Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 28, 2023

Newsmakers: Wood named to lead Chamber of Commerce

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has tapped Charles Wood to serve as its new president and CEO.

“Charles was the right choice, having proven his leadership abilities and economic development acumen both during his interim role as president and CEO and his overall tenure with the Chattanooga Chamber,” says Janelle Reilly, board chair.

Wood will oversee programs and services of the Chattanooga Chamber and Chamber Foundation.

“Chattanooga has been my home for a while now, and as the voice for business in our area, I’m thrilled to be able to share what makes our community a prosperous place,” Wood says. “We’ll continue our work focused squarely on building a thriving Chattanooga region.”

Wood joined the Chattanooga Chamber in 2012 and has worked alongside several Chattanooga City government and Hamilton County government administrations. He led the creation of the Chattanooga Chamber’s first economic and talent development strategy and supported the creation of more than 14,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investment in the Chattanooga region.

Prior to joining the Chattanooga Chamber, Wood held positions at chambers of commerce in Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama, as well as economic development positions in Texas and Mississippi.

Creative Discovery Museum president, CEO retiring

Creative Discovery Museum President and CEO Henry Schulson will retire this fall after leading the museum for 26 years.

Schulson began his tenure in 1997 – just two years after CDM opened its doors in downtown Chattanooga. Under Schulson’s direction, the museum welcomed over 5 million visitors and served more than 1 million students through its school and outreach programs.

Most recently, Schulson spearheaded the Ignite Discovery capital campaign, which raised over $12.5 million to renovate the almost 30-year-old museum.

A selection committee made up of current and former CDM board members has partnered with Nashville-based Thinking Ahead Executive Search to recruit a successor.

Kelly admin. announces leadership transitions

The Kelly administration is in the process of making several leadership changes, including the departure of chief of staff Joda Thongnopnua and senior adviser Kirsten Yates, as well as the appointment of Tony Sammons as chief equity officer, Kevin Roig as the director of public affairs and Don Walker as interim administrator of community development.

Thongnopnua is planning to step down at the beginning of May to take a role with the National Science Foundation. He’s been appointed to a role within the foundation’s new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships directorate.

Thongnopnua has served in city government since the beginning of the Kelly administration, first as chief policy officer and then as Kelly’s chief of staff.

Yates will transition out of her role in mid-May; Roig will succeed her.

Before joining the city of Chattanooga, Yates served as deputy lead of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s infection control education and partnership collaborative. She holds over 12 years of experience in different communication leadership roles in government programs, social marketing campaigns, as well as crisis and emergency responses.

She worked for more than eight years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading communication efforts for programs like the COVID-19 vaccine distribution initiative and vaccine effectiveness research.

Roig brings a decade of political, policy and campaign management experience to the city of Chattanooga.

He previously served as deputy chief of staff and communications director for U.S. House of Representatives member Garret Graves from 2015 to 2022.

The Kelly administration also announced two additional appointments.

Kelly will submit his appointment of Tony Sammons to be the city’s next chief equity officer to the Chattanooga City Council for confirmation. Sammons currently serves as the city’s administrator for the Department of Community Development and has served in city government for more than 16 years.

Don Walker will succeed Sammons on an interim basis. He currently serves as the deputy administrator for the Department of Community Development.

Before joining the city last year, Walker spent 25 years as the director of guest services and operations for the Tennessee Aquarium.

Urban League Inclusion by Design 2023 cohort

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga has completed the selection of its participants for the 2023 Inclusion by Design Executive Leadership Program.

IBD is designed to help women and people of color build competitive leadership skills. Participants are either in a senior level role at their organization, or their organization has recognized their executive leadership potential. Each participant’s respective company must nominate them for the program.

The 2023 Inclusion by Design fellows include: Alisha Moore, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; Althea Jones, Tennessee Valley Authority; Christina Gindi, US Express; Courtney Cochran, BlueCross BlueShield; Diego Trujilo, Hamilton County Schools; Jeremy Mason, Pinnacle; Larvizo Wright, Unum; Martina Harris, Chattanooga State; Melanie Cross, Tennessee Valley Authority; and Reggie Wilkerson, EPB.

Hamilton Co. 9-1-1 confirms Carney as director

The board of directors of the Hamilton County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District have confirmed Jeff Carney as executive director of the district. Carney has worked with the district for more than 30 years and has been serving as acting executive director since John Stuermer retired from that position in December.

Carney has overseen day-to-day activities of the district as operations director for the past 15 years. In that capacity, he’s been responsible for the direction and overall performance of the Emergency Communications Center.

Carney holds numerous certifications in emergency communications and currently serves as first vice president of the Tennessee Emergency Number Association. He’s also chair of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board’s Operations Advisory Committee, a member of the TECB’s Policy Advisory Committee and deputy state coordinator for the Tennessee Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce.

Carney began his career as a telecommunicator.

Ambrosetti joins CHI Memorial

Dr. Ryan Ambrosetti has joined CHI Memorial Primary Care Associates – Atrium.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Ambrosetti earned his medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida, and completed his internal medicine residency at the UTC College of Medicine.

Ambrosetti is board certified and a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Aerospace Medical Association and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

Ambrosetti has been caring for patients in this community since 2019.

A native of Chattanooga, he served as a student volunteer and worked as a physical therapy technician at CHI Memorial while in college.