Contributed photo / Christy Gillenwater, president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, was named chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Gillenwater named chair of national Chamber group

Christy Gillenwater, the president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber, has been named chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) board of directors.

"It's an exciting time for our association, and I accept this role with enthusiasm," Gillenwater said after accepting the one-year term as board chair during the group's recent annual meeting. "Chambers can build on the successes we've achieved through challenging times. This will require us to embrace disruption and be more intentional about our work."

ACCE is a 1,600-member professional society supporting those who lead local, regional, statewide and international chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations. The association provides members with information resources, thought leadership, education programs, original research, benchmarking, retirement security and access to a network of peers.

"Chambers of commerce have never been more important than they are right now," ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said. "Christy is an innovative and thoughtful leader who will help the chamber industry capitalize on this momentum to shape the future of our communities."


Thousands of flights upended by weather

Tens of thousands of flyers had their travel plans upended Friday after airlines canceled more than 1,100 flights for a second straight day because of thunderstorms hitting the East Coast.

American Airlines scrubbed more than 200 flights, or 6% of its schedule. Republic Airways, which operates smaller planes for American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, also canceled more than 200 flights, about 20% of its schedule. Another 3,700 flights were delayed by midafternoon.

About 1,200 U.S. flights were canceled Thursday — 4.6% of all scheduled flights, and the highest number since July 25, according to FlightAware.

Travelers have been hit with widespread cancellations and delays this summer. Travel bounced back faster than expected — to about 88% of pre-pandemic levels in July — and airlines weren't able to increase staffing fast enough. They have been cutting back on schedules in an attempt to make remaining flights more reliable.


Consumer borrowing growing with inflation

U.S. consumer borrowing surged in June, reflecting a jump in credit-card balances and a record increase in non-revolving lending that includes auto and school loans.

Total credit increased $40.2 billion from the prior month, second only to March's $47.1 billion spike, Federal Reserve figures showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a $27 billion advance. The figures aren't adjusted for inflation.

Revolving credit outstanding, which includes credit cards, increased $14.8 billion. Non-revolving credit increased $25.4 billion.

The June figures wrap up a quarter in which borrowing rose an annualized 8.7%. Motor vehicle loans at the end of the second quarter increased about $32 billion, while student loans was up less than $1 billion.

With inflation at a 40-year high, Americans are having to spend more to buy the same goods and services as before. Consumers, however, have so far proved resilient, with outlays growing on an inflation-adjusted basis in June — even if just slightly.


Pipeline firm pleads no contest to pollution

The developer of a major pipeline system that connects the Marcellus Shale gas field in western Pennsylvania to an export terminal near Philadelphia pleaded no contest Friday to criminal charges that it systematically polluted waterways and residential water wells across hundreds of miles.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Operating agreed to independent testing of homeowners' water and promised to remediate contamination in a settlement of two separate criminal cases brought by the Pennsylvania attorney general. Under a plea deal, the company will also pay $10 million to restore watersheds and streams along the route of its Mariner East pipeline network.

A judge heard and approved the plea at a hearing in Harrisburg on Friday.

"We are holding Energy Transfer accountable for their crimes against our natural resources," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference after the hearing.

The company's Mariner East 1, Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X pipelines are designed to carry propane, ethane and butane from the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas fields to a refinery processing center and export terminal in Marcus Hook, a suburb of Philadelphia. Construction wrapped in February.