Bill Kilbride tapped to lead Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Bill Kilbride tapped to lead Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

April 17th, 2014 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

Bill Kilbride

Bill Kilbride

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A longtime Mohawk Industries executive has been tapped as the new head of Chattanooga's chief economic development group.

Bill Kilbride, a Chattanoogan who is president of the Mohawk Home Division of the Calhoun, Ga.-based floor-covering giant, is the choice to be chief executive of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kilbride, 62, would replace Ron Harr, who has headed the 1,806-member business group for the past year and a half. Harr announced earlier this year he has decided to take early retirement by the end of June on the advice of his doctor.

Kilbride, who formerly served on the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority for many years, would take the Chamber's top spot at a key time for the group.

The Chamber's 4-year, $10.2 million "Can Do" campaign is trying to recruit or develop at least 15,000 jobs in the Chattanooga area by June 2015. The Chamber calculates that it is already more than half way toward that goal, even without the potential expansion of the Volkswagen plant for a sport utility vehicle line.

The Chamber receives nearly $1 million a year in public funds from the city of Chattanooga, Hamilton County government, EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority for its economic development efforts.

A New York native, Kilbride joined American Rug Craftsmen as its president in 1992. A year later, the company was made a part of Mohawk Industries. Kilbride in 2010 also became chief sustainability officer for Mohawk.

See more in Friday's Times Free Press.