Contributed photo / George Abernathy, president of FreightWaves, moved to Chattanooga from Texas in 2018 to work for the company.

His career in logistics and transport set up George Abernathy to know Chattanooga well. His first trip to the city was in 1997, and he returned many times over the years to work with US Xpress, Covenant Transport and Kenco, among others.

Watching the city change over the last two decades went a long way toward persuading Abernathy that a move to the city would be a great next step. He joined FreightWaves as chief revenue officer in November 2017, spent six months commuting, and then moved into a place in Ooltewah with his wife, Maureen.

"It has really lived up to or exceeded our expectations," he says. "Our kids have graduated from college, so we have some disposable income and we're putting it to good use in all the restaurants."

A year ago, Abernathy became president of FreightWaves, which provides proprietary market analytics and publishes freight, logistics, cargo and transportation news. The fast-growing company has hired about a third of its 150 people from outside the area, and finds that Chattanooga is a great tool in both recruiting local talent and drawing new residents, Abernathy says.

"We're very successfully recruiting people to stay. We have a lot of success out of UTC, a lot of Tennessee orange here. We're recruiting people up from Georgia," he says. "We see it as a destination city."

(Read more: Laws of attraction: Drawing new people to the Scenic City is key to economic growth)

George Abernathy

* Arrived: Spring 2018 from Dallas

* The draw: Moved to Chattanooga to work in leadership at FreightWaves

* Here for it: “From a food and culture perspective, we really lack for nothing here.”

* Less than perfect: “It’s slightly tough to recruit IT talent, but that’s tough to recruit anywhere these days.”