Sam Driggers

Director of Global Initiatives


Sam Driggers, CEcD brings more than 23 years of international, statewide, and local experience in trade promotion, business and economic development to the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (Cal Asian Chamber), and is a certified economic development professional. Sam began his professional career in Washington, D.C. interning for Ambassador Michael A. Samuels then as a political operative for a national political party, later transitioning as an international development recruiter for an agricultural focused nongovernmental organization (NGO) that relocated him to their West Coast operations in Sacramento, California.

Sam’s later California-based work experience ranges across the web of international trade promotion and economic development organizations with program directorships at the former California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency and Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.  His grass-roots community economic development work with California jurisdictions have included positions with the City of Stockton, County of El Dorado and City of Oroville.

Since joining the Cal Asian Chamber as director of economic growth programs, Sam has been responsible for building the chamber’s forward leaning, data-driven economic growth programs. In 2014, Sam was named director of global initiatives tasked with expanding the chamber’s role in international trade promotion and cultural diplomacy activities; soliciting foreign direct investment and the annual trade missions to China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and soon Vietnam.

Sam earned his MA degree in International Trade and Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1997. Sam received his undergraduate degrees in Economic History and African Political Studies from the University of Cape Town in 1990, and Rhodes University in 1991 in South Africa. Sam is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and maintains his certified economic developer professional accreditation in the International Economic Development Council, as well as his ongoing participation in their international advisory committee.  In the spring of 2013, Sam received his certificate of completion for the Leading Economic Growth course from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program.  Most recently, May 2016, Sam was awarded the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, at Monterey (MIIS), Alumni Volunteer Service Award for 2016.

Sam has been deeply committed to the Institute, volunteering his time in a myriad of ways over the past 20 years. He regularly networks with students to help guide them to employment prospects, speaks with prospective students to connect them to MIIS, assists our enrollment staff with recruitment fairs, speaks to classes on key trade and policy topics, has been deeply involved in connecting California communities with MIIS through his economic development and international trade promotion duties, and continually sends the Center for Advising and Career Services (CACS) employment and internship opportunities.

Over the years, Sam has traveled to 33 countries; spent significant time working in five nations (Germany, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, China, and Japan) two of them as a National Future Farmer of America agricultural exchange student; and is conversant in German.