East Tennessee Quality Growth (ETQG), a newly formed public benefit corporation serving a 16-county region of middle East Tennessee, has been created and the ETQG Board of Directors has been selected. The Board of Directors convened at a retreat in January with a mission to “create a vision for quality growth through dialogue, research, and education,” and to “promote and facilitate implementation of this vision through regional cooperation and local action.”
ETQG is an outgrowth of several initiatives born of the Nine Counties One Vision process, including the March 2007 Plain Talk on Quality Growth conference. Following the conference, a steering committee met for several months to develop a framework for the new organization. The committee’s final task was to nominate and select board members who represented and reflected the region’s demographic and geographic diversity. Each of the 16 counties has at least one representative on the Board.
ETQG’s work will be informed and inspired by the March 30, 2007, Plain Talk on Quality Growth conference at the Knoxville Convention Center, which featured nationally-known speakers and attracted more than 600 participants, and by similarly purposed regional organizations in middle Tennessee (Cumberland Region Tomorrow) and central Kentucky (Bluegrass Tomorrow).
Those groups comprise coalitions of business, farming, development, and preservation interests dedicated to achieving a strong economy in harmony with the environment - thus making their regions more sustainable and ensuring that growth enhances, rather than detracts from, the regions’ quality of life.
The Blount County members of East Tennessee Quality Growth’s Board of Directors are Bob Booker, Senior Manager of Legal Services and Corporate Compliance, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc.; Bill Clabough, Executive Director, Foothills Land Conservancy; Fred Forster, President and CEO, Blount Chamber Partnership; Doug Gamble; Mark Johnson, City Manager of the City of Alcoa; John Lamb, Director of Planning, Blount County Planning Department; Matt Murray, Professor of Economics at the University of Tennessee; and Billy Newton, Director of the Center for Strong Communities at Maryville College.