Director of Human Resources
As the director of the Volpe Center’s Office of Human Resources, La Var M. Williams has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of human resources management, strategic human capital plans, operations, policy, HR analytics, and HR information technology systems. Williams provides leadership and oversight for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center and Transportation Safety Institute in all areas of human resources operations.
Prior to joining the Volpe Center’s leadership team, Williams served as director of the Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civilian Personnel Advisory Center in Washington, D.C., from 2014 to 2020. He provided leadership and technical, strategic, and operational guidance on complex workforce shaping and planning, human capital plans, talent acquisition and management, succession planning, employee and labor relations, performance management, pay, classification, worker’s compensation, benefits, workforce development, HR analytics, automation, and innovation for USACE Headquarters organizations and, indirectly, the enterprise workforce of approximately 37,000 employees globally. This included the Army Geospatial Center, USACE Transatlantic Division, and Middle East districts, each with their own diverse and distinctive engineering missions to the nation.
In 2011, Williams served as the U.S. Department of the Navy’s director of Human Resources for the Naval Sea Systems Command Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland.
Prior to this appointment, in 2009, Williams was appointed by the U.S. DOT Maritime Administration as director of Human Resources for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York. Williams served as senior advisor and technical authority for USMMA in all aspects of the Academy human resources and human capital accountability systems. In 2008, Williams served as a Navy Regional Program deputy director. As program deputy director, he developed and deployed strategic proactive labor-management programs that contributed to the Navy’s first regional master labor agreement negotiations and regional consolidated collective bargaining unit in the southeast. Williams led Lean Six Sigma Human Resources Service Delivery Process Improvement Projects to improve fleet readiness in a regionalization environment that supports the naval aviation and warfighters. Additionally, he led change management initiatives with the implementation of the Department of Defense National Security Personnel System.
Prior to the regional program deputy director position, in 2007, Williams served as acting chief of the U.S. Foreign Labor and Employee Services Division and Programs for U.S. Naval Forces Japan in the Far East. In this capacity, he provided labor-management and employee relations oversight and expert advisory services to management and regional U.S. Civil Service employees under the U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and Japan Master Labor Contract and Indirect Hire Agreement employees to 53 Naval and Marine Corps activities within 10 major commands located in 6 different countries across the Indian and Pacific Oceans for civilian employees in the United States, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Diego Garcia.
Previously, Williams was appointed as alternate chairman for the Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Management Services Federal Local Wage Survey Committee for Narragansett Bay Rhode Island Federal Wage Survey Area. Williams served as an Agency representative in third-party proceedings, collective bargaining, and implementation bargaining within the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region since 2004.
Williams held private-sector consulting positions with Hollister Staffing Firm Inc.; Bain & Company consulting firm; and ViaCell, Inc. biotech firm in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1999 to 2003. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Saint Michael’s College in Winooski Park, Vermont, in 1999 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, Arizona, in 2006. He also holds a Navy Labor Negotiator certification, Navy Lean Six Sigma certification, and Army HR Analytics certification.