Barbara Lang – Former DC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO
Our Town with host Andy Ockershausen - Homegrown History
Barbara Lang on the need for more women in Congress ~"Women tend to try to solve problems, and not as much as the politics . . . I’ve talked to a number of women that are in Congress and say, “Why are you there?” They’re not there to be on a power trip. They’re there to solve something."Barbara Lang, Former President and CEO of DC Chamber of Commerce in studio with Our Town host Andy OckershausenAndy Ockershausen: Hi. This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town. I have the absolute total pleasure to talk to a wonderful, wonderful woman who's been a very dear friend for many years. Unfortunately, she's out of the spotlight right now, but she ran our Chamber of Commerce better than anybody ever did before or since. Welcome Barbara Lang to Our Town. Barbara Lang: Andy, thank you so much. Delighted to be here. Andy Ockershausen: Well, you are a big part of Our Town and we try to ... Started this program to talk about all the good things that are going on in Our Town. A lot of them don't know about them. You know them because you live with them, but Our Town is exploding and we're all part of the explosion, what we see at the wharf, what we see at the yard, what we see that's going up on Connecticut Avenue. Isn't it wonderful thing?Barbara Lang on Life in Our Town at the Time She Started with the DC Chamber of CommerceBarbara Lang: Absolutely it is. I went to the Chamber of Commerce right after 9/11 and that was a time when we weren't sure what was going to happen. Washington was like an armed camp. The airports were closed. Retail was suffering. All the hotels were laying people off. The thing I used to say is, "My goodness, are the locust coming next," because we had all the murders that were happening, the Montgomery guys that were the sniper shootings and people were scared to death around that. There was so much happening and you just thought are we ever, ever going to recover from this? By God, now you look at Washington and the suburbs as well, because it all goes to make this region such a dynamic place. Andy Ockershausen: Our Town has exploded with so many great things, and you made many of them happen Barbara. How in the world ... You were working for Uncle Sam and then you left that and went into the private sector. Is that correct? Barbara Lang: I really only had-Andy Ockershausen: Fannie Mae?Barbara Lang: Yeah, but Fannie Mae was private. Andy Ockershausen: That's correct. I know that. Barbara Lang: It's private, but people thought it was government owned, but it was a private New York ... Publicly traded on the Stock Exchange. But prior to that I was with IBM for 25 years. So I spent 25 years in IBM.Andy Ockershausen: Not in this market though, right? 25 Years at IBM - The Road to Our TownBarbara Lang: A little bit in this market, yeah. I started in Jacksonville, Florida. I then moved to Atlanta and then to Washington. I spent a total of 25 years at IBM and then Fannie Mae recruited me and so I went in as a vice-president and chief procurement officer at Fannie Mae and spent 10 years there, then went to the Chamber of Commerce.Andy Ockershausen: You're too young for that Barbara. Barbara Lang: Oh, aren't you sweet? Thank you. You keep saying that. Andy Ockershausen: I'm trying to think of the name ... Kent Cushenberry? Do you remember that name?Barbara Lang: Kent Cushenberry? I worked for Kent when he headed up community relations. That was one of my last two jobs with IBM. Andy Ockershausen: He was a very dear friend, a very dear friend. Barbara Lang: Yeah. He was great and sorry to see him go. He's somebody that left here all too soon.Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah, he was young.Barbara Lang: He was a young man. Andy Ockershausen: Before him there was a man ... What's our favorite sports announcer, Timmy Brant. His father had the job before Kent did way back. Tim Brant, do you remember him? Barbara Lang: Yeah. I know the name, but I did not know him.