20 Under 40: Tucker McClendon

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Tucker McClendon
Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Tucker McClendon

Tucker McClendon, 25

Member, Hamilton County School Board; Manager, Chattanooga Market

Mantra: #itsalreadytomorrowinaustralia

Quarantine projects: I took my quarantine time and upped my handyman and landscaping skills. Both skills still need drastic improvements, but I'm a work in progress. Thankfully the home repair stores were deemed essential.

What's something you can't have in your house? Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, and another dog. Chester (my dog) is so big, my house will always be a one-dog household.

What have you been most grateful for during the pandemic? I am tremendously grateful for my job. Our markets have been upended and canceled over the past three months and I have been very fortunate and blessed to have been able to keep my job. Also, at the beginning of all of this, we had the Easter tornado and I was able to see the strength of our community in helping each other.

What motivates you? Passion, work and community. ... Being on the school board has reinforced my passion to support the students and teachers of Hamilton County. These are the individuals who will keep Chattanooga the great city it is for generations to come, so we have to give them our full support.

Has the pandemic changed your outlook in any way? It has really made me think about how to adapt when things change very quickly. I think we get so caught up in our normal routine and forget how to adjust or look at things with different scenarios.

How did the pandemic upend your routine? I would say it probably made me correct my routine. I tend to be a workaholic, and [the pandemic] has made me really get into a routine that doesn't revolve around work or checking emails constantly.

How did you remain productive? I'm a social person and miss my co-workers, and I love to visit schools and walk the halls, so some days were difficult. However, I had to be productive from home due to the issues both the market and the school board faced due to the pandemic. In both positions, we were dealing with obstacles that we have never had to face before and I hope we never have to face again.

One thing you wish you'd known at the start of your career? Having just started my professional career, I have found myself wanting to rush it. I keep telling myself to slow down. I have learned in a short time that you don't have to have the best job title or the highest-paying job; those things will come if you are passionate about what you are doing.

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