Dan  Williams
Navarro County, Texas


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9/2/2004 BACK TO ROOTS: Williams returns to early area of family tree
Corsicana Daily Sun

By LOYD COOK/Daily Sun Staff

He's not from here ... but yet he is, complete with roots that go further back than many.

Dan Williams is the new Planning and Zoning manager for the City of Corsicana and, no, he's not related to the last one.

Williams is a direct descendant of John and William Pickett, early 1800s settlers in the area. The Pickett community is named after John, and William mustered into the Texas Rangers in 1836 as a volunteer.

"It was some of (John's) land that I built my house on during the past year," Williams said this week of the land south of Retreat still in the family some 160 years later.

John Pickett was also a member of Company I of the 4th Texas Infantry for the Confederacy during the Civil War, a group often referred to as the "Navarro Rifles."

Don Williams' own life has been something of an adventure. The mechanical engineer who has been a registered professional engineer for three decades has spent much of that time working across the country and around the world, he said.
With much of his professional life, Williams has been involved in power plants and the provision of power. His career has spanned time at Houston Lighting & Power, Bechel Power, North American Turbine, Destec Energy (now Dynergy), Enron North American (yes, he lost all of his retirement), and Tractebel Power.

Panama, Mexico, Canada, Norway, and Sarawak in Indonesia are all among the places he's had a hand in the construction or design of a power plant or some form of distribution.

"You name a country and I probably helped put a power plant there," Williams said.

During the past year, he spent time as a general contractor.

"So I know what it's like sitting on the other side of the table," he said. "This is my first opportunity to sit on this side of the table ... to be a civil servant."

Williams, 57, and wife Dianna have been married for 26 years. He has four children: Ariana, 30, a licensed stockbroker; Michael, 27, an information technologies manager for Southwestern Bell; Kyle, 25, a Fort Worth police officer; and Janna, 22, who is in the master's program at Texas Tech and aspires to be a college professor of Fine Arts.

The couple has three grandchildren: Granddaughter Madisyn Williams and twin grandsons, Connor and Steven Karst.

Williams feels he has a top priority at his new job ... to educate people about the process.

"A lot of people wonder why there's so much time between submitting their application and going before a board," he said. "A lot of it is just the due process ... and what's required of us by the state."

And endless research and fact-gathering.

"Actually, for this job, I should have worked before at the FBI, there's so much investigative efforts here," Williams said with a smile.

He asks for people's patience as he acclimates to his new surroundings and position. Williams notes that he has himself, one inspector and a secretary and that's his entire department -- to cover a town of nearly 25,000 population.

"People, when they deal with government, they're used to the police department, or the fire department, the sheriff ... just dial 9-1-1 and get a response," he said. "We try to accommodate them the best we can, but sometimes we have to put them off for a few hours until we can get somebody out there.

"A lot of my job is educating the public; that putting in an application and paying a ... fee doesn't mean that they're ready to get going on building something. Processing applications and getting the approvals ... take some time. We're here to help with that."

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Loyd Cook may be contacted via e-mail at loydcook@corsicanadailysun.com

 


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox