The Board of Directors of the First Tennessee Development District announced in early May that Susan Reid, Executive Director of the First Tennessee Development District is retiring.
With the announcement of her retirement, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mayor Leon Humphrey of Carter County said, “Susan has done an exceptional and outstanding job as the Executive Director of the First Tennessee Development District. She has demonstrated a life-long commitment and has rendered a tremendous service through her efforts with the District. I know I speak on behalf of all the members of the board when I say we wish her the very best in her retirement.”
Since joining the District in 1973, Susan has served as the Director of Finance, Assistant Executive Director and, at times, Interim Executive Director. She assumed her current role in 1988 and has led the District through 29 years of change and growth that has defined the region. Her leadership and willingness to work with partners across Northeast Tennessee have enabled the Development District to help meet the needs of the region’s residents through a wide variety of projects.
Under her leadership the District’s work has included assistance in the building and completion of Interstate 26, clean drinking water for countless families, assistance to new businesses, and vital services for our region’s senior and disabled citizens. Susan also carries the distinction of being the first female and longest serving Development District Executive Director in Tennessee history.
Throughout her career, Susan has served on a variety of boards dedicated to economic and community development including the Tennessee Development District Association with several terms as the TDDA’s Secretary-Treasurer. She has also served as a board member of the Development District Association of Appalachia, serving as the DDAA Board President in 1996 and as a board member and chair of the Tennessee Valley Corridor.
Susan is also a recipient of several awards in recognition of her life’s work and leadership. These include the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s Corridor Champion Award, a distinction she shares with fellow recipients Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman Chuck Fleishmann. Susan has also been honored by the Development District Association of Appalachia with the John D. Whisman Vision Award for her years of service in furthering economic growth in Appalachia. Most recently, Susan became the first recipient of the Tennessee Development District Association Life Time Achievement Award, a distinction bestowed upon her by her peers.
As she announced her retirement, Susan said “forty-four years ago, I came to work for the First Tennessee Development District. At the time, I was excited to start a new job, but had no idea how fulfilling and life-changing this opportunity would be.”
She also added, “I have been blessed with board members one could only hope for and a staff that continues to amaze me with the dedication, work ethic, resourcefulness and skills that accomplish amazing work, day after day, year after year without fail for the people of this region. Words cannot possibly express how deeply thankful and honored I am for the many years I have been blessed to be a part of this truly great organization.”
The District’s Board of Directors has unanimously selected Chris Craig to succeed Reid as Executive Director, effective July 1, 2017. Chris Craig has served as the Assistant Executive Director since 2012. In his nearly 24 years with the District, Craig has filled a variety of positions related to the District’s work in transportation and the environment. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental health from Missouri State Southern College in 1989 and a Masters degree in environmental health from East Tennessee State University in 1994.
On Chris Craig’s selection as the new Executive Director, Board Chairman, Mayor Leon Humphrey added, “I am very excited to work with Chris Craig as he assumes the role of Executive Director. I feel very strongly that Chris will perform his new duties in an exceptional manner. He brings nearly 24 years of experience to the job and it speaks to Susan’s credit, that as a board, we had the opportunity to select a new Executive Director from among a very talented, experienced staff that Susan herself has built over the years.”