Supporting the DIH will be part of Dr Williams responsibilities as Director of Innovation within the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. Williams commercialisation experience lies in the chemicals and polymers industries working with major international companies such as ICI and Albright & Wilson Ltd. He is an industrial chemist, engineer and inventor with general management experience in both the public sector and industry.
Between 1988 and 1994 Williams helped establish Albright & Wilson’s International Technical Centre with responsibility for product and process development, collaborative research, intellectual property and licensing. He has managed collaborations with leading US and European universities, and industrial companies such as PPG, General Motors, Alcoa and Henkel Consumer products. From 1994 to 2000 he was responsible for establishing a new Speciality Chemicals Business unit, this involved building a purpose designed production plant to supply global customers and also developing niche marketing strategies to target new customers and industries.
Between 2000 and 2005, Williams served as Executive Director of Wolverhampton Science Park Ltd, a joint venture of the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton City Council in the UK West Midlands. Under his leadership the company developed the Wolverhampton Science Park on a 30 Ha. brownfield industrial site, adding over 100,000 sq.ft of serviced office accommodation, wet chemical, design and engineering laboratories, digital media suites, restaurant facilities, exhibition space and a fully supported business incubator seating 30 innovators.
During the years that Williams was Executive Director of Wolverhampton Science Park Ltd, he worked closely with leading economic consultants Segal Quince Wicksteed Ltd (authors of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’, a review of hi-tech industry clusters) and a stakeholder partnership of local authorities, businesses, universities and community groups. This stakeholder partnership provided the inputs for Williams to prepare the concept proposals, technology themes and business case for regeneration of brownfield sites. Williams prepared the successful bids for over $25 million of public sector grants for Wolverhampton Science Park, from the UK Government and European Regional Development Fund.
Williams has been actively involved in community projects. He has prepared successful funding bids from charities and industry, for community projects such as for small town Rugby Club to purchase land, lay pitches and install amenities for a first class home sports facility.
The business model and marketing plan for Wolverhampton Science Park have worked well. The site has been in operation for over 15 years and continues to attract new investment, representing a ongoing return on public funding investment. To date over 100 new business start-ups have been accommodated on the site and over 800 new jobs created. Many of these businesses have expanded elsewhere in the city and been replaced by new start-ups.
In his Science Park role, Williams also worked closely with local authorities, the Black Country Investment Agency, and Advantage West Midlands Regional Development Agency to help formulate and promote the West Midlands Economic Regeneration Strategy. Williams also contributed to the establishment of advanced engineering and polymer industry clusters which linked the Science Park to other industry development and skills initiatives to underpin the new I-54 technology corridor.