Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Chris Neese, is exiting the Chamber to accept a position as a Managing Partner with Allied American Advisory Group, LLC. Neese has agreed to stay with the Chamber through March 31, 2013 to ensure a successful transition of leadership.
During his almost four year tenure at the Chamber of Commerce, Neese has been an integral part of many positive changes in Cheatham County. Some of the many accomplishments include the creation of the Visitor and Recreation Bureau, lowering sprinkler restrictions on businesses in the County, and working with the office of Economic and Community Development and the County Commission to set aside 4.5 cents of every tax dollar for infrastructure in the northern end of the county. With the aid of A. O. Smith, the Chamber has created an Academic Excellence Awards Dinner to honor top scholastic achievement of high school students, and the A. O. Smith Teacher Grant program, which awards teachers with additional funds to support projects in the classroom. During the devastating May of 2010 flood, the Chamber, with Neese’s leadership, focused its efforts on the community’s recovery by founding the Cheatham County Long-term Recovery Committee, establishing and organizing the Ashland City Donation Center, and establishing a VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster). The Chamber has also continued to provide networking, education, and leadership opportunities for the membership and the community.
“I am extremely proud of Chris’s energy, the Chamber’s accomplishments under his leadership, and the partnership with the Cheatham Vision Foundation, which he was instrumental in creating,” stated Gary Scott, Chamber Board President. “This effort vastly improved communication between the business community and the public sector. For the first time that I can recall, the Chamber has the engagement and support of the business community, the education system, and governmental entities. Chris created a strong foundation that will continue our economic development efforts and positions the Chamber for continued success. His focus through March will be on the completion of the County’s tourism plan and finalizing efforts to break ground on an Assisted Living Facility in Ashland City.”
It is a bittersweet goodbye for Neese. “I have very much enjoyed my time here at the Cheatham County Chamber. I feel blessed to have worked with so many wonderful and talented people over the years. It’s always sad to say goodbye, but I am excited for my future and for what lies ahead.” Neese continued to say, “The Chamber is poised for great things. The organization has excellent leadership on its Board of Directors, strong relationships with major stakeholders in the community, and is fiscally sound. It is time for new leadership to take the reigns and elevate the organization to new heights. ”
The Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce has hired Ann Thompson, who is the current Chamber Director of Business Relations, as Neese’s successor. Thompson holds a BS from Miami University of Ohio in political science and a MBA from Western Carolina University. “I am very excited about this new venture, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with the Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce. I am passionate about community development, and I plan to continue our current programs, as well as identify new ways to increase workforce development, tourism, and grant acquisition, with the Chamber Board’s support.”
“We are very fortunate to have a person with Ann’s credentials and experience to continue to lead our Chamber, enhance economic opportunities, and increase our tax base for the benefit of our citizens,” stated Scott. Thompson will officially transition to executive position April 1, 2013.