A Family’s Tradition of Success:
Ron Williams ’86
Business Evolution,
There’s a fierce
sense of indepen-
dence in Ron Wil-
liams ’86, and it’s
no surprise why. He
is the fourth gener-
ation in a family of
entrepreneurs who
have inspired him
and his work since
he can remember.
My great-grandfather owned the only African-American
feed and grocery store in Greenville, Miss.; my great-uncle
owned five shoe stores on the south side of Chicago; and
my father owned record and liquor stores,” he says.
Now he has carried on that tradition, as founder and CEO of
Business Evolution (BE), a business that “provides a big data
solution,” he explains. “The application solves the problem of
information overload, having too much data too frequently,
and information under-load, a lack of tools to adequately
engage data results.” He developed BE while he was a part-
ner at Clearview International, an IT firm. He sold his equity in
the company and spent everything he had to purchase the
intellectual property rights to the software. Ron then broke
away from the company and started his own.
I knew the only type of business that would be success-
ful was one with intellectual property at its core,” he says.
There was no other way to ensure the valuation of my
product and service.”
It’s also the first product of its kind to hit the market, so Wil-
liams faced an uphill battle in the first few years when trying
to show companies he had a product that could fix prob-
lems they didn’t know they had. But that didn’t deter him; it
made him work harder.
What was really exciting for me was looking into the eyes
of an interested CEO and listening to him say he sees value
in my product,” Williams says. “I’m not successful because
of me. I’ve always been successful because other people
bought into my vision and supported me. No entrepreneur
can do it on his or her own.”
His determination stems from his upbringing. Working with his
Uncle Humphrey as early as age 8, he was taught that own-
ing his own company and supporting his family and com-
munity meant controlling his own destiny. His father didn’t
allow excuses for not doing well in school, so Williams quickly
learned it was up to him to be accountable and responsible
for his own success.
Five generations of family members, including Ron, were in
the military, which also played a critical role in shaping him
into the person he is today. “I found entrepreneurial oppor-
tunities while in the Army, and they gave me all the support
I needed,” he says. “The service provided me the mental
preparation I needed to accomplish anything.”
In true self-starter fashion, Williams established another family
tradition: going to St. Lawrence. Both of his sons, Blake ’12
and Christopher ’13, took part in the 4+1 MBA program that
St. Lawrence operates with Clarkson University.
I became self-aware and learned a lot about who I was
versus who I thought I was when I arrived at St. Lawrence,”
he explains. “It’s a place that fosters an environment for bal-
ancing ideas, reality and relationships through discipline and
communication. The day I graduated from St. Lawrence I
knew I wanted my children to have that same experience,
so the tradition I’ve established is not only an academic
one, but a life-changing, shared experience that I will have
in common with my children, grandchildren and great-
grandchildren.”
Great-Grandfather
Clinton "Cole" D vid Smith
Great-Uncle
Humphrey Williams
Father
Arthur Robert Williams
Ron Williams '86
Blake
Williams ‘12
Christopher
Williams ’13