Stivers: ‘I want to help every Ohioan have real opportunity’

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers is the new CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Steve Stivers started his new role as CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce May 17, replacing Andrew Doehrel, who served since 1993. 

The Republican steps into the role with a hefty repertoire as a former state senator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He remains a major general in the Ohio National Guard.

He’ll add to those duties oversight of the chamber’s 8,000 members, leading efforts to support businesses in the state and increase Ohio’s economic competitiveness. 

Within his first few days, Stivers increased Ohio Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee funding for a two-year cycle from $30,000 to $150,000, with a goal to reach $1 million.

Stivers previously spent five days each week in Washington, D.C., away from his family while working with Congress. Now, he looks forward to spending more time in Columbus and the opportunity to attend his children’s sports games. 

One of Stivers’ chief goals is to increase the diversity within the chamber, he says. He says with just one person of color among 17 staff members, there’s a need to better reflect the composition of the state’s population at large and create a welcoming atmosphere where people from different backgrounds can see themselves becoming successful entrepreneurs.

“Economic opportunity for all is something I believe in. Unless you look like Ohio, you can’t help inspire all Ohioans to be excited about business. I want everybody to know that business is for everybody.”

To help increase representation, Stivers will work with Black chambers of commerce around the state as well as other minority chambers, he says.

“I want to help Ohio grow, I want to help every Ohioan have real opportunity, and I am convinced that they get real opportunity through free markets and a growing economy,” he says.

“That’s what I’m going to work every day to do.”