Parker Hardy will retire next summer after more than 20 years as president and chief executive officer of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.
Hardy has been president and CEO of the Chamber since November 1996. Under his leadership, the Chamber received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber of the Year designation in 2010, a press release said.
“During Hardy’s tenure, the Chamber has played a vital role in recruiting new retail to (the) city, including the Main Street development, as well as the Marriott TownePlace Suites,” the press release said. “Residential development has been a key area of focus for the Chamber as well. The Chamber has been instrumental in recruiting residential developers now building in The Preserve, Groves Park Commons, and Forest Creek Village. The Chamber also was instrumental in the attraction of Bristol Park, Centennial Village, and Centennial Bluff multi-family developments.”
“Professionally, having the chance to provide leadership to the Oak Ridge Chamber has been a marvelous experience,” Hardy said in the press release. “I’ve had the chance to be engaged in complex issues and work with people and organizations that you don’t often find in a smaller community. I’ve managed chambers in four states now, and I’ve never worked with a more committed membership than we have here. And, personally, it didn’t take long for Oak Ridge to become a very special place for our entire family. Both of my sons are products of the Oak Ridge Schools, which gave them great ‘jumping off’ places into adulthood. Robin and I both have enjoyed the Oak Ridge lifestyle. This is a community that quickly accepts people and a city that really values community.”
About his plans for his retirement, Hardy said: “I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with my wife Robin, who is a retired Oak Ridge Special Education teacher. There are several personal goals that I’d like to pursue—things that I’ve not been able to undertake during my professional career. Not ‘bucket list’ things like sky diving, but things that would be meaningful to me. And, of course, I’ve still got a lot to accomplish during the months leading up to my retirement.”
Morgan Smith, president of Consolidated Nuclear Security and chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, said Hardy has provided outstanding leadership.
“Today, Oak Ridge is demonstrating a vibrant resurgence, and Parker has certainly played a key role in working with the city and developers to help facilitate what we see and enjoy today in our city,” Smith said. “The Chamber Board thanks him for his service and wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Before he came to Oak Ridge, Hardy spent several years as a teacher and coach before serving as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America, the press release said. In 1982, he began a career in the chamber of commerce industry, serving as CEO of chambers in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. In 1994, Hardy came to Tennessee to lead the Tennessee Ocoee Development Agency, where he was responsible for operating the 1996 Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom venue, the only Olympic “medal” event held outside of Georgia.
Connie Martin, vice president and chief support officer for Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge and immediate past chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, said Hardy has “worked tirelessly to advance economic development and has adapted to the changing landscape by recommending innovative solutions that have resulted in significant and sustained growth.”
Before he came to Oak Ridge, Hardy spent several years as a teacher and coach before serving as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. In 1982, he began a career in the chamber of commerce industry, serving as CEO of chambers in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. In 1994, Hardy came to Tennessee to lead the Tennessee Ocoee Development Agency where he was responsible for operating the 1996 Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom venue, the only Olympic “medal” event held outside of Georgia.
Editor’s note: This is an edited version of a submitted press release.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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