Celebrate Black History Month: Artis Williams

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Where are you from? I grew up mostly in South Georgia and Florida, but I’ve lived and worked in nine states. Most of my K-12 years were spent living in rural areas.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’ve been married to my beautiful wife Micki for nearly 43 years, and we have two wonderful daughters Kaziah and Kari. I worked for Air Products and Chemicals for nearly 36 years and retired as Senior Plant Manager from Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in Reserve, LA after seven years there (plant now owned by Evonik). I served in similar roles as Plant Manager in Elkton, MD, and Paulsboro NJ. I worked for Air Products in the Houston area for nine years, in Louisiana for nine years, in Pensacola, FL for one year and in Maryland and New Jersey a combined 17 years. I’ve been a Church Deacon and a Sunday school Teacher for nearly four decades. I’ve served as a board member, officer, or president for many community organizations in the communities where I’ve lived and worked (i.e., United Way, Rotary, Community College Foundation, Junior Achievement, Chamber of Commerce, Hospice, St. John LTRG. etc.).  I served, in the role of church Men’s Ministry leader for over 12 years. Recently I served as: Board President of the Resurrection Life Family Ministry, Board member for the Rotary Club of Laplace, and Board Member at Bethel Church in Baton Rouge. I’ve enjoyed serving as Executive Director for St John United Way for the last 4.5 years. Outside of work my activities include walking/exercising almost every day and traveling to National Parks and going on international Mission Trips.

Who are some Black role models you look up to, and why? Dr. Martin Luther King is a black role model that I will always look up to. His famous statement about judging people by the content of their character is something I think about often. The statement is still applicable today nearly six decades after he made it in the March on Washington speech “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character”.

What does Black History Month mean to you? For me, Black History Month is a dedicated time to shine a spotlight on and to celebrate the progress and numerous accomplishments that Blacks have made over the history of the United States of America.

Why is it important to encourage diversity? I believe Diversity and Inclusion is important since it’s about having everyone represented and valuing the contributions/perspectives of all people. Companies and Organizations are better in every way possible when all their people are represented and appreciated.