2018 Winner, Otis Williams, Executive Director, St. Louis Development Corporation

 Richard A. King Award

About the Richard King Award

The Richard A. King Award was established by the MEDFA Board of Directors to honor the memory of one of MEDFA’s founding members and most dedicated supporters, Richard (Dick) A. King. As a development attorney, Dick was at the forefront of Missouri’s development tools. He often paved the way for innovative applications of such tools in order to achieve clients’ goals and further economic development in our state.

MEDFA honors the memory of Dick each year with the Richard A. King Award. It is presented to a person, company, project or municipality who, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, has made a significant contribution to economic development in the state of Missouri. The award winner is recognized at the Annual Conference in October.

Congratulations to Otis Williams, our 2018 Winner! 

Otis Williams is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). SLDC is the economic development agency for the City of St. Louis and reports directly to the Mayor. Williams leads the agency’s economic development activities City-wide aimed at bringing people, jobs, and investment to the City.

Prior to joining SLDC, Williams served over 28 years in the U.S. Army and retired at the rank of Colonel. Key assignments included duty as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1996-1998), Executive Director of the Corps’ Military Programs Directorate (1995-1996), and Commander and District Engineer of the Corps’ Tulsa Engineer District (1992-95).

Since coming to St. Louis in 1998, Williams has served as a Senior Project manager, Director of Major Projects, and Deputy Executive Director for the St. Louis Development Corporation. In those positions, Williams had a leadership role in several multimillion-dollar development projects that are revitalizing the City’s downtown and neighborhoods.

Williams previously served three years on the National Board of Directors of the Society of American Military Engineers. He was the 1997 recipient of the National Black Engineer of the Year Award for Government Service; received the Better Family Life in Excellence Community Service Award (2014); he was selected by the Community Development Administration (CDA), City of St. Louis as the 2015 Executive Director of the Year; was honored with the Joe Rinke Owner Award by the St. Louis Construction Cooperative at the Eighth Annual Construction Awards Luncheon, August 2015; received the 2016 J.H. Poelker Levee Stone Award from the Downtown STL., Inc; received the 2016 Governor’s Award for Career Service in Economic Development and recently received the 2017 NAACP- Frankie Muse
Freeman/Norman R. Seay Commitment to St. Louis Award.

He is a registered professional engineer in the District of Columbia and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, The Urban Land Institute, and other professional and social organizations. Williams is a native of Covington, Georgia and is married to the former Gwen Smith of St. Louis. They have two adult daughters.

Past Winners 

2007 – Kay Barnes, Former Mayor of Kansas City, MO
2008 – City of St. Joseph, Triumph Foods Project
2009 – Karen Messerli, Mayor of Lee’s Summit, MO
2010 – Mike White, Chairman, White Goss Attorneys at Law
2011 – Rob O’Brien, President, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
2012 – Denny Coleman, President, St. Louis County Economic Council
2013 – Sallie Hemenway, Dir. Business & Community Services, MO Dept. of Economic Development
2014 – Patrick Bannister, Dir. Business Development, Deputy Executive Dir. St. Louis Development Corp.
2015 – Mark Grimm, Shareholder, Gilmore & Bell, P.C.
2016 – Mike Downing, Director, Missouri Department of Economic Development
2017 – Doug Stone, Attorney, Lewis Rice
2018 – Otis Williams, Executive Director, St. Louis Development Corporation

Awards Criteria

Nominees display one or more of the following characteristics:
1. Dedication to the promotion of economic development in Missouri
2. Creative and innovative use of Missouri development tools
3. Noteworthy achievement in economic development in Missouri