Driving Our Economy Forward: Chattanooga Chamber’s Impact on Businesses

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — When companies are looking to locate their operations in a new location, the local chamber of commerce can provide valuable information and resources.

The Chattanooga Chamber talked to News 12 about how they’re driving our economy forward.

“The chamber has an economic development arm that really functions as kind of the first point of contact for companies that are looking for a new location,” said Charles Wood, interim CEO. “Typically they’re looking at multiple cities that are in the southeastern U.S. And sometimes broader, or even at the national level. So we work with them on a host of issues. The first is usually helping make sure that there’s a viable workforce for them. That there’s a viable site, a place for them to locate a building, facility. And then from there, it’s really about kind of connecting them inside the community.”

Wood says their main mission is to have great employers in the Chattanooga region that are paying good wages, and boosting the local economy.

“We really kind of built an economic engine that’s going to power southeast Tennessee and North Georgia, and really create a significant amount of opportunity for families across the region,” Wood said. “The Komatsu project was really one of the first economic development projects that the chamber and the city and county worked on collaboratively. And they’ve been here for more than 30 years now. I think they’re close to 35. Volkswagen in particular gave us I think a level of kind of economic activity that has drawn more employers into the market.”

He adds that the Chattanooga area has had some phenomenal leaders to help bolster the economy too.

“Folks like Senator Corker that championed the riverfront, and some great, great folks that have invested heavily in Enterprise South to get us ready. If you think about Claude Ramsey and kind of what he did as a county mayor,” Wood said. “We didn’t get here by accident. I think that we’ve benefited from tremendous leadership across different sectors in the business community, from elected leaders in our inner philanthropic community. And they’ve invested heavily in infrastructure, and in assets in public places, that have really put us in a great position to be really successful long-term.”

Wood says the Chattanooga area’s economic engine in the market is very diverse.

“We have great financial services with companies like Blue Cross and Unum, significant manufacturing base. And then really a thriving entrepreneurial start-up scene,” he said. “For a city our size, we’ve been incredibly successful. I think that brings with it some challenges, but overall, what it means is more opportunity for the people who live here.”

Categories: Driving Our Economy Forward, Jobs & Economy, Local News