“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,” 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 a lead position in CONSOL’s Central Pennsylvania office in Indiana County. In the energy sector, title professionals identify and verify a clear chain of ownership rights to oil, gas, minerals and coal. If that investigation reveals conflicting ownership claims, a title professional works to correct the problem or, if necessary, advises management regarding the legal and operations risks associated with obtaining the drilling rights. Wes has earned several promotions since then, and is now director of the title department at CONSOL’s headquarters in Southpointe, Washington County.
“It’s satisfying being a part of the CONSOL family. Everyone that I work with is very friendly, professional and value-oriented,” he says. “I’m surrounded by highly competent, happy people who are dedicated to CONSOL’s core values of safety, compliance, continuous improvement, production and cost.
“One thing I didn’t anticipate in working for a 150-year-old coal company is a corporate culture that is in many ways quite entrepreneurial,” he continues. “Although the company as a whole is very well established, from upper and middle management all the way down the line, people are very open to new ideas and novel approaches to overcoming the challenges that our industry faces. That creates a very welcoming environment.”
Wes and his girlfriend, Sharon, live in Carnegie -- an easy commute to Southpointe via Interstate 79. They hope to relocate downtown in 2016, where residential housing options are flourishing as Americans rediscover the values of living in walkable urban centers.
"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.”