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Personnel file - November 2008: Internet Technology / Electronics

Joan Myers
Director of Special Programs, Partnership for Defense Innovation

In 2007, Joan Myers left after nine years as president and CEO of the North Carolina Technology Association for a job at Cary-based SAS Institute, the world’s largest private software company. Less than a year later, she changed jobs again, this time to work for Fayetteville-based Partnership for Defense Innovation. A passion for public policy motivated the move, as Myers found herself once again fronting a collaboration between government and business, this time aimed at improving the country’s defense systems and security. A native of Birmingham, Mich., Myers graduated from the University of Michigan in ‘83 with a bachelor’s in general studies with a focus on political science and communications. She moved to North Carolina after deciding the Tar Heel state was “the best place to live in the country.” After several years with nonprofits, she served as the assistant secretary of the state Department of Transportation, then worked at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce before landing at NCTA.

“I have always admired folks who roll up their sleeves, scrub in and serve their country in any capacity. I am an unabashed patriot. I absolutely love my country. It may sound corny, but every day I find another reason to be excited about being an American.”

“We’re facing quite a threat from foreign governments stealing our intellectual property or from it getting into the wrong hands. Economic espionage is a huge cost to this economy, about $330 billion in 2004. It happens right here in North Carolina to a significant degree. A good part of my work is to help make companies more robust and able to hold on to intellectual property.”

“The technologies and innovations associated with defense and security provide better quality of life and better economic opportunities across many areas. Remember, the Internet came out of defense applications. GPS came out of the defense industry. So these marvelous technologies that have been so life-changing can come out of this realm, and that’s what’s exciting.