By CALLY HANNON
After 17 years, Sam A. Williams will end his presidency of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce at the end of the year or until a replacement is hired.
Williams joined the chamber at the age of 51 as president in 1996 with plans to retire at age 65. When Williams hit age 65, the chamber was not quite ready for him to leave yet. He agreed to serve a few more years as president until his current age, 68.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber is a nonprofit organization that has helped businesses all around the world tackle policy issues since 1859.
While giving the chamber’s executive committee enough time to find a replacement, he is helping in the organization’s transition. Williams helped the business community by recruiting more than 700 companies and creating more than 75,000 direct jobs.
“They will have big shoes to fill,” said the chamber’s media specialist, Ada Hatzios, referring to Williams’ replacement.
During Williams’ presidency, the chamber saved Grady Hospital from closing and helped the city meet the standards of the Clean Water Act, tried to increase and improve transportation traffic and taxes, as well as tried to improve education with its business higher education program.
The Chamber has made close to $28 million, but the very committed Williams has plans to raise $2 million more before the end of the year.
Atlanta Gas Light Co. has worked with the chamber’s Chairman’s Fundraising Campaign for more than 20 years. Leader of the AGL resources team and captain of this year’s Chairman’s Fundraising Campaign, Brian Hannon, said, “Thanks to all of our financial contributions, we were successful in moving legislature forward for solutions to our transportation, education and water issues.”
All companies and teams work together to collaborate with the chamber and Williams’ strategic plans and deadline goals. After Williams’s retirement announcement, the chamber is focusing on the future. Each year the chamber creates a plan for success, and their mission is to solve each community challenge while helping improve things during the different economic developments.
“He’s created a lot of success after 17 years,” said Hatzios.
With more than 20 years of experience and leadership, Georgia Trend added Williams to its list of “Georgia’s Most Influential Leaders.” With plans to spend more time with his wife, Nancy, daughters and grandchildren, Williams will still serve the chamber and continue to help improve the Atlanta community.