Better Communities Collaborative President and CEO Jon Williams, ASLA, PLA began his professional career in the seventh grade when his father presented him with a key to Jay’s IGA, a grocery store in Alma, Georgia that had been in the Williams family since the early 1950s. It was at this small-town grocery store working alongside his father where Williams first learned the importance of leading a team with the goal of leaving things better than he found them through progressive business practices and emphasis on the larger community.
“My dad sponsored every event, every boy scout troop, and every beauty pageant. There’s no telling how much he donated over the years and how many kids, me included, he set on the right path by giving them their first job,” said Williams. “He always gave back to the community.”
Williams continued to work alongside his father at Jay’s IGA until moving to Athens, Georgia to attend the University of Georgia in the late 1990’s. Just three short years after graduating, Jon Williams founded W&A Engineering (then Williams & Associates) in November 1999 with the mission to provide local clients with multidisciplinary land planning and design services. What started as a one-person operation blossomed into an award-winning multidisciplinary engineering firm with seven offices across the southeast, a thriving and rapidly-growing team, and over $1.2 million in charitable contributions.
Supported by a leadership team comprised of the country’s best and brightest operations, human resources, and business development professionals, Williams founded Better Communities Collaborative in April 2021 to expand the network of businesses growing and thriving under this new way of doing business. The BCC leadership team identified a corporate staff filled with the nation’s very best accounting, marketing, human resources, IT, facilities, operations, corporate citizenship, and business development professionals who would be there to support BCC firms in their efforts to maximize both profitability and lasting positive impact. The team launched new progressive workplace policies such as a 12-week paid maternity leave policy, 4-week paid paternity leave policy, unlimited PTO policy, wellness program, childcare assistance program, nationally-recognized full flexibility culture, and more.
Quickly, the BCC team grew from sixty people to one hundred and twenty technical and support professionals building better communities across the country.
“Folks are hearing about what we’re doing at BCC, and they’re telling their friends who are telling their friends,” Williams said when discussing the collective’s rapid growth. “We get inquiries from all across the country from professionals wanting to join our firms to businesses asking for copies of our policies to implement themselves.”
A two-time recipient of the prestigious Zweig Group Best Firms to Work For award, Better Communities Collaborative earned the prestigious B Corp Certification in June 2023. This designation given to businesses meeting the highest standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. With over 6,400 certified B Corp businesses in 89 countries and 161 industries, Better Communities Collaborative is one of less than 40 site development groups globally with this designation.