Charlotte Observer – FROM LOCKING THEM UP, TO TALKING THEM UP

February 15, 2007

`FROM LOCKING THEM UP, TO TALKING THEM UP’

FORMER FBI AGENT HAS OPENED A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING COMPANY

Author: LIZ WASHBURN, Special Correspondent

“I didn’t grow up wanting to be in the FBI,” said Charles Williams. But a chance encounter with an FBI agent, who was opening up an account at the Albany, N.Y., bank where Williams was assistant branch manager, changed his career path.

After the necessary application and education process, Williams went on to lead an exemplary 24-year FBI career. Williams is hoping to use this experience in his new business, HDI Motivational and Leadership Consultant Group, a motivational speaking company that recently opened in the Lake Park Town Center.

During his years in the FBI, Williams investigated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and Sept. 11 attacks, practiced foreign counter intelligence in Tanzania and Kenya, and contributed to solving some of New York City’s most violent crimes. One of these investigations included working undercover to find witnesses to testify in the death of Yankel Rosenbaum during much-publicized rioting in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991. For his actions in that case, Williams received recognition from Attorney General Janet Reno. He also has received more than 13 letters of commendation from the FBI, including several from William Sessions, who served as the director of the FBI ! from 1987 to 1993. In one letter, he commended Williams for his “excellent investigative technique.”

Williams hopes to use his experience working in violent crimes and fugitive investigation for the FBI as a foundation for his new enterprise.

“The FBI is never routine, but I wanted something different,” he said, describing his new business. “I want to talk to young people and motivate young folks to be purposeful. I want to go from locking them up, to talking them up,” he added.

Williams hopes to impress on the minds of young people how the actions they perform today affect their futures. He has partnered in this undertaking with Kevin Holder, M.D., a pediatrician and holistic physician from South Orange, N.J.

Williams, a Temple University graduate, attended the school on a football scholarship and continued to be involved in the sport as a Pop Warner coach for many years. He met Holder when they were both coaching Pop Warner football in New Jersey.

Williams said he was involved in “hundreds of arrests and thousands of interviews” for the FBI. “Even when I arrested people, I spoke to them,” he said. He then went on to speak to groups of young people outside of his FBI duties. “That’s the thing I’m most proud of, when I started talking to young people, trying to give them hope,” he said.

Williams believes he and Holder can create “a really outstanding product that will benefit thousands of people.” The two men want to help their audience understand how good decisions are made. Williams said, “Good decisions are the manifestation of good judgment.”

He related how most people don’t plan to commit a crime, and made his point by telling the story of Ivan Lopez, a young man accused of fatally stabbing a young woman more than 60 times. Williams could tell that Lopez’s participation in the crime was heavily influenced by the man’s cousin, whom Williams described as a “bad guy.” Williams said, “Ivan didn’t have the look. I’ve seen the look of bad guys. Ivan did not wake up that morning saying, `I’m going to stab someone 61 times.’ ” Through Williams’ influence, Lopez eventually confessed to his own and his cousin’s role in the crime.

“Ninety-five percent of guys arrested are not bad guys; they’re just guys taking shortcuts,” said Williams. Hoping to prevent young people from making mistakes that will ruin their futures, Williams wants to tell them that the “best way to secure your future is to secure your present.”

Williams’ experience gaining the confidence of witnesses and convincing them to testify taught him there are people who want to do the right thing. He said, “There’s a button you have to push. It’s called, want-to-do-the-right-thing.”

An informational brochure for HDI states, “We are HONOR bound, DUTY driven and guided by INTEGRITY to inform and empower our audience.” Through HDI, Williams hopes to reach out to young professionals, college students, churches, professional organizations and corporations.

In addition to launching his motivational speaking business, Williams has opened HDI Investigation and Executive Protection in the same Lake Park office as his other enterprise. For further information about either business, contact Williams at 704-668-6669 or at hdimotivational@nullaol.com.

Williams and his wife, Angela, moved from New Jersey to North Carolina last year. In January of this year, Angela opened a business in the Lake Park Town Center. Angela Williams, CPA, provides tax preparation, accounting services and financial planning.

The couple live in the Charlotte area. They have five children, two in college and the others in elementary and high school.

Drop Me a Line

If you have something to share about Lake Park, I’d love to hear from you.

E-mail:

lwashburn@nullcharlotteobserver.com

I welcome photos. (Make sure everyone is clearly identified left to right.) Drop them in the mail or e-mail them as a JPEG file. Be sure to include a daytime phone number.

Caption:

1. COURTESY OF CHARLES WILLIAMS. Retired FBI agent Charles Williams aims to use his career experience to motivate others to make good decisions. ; 2. HolderPHOTO:2

Copyright (c) 2007 The Charlotte Observer

Record Number: 0702150615

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