Arthur L. Williams Jr.
|Arthur L. Williams Jr.|
April 23, 1942|
|Net worth||US$1.4 billion (2008)|
|Title||Founder, CEO chairman of A.L. Williams Corporation|
Early life and education
Born on April 26, 1942 in Cairo, Georgia. He obtained his bachelor's degree in arts and sciences at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi and his master's degree in science from Auburn University. From his early days in high school, Art aspired to be a professional football coach.
In 1965, Williams's father suddenly died of a heart attack. He had a whole life insurance policy that left their family underinsured. Five years later Art Williams' cousin Ted Harrison introduced him to the concept of term life insurance, a much less expensive and simpler alternative to whole life which at that time was almost never sold and rarely heard of outside the insurance industry. Williams was taken aback by the idea of not knowing that there was a choice when buying life insurance and described the whole conversation as "disturbing," recalling his father's death and referring to the fact that people had no idea of such a product. Believing that families were paying too much for whole life policies that left them poor in the wallet and deeply underinsured, Williams joined his cousin at ITT Financial Services in 1970. In June 1973, six months before ITT went out of business, he left and went on board with Waddell & Reed, another BTID company that saw early success.
Williams gained momentum at W&R and became regional vice-president (RVP) the same year, having a sales force that covered 6 states. Despite the numerous benefits of working at W&R in comparison to ITT, it became clear to Williams that with a corporate structure in which the executives, not the sales force, owned the company, financial decisions would always have priority over the clients and there would be limits on how much the company could grow.
On February 10, 1977 Williams and 85 associates founded their own company A.L. Williams & Associates on a simple philosophy: "Buy Term and Invest the Difference." He convinced many customers to switch from their conventional whole-life insurance to term policies. The company's rapid growth to the largest seller of life insurance in the U.S. was enhanced by his emphasis on "pushing up" his people. He was one of the first to have weekly video conferences on the company's private television broadcast system. This allowed him to personally speak to each of his 100,000 plus agents and to create a family feeling that inspired them to become Financially Independent. Today, what was formerly ALW Marketing is now Primerica Financial Services.
Williams purchased and entirely renovated the old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, North Carolina spending nearly forty million dollars. The inn went from being relatively unknown to the #4 hotel according to Tripadvisor in 2012.
Williams was often the butt of jokes from his fellow NHL owners due to his thick Georgia accent and his fundamentalist Christian views (he does not smoke or drink, and has been known to use words like "goldangit" in place of profanity). Some of them called him "Jed Clampett" behind his back.
Williams sold the Lightning to Davidson after only nine months of ownership after losing $20 million—more than he expected to lose in two years.
In 1998, he saved the Christian Liberty University in Virginia, donating $70 million and erasing decades of debt. He stated that "My wife and I always knew God wanted us to do something special with our money".
As of 2006[update], he ranks number 512 on the Forbes list of the "World's Billionaires" with an estimated wealth of $1.5 billion.
As of 2008[update], he ranks number 843 on the Forbes list of the "World's Billionaires" with an estimated wealth of $1.4 billion.
He wrote five books:
- Common Sense
- Pushing Up People
- All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, But All You Can Do Is Enough (The New York Times bestseller list in 1988)
- The A. L. Williams Way
- Coach, The A. L. Williams Story.
Art Williams's best known speech is "Just Do It". made to the organization of National Religious Broadcasters in 1987.
- Forbes 2008, accessed on March 6, 2008
- The 700 Club. "Art Williams : The Life Coach". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
- Williams, Art; Karen Kassel Hutto (June 2006). Coach. Atlanta, Georgia: Art Williams Productions. ISBN 0-9786266-0-5.
- Williams biography, accessed on July 8, 2006
- Fischler, Stan (1999). Cracked Ice: An Insider's Look at the NHL. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Masters Press. ISBN 1-57028-219-6.
- Duhatschek, Eric; et al. (2001). Hockey Chronicles. New York City: Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-4697-2.
- Chicago Tribune, accessed on October 31, 2017
- Forbes 2006, accessed on October 25, 2014
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-08-06.