Kathy Williams – Small Business Icon

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

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A strong advocate for small businesses, Kathy Williams’ single-minded focus to increase participation and maximize opportunities for small businesses propelled her into the 2019 Defense Logistics Agency Energy Hall of Fame.

Williams began her steadfast DLA Energy career in the Procurement Process Support Directorate in 1978 after working several years as a GS-3 clerk typist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Her background in purchasing, contract administration and contracting review over the next seven years served as a solid foundation for William’s advocacy of small business when she took over the director’s position in 1985.

“It was Kathy’s outstanding leadership and dedication to the mission that resulted in her building the DLA Energy Office of Small Business Programs into the highly successful program that is in place today,” said Greg Thevenin, DLA Energy Small Business director. “She was a fierce and passionate advocate for small businesses.”

Establishing new inroads for fuel contracting, Williams pushed boundaries and facilitated communication with agency small businesses and contracting personnel to successfully increase small business representation. She was instrumental in the development of a web-enable database application that provided electronic workflow support for small business subcontracting plan submittal, approval and performance monitoring. 

In March 2005, Williams began supporting contracting officers’ requests to pay for contract line items paid by Defense Finance Accounting Services in an effort to provide relief for small disadvantaged businesses suffering from financial hardship. As a result of her actions, small disadvantaged businesses were able to continue consistently providing fuel to the Warfighter.

Her focus on how to increase small business participation and her relentless support of the DLA Energy mission created an effective and efficient office that contuse today to support the Warfighter.

“She had an innovative vision,” Thevenin said. “Kathy hosted various roundtable discussions and multiple small business networking and training conferences that educated potential small businesses and provided them with specific details to help them be competitive in DLA Energy acquisition programs.”

A tenacious and dedicated boss, Williams led by example throughout her career as she continually trained office personnel to help potential small businesses understand how to do business with DLA Energy. She mentored people and provided opportunities and training to those who didn’t have experience in procurement.

“Finding a position first as a small business specialist and later the director of small business fulfilled the passion and commitment I was looking for,” Williams said in her acceptance speech. “It was a wonderful experience and brought many years of self-fulfillment.”

Williams retired in 2007 after a successful 33-year career in the Department of Defense.

“I believe in the positive value that small businesses have contributed to our great United States economy,” Williams said. “We could not exist and flourish without their contributions.”

Energy’s Hall of Fame was established in 2016 to honor and preserve the memory of past associates for their exceptional leadership, service, dedication to duty, and contributions in supplying fuel to the Warfighter.