Spotlight: An Interview with James Williams, Senior Project Manager

Portrait of James Williams, Senior Project Manager, in a professional setting smiling wearing a suit.

An integral part of the Crain Construction team, James Williams serves as Senior Project Manager and is on the cusp of celebrating 15 years with the company. That much experience brings with it a lot of responsibility, which is why the company tapped James to lead the Hilton hotel project at Nashville International Airport. The project is a 14-story development consisting of a 10-story hotel and plaza on top of a multi-level terminal garage. The project is currently the largest on Crain’s books. While driving a project like this is no small task, James says it’s all possible because of the solid Crain team behind it. 

“Building any building is simply just a goal. You’ve got to get across the finish line and get everyone to get across it with you too. You can either dictate or get them to work together as a team to come to that finish line. I just have to stay out of my team’s way, let them do their jobs, and make sure they have everything they need to do it.”

James Williams grew up around construction. His father worked for a residential developer in Bessemer, Alabama, where James grew up on jobsites. Later his parents started a commercial construction business where James worked for 16 years alongside one of his brothers. The Williams family closed the business in 2007 when his parents were ready to retire. With a recession underway, it seemed like an ideal time to bow out of the business. After more than a decade at the family business, James found himself looking for a job for the first time in his career. Ironically, his next move was also to a well-established family business. A headhunter for Crain first identified James as a potential candidate. After an interview, Crain CEO Michael Rankin reached out with a job offer. 

“I asked my wife how she felt about living in Nashville, and we had a six-month-old baby at the time, and she was like, ‘Well yeah, okay, let’s do it!’” 

When he went to work for Crain, he transitioned from being his own boss to someone else being his boss. Although this was an adjustment for James, as was working with people who weren’t related to him, it didn’t take long to realize he’d joined so much more than a typical contracting company. Instead, the team at Crain has been like another family from the start. 

“It’s really a work family here. We all care about each other, and we all support each other as a team. It’s not a cutthroat organization where you use people and just throw them to the side. There are a lot of long-term employees here, which is unusual for construction companies, but it’s not unusual for us.”

James has a lot to look forward to. He and his wife Cindy are celebrating 25 years of marriage in December. The massive BNA Hilton job is moving along steadily and is slated for completion in January 2024. In the midst of the celebrations and work, you’ll probably find James with his kids, Claire and Ben, enjoying a local restaurant, the movies, or planning their next travel adventure.

Related Projects

construction worker in safety gear using a table saw
The Human Side of Construction: Questions to Assess a Commercial Contractor's Team Dynamics

Quality craftsmanship and meticulous project management are often praised as the pillars of success in commercial construction. While these elements are undeniably essential, they exist within a complex ecosystem fueled by something equally crucial: human connection. — At Crain Construction, we understand this human element better than most. For over 90 years, we’ve “built relationships...

Hampton Inn Gateway with view of the Batman Building
Building with Heart: Crain's Passionate Approach to Commercial Construction

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  – Steve Jobs In the bustling world of commercial construction, where quality...

a building under construction
Wired for Success: Best Practices for Constructing Telecommunications Facilities

The demand for robust, reliable communications infrastructure is booming. Technology leaders are presented with an exciting opportunity to build the future of telecommunications. They also face the pressure of staying ahead in an ever-evolving industry.  At Crain Construction, we understand these complexities. With over 90 years of experience in the construction industry, we’ve honed our...

Transforming Historic Spaces: A Commercial Contractor’s Guide to Adaptive Reuse
Transforming Historic Spaces: A Commercial Contractor's Guide to Adaptive Reuse

In urban environments such as Nashville, where land is becoming increasingly scarce, the concept of adaptive reuse has gained immense popularity. As the demand for commercial spaces continues to rise, repurposing old buildings has become a compelling solution. Of course, navigating this exciting realm comes with its own set of challenges. Adaptive reuse projects are...


We partner with organizations to invest, give back and make a positive impact on the communities where we live and work.


Get the latest Crain Construction Blogs and interesting insights about our projects and community endeavors here.

When you’re ready to build, we’re here for you

Reach out to start a conversation with our team.