S. Lewis Ebert
President and CEO
Lew Ebert became president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber in 2006. Under his leadership, the NC Chamber has become the largest statewide business advocacy group and a fully-integrated organization that brings together policy, politics and advocacy. The NC Chamber Foundation provides long-term policy solutions, the NC Chamber capitalizes on these result-driven ideas through effective advocacy, and the NC Chamber’s Political Program makes nonpartisan investments in the state’s political landscape to grow the business caucus at the N.C. General Assembly.
At all levels, the North Carolina Chamber is working to ensure economic growth, bottom-line results for North Carolina job creators, and accountability for elected officials voting on the JOBS Agenda. In 2016, the NC Chamber was recognized as the inaugural State Chamber of the Year by the Council of State Chambers
The Pennsylvania native brought 26 years of state chamber experience to North Carolina. Lew worked for 23 years at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce where he held several progressively responsible positions. In 2003, Lew took the post of president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber until he resigned to come to North Carolina. A graduate of Millersville University in Millersville, Penn., Lew currently lives with his wife, Tammy, in Cary, N.C., is the father of two daughters, Jamie and Ashley, and he is a proud grandfather.
James T. Simpson, CAE
Chief Operating Officer
Jim began his state chamber career in 1987 and has more than 20 years of association leadership experience. His background includes participating in efforts to elect business-minded legislators and grow the business caucus. He also served a key role in the campaign to reform the workers’ compensation system in his home state of Kentucky.
The effort eliminated much of the fraud and waste and drastically reduced premiums for employers, while providing injured workers with better benefits. In addition, he assisted in the campaign to reform higher education which elevated the role of community colleges and provided employers with better access to tailored programs for training needs and talent development.
For a brief period, Jim was an owner in a manufacturing company which sold products through such mediums as the Home Shopping Network and QVC. He is also a past president of the Association of Membership and Marketing Executives, a professional membership organization serving state chambers and manufacturing groups, and the former executive director of a nonprofit education organization serving some of the poorest counties in the nation.
Gary Salamido, MS
Vice President of Government Affairs
With decades of experience and a proven track record representing North Carolina business interests at the N.C. General Assembly, Gary leads the Chamber’s lobbying, advocacy and political efforts. Before joining the North Carolina Chamber in September 2011, Gary worked 19 years at GlaxoSmithKline, the last 10 years serving as GSK’s director of state government affairs. Gary’s lobbying responsibilities covered a broad range of issues including corporate tax, environmental impact, tort and liability reform, economic development, workforce development, employment and Medicaid.
Gary’s previous work experience includes serving as senior account manager, integrated healthcare markets for GSK and as director of professional and state government affairs for GlaxoWellcome. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from the Albany College of Pharmacy in Albany, N.Y. and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Gary completed an executive residency in association management with the American Pharmaceutical Association and has experience in hospital and community pharmacy practice.
Kate Catlin Payne
Vice President of Communications
Kate leads a communications team that is responsible for keeping North Carolina Chamber members connected to issues and events that impact their business, as well as the public and elected officials aware of the business community’s priorities.
With more than a decade of communications experience, Kate spent six years at one of North Carolina’s largest independent communications firms prior to joining the North Carolina Chamber team. Hired as a traffic coordinator, Kate worked her way through every capacity of the agency, ultimately being named a director of account management. In that role Kate oversaw client relations, work delivery, professional development and staff recruitment.
A graduate of Elon University in Elon, N.C., Kate remains connected to her alma mater, previously serving on its Young Alumni Council. She has been recognized for both service and professional leadership through Triangle Business Journal‘s 2008 40 Under 40 Leadership Award, the President’s Student Service Award and as a Torchbearer in 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay. A breast cancer survivor, Kate is active with Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast, and served as the co-chair for the group’s 2018 Triangle Race for the Cure.
Born in Massachusetts, Kate enjoys cheering on the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox. She resides in Raleigh, N.C. with her husband, Luke.
Edward G. Troha
Ed Troha leads a statewide team charged with growing, engaging and retaining the North Carolina Chamber’s investor base.
With more than 25 years of state chamber management experience, Ed joined the North Carolina Chamber team in November of 2011. His career began in Kentucky in 1985 and later included positions in Indiana and California, where each chamber experienced impressive growth under his direction.
As the founder and owner of a small business from 1994 to 2003, Ed has great appreciation for the challenges and pressures faced by CEOs, CFOs and managers. “Business leaders make decisions which influence whether they attract or lose customers. Those decisions affect the income statement, the long-term viability of the business and jobs of fellow employees and colleagues,” explains Ed.
Raised in Long Island, NY, Ed graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. He has three children, Nick, Ryan and Alayna, and his interests include college basketball, lacrosse, bowling and fishing.
Of his role at the North Carolina Chamber, Ed said, “I work with a group of professionals dedicated to shaping a positive business climate in North Carolina. I believe successful, profitable businesses affect quality of life, for everyone, more than any other single factor. Because not everyone shares that view, we are relevant to our members.”
Vice President of Business Development
Beth leads an events management team that creates networking and marketing opportunities for business professionals through programming on timely topics. Under her leadership, the NC Chamber has significantly grown its event offerings, including the launch of the Women > A Force in Business event and the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Conference.
An accomplished events professional, Beth has more than 25 years of experience in event and meeting management, including work in corporate event sponsorship sales, executive education leadership sales, as well as board and corporate fundraising. Prior to joining the North Carolina Chamber in 2015, Beth worked as the development director for Communities In Schools of North Carolina. She began her career at Capital Associated Industries where she organized 180 regional events before joining Bell Leadership to recruit executives to attend the Mastery of Leadership Series in Chapel Hill, N.C. Following that, she worked as a national account executive securing sponsors for educational conferences held across the U.S. at University Conference Services in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Beth graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in French from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Beth and her husband Penn live in Raleigh, N.C. and stay busy with NC State and Wake Forest sporting events, trips to the beach, biking, and being outside whenever possible. As a native North Carolinian, Beth loves working at the NC Chamber and playing a role in securing the future of our state as a great place to live and work.