UTC hosted Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s Economic and Community Development Roundtable, engaging legislators, Hamilton County commissioners, members of the business community and educators as they discussed creative ways to improve opportunities in Chattanooga and the surrounding region.
“We are glad to have Governor Haslam at UTC to discuss economic development, an important topic for the community and the campus,” said Chancellor Roger Brown. “UTC is proud to be an economic catalyst, and we appreciate that Governor Haslam recognizes that fact and has included the University at the table.”
William F. Hagerty, IV, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, explained the state is looking for ways to better serve Chattanooga and the surrounding region.
“We’re here to listen today,” Hagerty said. “We’re here to take in valuable input, a lot of terrific ideas throughout the state.”
Hagerty said Haslam’s team enjoyed touring Volkswagen and Alstom earlier in the day, great examples of cutting edge technology in the Chattanooga region. Hagerty also discussed the first phase of a review process of Tennessee state government.
“We’re going to have to learn how to do more with less. To make that work we’re going to have to focus more tightly and more diligently on the things we’re good at and be clear about those things that we’re not good at doing,” Hagerty said.
Governor Bill Haslam earnestly asked the group to help him understand what he needs to know to bring more jobs to the Chattanooga region.
“We’re not going to create new jobs by legislation,” Haslam observed. “One of the ways that will happen is by working specifically with each individual region around the state to make certain that we have a strategy for each region. Our goal is to begin by listening to each region. Jobs are what matters.”
Though Haslam first asked the group for ideas that would not require additional money from the state, he did acknowledge the difficult economic climate has been especially difficult for institutions of higher learning.
“Higher education is taking the brunt of the cuts. To their credit, they have prepared incredibly well for that for making adjustments they need to make,” Haslam said.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield told Governor Haslam “UTC is one of the greatest regional economic developmental assets that we have…We would love to be able to extend the reach of this institution.”
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