David C. Williams has been described as a modern-day tech revolutionist who has won several awards. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, the assistant vice president for Automation at AT&T recently won the Rodney Adkins Legacy Award at the BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Award) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.
The award was for his innovation in creating a solution at telecom company AT&T that enabled 40,000 people to work from home securely and permanently, according to Woemagazine. At the height of the pandemic when businesses were shutting down due to restrictions, he designed a platform that allowed the exchange of texts between him and customers without exposing sensitive information.
He explained his solution to Formidable Men Magazine: “At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., our government-mandated shelter-in-place for everyone, so almost everyone began to work from home (WFH). The Telecom industry doesn’t allow certain data to be exposed to WFH employees. Data like credit card info, social security number, etc. Therein lies the rub, not being able to take payments from millions of customers or being able to sell devices & services is tough for a lot of reasons.”
“Most importantly, so many people were needing to obtain or upgrade their mobile devices and WiFi to survive through the shelter-in-place mandate. It was tough for everyone,” he continued.
He said in a few weeks, he was able to pull off an impressive collaboration with some of his colleagues; they repurposed a very specific API to encrypt, transfer, and mask sensitive information.
Williams is also the winner of the AT&T Champion of Diversity Award winner owing to his passion for creating a culture of diversity for employees to grow and evolve within the workplace.
Technology wasn’t Williams’ original plan. He started at AT&T in the networking operations center and his path morphed into technology by identifying faster solutions which he started to share with his team members.
“After which, my entire department rose to the number one spot. Mentoring and problem solving moved me into the technology space. As I learned to solve problems with technology, we began to deliver outstanding results generating multi-millions of dollars,” he told Woemagazine.
He has also held several roles and assignments in business units such as Consumer Operations, Data Center management, Enterprise Support, among others. In these roles, he reportedly developed deep-link HTML marketing initiatives that garner 90 million monthly impressions and also led Competitive Intelligence which helped shape AT&T’s Mobile-First strategy, according to vocal. media. He has also authored two patents for Reprogrammable RFID and bridging satellite broadband and LTE technology.
As a champion of diversity, Williams is not only interested in churning out innovative solutions to make the world safe and convenient; he has strategically created opportunities for Black women on his team to develop, grow and evolve as contributors.
“My goal is to cultivate them by mentoring and giving effective feedback to present projects at the highest level of excellence,” he said. “When I ponder on the amazing things black women are doing, unfortunately, some of their accomplishments do not always make it to the surface.”
“I desire to see women win so that younger women can see what is possible in life,” said the Black engineer, who has helped Black women advance by creating promotional opportunities within his team.
According to Williams, his greatest achievement with AT&T has been to build a thriving, diverse (black, Hispanic, Asian, LBGTQ, etc.) team of men and women leading the effort in automation.
“I have the pleasure as a leader to see my team significantly contribute to the advancement of technology. I must ensure they receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to the major automation projects we are tasked to complete,” he said.
Throughout his career journey, Williams’ mother has been his greatest inspiration after the tragic demise of his father. His father committed suicide when he was young. According to him, his mother engaged in the Big Brothers program to ensure he received male mentorship by Kenneth Gwenn at nine years old.