New Future For The Enterprise Center Is In Motion

Team In Place To Guide Center During Transition Period

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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


Case Of Drug Ring Involving Child Sent To Grand Jury

Felony drug charges against four individuals who admitted to involving a child in their alleged crimes were bound over to a grand jury after a Tuesday hearing. The alleged incidents took place back in February.  According to police, narcotics detectives were watching when a green jeep pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex on East Brainerd Road. The ... (click for more)

Arrest Made After String Of Auto Burglaries Near Munro Road

A Chattanooga man was arrested and charged with a string of auto burglaries in the Munro Road area. Witnesses said they saw three men in a white Volvo drive up and attempt to break into a vehicle in a driveway on the street.  When police located the suspect car, they also found multiple stolen items, including a gun. They also found 21-year-old Steven Coburn. According ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)

After String Of Injuries, Ailments Vols' Maggitt Ready To Play

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Come Sunday ,  it will have been 659 days since Curt Maggitt played a snap in a college football game, but that's not what he's concerned about. "It's four days from now," Maggitt said Wednesday. "That's what's most important. It's going to be emotional for sure. It's been a real long time since I've been out there and ran through the `T' actually suited ... (click for more)

Fulghum, Walker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Cleveland

Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans shook off an up-and-down performance in last weekend’s Early Bird tournament at Oak Ridge and throttled Cleveland, 3-0, in a District 5-AAA volleyball match Tuesday at Soddy-Daisy High School. The Lady Trojans (8-4, 2-1) swept the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-15. Abby Walker and Karigan Fulghum combined for 30 digs and 18 kills to ... (click for more)