949 with his brother Charles and cousin David, Jr.
As the successor to the family-owned Williams Brothers Corp., founded by his uncles, Miller and David Williams, the Williams companies deepened the Williams name and presence in the energy industry.
John Williams graduated from Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba and Yale University, where he majored in civil engineering. He joined the family business in 1940 and worked on projects in North and South America and the Middle East, in addition to serving in the Navy Civil Engineering Corps during World War II.
At age 31 Williams co-founded the Williams Companies and soon after acquired the Great Lakes Pipe Line Company, an asset that laid the foundation for the company as it is known today. During his 29-year tenure as CEO, the market value of the Williams Companies increased from $25,000 in 1949 to $406.5 million in 1978.
Williams has earned many accolades for professional and community leadership, including an award from the Bolivian government for his company’s work in that country and the Governor’s Arts Award for his role in establishing Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center. This interview was conducted in John Williams’ home on December 15, 2009.
This interview was conducted in John Williams’s home on December 15, 2009. He passed away on May 1, 2013.
Interview with John Williams
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: September 30, 2009
Date Published: October 17, 2012
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.