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The Growing Buzz on Chattanooga

By Tom Edd Wilson,
Chamber President and CEO

For a long time, many of Chattanooga’s evangelists encountered skepticism from
people who had never been to our community. I’ve heard more than one person say, “Chattanooga sells itself if you can just get people to visit.”

But in the last couple of years we’ve seen a dramatic change in attitude. Despite all the economic gloom and doom, more and more people like what they’re hearing about Chattanooga so much, they’re showing up to see it for themselves.

From the economic development perspective, the heavy lifting we did to achieve previous successes has enhanced our credibility. After all, if a community can meet the exacting site search requirements for auto assembly and nuclear turbine manufacture, other potential investors take notice. And, so do magazines. Business Facilities magazine recently ranked Chattanooga as the top metro in America for “Economic Growth Potential.”

Over the past year, we’ve been demonstrating that potential with a steady drum beat of job creation announcements from many different kinds of companies. A number of manufacturers announced expansions -- SIAG Aerisyn, LJT, and Wrigley, which moved the production of LifeSavers mints to Chattanooga. We’re also working with HomeServe USA as they launch a new customer care center creating 140 new jobs.

And, you’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the 500 new jobs announced by Volkswagen suppliers in the last year alone. That brings the direct job creation tally from Volkswagen to 2,835 new jobs.

None of these projects has come easily. Like every other city in America, we’re under the pall of economic uncertainty and tight lending practices, but the hard work we’ve done in the past is giving Chattanooga a shot, and we continue, against challenging odds, to close deals.

Success breeds opportunity. Our region stands ready to come out of the recession with more momentum than just about any other place in America.

And that’s not just buzz -- that’s the sound of over 1,200 jobs being announced in the last 12 months -- and those are just the ones the Chamber directly assisted.

Tom Edd Wilson is president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. 
For more information, please contact him at 423.756.2121.


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