Otis Williams attended the state of South Carolina on a Music Scholarship, which allowed him to play the trombone in the college orchestra and the famous Marching 101.
Williams, now executive director of St. Louis Development Corp., says he’s out of a trombone and is, in fact, not inclined to music.
Upon graduation from college, he embarked on a nearly 30-year career around the world with the Army Corps of Engineers.
In Thailand, he helped design supply bases built to support the US war effort in Vietnam. He did bodywork in Germany. He led the body operation in Tulsa, Okla. While serving assignments with regular army units, Williams regularly joined the troops in early morning races.
“I call it doing the army thing,” he said.
Williams retired from the Corps of Engineers on June 30, 1998. A week later, he began working at St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s development arm, as deputy project manager. He rose through the ranks and on July 1 succeeded Rodney Crim as SLDC’s Managing Director.
Crim moved to Clayton as part of the partial amalgamation of the St. Louis and St. Louis County Economic Development Agencies. Williams remains downtown as the boss of SLDC staff, which manages the city’s tax incentives and real estate programs, among other things.