Family background – Thomas is the brother of Adrienne Williams, Founder and Principle at ETP.

TW:To start off, entrepreneurship runs in our blood. Our paternal grandfather ran a grocery store. Our dad did a lot of government contracting work.

Adrienne has a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in her. This is something that is rudimentary to our identities. Adrienne is the oldest. Then Spencer – he is also a web developer- then me, I am the youngest. Adrienne is ten years older than me.

AW: How did you learn to code?

TW: I learned to code, well dabbled in it, growing up in the 90’s. Game development. I used game design programs that people could use without programming knowledge. I wanted to do more so I learned how to program after college. I went to business school – Krannert School of Management at Purdue. I earned a business management degree there.

AW: What was your first year on the job like?

TW: I first worked as a consultant but didn’t like it too much. I wanted to develop games. I joined a programming bootcamp – it was a one year program. I studied web development ten hours a day and after six months I worked on my first project.

AW: What about now? What is your experience like now?

TW: I work at Benchprep now. It’s a start-up. It’s very diverse. That’s why I chose it. It’s not perfect, of course. But I do feel heard. My current manager is reasonable. My team is small and tight-knit. That plays a huge part. Also, we’re all about the same age so that camaraderie is significant.

AW: Have you ever experienced racism at work?

TW: So, I have. In the past, there has been this implicit racism. For example, in a certain corporate environment, there was this soft pressure to adhere to a certain standard. Even down to clothes. I felt I had to wear J. Crew. (TW chuckles a little.) J. Crew is not meant for African-American body types. One thing nice about tech-development, it gives you more freedom in terms of what you can wear. We have more liberties; of course, it might also depend on where you live.

AW: What advice would you give to people of color who want to enter the tech field?

TW: I would say find a source of inspiration in tech. Everyone I know had an interest in games or something like that. Develop a sense of wonder so that you don’t feel lost.

AW: What are your future goals for yourself or for the industry?

TW: I want to put myself into a position to create things that benefit humanity. I want users of my creations to have healthy and wholesome concepts of humanity. I want to be an active and helpful member of the human race.

AW: So, little brother, what’s your next big thing?

TW: My company’s name is Grand Scheme Games. My mission statement is to “Make games that warm hearts and bring smiles to faces.” For people who have felt trapped in a beleaguering circumstance, the game I’m creating now aims to provide the player with the opportunity to have faith…in something.

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