Image of the Graduation stage during the ceremony

Steve Williams

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors President Steve Williams grew up on Merseyside and completed his professional training at the Liverpool College of Building. 

Shortly after he graduated, the College of Building became part of the new Liverpool Polytechnic which in turn became Liverpool John Moores University in 1992.

Steve Williams is therefore one of our distinguished alumni. 

Chartered Surveying was in Steve's family; his Uncle, Elwyn Williams, was a Chartered Surveyor for the Ministry of Works in Edinburgh and his nephew, Paul Weston, is a Chartered Surveyor working in Birmingham.

Steve Williams was born in Wallasey into a Liverpool-Welsh family who had travelled to Liverpool from Anglesey 100 years ago on the way to Patagonia - but like many other migrants, they stayed in Liverpool.

He attended Wallasey Grammar School before enrolling at the College of Building to study Estate Management, graduating in 1967 and winning the College's Leigh Gregson Prize for valuation surveying. 

After qualifying, Steve first worked for Liverpool City Estates Department, gaining estate management experience in the city centre and the docks, and then for Liverpool University's Estate Office. By the early seventies, he was working for the London firm Donaldsons which gave him his first international experience: he was posted to Johannesburg but stayed less than 2 years because of his distaste for the apartheid regime.

Next he worked for the Crown Agents in the Caribbean and for 10 years was closely involved in financing hotel development - capitalising on the fact that he was the only chartered surveyor in the whole of the Caribbean at the time. He set up his own company before moving to the USA in the early eighties.  

First he was Vice President with Landauer-Hiller Parker and then Senior Vice President with Jones Lang Wootton. He achieved Membership of the Appraisal Institute, the American equivalent of the RICS, in 1988.

In 1994, he founded Williams Appraisers Inc. in North Carolina, adding a New York office in 2002. The practice appraises investment-grade property throughout the USA including retail malls, apartment projects, hotels, and sports arenas. 

The firm also provides advisory services for foreign investment in the USA and Canada, feasibility studies for proposed development schemes and expert testimony for all types of property litigation. Steve attributes his success to the fact that chartered surveying is a young profession in North America and that there is great respect for British professionalism in this area. The RICS qualification has in effect been a valuable passport into the international property profession.

Steve is also heavily involved in education and training.  

He is a training provider through Williams Appraisers Education Center, and he is:

  • a visiting lecturer at Duke University's School of Business, speaking on environmental sustainability, disaster reconstruction, and the sustainable legacy of major sporting events
  • He is also an RICS external examiner at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate and at Georgia State University's Robinson School of Business

He frequently presents at Conferences on International Valuation Standards, International Financial Reporting Standards and cross-border valuation qualifications. 

There are further indications of his high standing in the profession. He was a member of the National Appraiser Qualifications Board in Washington DC for most of the 1990s, and chairman in 1998. He is the current USA representative on the RICS Valuation Faculty Board. He moderated the first panel discussion of international appraisal qualifications in Las Vegas in 2000 and in recent years has twice chaired the RICS annual London Valuation Conference. 

He is a co-founder and recent Chairman of RICS-Americas, and he has led RICS accreditation teams to the Universities of Florida and New Brunswick. He co-led the RICS delegation to the historic Toronto Valuation Accord in 2003, bringing  together for the first time the UK and American valuation professions to advocate global harmonization of standards in accord with the RICS Red Book.  

In 2004, he helped create an independent RICS-Wales and currently acts in a liaison capacity to the RICS-Wales Board.  

This year has been particularly busy: as president of RICS, he has travelled the world in his official capacity, giving keynote speeches, bestowing fellowships, and visiting dozens of universities with programmes accredited by the RICS.  

Away from work, Steve enjoys playing the piano, rowing, swimming and walking in North Wales with his wife Karen. He has been President of his rotary club and Rotarian of the Year. And he takes a keen interest in the fortunes of Liverpool  FC, having been a fan since the 1950s.

Steve Williams is widely acknowledged as a unifying influence between UK and non-UK segments of the profession. His professional training at this institution, his early grounding in UK estates management practice and his subsequent extensive international experience provided him with the unique opportunity and authority to make a lasting contribution to the world-wide harmonisation of standards in the profession.  

Steve has grasped this opportunity with both hands and he has been able in the process to extend the international reach and authority of the RICS - not least through his enthusiastic presidency of the Institute this year. We are proud to acknowledge the impressive contribution and achievements of one of our own graduates.

Thus I have great pleasure in presenting Steve Williams, this most distinguished alumnus and son of our region, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.