(June 12, 2017) – The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce fondly remembers and honors former President & CEO Tom Edd Wilson, who led the Chamber from 2002 to 2013.
“Tom Edd Wilson came in to lead the Chamber when the boom of the 1990s had mostly passed Chattanooga by,” said Bill Kilbride, Chamber President & CEO. “The early 2000 recession was fully in force, yet he had the vision to lead the first private-public capital campaign to advance job creation for Chattanooga. His leadership was critical to raising $9 million through that first private-public partnership and during his tenure at the Chamber he raised more than $30 million. Tom Edd played a lead role in Chattanooga’s strategic approach to job development and this collaborative approach led to successes like Volkswagen’s investment, Amazon and many others. Under his leadership the Chamber played a lead role in successfully establishing an economic development brand for Chattanooga – joining with the CVB and others in rounding out Chattanooga’s national reputation as a revitalized city and an emerging economic power house.”
Wilson led the Chamber in directly assisting nearly 120 companies in creating more than 16,000 jobs. He also engaged the business community in enhancing education – an effort that continues today, and he launched the Thrive 2055 long-term planning initiative for our region.
Born in Rockwood, Tennessee, Wilson studied accounting at the University of Tennessee and attended Rutgers University Stonier Graduate School of Banking.
Prior to his time with the Chattanooga Chamber, Wilson worked with Bank of America; Cumberland County Bank in Crossville, Tennessee; Commerce Union Bank and Arthur Young and Company.
Wilson participated extensively in community and civic organizations, including Rotary Club, Allied Arts (now ArtsBuild), Boy Scouts and United Way, which broke annual fundraising records under his leadership.
He has been recognized as Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year (2006), a Distinguished Eagle Scout (2011) — one of only two Chattanoogans ever to receive this award, and more.
Find a full list of Wilson’s awards and community involvement here.
Wilson and his wife Barbara (Barby) Wilson share three children and several grandchildren.
More than half of the Chamber’s current staff worked with Wilson as the Chamber’s leader, and they remember Wilson not only as polished and professional, but as warm and humble with a great sense of humor.