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Scott Williams
An Entrepreneur Inside a Corporate Giant
For the rest of the May 2002 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Scott Williams's pipe dream is to be a sportscaster. Admittedly, he never took any steps to make that a reality. Still, he is reminded of the dream now and again--especially when he sees his pal and fellow University of Kansas alumni Kevin Harlan calling the play-by-play for NBA games on TNT. But Williams is content to be calling the game for the CRM efforts of Boise Cascade Corp. A 17-year veteran with the multinational office products distributor, Williams two years ago took on the challenge of uniting the company's 45 distribution centers, 1,200 field representatives, 500 telesales representatives, 1,500 customer service reps, and fleet of 800 delivery drivers, under a single CRM initiative called One Boise. In his current role as director of marketing and strategic initiatives, Williams led the aggressive project, which reached initial completion in just one year on April 2001, and involved more than 100 other key players at Itasca, Illinois-based Boise Cascade. Williams, a self-described hard-charging but hands-off manager, says leading such a huge undertaking is challenging and rewarding. Boise Cascade received the prestigious Gartner CRM Excellence Award for its efforts. His personal success lies in his management style. "I expect the folks who work for me to get things accomplished, but I don't tell them how to achieve it," Williams says. "I let them work in a way that is best for them and that way I get the best out of them." Williams also believes communication is the key to a successful work environment, and his management style is simply to be himself. "A previous boss told me that you've got to just be who you are," Williams says. "There are a lot of folks who try to project an image, whether it's that they are a good leader or a strict manager, but I just try and leverage the strengths of who I am." Williams is a born-and-bred Midwesterner, who works in the company's Chicago office. He has an easy-going charm and humble demeanor and makes sure he spends every evening with his wife and three children, ages 11, 9, and 5--even if that means he will have to work after the kids have gone to bed for the night.
Williams, who thought that by now he would be an entrepreneur, has instead focused on the three jobs he has had since completing grad school. Prior to his current 17-year stint at Boise Cascade, he worked for the $30 billion oil company Koch Industries and for PepsiCo's restaurant division. But do not mistake Williams's longevity at Boise Cascade for giving up on his entrepreneurial spirit. He cites One Boise as a key example of accomplishing something entrepreneurial within the $4 billion company. After Boise Cascade Williams may eventually run his own chain of restaurants or start another business, but at least Marv Albert has nothing to worry about. The Details Name: Scott Williams Age: 38 Title: Director of marketing and strategic initiatives, Boise Cascade Education: B.S., University of Kansas; MBA, Northwestern University Most Bizarre job: Lifeguard at "Cool Clyde's Waterslide" in Topeka, Kansas at age 17. Last book read: The Summons by John Grishom Favorite sport: Golf Hobby: Taking his three kids to the video arcade
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