Power Profile: Hart Nelson, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce


Former diplomat now serves people of metro St. Louis

Driven by the call to serve others, Hart Nelson, vice president of public policy at the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, is in the business of helping people. A former United States diplomat and information technology expert, Nelson has devoted his career to public service and community involvement on a global scale. 

“From the starting gate, I have been motivated by the calling to serve others,” said Nelson. “Each and every day, I am granted the opportunity to improve the community [and world] around me. That’s priceless.”

For nearly four years, Nelson has dedicated his time to developing and campaigning on public policies that inspire a greater St. Louis and enhance the region’s business climate. 

“I thrive on the ability to make things happen,” Nelson said. “It is my goal to curate, strengthen and maintain long-lasting partnerships with business, government and community leaders within the St. Louis region.”

Interesting enough, Nelson’s journey of public service did not begin as most would presume. Prior to his current role within the public policy sector, Nelson dedicated nine years of service to the nation as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

“Representing the United States abroad as a career diplomat in Europe and Latin America was one of the greatest honors I have ever had,” said Nelson. “Your mission is to serve your country and there is no greater purpose than that.” 

In 2014, Nelson’s desire to take part in end-result solutions propelled him to seek out his role as the vice president of public policy at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. 

“Having to move around often as a career diplomat, you do not have the ability to follow your plans through fruition,” said Nelson. “Within my current role at the Chamber, I have the daily opportunity to be a ‘cheerleader’ for the St. Louis region and witness first-hand the end results of our [the Chamber’s] efforts.” 

Serving as the Chamber’s in-house policy expert, it is Nelson’s role to identify and develop positions on critical public policy issues that allow for the ultimate growth and success of St. Louis area businesses. He noted the importance of upgrading utility infrastructure and improving electric grid security. 

“There is ‘value’ to the St. Louis region for business growth and new development,” said Nelson. “It is imperative that the area is supplied with reliable, safe and efficient energy resources.”

Nelson described how currently there is wooden conduit present within the inner St. Louis business district. He noted that in the very near future, this aging infrastructure will have a dire negative impact on the growth and success of the region. 

“Reliability and cyber security are major issues of concern that should not be taken lightly,” said Nelson. “With Amazon gearing up to open a large packing and shipping facility in suburban St. Louis which will employ more than 1,500 full-time workers, it is essential that we supply them with the energy and security resources they need to be successful.” 

Nelson noted that the St. Louis Regional Chamber supports Ameren Missouri in its efforts to modernize the grid and further develop utility services that are secure, reliable and dependable.

“Missouri needs to put its best foot forward,” said Nelson. “The St. Louis Regional Chamber covers a bi-state region [Missouri and Illinois]. Through our involvement within the Illinois business sector, we [the Chamber] have encountered first-hand the benefit energy modernization can bring to a state’s business growth and development.”

Over the course of his career, Nelson has paved a trail of public service and community dedication. When asked about his accomplishments he said, “It is a real honor to have the ability to serve others.” Nelson noted, moving forward it is his lifelong aspiration to continue making the community [and world] a better place to live.