Rob Williams, Master of Leadership student at Worldwide
Rob Williams, Master of Science in Leadership student at Worldwide

Leadership student Rob Williams uses experience, expertise to promote performance excellence

Rob Williams considers himself a lifelong learner. He’s earned two associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree and Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt and Associate Safety Professional certifications. The 42-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran is now pursuing a Master of Science in Leadership at Embry-Riddle Worldwide and was recently named as a volunteer examiner for the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.

Administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program is the U.S. public-private partnership dedicated to performance excellence. The program raises awareness about performance excellence, provides organizational assessment tools and criteria, educates leaders about best practices and recognizes national role models.

Past recipients of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award include both small and large organizations such as Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire ControlNestle Purina PetCare Co.Henry Ford Health System and U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Williams – an environmental health and safety manager for Patriot Erectors outside of Austin, Texas, and safety and process improvement consultant – believes his volunteer service as a Baldridge examiner will provide a wealth of knowledge he can apply to his current organization and clients he serves. 

“As an EHS manager and consultant, I spend a lot of time teaching, auditing, and analyzing the risk versus reward of an industry while also developing a better way to do things that minimizes or mitigates the potential for an adverse or hazardous event,” said Williams, who plans to begin a Ph.D. in Leadership or Occupational and Industrial Psychology later this year. “These processes, best practices and efficiencies create a culture of continual attention to the environment, personnel factors and behavior that help managers evaluate and measure individual and organizational performance and optimize productivity and ultimately profit.”

In his leadership studies at Embry-Riddle Worldwide, Williams sees correlations between the lessons/principles he learned during his 20-year military career.

“The instructors I have had at Embry-Riddle were the difference in continuing my education at another institution and taking a different path and becoming a full-time student at Embry-Riddle,” he said. “Two instructors in particular, Drs. Matt Earnhardt and Linda Pittenger, were the ultimate influence over my decision. They are the difference-makers in terms of retention and the application of information to real-world scenarios and situations.”

“Since they both have real-world experience, they can teach you in ways that most others cannot,” Williams said. “The real world is a continuous case study, and the critical thinking they have enabled in their students will be the difference of success and failure, winning and losing and becoming an asset to your organization and also the best leader possible.”

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.