Thrive Regional Partnership Announces New Trustees

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

At the outset of 2020, Thrive Regional Partnership welcomed three new trustees to its board that reflect growing metropolitan representation and corporate leadership across the tri-state, 16-county greater Chattanooga region. The newly elected Board trustees are Bryan Griffin, Mike Griffin and Justin Groenert.

Bryan Griffin is the area manager for Georgia Power Company in the Northwest Area of Georgia.  He is responsible for managing Georgia Power external activities in Whitfield, Murray, Gilmer, Pickens, and Fanning Counties in Georgia.  Bryan Griffin has been with Georgia Power Company for over 18 years. He has served on various boards throughout his career such as Dalton Chamber of Commerce, Shorter University, Christian Heritage School, Junior Achievement of Northwest Georgia, Polk County Development Authority Ex-officio, Polk County Chamber of Commerce, and Unity Christian School. Bryan Griffin is married to Candy Griffin and they have two children, Ansley Griffin Hughes (25) and Ben Griffin (13).

Mike Griffin enjoyed a 32 year banking career with First Tennessee Bank. His most recent position was community president in Cleveland. Recently, Mike Griffin made a career change and accepted the role of president & CEO of the Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Mike Griffin is a graduate of the University of TN at Chattanooga, Tennessee Commercial Lending School and Tennessee School of Banking. He is very involved in the community with current activities including: Rotary Club of Cleveland – president elect, United Way of Bradley County board chair, vice chair of Cleveland State Community College Board of Trustees, past board chair for Erlanger Hospital Board of Trustees and past president of Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region, UTC Alumni Board and the Museum Center at Five Points. He and his wife Kim live in the historic district in Cleveland and have a daughter Julia and son Graham.

Mr. Groenert is the vice president of Public Policy for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.  In this role, he oversees all policy development and implementation and all aspects of government affairs for the business community of Chattanooga. In July 2018, Mr. Groenert was named chief of staff to Indiana Treasurer of State Kelly Mitchell. In this role, he oversaw the office staff and the six quasi-governmental organizations under the Treasurer’s purview. He also serves as legislative director for the Treasurer’s office, working directly with the state legislature to advance the treasurer’s legislative priorities. Mr. Groenert previously served as the director of Government Relations & Public Policy for the Southwest Indiana Chamber from 2013 to 2018.

“Each of the Thrive board members bring a unique and special attribute to the table,” said Connie Vaughan, chair of Thrive Regional Partnership. “As Thrive Regional Partnership enters its fifth year, we are pleased to welcome these new members who will help steer the organization’s collaborative efforts around mobility, community development, and the conservation of our natural landscape.”

With these appointments, the Thrive board consists of 22 trustees. Chaired by Connie Vaughan, Government Relations Manager for McKee Foods, the board of trustees includes: Rob Bradham, president & CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce; Daniel Carter of Carter Farm and Sewanee, University of the South; Whitney K. Coe of the Center for Rural Strategies; Chuck Dobbins of Dobbins Investments, LLC; Gary Farlow; Joel Houser, southeast field coordinator for the Open Space Institute; Beth Jones, executive director of Southeast Tennessee Development; Denny Mobbs of Jordan Fabricating; Brittany Pittman of the Appalachian Regional Commission; Rick Roden, president & CEO of Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce; Honna Rogers, municipal management consultant for UT-Municipal Technical Advisory Service; Emerson Russell, CEO of ERMC Facility Services; Dr. Mina Sartipi, program leader for UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress; Dennis Tumlin, chief customer officer of the TN Department of Tourist Development; Dr. Edna Varner, senior advisor for the Public Education Foundation; Greg A. Vital, president/CEO of Morning Pointe Senior Living; Elizabeth Wells of Rossville Redevelopment; and Charles Wood, chief economic development officer of the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership.  

Thrive Regional Partnership inspires responsible growth through conversation, connection, and collaboration. The unprecedented nonprofit unites people across the growing tri-state region to preserve community and natural character for generations to come. For more information about Thrive Regional Partnership, visit

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