D. Russell Harris (Rusty)
Rusty Harris is President and COO, PSNC Energy; President, South Carolina Electric & Gas, and Gas Operations Senior Vice President, SCANA. Rusty joined SCE&G, a SCANA subsidiary, as a
customer service engineer in 1986. After holding various positions in Electric Operations, in 1997 he was named vice president – wires operations. In 2003, he transferred to Gastonia, North Carolina to be the vice president of operations of PSNC Energy, a natural gas business unit of SCANA Corporation. In January 2006, Harris was named president and chief operating officer of PSNC Energy. He became a senior vice president of SCANA in May 2012 and president of SCE&G, gas operations in February 2013. Rusty and his wife LeeAnn live in Columbia, SC and they have a daughter and two sons. He graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.
First Vice Chair
David Fountain is the North Carolina president of Duke Energy, serving approximately 3.2 million electric retail customers. He is responsible for advancing the company’s rate and regulatory initiatives, while managing state and local regulatory and governmental relations, economic development, community affairs, water strategy, hydroelectric licensing and lake services. He assumed his current position in September 2015. Fountain previously served as senior vice president of enterprise legal support for Duke Energy. From 2009 until the close of the merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy in July 2012, Fountain served as vice president of Progress Energy’s legal department. Raised in Guilford County, N.C., Fountain earned Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and a graduate of Leadership North Carolina. Fountain and his wife, Lucy, have three daughters and live in Raleigh, N.C.
Second Vice Chair
Venessa Harrison is President, AT&T North Carolina, a position to which she was named in March 2013, having previously served as Regional Vice President of External Affairs. In her current position, she is responsible for the public policy, economic development and community affairs activities of AT&T, a leading provider of wireless and wireline communications services. In her role, she works closely with state and community leaders to help bring new technology and jobs to the state and improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians. A native North Carolinian, Harrison is a 35-year veteran of AT&T and its predecessor companies. Beginning her career in the Operator Services organization, she moved through positions of increasing responsibility in the network, business and regulatory and external affairs departments. Ms. Harrison holds a Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. She is married with two children.
Tom Heiks is president, CEO and chairman of the Board of Fifth Third Bank (North Carolina). In this role, he is responsible for the growth and strategic direction of our four primary lines of business including: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Investment Advisors for the affiliate. Heiks has had a 25-year career with Fifth Third Bank. Previously, he was market president of the affiliate, responsible for the day-to-day operations in North and South Carolina. His other roles at the Bank have included executive vice president of Commercial Banking for Fifth Third Bank (North Carolina), leading Commercial Banking for the Bank’s North Carolina and South Carolina markets. Heiks received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Toledo and is a graduate of the University of Virginia Graduate School of Retail Bank Management, managed in conjunction with the American Bankers Association.
Dale is Chief Executive Officer of The Medical Mutual Group and is responsible for the total operations of this group of companies. Founded in 1975, the Group’s flagship company is Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina, a property/casualty insurance company that specializes in writing professional liability insurance for physicians and healthcare professionals. Additionally, the company owns MMIC Holdings, which houses real estate and various invested assets. Also within The Medical Mutual Group are Medical Security Insurance Company, an excess and surplus lines insurance company, and the MMIC Agency, which is a full-line insurance agency that brokers life, health, and disability insurance primarily to healthcare professionals. He was born in Shelby, N.C. and received a B.S. degree in accounting from Wake Forest University. He now lives with his wife Debra in Raleigh and is the father of three married children.
President/CEO & Secretary
Lew Ebert became President and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber in 2006. The North Carolina Chamber is a non-partisan business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to proactively drive positive change to ensure that N.C. is a leading place in the world to do business. The Chamber has a long and rich history as the leading advocate for businesses of all sizes and sectors in N.C. In addition to being the state affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Chamber is also North Carolina’s official manufacturers’ association. Before coming to North Carolina to head the Chamber, Lew served as President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber. Prior to that he worked his way up over two decades through a number of progressively responsible posts at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce – eventually heading one of the Chamber’s for-profit subsidiaries.