The CEO as Urban Statesman
by Sam A. Williams
Sam Williams is one of the nation's leading experts in urban competitiveness. Over seventeen years at the helm of a top chamber of commerce and twenty-two years as a partner in a global architect-development company, Williams earned a national reputation for harnessing the power of CEOs to make cities thrive. With their long-term view and the ability to garner support from many sectors, CEOs can often successfully address urban challenges too big for political and bureaucratic leaders to solve alone.
In The CEO as Urban Statesman, Williams uses case studies to argue that business leaders can and should contribute to their communities by using their business skills to solve public policy problems--and he tells them how to do it.
It's happening all over the country. CEOs Pete Correll, Tom Bell, and Michael Russell helped rescue Atlanta's safety-net hospital from impending financial collapse. In Oklahoma City, CEO Ray Ackerman and part-time mayor and printing company executive Ron Norick redeveloped the city's downtown. Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson led a Salt Lake City business coalition that backed a successful sales tax referendum to jump-start their region's transportation plan. In Houston, former astronaut and entrepreneur Mae Jemison led a task force on natural disasters following the devastation of Hurricane Ike. Georgia executive John Turner worked for fourteen years to create the longest urban whitewater course in the world on the stretch of the Chattahoochee River that runs through downtown Columbus.
These projects are all different, but they share common themes. Williams explores each case in detail, distilling best practices as well as cautionary tales for business leaders who want to help their cities thrive.