2018 // Business & Technology

Did You Know?

Inc. magazine named two Chattanooga logistics firms among America’s fastest growing companies in 2017. Steam Logistics, founded in 2012, and Reliance Partners, founded in 2009, made the top 500 list.

Chattanooga Business and Technology; Jeff Jackson, First Tennessee; Stephen Leibovitz, CBL & Associates; Valoria Armstrong, TWA

Bolstered by growth in manufacturing and logistics, a pro-business government, private and public support for startups, the Electric Power Board’s (EPB) fiber optic network, and a booming tourism industry, Chattanooga is the ideal city for business.

Chattanooga Business and Technology; AudiencePoint; Digital Marketing Services

(above) AudiencePoint, photo by Rich Smith

Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee have both been recognized by national publications for their recent economic growth and business-friendly environment. In 2017, Headway Capital, a small business lender, named Chattanooga the city with the lowest startup cost.  In 2016, Chief Executive magazine named Tennessee as the fourth best state for business and the sixth best state for manufacturing.  Inbound Logistics magazine named the Chattanooga region as the fourth best hotspot for a logistics hub and distribution center.  Thumbtack.com, a networking site, ranked Chattanooga as the second best city in America for women to start a business.  In 2017, Fortune called Chattanooga, “One of America’s Most Startup-Friendly Cities.” 

In 2017, metro Chattanooga’s unemployment rate fell below 4%, and Hamilton County’s dipped to as low as 3% in the spring. The past year saw employment grow by nearly 4.1% in the metro area, translating to 10,023 new jobs, which was more than the U.S. growth rate for the same period. 

Advanced manufacturing has stimulated a considerable amount of job growth in the area. When Volkswagen established their North American plant in Chattanooga in 2011, their production facility created over 2,000 new jobs and drew global automotive suppliers to the area, creating even more manufacturing jobs.

In 2016, Volkswagen ramped up production on their new seven-pass-enger Atlas, hiring 1,000 more employees. Additional auto suppliers, like Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, RemSourceUSA, Plastic Omnium, and Chattanooga Seating Systems, responded to this growth by expanding nearby. Yanfeng opened a new manufacturing facility in 2017, a $55 million investment that created 325 new jobs.  Chattanooga Seating Systems doubled their workforce, investing $5.4 million to expand their operations.

Just recently, Volkswagen announced plans to assemble a smaller five-seat SUV.  This latest announcement is expected to create more job growth as well.

Other global manufacturing firms have chosen the Chattanooga region as their North American manufacturing base. In 2016, Wacker Chemie, a global manufacturer of chemical products, opened a $2.5 billion polysilicon production site in Charleston, Tennessee, located just north of Cleveland. In 2017, only a year after opening, Wacker announced a $150 million plant expansion, adding 60 more jobs. Nokian Tyres, a Finnish tire maker, announced plans to build a $360 million plant, creating 400 jobs in Dayton, Tennessee. 

Longstanding homegrown manufacturing companies are also experiencing growth and expanding operations to meet increased demand. Among those, Miller Industries, a leading manufacturer of towing equipment, is adding more than 150,000 square feet of space to their U.S. plants this year, including a 27,000-square-foot expansion in Ooltewah.  M&M Industries in Lookout Valley, a manufacturer of plastic pails and containers, announced a $42.7 million expansion, creating more than 110 jobs. 

Dalton-based carpet and floor manufacturers are also expanding. Mohawk Industries is currently expanding its vinyl flooring plant in Dalton with a $100 million investment, adding 200 jobs. Shaw Industries Group is planning a $42 million investment in its carpet plant in Decatur, Tennessee, adding 75 new jobs. Engineered Floors just announced their intention of purchasing competitor Beaulieu Group.

With its strategic location close to water, rail, and interstate systems, Chattanooga has been a natural hotspot for transportation and logistics. Chattanooga is home to some of the top logistics providers, including U.S. Xpress, Covenant Transport, Kenco, Coyote (now a part of UPS), and Schnellecke Logistics. Amazon opened two 1 million-square-foot distribution facilities in 2011, one in Bradley County and one in Enterprise South Industrial Park. Together, they employ more than 4,500 people and are both currently hiring. Coyote Logistics expanded their Chattanooga freight forwarding and logistics planning facility in 2016, adding 160 jobs. FedEx just expanded their footprint in Chattanooga by opening a second and larger distribution center near Enterprise South Industrial Park. Dynamo, a logistics accelerator that opened in 2016 to help start up tech logistics companies, has put Chattanooga on the map as an up-and-coming center for logistics technology. Several tech logistics startups, including WorkHound of Des Moines, Iowa, and Locatible from Dublin, Ireland, chose to relocate to or add offices in Chattanooga after participating in the accelerator’s three-month program.

Chattanooga Business and Technology; Conversant Group, LLC; IT Services and Consulting

(above) Conversant Group, LLC, photo by Rich Smith

Chattanooga’s tourism industry has steadily increased each year, contributing to the growth of the economy.  With 3.5 million annual visitors spending $1 billion, hotel development and management companies are continuing to expand, as five upscale hotels are currently being renovated or are under construction.

Driven by an unprecedented level of support for startups, Hamilton County led the state of Tennessee in new business startup growth during the first quarter of 2017. A total of 787 new businesses were created, 32% more than the first quarter of 2016.  As the first midsize city to establish an innovation district, Chattanooga boasts a concentrated 140-acre mix of startup businesses, business incubators, and accelerators, located in the center of downtown.

Anchoring the innovation district, The Enterprise Center works to attract and develop new businesses. On the NorthShore, the INCubator, run by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, is one of the largest and most successful business incubators in the U.S. Since 1988, they have graduated 556 businesses, and of the 70 businesses currently at the INCubator, 60 generated $17 million in revenue this past year.

CO.LAB, a nonprofit accelerator, offers resources and support for high-growth potential startups. Among their programs, CO.STARTERS and CO.LAB Accelerator provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools needed to turn ideas into sustainable, thriving businesses. CO.LAB’s GIGTANK 365 attracts entrepreneurs from around the world hoping to earn funding to develop new technology-based ideas in Chattanooga.

Supporting Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is a community of public and private equity groups. Among many are Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Spartan Ventures, Tenth Street Capital, The Jump Fund, SwiftWing Ventures, Blank Slate Ventures, Four Bridges Capital Advisors, Dynamo, BrightBridge, and River Associates Investments.

Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been underpinned by EPB’s fiber optic network, capable of delivering high-speed internet to homes and businesses. First established in 2010, the 1,000 megabits per second internet speed launched Chattanooga into the international spotlight. In 2015, EPB launched 10-gig service (10,000 megabits per second) called NextNet – the fastest internet service in the world.


101 W. 21st St.
Chattanooga, TN 37408
423.265.1111 | agcetn.org

Founded in 1920, the Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee (AGC) serves as a trade association for members including general contractors, construction managers, specialty contractors, service providers, and supplier companies that support and participate in the regional commercial construction industry. By providing its members with a multitude of personal and professional development opportunities, the AGC ensures efficient operations and maintains current information on the latest trends, codes, and standards for the construction industry.


508 N. Market St.
Chattanooga, TN 37405
423.266.6144 | chattanooga.bbb.org

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia with a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner. BBB accredited businesses must meet certain standards to qualify for accredited status and to remain accredited. Through the support of accredited businesses, the BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising and by investigating and exposing fraud.


535 Chestnut St., Suite 161
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.424.4220 | brightbridgeinc.org

Focusing on companies in Tennessee and Georgia, BrightBridge specializes in nontraditional business financing. BrightBridge works with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide financing opportunities for existing and startup businesses. BrightBridge also has other specialized sources of financing available.


811 Broad St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.756.2121 | chattanoogachamber.com

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce champions member businesses and promotes regional economic growth. Leading initiatives are the Chamber-managed INCubator program and support for existing industry and small businesses. The Chamber also works to support workforce development and the recruitment of new business investments to the area. The Chattanooga Chamber supports more than 2,000 member organizations throughout the Chattanooga area, providing networking opportunities, advocating for business-friendly public policy, and engaging in countless other efforts to support business and economic development in the region.


736 Market St., 18th Floor
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.756.8687 | 800.322.3344

The Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) promotes Hamilton County as a year-round destination for leisure travel, meetings, conventions, and sporting events. If you would like to host a group in Chattanooga, the CVB will help you through every step of the planning process for free. It’s easy to see why Chattanooga was named Outside magazine’s “Best Town Ever” twice and National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Towns in the U.S. to Live + Play.”


801 Broad St., Suite 420
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.756.3222 | chattanoogabar.org

The Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA) works for the betterment of the legal profession by stimulating respect, esteem, and fellowship in the legal community. In addition, the CBA takes an active interest in governmental affairs. In the year of its Centennial Celebration, the CBA Board adopted a program focusing on three major issues: service to the community, service to the profession, and service to the client. In correlation with the American Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association, the Chattanooga Bar Association actively supports the legal community.


1917 E. Third St.
Chattanooga, TN 37404
423.622.2872 | chattmd.org

Dedicated to serving the interests of physicians and the well-being of their patients, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has worked for 135 years as the voice of the medical community, monitoring legislation and other changes affecting medical professions. The society serves as a collective advocate for area members and promotes the general health of residents. Since 2004, the Medical Society and Medical Foundation have coordinated more than $162 million in donated health care services for low-income workers in the community through Project Access.


756 E. MLK Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
P.O. Box 3226
Chattanooga, TN 37404
423.267.5637 | chattanooganaacp.org

Formed in 1909 by a multiracial group of progressive thinkers, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a nonprofit organization established with the objective of ensuring the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority groups. The mission of the NAACP is to eliminate racial prejudice and remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes.


1250 Market St., Suite 2000
Development Resource Center
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.643.5900 | chcrpa.org

The Regional Planning Agency (RPA) provides land use planning support for the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and other municipalities within the county. RPA conducts transportation planning for Hamilton County and a portion of North Georgia through a federally funded organization called the Transportation Planning Organization. RPA develops and maintains a variety of planning and policy tools and provides zoning and subdivision reviews for its member jurisdictions and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.


10 W. MLK Blvd., 5th Floor
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.266.1902 | cma1902.com

The Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) works to enable cooperation, competitiveness, and profitable growth for all Tennessee manufacturers to create an enriched economic future for all. CRMA has a professional staff dedicated to the needs of its members.


100 Cherokee Blvd., Suite 103
Chattanooga, TN 37405
423.826.8700 | chatechcouncil.org

ChaTech is a nonprofit membership organization serving technology-related and technology-enabled companies in the Chattanooga area. Members range from single-proprietor startups to large enterprise companies and all business types in between. ChaTech connects the technology community by providing monthly education and networking events. It invests in the tech workforce by awarding college scholarships to students in IT majors. ChaTech promotes the area as a technology and innovation hub by presenting the Early Innovator Award each year. The annual Scenic City Summit developers’ conference and ChaTech Women reach other professionals.


P.O. Box 4363
Chattanooga, TN 37405
423.394.8173 | cwli.org

The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) is instilled with its seven founders’ belief that women bring a broad range of talents and perspectives to the community, which contribute to growth and stability. Since 1998, CWLI has instituted a wide range of outreach programs for women in all walks of life. CWLI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c) (3) membership organization comprised of more than 650 women. CWLI offers a variety of educational programs, events, and leadership development opportunities in areas of politics, community service, business, mentoring, and entrepreneurship.


1100 Market St., Suite 100
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.648.2195 | colab.co

The Company Lab (CO.LAB) is a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurial growth in Southeast Tennessee. The organization works to help launch and sustain new businesses, increase the viability of startups, connect aspiring entrepreneurs with mentors and experts, and strengthen the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Program of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

811 Broad St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Diversity & Inclusion at the Chattanooga Chamber supports established and emerging diverse businesses through: assistance securing contracts and customers, connections to opportunities outside the region, assistance promoting bid solicitations, assistance with Diverse Business Enterprise certifications, and connections to contractor, supplier, and professional service opportunities with local, state, and federal governments. The Diversity & Inclusion program promotes diversity in the workplace through relationships with area employers. An advisory board guides Diversity & Inclusion efforts and assists with strategic planning.

Chattanooga Business and Technology; Energ3; Energy Project Development

(above) ENERG3, photo by Rich Smith


1100 Market St., Suite 500
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.661.3300 | theenterprisectr.org

Backed by the city of Chattanooga, The Enterprise Center is dedicated to establishing Chattanooga as a hub for innovation and improving people’s lives by leveraging the city’s digital technology to create, demonstrate, test, and apply solutions for the 21st century.


P.O. Box 11522
Chattanooga, TN 37401
423.634.3613 | ewichattanooga.org

Since 1938, Executive Women International (EWI) has engaged executives through networking connections, career development, company promotion, and community involvement. More than 1,600 companies and 2,100 representatives are members of EWI today in nearly 57 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. EWI membership offers member representatives a platform to promote their company, further their professional development, and give back to their community.


8 E. Seventh St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
gacctn@gaccsouth.com | gaccsouth.com

Founded in 1978, this organization is a private nonprofit representing German trade interests in the region. Its mission is twofold: to promote the economic and business interests of entities that work to develop and/or preserve commercial ties between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Southern U.S.; and to improve German-American business conditions by organizing and supporting discussions, and providing
tailored services to such entities in order to support their foreign business activities. The GACC is composed of 130 German chambers of commerce and government offices in 90 countries. It has successfully built an extensive network of more than 700 members across the Southern U.S. while assisting in the growth and cooperation of companies doing business on a global scale. The Tennessee Chapter opened in Chattanooga in 2013.


2963 Amnicola Hwy.
Chattanooga, TN 37406
423.698.8001 | gcar.net

Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with nearly 2,000 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of REALTORS®. Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in Southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in Northwest Georgia.


3221 Harrison Pk.
Chattanooga, TN 37406
423.624.9992 | hbagc.net

A nonprofit trade association, the Home Builders Association has a membership composed of professional builders, developers, and others engaged in home building, remodeling, and light commercial construction. Also included are representatives of financial institutions, realtors, suppliers of building materials, and specialized tradespersons. The association promotes responsible building and development standards, monitors legislation, represents its membership in the halls of government, engages in the educational process, and provides networking opportunities for members.


100 Cherokee Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN 37405

A program of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the INCubator is the largest business incubator in Tennessee, and the third largest in the United States. The INCubator helps startups achieve success through a three-year, staged development program including shared administrative services, below-market rent, training opportunities, use of a state-of-the-art Technology Conference Center, free on-site counseling from the Small Business Administration and more. The INCubator has graduated more than 565 small businesses into the community.


622 E. Fourth St.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
jlchatt.org | juniorleague@jlchatt.org

Junior League of Chattanooga (JLC) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. JLC celebrated its Centennial in 2017.


P.O. Box 1103
Chattanooga, TN 37401
kiwanischatt.org | kiwanischatt@comcast.net

Since its founding in 1918, the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga has been active in the service and financial support of many charitable organizations in the community. Each year the Kiwanis Club sponsors the Great Kiwanis Duck Race, which drops 5,500 rubber ducks from the Walnut Street Bridge and raises over $10,000. The mission of Kiwanis International is “to serve the children of the world, one child and one community at a time.” Fulfilling this motto, the Chattanooga Kiwanis Club has made building and revitalizing playgrounds at schools and in the community its signature project.  Several other Kiwanis Clubs are active in the Chattanooga area, including East Brainerd Kiwanis and Hixson Kiwanis. The Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga meets for lunch every Tuesday at noon at The Mountain City Club.


811 Broad St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.756.2121 | chattanoogachamber.com

Established by the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation in 1984, Leadership Chattanooga is the premier program for the development of future local leaders. The 10-month program introduces people of promise in early or midcareer to community issues and services while developing their leadership skills in preparation for prominent roles in business, cultural, and political affairs. To date, more than 1,200 individuals have completed the challenging, motivational program, which includes experiential learning opportunities and community service team projects.



More than 80 years ago, the Chattanooga Downtown Lions Club was formed as a service organization. Today, 14 Lions Clubs are active in the Chattanooga area, providing charitable activities often related, but not limited to, sight preservation and eye disorders. Through the Kid Sight Outreach Program, over 500,000 preschool children in Tennessee have been screened. The organization provides financial support for Tennessee School for the Blind, Tennessee School for the Deaf, Leader Dogs, Learning Ally, and Hamilton County Lions Sight Services. Lions Club International is the world’s largest service organization with 1.4 million members in over 200 countries and celebrated 100 years of service in 2017.


The Bailey Bldg. | 1089 Bailey Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37404
423.265.3693 | mcaofchattanooga.com

The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chattanooga promotes education, professional development, and quality among its membership, which includes pipe fitting, plumbing, sheet metal, heating and cooling contractors, and service companies. The mission of the organization is to provide the finest workmanship and expertise available for major industrial projects, as well as for light commercial and residential needs. Members are dedicated to continuing excellence in their fields while sharing best practices and networking with
one another.


850 Market St.
Miller Plaza, 2nd Floor
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.265.3700 | downtownchattanooga.org

River City Company is the economic development engine for Downtown Chattanooga. Through its work to cultivate and advocate for a vibrant and healthy downtown, River City Company stimulates the community’s economic, social, and cultural growth.


Chattanooga | chattanoogarotary.com

Hamilton Place | hamiltonplacerotary.org

Breakfast  | chattanoogabreakfastrotary.com

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga was organized in 1914 and is the oldest and largest club in the organization’s District 6780. The Chattanooga Hamilton Place Rotary was chartered in 1990 and the Breakfast Rotary Club (Hixson) in 2002. Rotary clubs meet in other communities in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and around the world. Rotary Clubs are friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.


Chapter 211
5726 Marlin Rd., Suite 515
Chattanooga, TN 37411
423.553.1722 | scorechattanooga.org

SCORE is a nonprofit organization staffed with 18+ volunteers who are former business executives and managers, or small business owners with a total of 700+ years of education and experience in the business world. SCORE is dedicated to mentoring Chattanooga’s entrepreneurs in the formation, growth, and success of small and nonprofit businesses. Founded in 1964, SCORE provides free counseling/mentoring services, including helping startups address operational issues or assisting with other business concerns. Services are free, confidential, and unlimited. SCORE is always interested in attracting former and existing executives and small business owners who wish to pay it forward by becoming SCORE mentors.


701 E. MLK Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423.425.5497 | utc.edu/SimCenter

SimCenter: Center of Excellence in Applied Computational Science and Engineering focuses on cross-disciplinary research, development, education, and training using modeling and simulation with high-performance computing to address challenging problems in energy and environmental sciences, health and biosciences, and manufacturing. Chattanooga’s leadership supports the SimCenter as a focal point for the city’s technology community through partnerships that strengthen high-technology in Chattanooga and support ongoing economic development initiatives.


P.O. Box 4757
Chattanooga, TN 37405
423.266.5781 | sedev.org

The Southeast Tennessee Development District (the District) is a special purpose government unit, owned and governed by local county and municipal governments throughout Southeast Tennessee and the Chattanooga MSA. The District cost-effectively provides staffing resources to local governments and delivers programs and services regionally. The work of the District is accomplished by utilizing local, state, federal, and private funds to offer programs and services for core business functions, including community and economic development, planning and local government assistance, career and workforce development, and aging and disability programs.


1100 Market St., 2nd Floor
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423.308.7730 | gotechtown.org

TechTown is a technology and entrepreneurial learning center offering year-round technology and arts education programs, field trips, multiday camps during school breaks, and workforce development for adults. It is dedicated to providing innovators of all ages access to an innovative learning environment, awareness of the many career opportunities available in technology and arts fields, and training in 21st century skills. The center is designed for learners across all skill levels and demographics, from ages 7 to 70. TechTown is a place where people discover, learn, and explore the limitless possibilities of their imaginations.


312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., 27th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
615.741.1888 | tnecd.com

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.

at Chattanooga State Community College

INCubator/Hamilton County Business Development Center
100 Cherokee Blvd., Suite 202
Chattanooga, TN 37405
423.756.8668 | tsbdc.org/ChSCC

In cooperation with resource partners, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) provides a comprehensive source of solutions to aid in the creation, management, expansion, and sustainability of businesses in Tennessee. Services include consultation, education, and referral support. The TSBDC network contributes to the growth and development of the Tennessee economy by assisting with domestic and international trade issues. The TSBDC is a Chattanooga State Community College organization sponsored by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


730 E. MLK Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423.756.1762 | ulchatt.net

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga is an affiliate of the National Urban League, the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans and other underserved individuals to enter the economic and social mainstream. The Urban League structures its focus around initiatives that provide the greatest impact on the social and economic future of underserved people.


811 Broad St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402

A program of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals of Chattanooga creates opportunities for young professionals (21–40) to connect and grow into future leaders of Chattanooga. YPC aims to be Chattanooga’s leadership incubator: the place where young professionals come to find inspiration, impact the community, build relationships, channel energy, advocate passions, and leave better than they came.