Rick C. Wade

SVP, Strategic Alliances and Outreach
United States Chamber of Commerce

Rick C. Wade is Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the United States Chamber of Commerce – the world’s largest business organization. He provides counsel on policy issues affecting America’s private sector and develops initiatives to help the business community expand its relationships and impact across diverse audiences.

He created the Chamber’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative to advance private sector and public policy solutions that help to close opportunity gaps across America. Wade’s wealth of knowledge and experience in both the public and private sectors enable him to give a megaphone to the voice of business across the country and share the positive impacts of the free enterprise system.

Before joining the Chamber, Wade was President & CEO of The Wade Group, a communications and business development firm. Previously, he was Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke where he was a liaison to the White House, businesses, trade associations, civic organizations, as well as state and local governments.

A former member of the White House Task Forces on Puerto Rico, Small Business Contracting, Automobile Recovery, Military Families, and Historically Black Colleges & Universities, Wade also served on the Interagency Business Council and former Vice President Joe Biden’s Task Force on Middle Class America.

He worked closely with Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to foster regional economic development in distressed areas, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on expanding broadband to rural and urban America, the Minority Business Development Agency to create jobs through the growth of minority-owned enterprises, and the Census Bureau on executing the 2010 decennial census.

In addition, Wade was instrumental in expanding opportunities for U.S. companies to sell their products in the global market. He represented the U.S. at international trade forums including the U.S.- China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation, African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum, and Conference on the Caribbean and Central America. He served as Special Envoy to the Caribbean, oversaw private sector initiatives in Haiti following the 2012 devastating earthquake, and led trade missions around the world.

A former executive at Hoffman-La Roche and Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wade was a member of the Democratic National Committee as well as Senior Adviser and National Director of African American Vote for the 2008 Obama for America campaign. He worked as Chief of Staff for S.C. Lt. Governor Nick Theodore and was a member of the Cabinet of S.C. Governor Jim Hodges, serving as the State Director of the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. He was also a Research Analyst for the S.C. House Ways & Means Committee and Director of State Government & Community Relations in the Office of the President at the University of South Carolina.

Wade received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina and M.P.A. from Harvard University where he was a John F. Kennedy Fellow. He has served on several boards, to include the Columbia Urban League and Wilberforce University, and currently serves as a director at USA Track & Field, National Forest Foundation, Folks Center for International Business, and Urban Alliance.

Wade was awarded honorary doctorates from Benedict College and S.C. State University and has received numerous awards for exemplary leadership and public service.

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