published Friday, December 9th, 2011

Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce losing top recruiter

Hamilton County's economic development group is losing its chief recruiter, but an official said the area remains positioned to vie for new business.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he's not worried about a drop in economic development efforts with the loss of Trevor Hamilton, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of economic development.

"He will be sorely missed," said Coppinger, but he added that "Trevor never did work in a silo."

After seven years, Hamilton is leaving for a post as senior director of the Cincinnati USA Partnership. The Partnership is an economic development arm of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"This was a hard decision," Hamilton said. "I'm proud of what our "Chattanooga Can Do" economic development program has accomplished through an outstanding public-private partnership and the Chattanooga Chamber's world-class team."

The move also comes as the Chamber is searching for a replacement for Chamber Chief Executive Tom Edd Wilson, who is leaving in early 2013 after a decade as head of the business group.

Wilson said Hamilton became a highly valued member of the Chamber who made "tremendous contributions in implementing our recruitment strategies."

But Wilson said the Chamber's pipeline of job creation prospects is full while it identifies a replacement for Hamilton.

Hamilton, who is leaving at the end of the year, said he got his start in Ohio and the move is an opportunity to take his career to the next level.

"Still, it's not easy to leave Chattanooga in the middle of such an incredible series of job creation success," he said. "I believe this region is on a strong upward trend toward even more economic growth and prosperity."

Chamber Board Chairman Mike St. Charles of the law firm Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel said Hamilton has done "an outstanding job."

He said Hamilton led the Chamber's economic development team in winning nearly 100 job creation investments of $2.4 billion that have directly resulted in over 12,000 new jobs.

That included the $1 billion Volkswagen auto assembly plant that began producing cars in September.

The economic development arm of the Chamber receives more than $1 million a year in public funding from the city of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, TVA and EPB, and the business association also is supported by more than 1,500 business members.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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