Mitch Williams, a versatile and long-term NIEHS employee, has taken on his biggest challenge yet in the role of NIEHS deputy associate director for management and deputy executive officer.
The appointment was effective June 24, according to Office of Management Chief and Executive Officer Chris Long. “Mitch has become a go-to leader for handling complex challenges,” he said, when he announced the appointment.
“I really appreciate the confidence that Chris, the NIEHS leadership, and our office of management team have demonstrated in giving me this new opportunity,” said Williams.
Varied service to NIEHS
Williams has been with NIEHS for 30 years, starting in 1988 as a mechanical engineer, following a stint as a Navy design engineer.
In that time, Williams has managed a variety of facilities operations, including central plant operations, security, landscaping, and even housekeeping, as well as numerous design and construction projects, such as the 1996 completion of the F Module and MRI building additions.
His responsibilities have included overseeing mechanical engineering for the campus central utility plant and underground utilities, as well as serving as the NIEHS engineering lead during design and construction of the new campus for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Eventually, Williams became NIEHS acting facilities director.
In 2005, he was named head of the Operations and Security Branch, which was established to meet security requirements instituted after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Williams led development of the NIEHS emergency management program, recognized by the National Institutes of Health in 2015 as one of three exemplary programs among its 27 institutes and centers.
In 2015, Williams took the lead in implementing a drill to test NIEHS’s ability to respond to an active shooter on campus, including first aid readiness and interagency coordination.
Keeping it green
Williams has also played important roles in NIEHS sustainable energy and conservation programs. He helped design and build NIEHS’s award winning Net-Zero Energy Warehouse — the first of its kind in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — which opened last year (see related story in this issue). In 2017, he was part of the NIEHS climate resilience planning team. Both efforts won Green Champions Awards from HHS for sustainability projects.
Between January and May of this year, Williams served as the acting deputy executive officer for the NIEHS Office of Management.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have had a variety of experiences at NIEHS,” said Williams. “This will be another challenge to which I’m looking forward.”
(John Yewell is a contract writer for the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)