Award-winning, Meridian Technology Center Board Member Dr. Joe Williams has decided to step down at the end of his term.
“For nearly two decades it has been a privilege to represent the stakeholders of Meridian,” Williams said. “Being a part of the Meridian Technology Center Board of Education has been a rewarding experience. I had an amazing opportunity to reach so many people and truly impact the lives of those who come through our doors.”
For Williams, the decision to become a board member was easy.
His life and career had been in the academic setting, and he has witnessed first-hand how education can change lives. Williams believes that whether a student is college or career bound, all students within the Meridian Technology Center district should have equal access to training enabling them to be work ready.
He recognized that as a member of the Meridian Technology Center Board of Education he would have the opportunity to work closely with other board members and school administrators to ensure that Meridian remained at the forefront of career and technology education.
Williams was a part of Meridian Technology Center long before he decided to seek election to the Board of Education. He can recall when the school opened its doors in 1975. He remembers his first short-term personal interest class at Meridian. He also can pinpoint the day he decided to run for office and become a part of Meridian¹s legacy.
Williams decided to run for office in November 2003, and four months later he was sworn in as a member of the board.
Representing the patrons of the Meridian district, Williams has held every position with the board including board president, vice president, clerk, deputy clerk and member. In each of those roles, he provided leadership in the development of school policy to ensure students of Meridian receive cutting-edge career training.
Regardless of his position on the Board of Education, his dedication is the same, according to Dr. Douglas Major, Meridian Superintendent/CEO. “Dr. Williams’ focus has always been providing students with the skills they need to be highly competitive in the workforce.”
The reward, Williams said, comes in the form of student success stories.
“Career and technology education changes people’s lives,” Williams said. “Whether a student needs to gain a new job skill or retool a current skill, they can come to Meridian and experience hands-on learning and create new career opportunities.”
Williams’ leadership and dedication has been recognized outside of his role as an MTC board member. He recently won the Oklahoma State School Boards Association’s Distinguished Service Award for his work not only at Meridian, but with OSSBA and CareerTech. Williams served on the OSSBA Board of Directors to represent the needs of technology center school boards, and he served as an OSSBA representative with the CareerTech Administrative Council.
“As a member of the board, Dr. Williams has helped shape the direction of the school,” said Major. “He has played an instrumental role in the development of school policies and was one of the final decision-makers on educational issues that impact our partner communities.”
Williams was essential in opening the school’s Construction Trades building in 2013. This facility houses the classroom and lab space for the Meridian’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrical Technology and Energy and Power programs.
In addition to his role with the Board of Education, Williams has also served on the Meridian Technology Center Foundation Board of Directors. In this capacity, he worked closely with MTC staff members to award financial assistance to students attending the school. Williams strongly believes that finances should not pose a barrier to achieving career success.
Shortly after his election to the board he and his wife Sue established the Drs. Joe and Sue Williams Scholarship through the Meridian Technology Center Foundation. The Williams specifically requested that funds for this scholarship be non-restrictive and used to assist financially limited students in gaining the technical skills to succeed in the workplace.
Williams has received numerous teaching and advising awards at the department, university and national levels throughout his 35 years of teaching at Oklahoma State University. In 2002 he was appointed director of both the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program and the Initiative for the Future of Rural Oklahoma. He earned his PhD in economics at Iowa State University and his BS and MS degrees in agricultural economics and agricultural business at New Mexico State University. He also served two years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. Williams retired from OSU in June 2010.
“We are grateful for Dr. Williams dedicated service to Meridian,” Major said. “His years of unwavering commitment have had a profound impact on our organization. He leaves behind a legacy of service that will continue to inspire and guide us in the years to come.”