“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 management, operations and applied learning skills to PNC Bank. There as learning and development director, he guides learning development operations and strategy, providing skill-based learning for PNC's more than 55,000 employees.
“It’s satisfying being a part of the PNC family," he says. "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.”
Wes and his fiancée, Sharon, move last year from Carnegie to Lawrenceville. "We were coming into the city more and more in our spare time and thought 'we should just live here.' Lawrenceville really has a lot to offer us: its diversity of culture and proximity to restaurants, entertainment and downtown." They are hoping to become homeowners soon.
His affection for Lawrenceville parallels 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 especially 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, a museum or a new restaurant, 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 nonprofit that makes wooden wristwatches, with 20 percent of the proceeds from each sale donated to OperationGratitude to cover shipping a care package to a veteran. Learn more here.