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Della Williams of Williams RDM: A Small Manufacturer with a Big Role in Defense, Energy and Fire Suppresion


Small and mid-sized manufacturers are a vital part of the American economy, and one of the best examples is Williams RDM. Based in Forth Worth, this is a family-owned company that serves three distinct markets: Defense, energy, and fire suppression.

Williams RDM is led by Della Williams, who founded the business with her husband Bob in 1963. The company was known as Williams Pyro until it was re-branded in 2013. RDM is short for research, development, and manufacturing, which are the heart of the business.

At a celebratory event on a Saturday evening marking the re-branding, U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger was on hand, and spoke to the underappreciated role women CEOs are playing at defense-related businesses. In the case of Williams RDM, the company produces cables, connectors and test equipment. They are used on the F-15 all-weather tactical fighter and numerous other planes. With an advanced design and the use of commonly available batteries, they save taxpayer dollars.

A second focus of the business pertains to energy. Williams RDM provides high-pressure, high-temperature connectors for drilling operations.

The third business segment is fire suppression. Since 1972, Williams has made the StoveTop FireStop® product, which protects millions of families from kitchen fires. One version attaches under vent hoods, while another goes under microwave ovens. Since cooking fires can spread with shocking speed, these products can be true live savers.

Craig Walters, who is a vice president at the company, has worked there for well over 30 years. “One of the things I appreciate most about our company is a part of the company culture driven by Della herself – an unstoppable tenacity. In all the years I’ve been here, the thing I’m most proud of is that when we choose to start something, we always finish it. We do what we promise and we do it right. There’s never any question about it.”

Walters and his coworkers are not the only ones who appreciate Della Williams’ tenacity and the company’s commitment to the highest levels of quality. With customers like Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Halliburton, and Boeing, Williams RDM has carved out an important niche in manufacturing.