The driving force behind Microsoft’s new push into the USVI, William A. Adams, makes the expansion personal by pledging his own funds to support the growth of a technology ecosystem in the territory.
Microsoft Technical Advisor, entrepreneur, and change leader William A. Adams committed $200,000 of his personal funds over the next two years to improve technological capabilities and develop local engineering talent in the United States Virgin Islands. Adams is also opening an office for his private company on St. Croix to help guide the personal initiative.
“There’s vast potential here for skilling up engineers and experts in related technical fields,” Adams said. “My goal is to help local entrepreneurs – especially Blacks and other underserved groups – to create intellectual property. It’s a concept I call tequity. Tech IP that’s developed here, owned here, but purchased from outside is a great way to get dollars flowing to the islands.”
Before suggesting specific solutions or strategies, though, Adams says he hopes to get to know the community and listen to its leaders and citizens. Keeping an ear to the ground is a large part of his motivation to open an office in St. Croix.
Adams announced his intention to put down roots during the closing ceremonies of Microsoft’s USVI Tech Summit on Friday, June 18, at the Government House on St. Croix. During the weeklong event orchestrated by Adams on behalf of Microsoft, he and government leaders met to explore, problem-solve, and envision new ways to shape the future of technology development and its access in the territory.
“The synergy when people come together is amazing,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. “This is what the summit is about. You found the answers within you.”
Today, Adams will speak at the end of the Summer Technology Institute on St. Thomas. The two-week event spearheaded by Adams is a collaboration between the University of the Virgin Islands and Microsoft. It’s an example of the kind of program Adams intends to continue to support privately outside his official role with Microsoft. In the opening week, local college students and professionals participated in workshops. They also heard panel discussions and interactive presentations on Data Science, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and Careers in Technology. This week, participants are actively working to solve technical challenges in a hackathon.
In addition to the potential talent pool, Adams says another reason to keep an eye on the U.S. Virgin Islands is its extensive fiber-optic network. That’s something lacking in other Caribbean islands, which rely on satellites for internet connection.
“Investing in expanding skills and technical infrastructure means greater earning power for local people,” Adams notes. “But my hope is, it will also empower the territory’s residents to be leaders of a technological leap forward throughout the Caribbean.”
About William Adams
Adams is an engineering trailblazer, award-winning diversity and inclusion innovator, and philanthropist. After rolling out critical XML code globally in many of Microsoft’s core products, he became the first Technical Advisor to Azure Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott.
Adams has helped launch several global impact initiatives, including the award-winning LEAP apprentice program, Engineering Excellence in Hyderabad, India, and engineering offices in Kenya and Nigeria. He’s a pioneer in promoting diversity, and he believes technology exists to empower people.
Early in his 30-year career in software engineering, Adams was one of the first Black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Through his company, Adamation, he developed mission-critical custom enterprise apps for Steve Jobs’ NeXT computers. Adams also pioneered a network instant messaging service purchased by the CIA. Later, as an engineer at Taligent, he won two patents.
About William A Adams LLC
William A Adams LLC is a consulting firm founded to advance technology initiatives and events for underrepresented communities.