People working together are greater than they could ever be working apart. That principle was the driving factor for the area’s Chamber of Commerce Executives to formalize the group, the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA). There are 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland region including Macon, Clay, Pickett, Jackson, Smith, Putnam, Overton, Fentress, Putnam, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Cannon, Warren, and Van Buren.
Approximately a year and a half ago, TTU had gathered the Chamber executives from across the region for some informal and educational meetings to discuss best practices, available resources and to share pertinent information and challenges. These meetings demonstrated the value of this alliance as the Chamber executives gathered and continued their education.
“The birth of the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA) will assist every county in the Upper Cumberland region to develop and share information on critical issues that will benefit all,” said Ray Norris, newly elected Chairman of the UCCEA. “Further, we all appreciate the fact that Tennessee Tech has played a pivotal role in the formation of UCCEA and we hope they will continue to play a valuable role going forward as the UCCEA matures. The UCCEA will support the region’s economic development as well as providing the ability to speak as one united regional entity as this can benefit each and every county to some extent. I am personally thankful to my peers for their support in starting this organization.”
Dennis Tennant, Associate Director of Extended Programs and Regional Development at Tennessee Technological University, had a vision for organizing this group as other professionals such as the Upper Cumberland Directors of Schools have aligned forces to benefit the community.
It was time to formally organize the group said Tennant, and TTU is looking forward to continuing the partnership with the UCCEA.
Bylaws were approved and officers elected at the June meeting. Norris, Clay County Chamber, was elected as Chairman; Walter Page, Fentress County Chamber was elected as Vice Chair; and Jody Sliger, Sparta - White County Chamber was elected Secretary of the UCCEA.
“We are looking forward to working together for the purpose of improving not only our individual communities, but the Upper Cumberland as a whole,” said Suzanne Williams, Smithville - DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.
Plans include having educational sessions with other partners across the state including the TN Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA, TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation, TN Dept. of Tourist Development, and more. For more information, you can contact Norris at (931) 243-3338.
Working together. Chamber executives from across the Upper Cumberland in partnership with TTU have united in an alliance to further the improvements of our region. L-R: Walt Page, Billy Robbins, Jody Sliger, Ray Norris, Shirley Hitchcock, Dennis Tennant, Alicea Weddington, John Dennis, Marilyn Baker, Suzanne Williams, Lori Jones, Janie Robbins, and Doug Young.