February 7, 2018
Spotlight Article: Director of Policy & Strategic Development, Drew Myers
Short Bio about Drew:
Born and raised in Cayce, Drew has had a front-row seat to the growth of the Midlands in the last decade. Drew has a passion for encouraging positive change that moves the Midlands forward, and he harnesses this passion to lead the Chamber’s strategic initiatives. Most notably, Drew cultivated the Chamber’s current strategic priorities by planning and implementing the Strategic Foresight Labs, which brought together nearly 100 business and community leaders from across the Midlands. This framework, designed to guide the Chamber’s strategic direction for the next decade, culminated in the current initiative, Forward Together.
Drew received a bachelor’s degree from Newberry College and a master’s degree from University of South Carolina. He is an active volunteer in the community, and currently serves as a board member of Downtown YMCA.
Q: How long have you lived in Columbia/ worked for the Chamber?
A: I was born and raised in Cayce, and have lived and worked in the Midlands my entire life, spending the last 3 ½ years with the Chamber.
Q: What is your role at the Chamber and what does it entail?
A: I’ve been fortunate to be engaged in various projects to strengthen and position our organization to deliver results and better serve our Partners. As Director of Policy & Strategic Development, I’ve led governance initiatives that updated the structure and function of the Chamber to better align with national best practices. I’ve also guided strategic initiatives, like the 2017 Strategic Foresight labs that resulted in the Chamber’s 10-year strategic framework that we call Forward, Together. Most recently, I’ve taken on additional responsibilities that include working with local government to advance the Chamber’s public policy efforts. Learn more about Forward, Together HERE.
Q: Why is public policy important to the Chamber?
A: The Chamber offers a variety of services and programs that each provide value to the Partnership in its own way. The public policy work of the Chamber is focused on influencing the decisions made by local and state governments to protect and promote a favorable business climate in the Midlands. We aspire to be part of a Midlands that competes nationally, and even globally, for business recruitment, retention, and expansion. The Midlands has had some success, but we also have some challenges that we must overcome to ensure that our region continues to thrive over the next decade, and beyond.
Q: What is the Chamber’s role in shaping Columbia’s public policy?
A: To best advocate on behalf of the 1,200+ small and large businesses that support the Chamber, we first must make sure we understand the challenges our Partners face, and the concerns they have, as employers and employees who operate in the Midlands. Prior to crafting our annual public policy agenda, we survey our Partnership to uncover these issues. Then, we work to influence the issues that are of highest priority to our Partnership – working with local governments to find opportunities to improve the business environment; limiting regulations when feasible and decreasing the cost of doing business; ensuring we remain the “most military-friendly community in America”; impacting local elections through the creation of a PAC to support individuals that are promoting a business-friendly platform to name just a few. Learn more about the Chamber’s Public Policy Agenda HERE.
Q: What is Chamber Issues Forum and how is it beneficial to our Partners?
A: The Chamber’s Issues Forum brings the community together on the first Tuesday of every month to hear from legislators, public officials, and key business leaders about current topics that impact the region’s business community. Issues Forum is free to attend, open to all Partners, and is an excellent way to network and remain updated on the issues that are pressing in the Midlands business community. Check out the past meeting topics HERE.
Q: Are there any other ways for Partners to get involved with public policy?
A: The Chamber’s public policy work can only be strengthened through support from Chamber Partners. It’s important that our Partnership remains informed on the issues that affect their businesses by attending events like Issues Forum and the annual Public Policy Reception, participating in programs like the Chamber’s soon-to-be-unveiled public leadership institute, and engaging in the Chamber’s grassroots efforts when called to action. Additionally, there are several opportunities to sponsor a public policy event or initiative, providing a fit for any budget.
Q: What are your favorite things to do/places to go in Columbia?
A: As a USC graduate, I enjoy attending Gamecock sporting events throughout the year. Working in downtown Columbia, I often frequent many of our great restaurants on Main St., in the Vista, and in Five Points. When the weather is nice, I also enjoy taking my three dogs on walks at the Cayce/West Columbia Riverwalk, and attending events at the Icehouse Amphitheater in Lexington.