One of the Southeast’s longest running science and technology conferences will return to Chattanooga June 4-5, on the campus of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC).
Since the first Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit was held in Oak Ridge in 1995, this annual gathering of government, business, academic and community leaders from the five-state region, has met in Chattanooga three times— in 1996, 2006, and most recently in 2011.
The 2014 Summit will be co-hosted by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and UTC Chancellor Steve Angle with the theme, “National Leadership through Regional Cooperation.”
A “science and technology corridor” in East Tennessee was the idea of former Governor, now Senator, Lamar Alexander in the early 1980s. Alexander was looking for ways to more effectively link the Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge, the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority for their mutual benefit and to spur greater economic growth in the region.
More than a decade later, Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp advanced another idea – to hold an annual “Summit,” which first convened in 1995, to bring together government, business and academic leaders to draw attention to the vast science and technology resources in the Oak Ridge community and their impact on the region’s and state’s economy.
The merging together of the ideas of a “Corridor” and the “Summit,” has led to the creation of an award-winning, non-profit, regional economic development organization, The Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC), with a board of directors representing 10 congressional districts in East and Middle Tennessee, North Alabama, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. The TVC’s mission is to sustain existing federal missions in the Valley, to compete for new missions and to leverage those investments for private sector job growth.
In addition to the Summits held in Chattanooga and Oak Ridge, events have been held in Huntsville, Kingsport, Johnson City, Asheville, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Washington, D.C., and Somerset, Kentucky.
Fleischmann invited the TVC board to hold this year’s Summit in Chattanooga, and in cooperation with UTC Chancellor Steve Angle, suggested the University Center as the venue.
In a recent article in the TVC’s Leadership Council newsletter, Angle said, “In many ways Chattanooga is the heart of the TVC and it’s our goal at UTC to become the heartbeat that helps drive our community to even greater partnerships in the Tennessee Valley region.”
Fleischmann has long touted Chattanooga as the “heart of the Corridor” because of its strategic location between Oak Ridge and Huntsville, Alabama; and the close proximity to the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma. That fact, in addition, to a long history of manufacturing excellence, entrepreneurial development and strong quality of life, makes Chattanooga an ideal host for this year’s Summit.
Building relationships and strong collaborations among federal institutions, world-class research universities and dozens of corporate leaders in science and technology, the TVC has helped showcase the Valley’s superior quality of life and the people, business, natural and scientific resources needed for high-tech research, development, business and investment in the 21st Century.
Federal and regional assets include: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army and DoD commands on the Redstone Arsenal, the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Agency’s Y-12 National Security Complex, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, The SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Center for Rural Development and National Institute for Hometown Security, the National Safe Skies Alliance, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, research universities and community colleges.
In 2004, the TVC and the Research Triangle Partnership in Raleigh, North Carolina, were both selected and honored by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration as the top regional economic development organizations in the country for enhancing regional competitiveness.
Today, the Tennessee Valley Corridor continues its original mission of supporting the many federal missions in the five-state region and their resulting positive economic impact through working with the its 10-member TVC Congressional Caucus, chaired by Fleischmann and Tennessee First District Congressman Phil Roe.
For information on how to become a sponsor of the 2014 TVC National Summit, visit www.TennValleyCorridor.org.