PNNL-Seattle Director

Seattle, Washington

PNNL-Seattle Director

Seattle, Washington


Dr. Joseph Williams joined PNNL as the director of PNNL-Seattle in 2019. Located in the heart of South Lake Union, PNNL-Seattle is home to nearly 230 researchers and support staff spanning PNNL’s national security and energy and environment missions. Dr. Williams a deep understanding of Seattle’s tech industry and how to leverage this favorable location in one of the most innovative and economically important regions in the world.

Prior to PNNL, Dr. Williams served as the information and communications technology sector lead for the governor of the State of Washington and director of communications technology economic development for Washington’s Commerce Department. In this role he identified and nurtured new industry subsectors, such as quantum computing, blockchain, augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and additive manufacturing. He also was a tech executive with Microsoft and, in addition to being a tenured professor at Colorado State University, served as the dean of the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Dr. Williams was recently a Berkman-Klein Assembly Fellow at Harvard and is currently a visiting faculty fellow at George Mason University’s National Security Institute.  

In recent years, Dr. Williams was selected as Chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Seattle section and guest editor for the IEEE Computer journal. In 2022, he was also unanimously elected as the next Vice Chair of the Quantum for National Security Technical Advisory Committee of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium.

Dr. Williams holds undergraduate and advanced degrees from University of California, Berkley, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Research Interest

  • Innovation Management
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Quantum Computing
  • Economic Development
  • Edge to Cloud Internet of Things, including 5G


  • PhD in Management Science and Information Systems, University of Texas at Austin
  • Master of Business Administration, University of Texas at Austin
  • MA in Speech Communication and Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Vice Chair, Quantum for National Security Technical Advisory Committee
  • Chair, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Seattle Section
  • Member, Board of Advisors, Rebirth Analytics
  • Board Member, Washington Technology Industry Association