(WDEF) It's been five years since the announcement Chattanooga had been waiting to hear. Former Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Edd Wilson remembers, "People around town were high-fiving each other and there was so much positive energy, it was just a great feeling. I was just absolutely elated."
July 15th's announcement was the payoff after some very hard work. Local, state and federal leaders teamed up to show the German company why Chattanooga would be an ideal fit. Wilson added, "I think we recruited probably the single best automotive manufacturer we could possibly recruit. And I think our future looks so bright with Volkswagen here so everything worked out. You know, it's just one of those perfect moments where things just worked out."
Although some of the faces of the major players have changed... Volkswagen's U-S Plant is still a major part of Chattanooga's success. Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston said, "It's amazing. The jobs that it's brought here. The way our economy has picked up since they've been here. It's just awesome. The only words I've got for it."
Commissioner Joe Graham added, "What a great thing Volkswagen has done for Hamilton County. What a great success for a lot of people's hard work for many, many years. You know Volkswagen is just a start to a lot of great things that are happening in Hamilton County, and the last five years just proves it."
Now the LEED Platinum certified auto plant employs 2,500 people in Hamilton County. And a recent University of Tennessee at Knoxville study shows the plant is responsible for more than $640-million in annual income for our region.
Representative Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga) said, "I think the long-term benefits to this is, we've just seen the tip of the iceberg."
And if Chattanooga's successful in its bid to build the new Volkswagen SUV, that could mean another exciting day in Hamilton County.