By A.J. Kaufman, Managing Editor
Several hundred people gathered Jan. 10 at ETSU’s D.P Culp Student Center for the annual Johnson City Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Successes from 2023, including 124 new members, were celebrated at the 109th gathering by outgoing Board of Directors Chair Scott Ledford and President/CEO Bob Cantler.
Keddrain “KD” Bowen took the helm as chair of the Chamber of Commerce for 2024.
A Tusculum University graduate, who played football for the college in Greeneville, Bowen is the longtime owner of sports memorabilia store Fanatics 101. The entrepreneur and author pushed for more networking, growing membership, increasing collaboration and “making chamber events fun again” during his speech. The overall theme espoused by Bowen is “Cultivating Change for the Next Generation.”
“We all need a little bit of cultivating some time,” Bowen said after taking the gavel. “It’s our job to cultivate the next generation and be the change that we want to see in people and really lead the way.”
Bowen also added that he is “extremely humbled by the faith in me, and I am looking forward to seeing how our Chamber invests in businesses and how we support those looking to be our next leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Andy Dietrich, co-owner & Vice President of Champion Chevrolet Cadillac in Johnson City and Champion Chevrolet Buick GMC in Kingsport, also was inaugurated into the Chamber’s Hall of Fame. He thanked the community for its “unwavering support” and said he’ll continue “pushing for and practicing regionalism.”
Dietrich served as Chamber chair in 2018 and made strong strides to unify the Northeast Tennessee business community.
Lisa Flippin of N2 Publishing was selected as the Chamber’s volunteer of the year.
The Chamber’s executive committee will now seat Bowen, Kim Hall (CITI) as Chair-Elect, David Nelson (FoundersForge) as Secretary/Treasurer, Adam Walton (Eastman Credit Union), Kevin Broyles (Farm Bureau Insurance) and Ledford as Immediate Past Chair.