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Staff Stories—Renee Williams

A woman in a marine construction office.
West Coast Regional Business Manager Renee Williams at Manson's Richmond office.

Renee Williams credits her upbringing in Oakland, California as the driving force that helped mold her into an adaptable, self-determined, and passionate individual. The life lessons she learned as a youth in the Bay Area have had a tremendous impact on her life and her career.Renee was born in Portland, Oregon, but moved to the East Bay when she was two years old. Surrounded by the bustling sounds of her East Oakland neighborhood, Renee learned to channel the raw emotion of the city into her everyday life. “I’ve always said that East Oakland raised me,” Renee explains.

“When I turned 16-years-old, I moved to Richmond, California, but the ‘Town’ will forever be an important part of who I am.”When Renee graduated from El Cerrito High School, she attended Heald’s Business College in Oakland. She chose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting because she was good with numbers and the length of the program was short, allowing her to learn a skill and find immediate employment. “Accounting and math go hand in hand, so getting my A.A.S. was a no-brainer,” Renee says. “The course allowed me to focus on accounting without taking any prerequisites, so I dove right in.”

Not long after receiving her degree, she found work as an accounts payable clerk for Pan-Marine Construction, a marine diving outfit based out of San Francisco, California. Renee’s responsibilities for the role included processing outgoing payments, reconciling the payable ledger, and verifying and investigating account statements. “The job introduced me to the world of marine construction and allowed me to learn about a unique industry,” Renee says.

A few years into her accounting role, Renee became more involved with administrative duties after Pan-Marine Construction was acquired by Miller/Thompson Constructors Inc. (now Miller/Watts Constructors Inc.). “The acquisition of the company gave me the opportunity to develop new skill sets, such as overseeing business proposals and private administrative tasks,” Renee explains. “I was grateful because I knew the experience gained would prove beneficial if I were to look for another job.”

Searching for her next opportunity, Renee joined Manson’s Richmond office as an accounts receivable clerk in 1998. Much of the role mirrored her previous position, but she took on more responsibilities that included producing job cost reports, billings, and processing accounts payable. Renee’s duties at Manson continued to evolve into a variety of business management roles, which offered her the chance to join projects such as the Port of Oakland Berth 32-33 Wharf Rehabilitation project and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Skyway Phase project. “Learning all the different aspects of what goes on at different project sites helped me understand the type of jobs that we do,” Renee says. “My involvement on the business side of things allowed me to support projects from afar.”

A woman sitting a desk.
Renee Williams smiles for the camera in the midst of a busy workday.

Understanding the importance of continuing education, Renee enrolled at Saint Mary’s College of California with the help of Manson’s Educational Assistance program in 2006. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management while working two full-time jobs, one at Manson and at home raising her two sons with her husband. “Manson gave me the support I needed when I pursued my bachelor’s degree and while I was raising a family,” Renee says. “I’m thankful and I greatly appreciate what the company has done for me.”

In 2010, Renee assumed the role of Office Manager at the Richmond office. Her involvement on past projects helped her in the new role to manage business contracts and to ensure that project managers were heavily supported to do their job. “When you go to Renee with a problem or question, you leave the conversation knowing exactly what needs to be done and how to do it,” says Project Manager Jack Fernandez. “I am always impressed with Renee’s knowledge because she is able to explain processes in a way that is easy to understand.”

After 23 years at Manson, Renee is now the West Coast Regional Business Manager, covering the company’s Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Southern California projects. The role encompasses three parts of Manson’s business operations: administration, accounting, and compliance.

Renee says the most exciting thing about her position is working with project managers and project administrators to find solutions to streamline Manson’s business operations. “I work with talented people on a daily basis,” Renee says. “I’m very much excited to create a roadmap for project administrators to find success in their roles and give them something to look forward to.” In addition to her role, Renee serves as chairperson for Manson’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) advisory committee.

When she’s away from the office, Renee enjoys spending quality time with her family. “Currently, my husband and I are slowly adapting to an empty nest,” Renee explains. “We plan on traveling in the near future.” Renee also loves going to R&B and Hip-Hop concerts. She plans on attending the Bel Biv DeVoe: Culture Tour in March at the Chase Center arena in San Francisco. “Those who know and work with me in the Richmond office know that I love music and love to dance,” Renee says. “I’m so excited and can’t wait for the concert.”

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