After military service and a two-year Presidential Appointee role at the US Department of Energy (the Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy), Admiral Williams now serves in Academia:
Associate Dean of Engineering (Professional Programs) at the Catholic University of America - which includes duties as Director - MS in Engineering Management; Director - MS in Materials Science & Engineering; Director - Off-Campus Graduate Engineering Programs; and Partnerships.
He is also – part-time- the Nuclear Research Consultant at the University of California – Davis (UC Davis), directly supporting the Vice Chancellor of Research and the McClellan Nuclear Research Center (2MW research nuclear reactor), STEM Education with high school students in the Sacramento, California area - The Nautilus Program, and the UC Davis Physics Advisory Board. He was previously an Associate Provost at the George Washington University.
Admiral Williams is a nuclear trained submariner and his nearly ten years in Command included service as a Fleet Commander (130 ships) and a Submarine Commander. He is one of the U.S. Navy and Submarine Force “Centennial Seven”- first seven African Americans to Command a U.S. Navy submarine in the first 100-year history of the Submarine Force (The Centennial Seven). Other key assignments included: Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces; Director of Global Operations at U.S. Strategic Command; Chief of Staff for the KITTY HAWK Aircraft Carrier Strike Group during initial combat operations of Operation Enduring Freedom following the 9/11/2001 attacks on our Nation; and Executive Officer on USS LOUISVILLE during initial combat operations in 1991 - Operation Desert Storm.
He is the co-author (with Father) of the leadership book, Navigating the Seven Seas, which since 2012 has been included on the “Navy Reading Program” list by the U.S. Navy as one of the books determined to be essential reading for all who serve. Vice Admiral (ret) Mel Williams, Jr. and Master Chief (ret) Mel Williams, Sr. are noted as the only African American Father and Son in the U.S. Navy’s history whereby the Father reached a top Enlisted rank - serving as E-9 (leadership as a Command Master Chief) and the Son was privileged to reach a top Officer rank - serving as O-9 (leadership as a Vice Admiral- Numbered Fleet Commander). Combined, the two-generation submarine sailors served for nearly 60 consecutive years.
Admiral Williams has various military awards, and his civic recognitions include the Catholic University of America 2012 Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement as well as induction into the STEM Hall of Fame in 2011, the National Society of Black Engineers Award for Lifetime Achievement in Government, and the Thurgood Marshall Award for Service and Leadership. He is a 1978 graduate with merit from the U.S. Naval Academy (Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics), holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the Catholic University of America, and attended Harvard's JFK School of Government (National and International Security).