Thursday, April 18, 2024

5 questions for Josh Ward

Josh Ward is a director of public affairs for the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents thousands of manufacturers across the country. Josh represents NAM in the Carolinas and Virginia and works with NAM membership in those states to advocate for solutions to federal public-policy issues important to the manufacturing industry. Before joining NAM, Josh was a regional representative for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. Over the course of his career, Josh has been involved with numerous political and issue advocacy campaigns in North Carolina and nationally.

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What do you like best about your job?

Watching the men and women in the manufacturing industry turn bold ideas into reality. Every day across North Carolina manufacturers are producing life-saving medicines and life-changing technologies, and revolutionizing food production. They are making our communities more sustainable and transforming the way we commute and communicate. Ultimately, the goal of manufacturing in North Carolina is to improve the human condition, and to have a front row seat each day is a truly humbling experience that makes my job a lot of fun.

What inspires you?

People that believe in their work, are passionate about what they do and have a desire to make a positive impact. At the end of the day, when the paycheck becomes a byproduct of work and not the goal, it is hard not to be inspired.

Who should we be paying attention to?

People that truly understand how to run an effective, 21st century advocacy campaign that incorporates both cutting-end technology and traditional grassroots engagement to seriously move the public policy needle. The days of hiring a lobbyist and calling it a day are over. Advocacy is going to have to be a serious focus for companies and associations to be successful in cutting through all the noise and being heard by their elected officials. North Carolina, like every other state, and Washington, D.C., have a ton of lobbyists, but there are only a handful of people in the state and in the country that really understand advocacy.

What was your biggest challenge this week?

Trying to stay on top of emails. I’m on the road almost every day, so my car has become my main office — and the highway patrol tends to frown on emailing while driving. So, setting aside time at the end of the day to respond in a timely manner can be somewhat tricky, especially when there are ongoing projects or if I’m trying to maintain some semblance of work-life balance. I have started telling folks to call me, but it hasn’t quite caught on yet.

What is your favorite N.C. vacation spot?

Definitely eastern North Carolina. Things move at a completely different speed down there, in a good way. The fishing in the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound has been great the past couple years, and the BBQ is just icing on the cake.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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