Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Annual Report 2020


We began our year by listening. Together, with our members, we developed a plan for the future.


Once our plan was developed, the Chattanooga Climbs capital campaign launched to secure funding. Our partners stepped up and fiscally supported our priorities.


COVID-19 and the struggle for racial equity changed everything. Your Chamber adapted to this new reality and developed a rapid response.

A message from Christy Gillenwater, Chattanooga Chamber President and CEO


The Chattanooga community is known for bringing people together to talk about their dreams and how they fit into the larger community’s plan. In Q4 2018, we asked the community to share what challenges you envisioned over the next 20 years. After reviewing nearly 5,000 survey responses, we developed the community-wide vision known as Velocity 2040.

One of the major goals of the Velocity 2040 vision is to ensure that every resident of Chattanooga and Hamilton County has the opportunity to thrive economically. With an intentional nod to Chattanooga’s natural treasures, our unique rock climbing offerings, and our robust tourism economy, the Chattanooga Chamber launched the Chattanooga Climbs economic development strategy to help us achieve this goal.

As everyone by now knows, the world changed in March. Again when tornadoes struck on Easter. And again when social justice became a rallying cry across our country, county and city. It’s more critical than ever that we keep planning ahead for jobs, that we engage our community in the work we’ll need to keep doing to rebuild momentum.

Jobs remain the No. 1 priority and Charles Wood, Vice President, Economic Development, Chattanooga Chamber, recently shared that his department’s been working on more than nine projects. It takes advance planning to re-establish our momentum and keep us moving forward and I thank him and the entire chamber team for their dedicated efforts.

I’m confident in the resiliency of the people of our community to rebuild and continue to move forward. I am very confident that Valoria Armstrong, Vice President, National Government and Regulatory Affairs, American Water Co., will continue to carry the baton to rebuild momentum, leading our efforts to reach the bold goals of Chattanooga Climbs.

J.V. Vaughn

Immediate Past Chair, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

You’ve no doubt heard it said that people in Chattanooga come together to solve big problems. That’s what our Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has been doing – and well before the pandemic, tornadoes, and renewed social justice movements.

In the coming months, I look forward to working with our full board of directors, our Chattanooga Chamber Council leaders, and our many volunteers and as we work to connect and engage with businesses and organizations to rebuild our momentum, specifically in the areas of economic and talent development.

As a community here in Chattanooga we are resilient, courageous and authentic. We’re one of the best – if not the best – communities people could possibly consider for relocation – especially those who enjoy outdoor activities and who require the fastest internet in the world. We are always planning for our future and we never once thought about anything other than a robust rebuild of our economy. It will take all of us working together, exchanging ideas, outthinking our competition.

We will keep planning ahead for jobs and continue to engage our community in the work we must do to keep rebuilding our momentum. Won’t you join us? We need your talents and voices.

Valoria Armstrong

Chair, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Val Armstrong

Annual Meeting

2020 has been a year full of change. Join us for an update from your Chattanooga Chamber leadership, as they talk about the journey so far, and what lies ahead.


Welcome - J.V. Vaughn, Immediate Past Chair, Chattanooga Chamber

Comments - Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger

Comments - Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

Ambassador of the Year - J.V. Vaughn

Presentation - Valoria Armstrong, Chair, Chattanooga Chamber

Council Membership Growth of the Year Award - Valoria Armstrong

Comments - Valoria Armstrong

Comments - Christy Gillenwater, President and CEO, Chattanooga Chamber

Council of the Year Award - Christy Gillenwater

Chattanooga Chamber Virtual Annual Meeting 2020

Annual Meeting Sponsors

The Chamber's Ambassador program consists of an elite group of professionals who are highly visible volunteers in the Chattanooga business community. Ambassadors assist in member retention efforts, recruiting and mentoring new members. Ambassadors also assist at ribbon cuttings and other Chamber events.

Ambassador of the Year

Carl Hames

Office Furniture Warehouse

Carl Headshot