“Pittsburgh is rich in its diversity of people and experiences.“
Wesley Williams has lived in nearly a dozen different U.S. cities, from his upbringing as the son of a career Army officer to college in Philadelphia and Cleveland.
So why – especially when coupled with degrees from top law and business schools -- did he opt to accept a job in 2010 in Pittsburgh?
“An opportunity came up at CONSOL (his former employer),” Wes recalls. “Though I wasn’t job hunting with any particular industry or geographic location in mind, I knew that I wanted to join a well-established, large company working with corporate transactions and mergers and acquisitions. I didn’t have any background in the energy sector, so I spent an entire weekend immersing myself in whatever I could get my hands on. I went to the Pitt Law Library and read and outlined the thickest oil and gas law book that I could find in the hope that I could seize the opportunity to work with a company that people were saying so many positive things about.”
He joined the company as an associate title professional in Waynesburg for just under a year before being promoted to several positions at CONSOL’s headquarters in Southpointe, Washington County. After a fulfilling career at CONSOL, Wes moved his passions and skills in management, operations and applied learning to PNC Bank as the vice president of learning and development. In this role, Wes consults on strategy and manages the skill-based learning across PNC's 55,000+ employees.
“It’s satisfying being a part of the PNC family. The company has a very open, dynamic and collaborative culture. Its customer focus not only extends to the external customers we encounter on a day-to-day basis but also to the quality of life, of work and of people working on various PNC teams,” he says.
Wes and his girlfriend, Sharon, live in Lawrenceville. Originally living in Carnegie, the couple recognized the revitalization happening there and wanted to be a part of it. "Lawrenceville really had a lot to offer us like its diversity of culture and proximity to restaurants, entertainment and downtown." he says. "We were coming into the city more and more while living in Carnegie and thought 'we should just live here.'" They are hoping to become homeowners soon.
His new found love for Lawrenceville is parallel to his love for the city as a whole. "I was surprised that Pittsburgh has so much art and so much culture," he said. He is passionate about jazz, and enjoys the annual International JazzLIve Festival that takes over the Cultural District's streets and music venues across the region each June. “We’re also members of the Carnegie museums, and can go to view art anytime we feel so inclined. There’s always some interesting exhibition. "
The couple bikes the Carrie Furnace Trail along the Monongahela River, renting gear from Bike Pittsburgh. And they enjoy spending time on the water, renting tandem kayaks from Kayak Pittsburgh.
While the city of Pittsburgh has a larger-than-average African American population, many observers note the number of black professionals in the region is small and dispersed. Wes says that hasn’t been an issue for him. “Perhaps it’s just my nature, but I tend to focus on exploring all attributes of a new place,” he says. “And when I’m at a concert or a museum, I see a fair amount of diversity, both racially and economically. While other cities may have a greater reputation for diversity, Pittsburgh is rich in its diversity of people and experiences.
“Here and in every city in which I’ve lived, if you take the initiative to explore, you can find anything that you’re looking for,” he adds. “You’d be surprised what you can find when you commit to exploring your new city.”
As an "Army brat," Wes developed a passion project in honor of his father and veterans across the country. He founded Scouts on Watch, a socially conscience wooden watch company 20% of the proceeds from each watch is donated to Operation Gratitudeto cover shipping a care package to a Veteran Learn more here.