Clay Chamber executive to head regional alliance

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.

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.

COOKEVILLE-Chambers of Commerce from the 14 county Upper Cumberland region, including the Clay County Chamber, have formed an alliance, the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA), “…for the purpose of improving not only our individual communities, but the Upper Cumberland as a whole,” stated Suzanne Williams, of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Ray Norris, Clay County Chamber executive, was elected as chairman of UCCEA at the June meeting of the group when bylaws were approved and other officers also selected by vote. Walter Page, Fentress County Chamber was elected as Vice Chair and Jody Sliger, Sparta-White County Chamber was elected Secretary of the UCCEA.

“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.”

Participating Chambers include those from Macon, Clay, Pickett, Jackson, Smith, Putnam, Overton, Fentress, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Cannon, Warren, and Van Buren counties.

Approximately a year and a half ago, TTU’s Dennis Tennant, Associate Director of Extended Programs and Regional Development, 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.

“It was time to formally organize the group” said Tennant, “and TTU is looking forward to continuing the partnership with the UCCEA”.

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.