Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- For nearly two decades, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce has been led by the same man.
Current Chamber CEO, Ike McLeese, is now stepping down, leaving the Chamber headed in a new direction.
McLeese's resignation will be effective at the end of this year. The Chamber has, for year, played a large role in local, small businesses.
Some highlights from McLeese's career provided by the Chamber include:
• 1994: McLeese took over a struggling Chamber that was $3.8 million in debt and made it financially sound.
• McLeese was instrumental in Midlands' military installations not only avoiding cuts in the 2005 round of base closing, but gaining missions.
• He helped unite the region's business communities with the 11-county Midstate Chambers Coalition after the area failed to land Southwest Airlines.
The Chamber was also a large presence in a recent push for the addition of a ballot measure in this year's election, posing the option to Columbia voters to change the form of their government.
For the Chamber's future, their goals are to continue McLeese's legacy of military advocacy, according to Holt Chetwood, the Chairman of the Board of the Columbia chamber of Commerce.
"As we make determinations about leadership going forward, I think one aspect of the new leaders role will be public policy," said Chetwood. "That is something that has historically been very important in the role at the chamber, and I believe that will continue."
The Chamber is currently taking input from community members on a new CEO, Chetwood said.