Joseph H. Williams
Businessman, Nature Conservationist
While Joe Williams is primarily known in Tulsa as an oilman, his friends and family speak of him as a bird hunter and conservationist, and then an astute businessman and oilman. It is Williams’ work on behalf of the country’s largest preserved tract of native tallgrass prairie that is his lasting legacy. He is given credit for making it happen, thus the preserve was renamed the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in 2015. He is past chairman of both the Oklahoma Board of Trustees and the National Board of Governors for The Nature Conservancy.
In 1959, Joe Williams never intended to get involved in the family-owned Williams Brothers pipeline construction business. He had other plans. Fate stepped in, however, and he spent thirty-five years with the multibillion-dollar company, the last fifteen as chairman and chief executive officer. When he retired in 1994, the Williams Cos. was a more focused, greatly expanded, and significantly more profitable enterprise than when he assumed the chairmanship in 1979.
Joe is a former fellow and trustee of the Yale Corporation and member of the Yale Institute of Biosphere Studies. He has received honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Tulsa, and Phillips University. He is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1988, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Interview with Joseph H. Williams
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: February 28, 2018
Date Published: May 11, 2018
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy, Tehran, Iran, Fiber Optics, WilTel, Williams Center Forum, Williams Brothers (WillBros), Penny Williams, South Carolina, Henry Bellmon, The Gathering Place, John Williams, President Dwight Eisenhower, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Yale, Shah of Iran, pipeline, telecommunications, Downtown Tulsa, The Nature Conservancy