published Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Kiwanis to honor Chamber’s Wilson

Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tom Edd Wilson was won the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award.

The award is presented annually in recognition of leadership and service to the community, and will be presented to Wilson at a Jan. 31 luncheon.

During his tenure with the Chamber, he has focused the business group’s efforts on job creation.

One of the Chamber’s achievements under Wilson’s leadership cited by the Kiwanis is its largest-ever capital fund drive for economic development. It raised $9 million from the public and private sectors to sustain a comprehensive job creation strategy from 2003 to 2007.

Since then, he has followed up that success with two additional campaigns raising more than $27 million for economic development.

Under Wilson’s leadership, the Chamber worked with public and private entities to get Enterprise South industrial park named as the first TVA-certified megasite in the state.

His team also helped persuade Volkswagen to locate here and Alstom to renovate and expand its operations in Chattanooga.

During Wilson’s tenure at the Chamber, the organization directly has assisted more than 100 companies create more than 13,000 jobs.

He also played key roles in establishment of the Principal Leadership Academy and the launch of the regional growth planning process, according to the Kiwanis Club.

Wilson, 71, will step down as the Chamber’s CEO in early 2013 after his replacement is picked later this year.

He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.

Wilson began his professional career as an auditor with Arthur Young and spent 35 years in the banking industry, rising to become president of Bank of America’s East Tennessee region. After his retirement from banking in 2001, he took over as president of the Chamber.

In 2006, Wilson was named Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year.

In 2011, he became one of only two Chattanoogans who have received the Boy Scouts of America National Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. This national award recognized Wilson’s lifetime of achievement in business, community leadership and philanthropy. Only one out of every 1,000 Eagle Scouts achieves the designation.

He lives with his wife, Barby, on Signal Mountain and has three daughters and seven grandchildren. He has been a member and elder at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church.

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