Written by Steve Williams, CEO Harbinger Sign
Steve Williams is a Jacksonville native, an award-winning artist, an activist, and a successful professional. Emerging from a community that labeled him "disabled" with diagnosis such as "attention deficit disorder" and "obsessive compulsive disorder," Williams learned to harness these "disabilities" by perceiving them as personal advantages. When his portfolio professor in college told him to choose a career that was not in art, it motivated him to prove what he could do. He has become an energetic and dynamic leader in the local community, the art world, and international commerce.
Steve Williams is currently CEO of the multimillion dollar international sign company, Harbinger Sign, which specializes in custom fabrication for enterprises ranging from small local shops to national clients such as CSX and international clients such as 7 Eleven. A graduate of the University of North Florida, where he majored in Graphic Design, Steve is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operation including finance and risk management, production, sales and marketing, and human resources. He is currently diversifying Harbinger's service offerings to expand the company beyond traditional signage programs toward fulfilling their company slogan, "Sign of the Future" by incorporating digital capabilities and strategic thinking. He is developing the area's first innovation agency, which is an agency focused on brand interactions and communication strategies. His background in graphic design and his career as a professional artist has informed his leadership at Harbinger by bringing a heightened aesthetic to the company and an elevated standard for design.
In addition to his more than 20 years with Harbinger, Steve is a working artist and gallerist. He has run several galleries in his career and currently owns and operates Florida Mining, a gallery committed to showcasing emerging to mid-career artists that create thought-provoking and fresh work. He is also a visual storyteller that utilizes a wide range of mediums—acrylic, latex, graphite, polycarbonate, aluminum, wood and vinyl—to create hand and computer-generated images that focus on developing new vocabularies to explore the relationship of chaos and order and how they work in tandem to build community.
Steve has shown his work in a wide variety of galleries, museums and exhibitions. His work is currently on display in the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens as part of the Our Shared Past exhibition and he also has a piece in the museum’s permanent collection. He has also shown in galleries ranging from the Jacksonville International Airport gallery to the Pinckney Simons Gallery in Charleston to Gallery 5 in the Soho District in New York City. His work has received awards from exhibitions such as BrAIDS ArtReach, Westmoreland National Juried Exhibition, and the Jacksonville Coalition of the Visual Arts Juried Exhibitions. His work is included in the collections of Fidelity National Financial, Johnson & Johnson, The Ritz Carlton Resorts, Zurich Insurance and many other commercial and private collections.
Steve is a very active leader in the community, especially focused on areas involving design and art. He is the Jacksonville, Florida Chapter Chair of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), a member of American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Signage & Graphics Summit, American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), and the United States Build Council (USBC). His community work ranges from creating and executing the Artivores fundraiser for the Greater Jacksonville Cultural Council to leading several public art projects, including working with Mildred Thompson to match professional artists to at-risk teens to presiding on the board of directors of organizations such as Cathedral Arts Project and Cultural Council.