published Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Corridor Summit returns to Chattanooga May 15

The founder of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Inc., may no longer be in Congress, but the regional technology group will return to Chattanooga this month with five other members of Congress joining area government, business and academic leaders.

Zach Wamp, the Chattanooga Republican who started the Tennessee Valley Corridor in 1995 when he was first elected to Congress, gave up his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in January after he unsuccessfully ran for governor of Tennessee. His successor, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., is joining with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and three other newly elected members of the U.S. House -— Scott DesJarlais and Diane Black from Tennessee, and Mo Brooks from Alabama — to lead this year’s Corridor Summit in Chattanooga on May 15 and May 16.

The conference will focus on energy innovation and independence, next-generation manufacturing and technology workforce development in the corridor that stretches from Huntsville through Chattanooga, Oak Ridge and Knoxville to include parts of Southern Kentucky and western Virginia.

Speakers at this year’s annual Corridor conference will include National Nuclear Security Administration Director Thomas D’Agostino, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason, TVA President Tom Kilgore and Dr. Rolf Hirsenkorn of Wacker Chemical Corp., among others.

“With all of the economic growth and investment that has taken place over the last few years, I think Chattanooga is the perfect place to bring members of the Tennessee Valley Corridor together and showcase the Valley’s natural and scientific resources,” Fleischmann said. “The high-tech research and business development going on in the Tennessee Valley is second to none, and this year’s Summit will help us continue our great momentum.”

Other Chattanooga area speakers already confirmed for the event include: Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield; Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger; Tim Spires, pesident of the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturing Association; UTC Provost Phil Oldham and Wayne Cropp, president of the Enterprise Center.

Doug Fisher, vice president of Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, and current chairman of the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s board of directors, said the success in landing Volkswagen, Wacker Chemical, Alstom Power and Amazon to Southeast Tennessee shows Chattanooga is benefiting by its place in the Tennessee Valley Corridor.

“Our region is on the move, and these consensus-building Summits have played a big role in much of our success,” Fisher said.

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