Jim Williams was the Executive Director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) from its founding in 1988 until 2015.
Under Jim's direction, PARCA published dozens of research reports covering various topics related to cities, counties, school systems, postsecondary education, and state government. At the local level, the PARCA staff was active in working with governments interested in planning, performance management, and other kinds of operating improvements. During Jim's tenure, the PARCA staff won nine national awards for research excellence.
Jim provided research support for a number of statewide commissions on tax reform, education reform, and economic development. He was instrumental in the initiation of the state's “SMART Governing” initiative and worked with the Finance Department thereafter to implement the program. In addition, he worked with various state agencies on their planning structures and processes.
In 2008, he was listed as one of the "Top 40 Most Influential Non-elected Alabamians."
Before coming to Alabama in 1988, Jim worked for 16 years in nonprofit governmental research agencies located in Texas and Michigan. He is a past president of the Governmental Research Association of the United States, a professional organization of individuals in the governmental research field. He is a native of Mineola, Texas, and holds a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a master's degree from the University of Michigan, both in political science.