Nearly a decade ago, Megan King was taking notes during a communication class in Frist Hall. Now, she has a sweeping view of downtown Chattanooga from her office in the EPB building.
King was recently named the CEO and president of the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association.
Founded in 1906, the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association was the first local manufacturers association in the United States. Now the organization has nearly 200 members, including local industry giants like BASF, EPB, Siskin Steel, Propex and Koch Foods.
King began her career with the nonprofit association as an executive assistant in 2011.
“It was a blind ad, so I didn’t know it was with the association when I applied. I had a huge learning curve, but now it’s something I’m really passionate. Tennessee is a leader in manufacturing and the impact the industry has on our community is amazing,” she says.
In her new role, King plans to continue the association’s original mission of supporting local manufacturers. As CEO, she spends her days planning events, coordinating committees, among many other tasks.
“I like being in the nonprofit world because you get to work on so many different aspects of a company. A lot of what you do is with a small staff.,” she says. “We don’t have someone in-house to do marketing, public relations or accounting. You get a lot of cool opportunities because and no two days ever look the same.”
In a few years, King worked her way up in the organization, serving as events coordinator and operations director along the way. Her communication degree from UTC has helped her throughout her career.
“From the beginning, I’ve handled a lot of our member communications, whether that’s developing a newsletter, sending emails or promoting events. Having developed my writing skills and being able to communicate has been really beneficial,” she says.
Now, she regularly hires UTC students for internships. She urges students to go into their internships with an open mind.
“Be willing to do anything and everything because you never know what opportunities will arise. Sometimes you don’t know what will come out of certain opportunities. I’ve had interns that come to me thinking they want to go into a certain industry like advertising or marketing, but then they do a project for us and realize they want to do something else.
“Keep your mind open and don’t be afraid to try new things,” she advises.