Jim Campbell, president of the East Tennessee Economic Council, is retiring March 31 after serving as president for 26 years. ETEC’s vice president, Tracy Boatner, has been selected to replace him.
The leadership change was announced Friday morning by Buddy Heins, ETEC board chair.
“We thank Jim for his many years of consistent and effective guidance of ETEC,” Heins said in a press release. “The growth and influence of Jim and ETEC in Oak Ridge, East Tennessee, and beyond have been truly remarkable. I, along with the Executive Committee, look forward to Tracy’s leadership of the organization in the months and years to come.”
ETEC members met in person to celebrate the 2020 winners of the Muddy Boot Award and Postma Young Professional Medal, originally awarded virtually last December. Also announced was the date for ETEC’s 2021 Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration, which will be February 4. At this end-of-year celebration, both Campbell and Boatner spoke about the leadership change.
“This has been fun,” Campbell said. “The metamorphoses of this region over the last generation are a wonder, and there are only greater things in store for the Oak Ridge Corridor in the generation to come.”
Campbell became president of ETEC in 1995 and has since grown the organization while staying true to the mission of supporting the federal government’s activities in East Tennessee, while seeking new ways to create prosperity, promoting regional development, and exploring opportunities for growth, the press release said.
Campbell is a Maryville native and an Oak Ridge resident for more than 40 years. Campbell started his career in the newspaper business, serving in various positions with The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge’s daily newspaper since the end of the Manhattan Project. He was editor of the newspaper from 1989 to 1994. He was a contributing editor to the “Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy,” a publication of the University of Tennessee’s Energy, Environment, and Research Center. Campbell also assisted in the publication of two books on Oak Ridge history, the press release said.
Boatner has been vice president of ETEC since 2015 and brings more than 20 years of leadership experience to her new role. Her work at ETEC has centered on building and strengthening community relationships by bringing people together to work toward common economic and community goals. Before coming to ETEC, she was executive director of the Junior League of Knoxville, a nonprofit organization then comprised of 800 members who donate their time and resources to benefit the Knoxville community. A selection committee comprised of ETEC Board members along with the ETEC Executive Committee voted unanimously for Boatner to succeed Campbell as president, the press release said.
“I am honored to be chosen as ETEC’s next president and humbled by the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants like Jim Campbell, Homer Fisher, Jesse Noritake, Ben Adams, Gene Joyce, Don Maxwell, Tom Hill, and many others,” Boatner said in the press release. “I look forward to building on ETEC’s legacy as we innovate ways to strengthen the regional economy and provide even more value to our members.”
Originally chartered as the Roane Anderson Economic Council (R-AEC) in 1973, the organization served as a forum for federal officials and their contractors to discuss and prioritize programs and promote development in the two counties. After the Cold War, the government created a program for communities around federal installations. As a recipient of this grant, the organization was renamed to the East Tennessee Economic Council and served as the first CRO (Community Reuse Organization). This grant spurred multiple economic development activities throughout the region. CROET, the current CRO, was later spun out, and both organizations continued to work to promote community growth and development, the press release said.
Today, ETEC is an independent, regional, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to supporting the federal government’s missions in Oak Ridge as well as encouraging new opportunities to fully use the highly skilled talent, cutting-edge technologies, and unique facilities that make up the federal reservation, the press release said. ETEC still works in strong partnership with federal contractors, U.S. Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration representatives, state officials, small businesses, and other local economic development organizations to seek new ways to use federal investments in science and security to create prosperity, promote regional development, and explore opportunities for growth, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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