Grant Jackson to Join Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce

January 5, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – January 4, 2008 – The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that C. Grant Jackson, Business Editor and Columnist for The State newspaper, will become the chamber’s Senior Vice President for Community Development on January 22, 2008.
Ike McLeese, President and CEO of the chamber said, “For several years, Grant and I have discussed that someday he would like to take on the challenge of making things happen, rather than writing about what was happening or, in some cases, not happening. We are excited about being able to give him that opportunity.”

Ted Speth, the current Chairman of the Board of the GCCC said, “Grant Jackson is well received and trusted within the regional business community and will be able to immediately make an impact on our effort to move the community to greatness.”

Jackson was named Business Editor and Columnist in February 2002, having previously served as the Executive Business Editor from 1996 until 2002. During his tenure, the business section was twice named Best In Business for its circulation category by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

“After years of chronicling the area’s business life, I have resolved to become more deeply involved in moving the Greater Columbia Riverbanks Region from a good to a great community,” Jackson said. “Like many in this region, I moved here from someplace else and discovered a sense of place and a quality of life that is bursting with potential. I truly believe that together we can build the first great Southern community of the new millennium.”

Jackson, a Florida native, is a graduate of Mercer University and the University of Missouri. He worked as a journalist at newspapers in Georgia, Missouri and Ohio before coming to South Carolina.

Long active with the Boy Scouts of America, Jackson has served as a Scout leader for many years and is a member of the board and the executive committee of the Indian Waters Council, BSA in Columbia.

Jackson is also a member of Washington Street United Methodist Church, where he frequently teaches Sunday School.

He is married to Licia Drinnon Jackson, and they are the parents of three sons and a daughter.

The Senior Vice President for Community Development is a newly created position to support the chamber’s campaign entitled Navigating from Good to Great, patterned after the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. “Many of our business leaders had read and were fans of Mr. Collins’s book chronicling successful efforts to move specific companies from good to great.  We resolved that if companies can do it, why can’t communities by using the same philosophy of never accepting good as the end game, striving for continuous improvement and maintaining a goal of zero tolerance for imperfection,” McLeese explained.

Speth added, “One of Jim Collins’s primary admonitions is ‘You must have the right people on the bus before you set out on this journey.’  We have assembled the right team of volunteers and now are adding the senior staff necessary to make this a successful journey.  Grant Jackson is the perfect example of having the right people on the bus.”

Jackson will become part of a team of senior executives concentrating on the chamber’s eight target issues: Redefining economic development to include existing business growth and start-up companies’ development, assisting workforce development, building transportation infrastructure, increasing intergovernmental cooperation, accelerating river development, building a new economy around research transfer from USC and Innovista, improving quality of life and environmental issues, and finding a solution for the homeless.