The Clarke Williams Story
Clarke Williams

The Clarke Williams Story

Clarke Williams’ parents gave him Oak Ridge Telephone when he came home from World War II. Less of a gift than an albatross, the haphazard jumble of wires tacked to trees and fence posts served 75 customers and never made a profit.

Very few believed he could turn it around. The bank refused his first loan after his banker died just as new equipment arrived. He was too insignificant for underwriters and investors and too small to get even a small business loan. Backed into a corner, he prayed for an answer and within minutes a local farmer drove up offering to invest. Despite installing the second most advanced system in the state, Clarke Williams still had to climb poles in sun and sleet at all hours. He still worked second jobs to meet payroll and keep phones working. His family answered the switchboard in their living room.

 
Carolyn Perry

Clarke Williams, My Father

By Carolyn Williams Perry

I have been asked why I had this book written. First, it has been a trip down memory lane. In going through pictures, letters, newspaper articles, and interviews with those close to Mother and Daddy, I have not only relived precious memories, I have also realized the impact they had on my life and on the lives of everyone they touched. I wanted to preserve those memories for my family; however, I have come to believe that many people can appreciate the struggles and successes of a man who truly placed humility first and success second.

It was not my intent to create a history of Century Telephone Enterprises (CenturyLink®), however our family’s lives were too intertwined to do otherwise. When Daddy began by buying Oak Ridge Telephone Company, all the employees were family members. Today the CenturyLink family is 47,000 employees. It is my hope that in reading this book these employees will feel a sense of “family” by relating to the struggles upon which the company was built and the principles fostered by my father.

I want to thank Glen Post and Bill Owens for always including Daddy when talking about the principles upon which the company was founded. Those were principles he lived and I hope they will always be remembered as his legacy. Both personally and professionally he “walked the walk.”

If I could leave the reader with one thought it would be “good guys can finish first”.

Carolyn Williams Perry
Monroe, Louisiana

 
Leo Honeycutt

Leo Honeycutt

After a long career in broadcast news, Leo Honeycutt has become one of the South's most sought after and prolific researcher-writers, winning the Louisiana Literary Award, the Louisiana History Preservation Award and numerous Associated Press awards. Starting with an acclaimed novel, Over the Edge, Honeycutt then produced the runaway bestseller Edwin Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, Louisiana's fastest-selling book ever. His third book about one of General Motors' all-time great successes, Gerry Lane, $10 Billion American Success, is studied in university business classes and sales training.

In 2012, Honeycutt focussed on the third largest telecommunications giant in the United States, CenturyLink®, and legendary founder Clarke Williams, marveling at the simplicity of Mr. Williams' secret to success.

 
The Clarke Williams Story

 

Hardcover Book

The Lisburn Press
Pages: 576
ISBN: 978-0-578-14856-4

U.S. $24.95

 

“Clarke Williams proved nice guys can finish first and that following the Golden Rule is the only way to
succeed in business and in life. The best part is it can be learned.”

U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt

Former House Majority Leader and presidential candidate

~

“Business schools seldom teach genuine leadership. Long-term business success in much more about ethics
than profit and loss because good people bring out the best in others. Clarke Williams’ life is one of the
finest roadmaps I have ever seen for true happiness and genuine success.”

Admiral Bill Owens

Former Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

~

“Mr. Williams’ life still teaches me two things: Be kind and true in all dealings, and anyone can learn to succeed.
This book captures a life that should be studied and emulated for years to come.”

Glen Post

President & CEO, CenturyLink®