Steven A. Williams

Ph.D. Forest Resources, 1986

Steven A. Williams earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Resource Management at Penn State in 1979, an M.S. degree in Biology at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks in 1981, and a Ph.D. in Forest Resources at Penn State in 1986.
     Williams is currently president of the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), a private, nonprofit (501[c]3), scientific and educational organization dedicated to providing leadership to conserve, restore, and enhance North American wildlife and its habitat. Steve and his team work mostly on request with federal, state, and provincial agencies, Congress, college and university researchers and educators, other private conservation organizations, and professional associations. They advise, testify, and, in a variety of other ways, provide services on timely wildlife-related issues to improve the professional foundation of wildlife management. 
     As president of WMI, Steve serves on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation board of directors, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (a federal advisory council to the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture), National Conservation Leadership Institute, and the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources. He also is a member of the Policy Council for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Steve is a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club and The Wildlife Society. 
     Prior to joining WMI, Steve served as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Department of the Interior. He was nominated to be the service’s director by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in January 2002. He served in that role until 2005 when he accepted the offer to lead WMI. As USFWS Director, Williams oversaw the operations of the nation’s primary wildlife conservation agency with more than 7,500 employees and a budget of roughly $1.3 billion. 
     Prior to joining the USFWS, Williams served as the Kansas Governor's Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Parks (1995-2001), Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (1992-1995), and Assistant Director for Wildlife (1989-1992) and Deer Project Leader (1986-1989) of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. 
     Steve has received many accolades for his career accomplishments. A few examples include being honored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences as one of its Outstanding Alumni in 2003. In 2004 Outdoor Life magazine awarded Steve its prestigious Conservation Award for Public Service for his leadership in strengthening the long-standing conservation partnership between America’s sportsmen and women and the USFWS. 
     Last April Steve took time out of his schedule at the request of the Penn State Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society to address students from across Pennsylvania and beyond at the 2017 Northeast Student Conclave hosted by the Penn State chapter. In his advice to these emerging scientists, he offered that other than finding a good spouse, you need to "set yourself apart" by combining useful skill sets in a unique way. For example, in gaining a background in statistics and the then nascent field of geographic information systems, he says, he offered more value to his future employers. He also encouraged students to be “ambassadors” for sustainable management, which will require them to become expert communicators using the ever-increasing number of tools available in society today.