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Chattanooga Attracts Top Talent

Greater Chattanooga offers affordability, access to talent and vibrant communities.

By Bill Lewis on October 7, 2019

Chattanooga, TN: BlueCross BlueShield
Chattanooga / BlueCross BlueShield/Alex McMa

There’s a good reason Volkswagen and Google chose the Greater Chattanooga region for major new operations that together represent an investment of $1.4 billion and create more than 1,000 well-paying jobs.

In fact, there are many reasons, and they’ve caught the attention of businesses, including Nokian Tyres, which established a $360 million manufacturing facility in Dayton, Tennessee, and Hanwha Q CELLS USA, which invested $130 million and created 525 jobs at its new solar panel manufacturing plant in Dalton, Georgia. The facility is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Businesses are choosing this 16-county, three-state region as the place to invest, grow and create jobs for reasons including its affordability, superior infrastructure, access to talent, a diverse and growing economy and outstanding quality of life that makes it easy to recruit – and keep – top talent.

“Most companies locate in Chattanooga because of our logistics and market access to the Eastern and Central U.S. But once they are here, they are almost always surprised that the sales pitch they heard during their site selection process is real and tangible to them,†says Charles Wood, chief economic development officer, Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership.

“There is a support network, education partners with long histories of workforce development, an entrepreneurial environment and a quality of life that allows them to recruit great talent.”

The region’s cost advantages and access to talent make it a draw for corporate headquarters and back-office operations. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Unum, Shaw Industries and McKee Foods are a few of the companies that maintain headquarters in Greater Chattanooga.

Chattanooga, TN: Volkswagen
Chattanooga / Courtesy of Volkswagen

Across-the-Board Strength

The growing economy includes a booming automotive sector, advanced manufacturing, logistics and food and beverage production. Between 2014 and 2018, growing businesses announced 186 projects representing 15,270 jobs and investments totaling $5.27 billion.

Businesses staking their futures in the region include Volkswagen, investing $800 million in an electric car factory that will create 1,000 jobs, and Google, which selected Jackson County, Alabama, for its new $600 million data center. The company is creating 75 to 100 full-time and contractor positions.

Manufacturing of all kinds shows its strength in this region. Global automotive supplier DENSO is expanding operations in McMinn County, Tennessee, where it is investing $190 million and creating 320 jobs.

The logistics industry is also growing in Greater Chattanooga, which is the heart of the Southeast’s Freight Alley region.

Arrive Logistics is investing approximately $3.6 million in the region and creating 500 new jobs in Hamilton County.

Trident Transport, a freight broker and logistics provider, announced the expansion of its facilities and the addition of 75 to 100 jobs between its Chattanooga and Tampa locations.

Trident’s new space offers an on-site gym with fitness classes and a nutrition bar to encourage health and wellness.

“Chattanooga was an easy choice for Trident to headquarter their company because it’s a central hub for the Freight Alley region.

We have an incredible talent pool to recruit from because Chattanoogans fit perfectly within our company culture,†says Carter Garrett, vice president, Trident Transport.

Chattanooga, TN: BlueCross BlueShield
Chattanooga / BlueCross BlueShield/Alex McMa

Multiple Advantages

The Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County, Georgia, links the region to the Port of Savannah, the second busiest port on the East Coast. The intermodal facility can transfer 50,000 containers per year between rail and trucks for distribution in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond.

The region offers multiple colleges and universities with 19 locations, access to abundant fresh water, low-cost utilities and a deep pool of skilled workers.

“A stellar combination of quality-of-life amenities at a low cost makes it easy for companies to recruit top talent here. In addition, our low-cost talent pool already based here and local workforce preparation efforts help us stand out as a desirable place to do business,†Wood says. “The Greater Chattanooga region is surrounded by mountains and lakes, which make for world-class adventure. The best outdoor recreation in the Southeast is available within minutes, and an affordable cost of living makes our region a great place for families, singles and retirees.”

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