COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of Lee Catoe as vice president and special assistant to the CEO for community affairs and Susan Vaughan McPherson as director of governmental affairs and regionalism. The addition of Catoe and McPherson will aid the Columbia Chamber in its efforts to promote and support its members and the local business community.
In his new role, Catoe will lead the Columbia Chamber in promoting a new direction for small businesses, assist with local business growth and expansion, and facilitate building relationships and memberships within the small business sector. Additionally, he will support the Chamber’s government relations efforts, and implement special projects as assigned by Ike McLeese, president and CEO of the Columbia Chamber.
Prior to joining the Columbia Chamber, Catoe served as the director of the SC Department of Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Services, as well as commissioner of the SC Workers Compensation Commission for seven years, two of which as chairman. He also worked as the executive assistant to Gov. Carroll Campbell and was accountable for the management of the health & human services and economic opportunity divisions. In addition, Catoe advised the governor on matters involving race and human relations.
As director of governmental affairs and regionalism, McPherson serves as a liaison to local government officials and their staffs – city and county council, and statewide offices – to advocate business friendly platforms on behalf of the Columbia Chamber and its members. She works with the MIDSTATE Chambers Coalition to create alliances among the 18 chambers in an 11 county region to build stronger representation for businesses, as well as opportunities for economic growth and the creation of new jobs. McPherson will also serve as the Director of the Military Affairs Committee supporting all military related activities.
McPherson has more than 35 years of experience in the field of public, employee, media and government relations. Most recently she worked with International Paper’s Eastover Mill for 28 years and is a former member of the Chamber Board of Directors and a graduate of Leadership Columbia and Leadership Sumter. She actively volunteers her time with the Palmetto Health Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“We welcome the addition of Lee and Susan to our staff,” McLeese said. “They both have a significant amount of knowledge and experience and I am confident they will help continue to move the Chamber forward in a positive direction.”