City Employee Spotlight for December - Mark Williams

December 1, 2017
Mark Williams named City Spotlight for December
     Ensuring the residents of Jacksonville are safe is City Building Inspector, Mark Williams’ main priority.  Whether it be an individual residence or a commercial business, Williams is on the scene to make sure everything is in order. The citizens of Jacksonville can rest assured that Williams knows his business. He has had extensive training in all aspects of the building industry. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously. His knowledge of building started at a very young age when his family built their own home. When other six-year-olds were out playing basketball on Saturdays, he was toting bricks to his older brother and father. They did all the plumbing and wiring of the house as well. “I grew up learning how to do stuff, says Williams.” He knew that after that experience he would be doing something involving construction. At age 13 he worked with Four Winds Heating and Air Conditioning. “The owner there taught me a lot about a bunch of different things. I became his right-hand man.”
     Williams is a 1988 graduate of Pleasant Valley High School and he also attended Jacksonville State University. He worked with Marriott, a food service, at JSU while attending high school, and then became student manager of the Roost while he was a student at JSU. He then transitioned to Anchor Metal for a few years until it closed. He worked at Dixie Produce in Anniston and became a Produce Buyer. He was also Resident Manager of Cottonwood Apartments for about 8 years.
     Williams was hired as a laborer for the City of Jacksonville in 1999 in the Utility and Maintenance Department. He was the first Code Enforcement officer for the city in 2005. He worked his way up and eventually his diligence and hard work paid off when he was named the city’s building inspector in 2007. Williams says he loves his job and can’t imagine doing anything else. The job is very challenging though at times. “Sometimes people don’t want to make the changes that you ask them to make”, says Williams, “even though it is in their best interest.”  “I would never ask someone do something that I wouldn’t do myself.” Williams went on to say, “We have some of the best contractors around here in Jacksonville. When I tell them something that needs changing they do it and the next time around they go ahead and do it right. Life safety is number one for me. I don’t want anyone to get hurt under my watch. I don’t want some small child to stick something in a light socket that the cover has been left off from and get electrocuted or a new employee stick their hand in a breaker box without a door that is a 240-volt system.”
     Williams is married to wife Brandy, and they have two daughters Christin and Lacey. Brandy is employed at Jacksonville State University. They have a new addition to the family, granddaughter Emmaline, who is 15 months old. Spending time with his family is Williams’ favorite thing to do. He also likes to fish, travel, take long walks in the woods with his wife Brandy and go to football games. “Family time is very important to us”, says Williams. “We all love it. Spending time with my granddaughter is my most favorite thing to do right now. She loves her Paw Paw.”
     Mayor Johnny Smith is happy to have Williams on board at the city of Jacksonville. “As Building Inspector, Mark does a good job enforcing city ordinances, thereby helping to keep our citizens safe and the city looking good.  He works well with our current and prospective new business owners, as well as, with other citizens in the city.  Mark also does a lot of ‘other duties as assigned’ that are not in his job description.  He is always eager to help and goes the extra mile to improve the quality of life in Jacksonville,” Smith said. Williams is equally complimentary of Mayor Smith. “He is just remarkable. He is more than a boss to me, he is like a father figure. The city has been great to me. They have sent me to all kinds of schools and training. I have hundreds of certifications. I have learned a lot here.”
     When asked what was the most favorite part of his job, Williams responded, “I love seeing a project from start to finish.” Seeing it go from soil to a beautiful structure, is amazing to me. I do a lot more maintenance than inspecting. There is always something in the city that needs fixing. It could be as simple as changing out light fixtures.”
     “I plan on retiring in about six and a half years. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m protecting people and giving them a safe environment to live and work”, says Williams. “After retiring from the city, I plan on getting my Masters in plumbing and doing that for a few years. I had originally wanted to go into refrigeration and air conditioning, but that industry changes so quickly. After retirement, I don’t want to have to keep up with all the changes. After my heart surgery, I realized that I may need to take it a little bit easier. I work a lot, maybe I will just chill a little bit and enjoy life.”
     Thank you, Mark, for making it your priority that our residents have a safe environment to live and work.

Story & Photo by Anita Kilgore