John Mikula to join Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce

January 30, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – January 30, 2008 – The Greater Columbia  Chamber of  Commerce is pleased  to announce that John J. Mikula, president and founder of Mikor LLC, a Greenville-based management consulting firm,  will become the chamber’s Senior  Vice President for Business Retention and  Expansion on February 1, 2008.

Mikula is a seasoned executive with solid experience in Business, Education and non-profit Community Development.  As an affiliate with National Community Development Services in Atlanta, Mikula has been working with the chamber’s effort to launch the Navigating from good to Great campaign for 14 months.

”I am delighted to have someone of John’s caliber and depth of experience joining the effort to navigate from good to Great.  Our existing businesses are underserved by the community as it relates to understanding, documenting and providing what they need to expand here and thus create more jobs and tax base for this community,” said Ike McLeese, President and CEO of the chamber.

“John will visit a broad cross section of businesses each month documenting their needs and then try to match existing community services to their needs. If we do this right, it will be a new and productive economic development tool.  Other community organizations such as Midlands Technical College, the City of Columbia Economic Development Office, the University of South Carolina and EngenuitySC will join the chamber’s team.  This is a giant step in redefining economic development which is one of our seven good to Great initiatives” McLeese said.

“John brings a wealth of diverse business and community experience to the good to Great team,” said Ted Speth, the chamber’s current chairman of the board.  “He has honed his business skills as an executive with some of the largest corporations in the country, he has analyzed business from an academic perspective as a member of the faculty of a major school of business, and, finally, he has assisted other communities in establishing efforts very similar to “Navigating from good to Great.  The chamber and our community are very fortunate to have been able to attract John to join our team,” Speth said.

Over his business career, Mikula has been a vice president for three Fortune 500 companies.  He has worked at Cinergy, Continental Can, Continental Group, PepsiCo and Sonoco Products. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Defense and Northern Illinois University and served as Associate Dean of the Business School and as a professor in the MBA and EMBA programs at Benedictine University in Naperville, Illinois.  As managing director of PepsiCo’s international operations, he managed 16 plants around the world, including the first Pepsi plant built in China.

A native of Pennsylvania, Mikula has served on the board of directors of the Plastic Drum Institute and Western  Polydrum. He also holds four U.S. and international patents.  He has a degree in industrial management/electrical engineering and an MBA.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to return to South Carolina and assist the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce with its business retention and development efforts in the Riverbanks Region.  I look forward to working with business and community leaders and becoming an integral part of moving our city and region from “good to Great,” Mikula said.

The senior vice president for business retention and expansion is a newly created position to support the “Navigating from good to Great” campaign, patterned after the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, which chronicles successful efforts to move specific companies from good to great.

Mikula becomes the second new senior executive to join the chamber since January 1. He joins C. Grant Jackson who came on board January 22, as senior vice president for community development, as part of the team 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 comprehensive solution for the homeless.