S. Lewis Ebert
President and CEO
Lew became President and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber in August of 2006. Lew heads the nonpartisan business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to proactively drive positive change to ensure that North Carolina is a leading place in the world to do business.
Under Lew’s leadership, the North Carolina Chamber is building its Chamber Federation – a statewide grassroots advocacy partnership of local Chambers and more than 60,000 small business members – to turn its annual Jobs Agenda into competitive advantages for the state’s employers.
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.
Lew graduated college in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from 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 Governmental 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 marketing and public relations programs that effectively describe and promote the North Carolina Chamber and its mission. Through a variety of websites, legislative publications, social media outlets, events marketing, e-newsletters and more, the communications team works to keep 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.
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.”