Lance A. Williams, Ph. D. - Co-Managing Principal and Organizational Sustainability Strategist

Dr. Lance Williams entered the field of environmental sustainability twelve years ago when he became the first Executive Director and employee of USGBC’s Los Angeles chapter. His task was to work with the local Board and volunteers to build an organization from the ground up; implement the business case for green building across multiple sectors and audiences; and assist USGBC national in executing its mission to develop multi-platform LEED training and education offerings in greater Los Angeles.


During his tenure, USGBC-LA won two USGBC national chapter awards of recognition: First Place, Advocacy, and Honorable Mention in LEED training in 2007. USGBC-LA received the Community Award at the annual Project Restore Los Angeles Heritage Awards in 2009.


Williams served as keynote speaker at the 2008 Urban Marketplace and 2009 FutureBuild Conference sponsored by the Urban Land Institute-Los Angeles chapter. He was a member of the Metropolitan Water District 2060 Plan Blue Ribbon Commission. He was also a keynote speaker at environmental sustainability conferences in Sao Paulo, Brasil and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Williams became a LEED Accredited Professional in 2006 with special interest in the nexus of Culture and Sustainability and their impact on urban communities. During his six-year tenure at USGBC-LA, Williams was the only African-American Executive Director in the entire USGBC leadership hierarchy. He also participated as a mentor in a unique ethnic minority centered program at the national level.


Upon leaving USGBC-LA, Williams became Executive Vice-President of Okapi Architecture. Over the past six years, Okapi has become prominent as a significant woman and minority-owned firm under the leadership of LEED Fellow Ying Wang. Okapi has executed many significant projects and currently manages the Savings By Design program for the Southern California Gas/L.A. Department of Water and Power partnership. Williams recently co-developed and managed a highly successful education and training program sponsored by SoCal Gas in conjunction with the statewide Investor-Owned Utilities Codes and Standards consortium. The project presented the most recent updates in California’s Title 24, Part 6 mandates to southern California based architects.


Williams has a very diverse background for an organizational leader. His resume includes positions as a nonprofit CEO as well as well as areas of specialization that include strategic planning; organizational development, management, fundraising, and additional skills in newsletter/blog editing, writing, and photography.


He serves on several boards and commissions, including the Los Angeles County  Community Action Board, the South Bay Workforce Investment Board; and the Grace Hopper STEM Academy, a charter middle school for foster youth. He most recently developed and secured IRS nonprofit status for a Community Development Corporation operated by Bryant Temple AME Church.


Williams received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles.