Sam has established himself as one of Columbia’s leaders that remains at the pulse of society’s policy challenges. As a mayoral candidate, he dared Columbia to think boldly about economic development, growth, and imagine its future.
He often represents clients before governmental agencies and guides them through regulatory matters. He has developed a reputation for his skill in crisis management and navigating political issues on both sides of the aisle.
Prior to joining Nexsen Pruet, Sam helped lead the Office of the Mayor under Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin. In working closely with Columbia’s 36th mayor and 76th president of the US Conference of Mayors, Sam was instrumental in coordinating the Mayor's agenda both locally and nationally. During Sam's tenure, the City of Columbia saw over $1 billion in economic investment.
Sam was actively involved in leading most of the Mayor’s most visible and notable projects, including the Bull Street redevelopment project, a revitalization effort in one of Columbia’s most anticipated emerging neighborhoods, and the Famously Hot New Year Celebration, South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve party that regularly draws tens of thousands of partygoers to Columbia’s Main Street.
While Sam has affixed himself as a staple of the South Carolina political landscape, he has developed extensive relationships with elected officials and business leaders across the country. He routinely consults with leaders across the country on the best strategies to move their communities forward and to aide corporations in reaching workable public, private, and partnerships.
Along with the work he does as a member of the law firm, Sam is a consultant for Nexsen Pruet’s communications subsidiary, NP Strategy as well.
His vast experience, deep network and firsthand knowledge of state and local government position Sam as an invaluable asset to Nexsen Pruet, NP Strategy and their clients.
Community & Professional
Sam is currently a member of:
- US Conference of Mayors Enterprises, Board of Directors
- Harvest Hope Food Bank, Board of Directors
- Midlands Technical College's Human Resources, Board of Directors
- Capital City Club, Board of Governors - Executive Committee
- South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, Board of Directors - Chairman
- University of South Carolina Alumni Association, Board of Governors
- Talented Tenth, Board of Directors
- South Carolina Philharmonic, Advisory Board
- South Carolina State Museum Board
Sam has previously served on:
- Senior Resources, Board of Directors
- Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR), Board of Directors
- Tapp's Arts Center, Board of Directors
- Richland County Democratic Party, Third Vice Chair
- The Nickelodeon Theatre, Board of Directors
- South Carolina PASOs, Board of Directors
Outside Nexsen Pruet
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam served as the Chair of the City of Columbia Peace of Mind Safe Haven Initiative, which raised money for first responders and medical professionals in need of an alternative to going home. He also served on the City's Resilient Midlands Economic Recovery task force, which sought to provide feedback to City Council on how they can foster the best environment for businesses to be successful in this current climate.
Sam likes to remain active. Along with his wife, Ashley, he enjoys walking and playing with their goldendoodle, Bates, working out, going for runs and watching sports - particularly, his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks.
Sam is very passionate about his community. He enjoys being engaged and looking for ways to help provide leadership and service.
The Associated Press discussed Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin's prominent role in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary in a story written by Meg Kinnard. Meg highlighted Sam's extensive career with Mayor Benjamin. Read the article here.
Following the first debate of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary candidates, Politico published an article detailing the debate and issues discussed. Politico spoke to Sam to provide commentary on how the debate will impact the outcome of the early South Carolina primary. Read the article here.
USA Today spoke to Sam for an article discussing Vice President Biden's pathway to success for the South Carolina's presidential primary. Read the article here.
The Post and Courier spoke to Sam for his insight and expertise on the South Carolina capital in their piece Why Millennials Are Finally Choosing Columbia. Read the article here.
- Listed, Columbia Business Monthly, Best & Brightest - 35 & Under, 2018
- Listed, South Carolina Black Pages, Top 40 Under 40, 2014
- Listed, The State, Top 20 Under 40, 2012
- Participant, The Progressive Policy Institute and Columbia University's Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy's Agenda 2016: Reviving U.S. Economic Growth Symposium, 2015
- Participant, Congressional Black Caucus Institute's Boot Camp, 2011
- The Meeting Place Church Founder's Local Hero Award
Speaking & Writings
- SC Lawyer, "Federal Income Tax Consequences of State Economic Development Incentives After Passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," March 2018
- The State, "We have to stop killing me," December 2014
- Sam spoke at the SC Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Business Week program on the topic of personal branding and marketing.
- 01.08.2020 | News from Nexsen Pruet
- 12.12.2019 | Media Mention
Sam Johnson discusses how South Carolina communities and business can best take advantage of opportunities presented in the American Rescue Plan and the historic infrastructure bill.
As we continue to battle COVID-19, there are issues before state lawmakers and local elected officials that impact how our clients do business – and those issues seem to change on an almost daily basis.