Adam H. Berry brings a policy background to his role at the Indiana Chamber. As a policy director and attorney for Gov. Mike Pence’s administration, he served as a liaison to the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of the governor’s office and state agencies.
Berry, who recently joined the Chamber as vice president of economic development and technology, is also the co-founder of PoliticalBank.com, an all-inclusive campaign platform for candidates and voters that has been utilized for local, state and federal campaigns across the country.
- When you joined the Indiana Chamber earlier this year, the General Assembly session already had begun. What have been the biggest challenges and what have you enjoyed most?
If I’m going to testify on or otherwise advocate for legislation, I prefer to have a thorough understanding of the issues, stakeholders and basis for supporting the underlying policy. I have a process I like to use – to develop policy and legislation and build a coalition of supporters – that requires months to execute.
Jumping right into the middle of this legislative session and not having been part of the policy development process has probably been the most difficult part.
It’s good to be back at the Statehouse. I spent four years in state government and working on legislative items. So there’s just a certain level of comfort being back in a familiar environment around old colleagues. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with folks. And I’m doing what I really enjoy doing, which is working on and advocating good policy to help Hoosiers.
- What drives your passion for policy and politics?
Policy dictates the world in which we live. And policy is set by our lawmakers. Having the ability to develop policy that will impact the way we live, improve our communities and our state’s future – it’s very rewarding being involved in something that’s going to make people’s lives better and our economy stronger.
- Do you have a mentor who inspired you personally or professionally?
Bob Grand. He’s a Wabash (College) grad. When I was graduating from Wabash, I met with Wabash’s president and he said, ‘Adam, what do you want to do?’ I told him I wanted to move to Indianapolis, go to law school and get involved in Republican politics. He said, ‘There’s one person you have to meet.’
My first semester of law school, my dad got sick and passed away. Bob was one of the first people I met when I moved to Indianapolis and he sort of took me under his wing. He’s always been the person I consider to be my mentor.
- How would you describe Indiana’s tech environment – strengths and challenges?
There’s a desire to be a tech and innovation hub and it seems from an objective or outside perspective that we’re trying to do all the right things. Essentially, there’s energy for it. But I’d say that from a practical standpoint we need a lot more capital coming into the state, which we’re addressing in part during this legislative session.
The more we can establish Indiana as a favorable environment for entrepreneurs, the better. Indiana by nature is a very conservative state – both socially and fiscally. That also translates into the investment world.
Having come from running a start-up tech company for the past four years, the vast majority of investors are looking for very specific investment opportunities as opposed to taking more of a chance on either the entrepreneur or the idea. From that standpoint, if we can create a friendlier environment for entrepreneurs to take risks, we’re more likely to attract talent and tech jobs to the state.
Part of that is, we need a lot more victories. More exits. What that does, especially for entrepreneurs, is it conveys that Indiana is a place where you can start, grow and exit your company. For 99% of entrepreneurs, that’s the dream.
- Talk about your commitment to fitness.
For the last year and a half, I’ve been trying to do a 50-minute bootcamp twice a week. When my wife and I got married, we met with a health coach and that’s when I was first introduced to bootcamps.
We also avoid salt generally, even though you can’t get away from it entirely.
- What are a handful of your favorite musicians?
I’m a big country fan. Jon Pardi. Walker Hayes. Brothers Osborne. Florida Georgia Line. Eli Young Band. But, if you want to know what’s on my playlist currently, it’s the John Grisham book, The Reckoning. I listen to books and podcasts more than music.