Founded in 1916 as the new site of what would become Southern Adventist University, Collegedale officially incorporated in 1968 and has since grown to a population of more than 11,000 today – far from the 175 students who originally lived in the area.
More than just a college town, Collegedale has grown to be a center of arts, culture, industry, and transportation, and its success and rapid growth would not have been possible without the 12 years of dedicated service given to the community by Collegedale City Manager Ted Rogers.
It is for this reason that the Tennessee City Management Association has recognized Mr. Rogers as its City Manager of the Year for 2018. Mr. Rogers was presented the award Tuesday at the 79th Annual Conference of the Tennessee Municipal League held at the Knoxville Convention Center.
The award is presented each year to acknowledge Tennessee managers, administrators, or assistants who have made exceptional contributions to their community and profession.
Mr. Rogers was appointed as Collegedale’s city manager in 2006 and has since developed and led his management team to a high level of professionalism, resulting in a unified commitment that contributed to Collegedale becoming one of the fastest growing cities in Tennessee, said officials.
Mr. Rogers holds degrees in allied health, education, management, and a master’s in administration and leadership. He has achieved the professional designation of “Credentialed Manager” as defined by the ICMA. He is also a certified municipal finance officer as awarded by the State Comptroller of the Treasury.
It was his background in finance and management as well as his ability to make hard decisions that guided Mr. Rogers in bringing Collegedale back from the brink of bankruptcy and making it one of the most fiscally-secure cities in Tennessee. As health care costs continued to rise and cities across the country struggled to recruit and retain employees, he set relatively low parameters on the premiums employees pay, incorporated the amount into the personnel manual, and designed and implemented a retention and incentive plan that awards longevity with the city.
In 2015, Mr. Rogers spearheaded the creation of the Small Cities Coalition that brought together Collegedale, East Ridge, Lakesite, Lookout Mountain, Red Bank, and Soddy-Daisy to fight a proposed county tax structure change that would have taken a significant portion of sales tax revenue from local cities. Through an inter-local agreement, the coalition hired a communication strategist, and as a team, they developed a plan that successfully defeated the county’s tax proposal.
Mr. Rogers creation of Collegedale’s Planning and Economic Development Department has not only worked to develop the city as a great place to live and work, it also earned the city a TML Achievement Award for Community Development last year, said officials. Mr. Rogers also created a director of parks and recreation for the city, which has led to the development and promotion of programs that have earned Collegedale recognition as a Healthier Tennessee Community.
Other initiatives Mr. Rogers has spearheaded for Collegedale include:
Safety measures for city properties include a glass front in the administration area of the court clerk office and panic alarms at municipal buildings
Purchasing and renovating a structure into Collegedale’s first Economic Development Center
Creating two public restrooms and an emergency response golf cart for the community
Purchasing a former Hamilton County library branch to create the Collegedale Public Library
Developing the structure for the city’s key management system
Designating city hall as a command center for natural disasters and emergency situations
Mr. Rogers was also instrumental in the creation of the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation, an organization that brings city leaders and members of the community together to make sure city development aligns with the cultural, recreational, and livability values of Collegedale citizens.
A lifelong student of leadership, Mr. Rogers doesn’t just work to improve his city. He is the author of “The Leaders Toolbox – Applied Concepts of Leadership,” and has provided leadership training for public and private entities, including MTAS and UTC.
His desire to help others is evident in his work in emergency management. Currently a member of the National Disaster Medical System and serving on Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, Mr. Rogers has been deployed to assist communities suffering from natural disasters such as the hurricanes and earthquakes in Houston, Naples, New Orleans, the Jersey shores and Haiti. His career spanned 31 years with the Tri-Community Fire Department and nearly 13 years with Hamilton County EMS. He remains a member of the Hamilton County 911 Board and was elected this year elected to serve as chairman of the Executive Board for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization.
The incoming president of the Tennessee City Manager Association, Mr. Rogers fully exhibits his belief to maintain the long view, build and maintain relationships, foster civility and mutual respect, and always be clear about your intentions while showing great resolve, said officials.