Larry K. Williams is a recognized leader in economic development, bringing more than 20 years of experience in global branding, international trade and finance, public and industrial policy, and administration and management to his role as President & CEO of The Beacon Council.
Williams, a consensus-builder and communicator with a background in information technology, aerospace, advanced marketing and start-ups, is responsible for leading and further developing and implementing the strategy of the public-private partnership created in 1985 to attract companies to Miami-Dade County.
He began his work at The Beacon Council, one of 36 accredited economic development organizations in the nation, in October 2013 after a nationwide search for a candidate who excelled in economic development as well as inter-personal skills. Williams’ accomplishments in the public and private arenas combined with his experiences with Latin America and the technology industry permeates his leadership style to drive The Beacon Council and Miami-Dade County to greater competitiveness.
Previously, Williams helped shape the vision for Atlanta’s technology industry as Vice President of Technology Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber (since 2011). He provided leadership and direction to the Chamber’s Mobility Task Force, the effort to position Atlanta as a global hub of mobile technology, and the Technology Leadership Council, where he was also recruited after a national search to provide leadership.
In the State of Washington, Williams garnered a list of special assignments and honors including serving on the Governor’s Global Competiveness Council, where he created and led all processes and committees. The council’s report served as the basis of the state’s new 10-year economic initiative.
In 2008, Williams was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire as co-chair of the newly created Washington State Tourism Commission and the following year he was appointed to serve on her executive cabinet.
As Assistant Director of International Trade for Washington State Department of Commerce, Williams managed the merger of the International Trade and the Economic Development Divisions of the State Department of Commerce. His responsibilities increased from managing 14 employees with a $6 million budget to 66 employees with a $130 million budget.
Williams recruited, retained or expanded 692 companies statewide; created or retained more than 17,000 jobs; and generated more than $1.8 billion in private investment in fiscal years 2008/2009. He developed and implemented initial sales goals for each team member and exceeded three-year projections by more than 40 percent, documenting more than $43 million in actual sales.
Under his leadership, Washington State opened its first foreign offices in Mexico City, Frankfurt, Germany and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, China.
In his native North Carolina, he rose through the ranks to Director of Operations of the International Trade Division for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. He developed business opportunities for client companies throughout Canada and Latin America.
Williams is a graduate of North Carolina State University, and the Darlington School. Williams also studied in Costa Rica and speaks Spanish.