Mayor Andy Berke, in partnership with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, announced on Tuesday that The Enterprise Center will shift its mission and structure to focus on growing Chattanooga’s innovation economy and addressing issues like access to technology for all citizens.
The announcement follows a report sent to Mayor Berke last week from the Chattanooga Forward task force recommending the “creation of an entity to explore creative strategies to utilize the community’s technological assets such as the high speed gigabit infrastructure.”
“As Chattanooga is becoming a leader in the innovation century, we must capitalize on the momentum of the Gig and our city’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Mayor Berke. “The Enterprise Center has carried out its vision since 2002, building lasting partnerships with research and technology leaders throughout the region. With this refocus in mission and direction, TEC can now meld its strong history of collaboration with the future of technology and innovation in our community.”
“The Enterprise Center has executed great projects in our community in the past. This is a great opportunity for us to revisit the mission of the organization and form new partnerships to help small businesses leverage technology to grow jobs in Hamilton County,” said Mayor Coppinger.
The Enterprise Center was created in 2002 to lead technology-based economic development initiatives and to identify opportunities to coordinate transfer technology with the region’s research and technology partners including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
“It has been my great pleasure to be a part of TEC’s great work,” said Wayne Cropp, president of The Enterprise Center, who will move into a transitional role over the next few months. “Now, the center is positioned to take on a new role as the hub for connecting the gigabyte as an economic development catalyst. While this approach is more narrowly focused on leveraging our digital assets and building our entrepreneurial community, it builds on the accomplishments of the past decade.”
TEC programs related to Renewal Community programs between 2002 and 2009 resulted in hundreds of jobs and over $50 million in total monetary impact in the region. TEC efforts helped spur development in the Main Street, Northshore and South Broad Street areas.
“I am pleased that Mayor Berke sees TEC as the place to pull together the creative and innovative talent in our community to make the Gig come alive. It is a recognition of the mission of TEC to be a catalyst for change,” said Jim Sattler, chairman of the board for The Enterprise Center.
As part of its revitalization program, TEC developed extensive experience in brownfield initiatives aimed at remediation and reuse. Eight clean-up projects have been completed with over 100 acres being made available for redevelopment.
TEC also worked to facilitate the planning of potential high speed rail connecting Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville. Mr. Cropp will ensure that these projects are successfully completed or transitioned to other entities before new leadership is appointed in the coming weeks.
“As a past board chair of The Enterprise Center, the decision by Mayor Berke continues a critical partnership between the city and TEC. We were created to be a coordinator for technology and Mayor Berke’s approach to innovation rejuvenates our mission,” said Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
A team has been named to guide the transition of TEC over the coming months, including selecting new board members and a president for the organization. The transition group will work with stakeholders to review TEC bylaws, structure, strategic plans, and projects to ensure a smooth transition.
“We envision this will be a short process, so that a newly-focused Enterprise Center can hit the ground running and capitalize on all the opportunity for the gig and the potential for Chattanooga in the innovation economy” said Sydney Crisp, Unum's vice president for Global IT Infrastructure and Risk Management, who also serves as a member of TEC's transition team.
The TEC transition team includes:
Kristina Montague, The Jump Fund
Ted Alling, Lamp Post Group
Ken Hays, Kinsey, Probasco & Hays
David Belitz, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
Sydney Crisp, Unum
Sarah Morgan, Benwood Foundation