For Brian Williams, teamwork really does make the dream work.
“I feel I am who I am because of my team,” said Williams, the senior associate director for facilities for the department of recreational sports in the Division of Student Affairs.
One of Williams’ responsibilities is overseeing all campus recreational facilities for the university: Ramsey Student Center, Pound Hall and Wheeler Gym on the Health Sciences campus, Recreational Sports Complex and Club Sports Complex. Besides managing these facilities, he is also in charge of upkeep and renovation, and these aspects require Williams to have the input of his team to create the best facility for its users.
“Renovating a 440,000-square-foot facility—on top of the other facilities that we have—takes a really dedicated, hardworking and intelligent team of really bright people,” he said. “For me, I know I can’t have my eyes and ears everywhere, so having a team of people I can trust who are working incredibly hard, who have the best interests of our students at heart, it makes my job 10 times easier.”
Williams’ team consists of nine full-time staff members, four graduate students and more than 300 student staff members.
Williams started his career at UGA as a graduate assistant in 2006 while he was pursuing his master’s degree. While working at Ramsey as a graduate assistant, he realized that he could do what he wanted to do with strength and conditioning at campus recreation, so he applied for a supervising position at Ramsey and got the job.
“I love what we do in campus recreation. I love the services and the programs we provide to our students,” he said. “I’ve stayed at UGA because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to advance my career. I’ve gone from being a graduate student in our department to now being a senior administrator in our department. At each level, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more, to grow as a person and also to give back to our students in terms of the renovations that we’ve done and the programs that we’ve brought forth.”
One of those renovations was the Ramsey Student Center, which was built in 1995. The Ramsey Renewal project began with the building’s 20th anniversary. With that kickoff, the main floor of the lobby, the main office and the weight rooms were renovated to meet the needs of today’s students and to create a clear red and black, UGA theme at the building.
Williams’ years at UGA have made him more excited about higher education and how students learn and affect the global society. He is pursuing a doctor of education in learning, leadership and organization development at UGA’s Gwinnett campus. His goal is to be a professor or a dean of students.
“Anytime you’re in a career and you get to a point where you feel like you have mastered a skill, my mindset has always been go learn another skill or another trade,” he said.
Williams believes strongly in leadership, but he doesn’t believe that his position of authority should determine the ideas and direction of the work.
“People think leadership comes from this generalization of people and your understanding of how things should work,” he said. “In actuality, true leadership comes from getting to know the people you work with on a more personal level and understanding them individually. Once you begin to do that, you build this relationship, this understanding and this trust that makes getting the work done so much easier.”