Knoxville — Mike Edwards, the President and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, has announced his retirement.
He made the announcement to his staff Wednesday morning and the Board off Directors was notified shortly afterwards. Edwards hopes to retire by the January of 2019.
Edwards, 67, has held the position at the Chamber since 2002.
“During my tenure here, I have had the good fortune to work with outstanding business leaders, elected officials, volunteers and staff members who are committed to making Knoxville a stronger community,” Edwards said. “Although I will miss the people and mission of this organization, I believe it is a good time for a new leader. In 2019, the Chamber will celebrate its 150th anniversary. As we look back to celebrate the past, we will also look forward to what comes next.”
The Chamber was named the 2011 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and holds Five-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a distinction held by only 200 chambers of the approximately 7,000 chambers in the United States that recognizes outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities.
“Mike can be proud of what the organization has accomplished,” Terry Turner, the chairman of the Knoxville Chamber and president of All Occasions Party Rentals, said.
“The Chamber’s volunteer leaders understand that naming a successor who will build upon these achievements is important for the business climate of the greater Knoxville area to continue to prosper,” said Turner.
Edwards has been passionate about improving education in Tennessee, working for more rigorous standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students to meet employers’ needs for a qualified workforce and to increase opportunities for everyone.
He was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Education to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District by Gov. Bill Haslam in 2011 and 2016. He was also a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Great Schools Partnership.
Edwards also serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the UTBattelle
Development Corp., the managing contractor for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and The
Development Corp. of Knox County. He has previously served as the chairman and on the board of directors of the YMCA of East Tennessee and serves on the UT Graduate School of Medicine Board of Visitors.
The Knoxville Chamber works to help local businesses thrive and to bring new businesses to the area.