Contributed photo / Olivier LeMaitre

Lemaitre to head Community Kitchen

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen has named Olivier LeMaitre as the next CEO of the organization, replacing Jens Christensen who went to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga as their president and CEO in April.

LeMaitre recently served as the CEO of the Tim Kelly group of companies in Chattanooga as well as the vice president of Sandler Training. He has also served as a consultant, specializing in restructuring small businesses and maximizing their organizational leadership, management, and financial potential.

Mary Jayne Allen, chair of the Community Kitchen's board of directors, said, LaMaitre "brings excellent leadership skills and experience - and is committed to continuing the important mission and ministry of the Community Kitchen as we serve the hungry and homeless folks in our community."

LeMaitre has worked in nonprofits during his career and said he looks forward to leading an organization that aligns with his personal values and mission to serve others.

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen has been serving the needs of those in our community experiencing homelessness since 1982. Its mission is to meet the most basic needs of hungry, homeless, and vulnerable people in our community while offering a clear path to self-sufficiency.


United Airlines to suspend Chattanooga-Houston flights

United Airlines plans to suspend Houston to Chattanooga service starting Oct. 1, according to the Centre for Aviation.

The service, operated by SkyWest Airlines for United Express, began last Oct. 1 in Chattanooga when it started operating one roundtrip a day.

At the time, Terry Hart, president and chief executive of Chattanooga Airport, termed George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston a gateway to hundreds of domestic and international destinations.

"The addition of a Houston flight adds a new layer of convenience for business travelers and excitement for our leisure travelers," he said last year.

Chattanooga Airport, like aviation worldwide, has taken a hit over the past year and a half due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Publix expands into Kentucky

Publix is expanding beyond the seven states where it currently operates to Kentucky.

A 55,702-square-foot store in Lousiville is expected to open during the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a company announcement.

The Lakeland-based grocer has more than 1,280 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, including stores in Hixson, East Brainerd, Ooltewah and downtown Chattanooga.

"Moving into Kentucky is a natural progression for our company, and we are excited to serve and be a part of this vibrant community," Publix CEO Todd Jones said/ The Kentucky store will also have an adjacent Publix Liquors, the first outside Florida.

The company said Publix is "looking forward to growing within the commonwealth and in its current operating area."


Trust Company finalist for Dream Big award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has selected the Trust Company of Tennessee as one of the finalists for its annual Dream Big Awards. The awards celebrate the achievements of small businesses and honor their contributions to America's economic growth.

Founded in 1987 and with offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities, The Trust Company of Tennessee currently has more than $4 billion under management. The firm helps individuals, families, business owners and nonprofits make better financial decisions through wealth management, personal investment strategy, corporate retirement plans, estate planning and personal trust services.

"We pursue success by helping our clients reach their financial goals, developing great talent and supporting our community and regional economy by sharing our time and expertise," said Sharon J. Pryse, CEO and founder of The Trust Company of Tennessee. "To be among the finalists in the Dream Big Awards is humbling and a confirmation that we place our priorities in the right places. I congratulate our team for their work that has earned our firm this distinguished recognition."

This year's 27 Dream Big Award finalists were chosen from a record-setting more than 1,000 applications submitted from small businesses across the country.

The Trust Co. was one of 27 finalists selected nationwide from among more than 1,000 applicants and one of only two in Tennessee.


Bridgestone acquires fleet manager technology

The Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas has completed the acquisition of the Azuga fleet management platform from Sumeru Equity Partners, Danlaw, Inc. and other shareholders for $391 million. The purchase accelerates Bridgestone's efforts to deploy a comprehensive fleet management solution as a central pillar of the company's advanced mobility strategy.

Featuring GPS tracking, video telematics, driver behavior management and accident reduction solutions for insurers, the Azuga platform improves business performance, reduces fuel consumption and decreases wear and tear on vehicles. Azuga currently supports more than 6,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada in the commercial trucking and insurance industries, as well as the public sector.

"The completion of this acquisition is a significant milestone on our journey to build a more diverse, digital and future-focused Bridgestone," said Paolo Ferrari, president & CEO, Bridgestone Americas, and Global Chief Solutions Business Officer, Bridgestone Corporation. "With Azuga in our portfolio, we will be able to scale our mobility solutions with speed to drive increased safety, sustainability and efficiency for fleet customers."

The Azuga fleet management platform complements Bridgestone's existing portfolio of cloud-based fleet mobility solutions. Bridgestone will leverage Azuga's robust data capture capabilities to advance the development of its core tire products and sustainable mobility solutions.

More than 400 Azuga employees and all Azuga facilities in the U.S. and India have transitioned to Bridgestone. Azuga will remain headquartered in Fremont, California, strengthening Bridgestone's Silicon Valley presence.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner