The Tennessee Economic Development Council (TEDC) formerly Tennessee Industrial Development Council (TIDC), can trace its early history back to 1946. It was then that W. Porter Grace, manager of the Industrial Department of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce hosted a small group of 24 Industrial Developers from throughout the south to discuss mutual issues and interests relating to industrial development. This is the early beginnings of what is now known as the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC).

The group continued to meet on an informal basis until 1951 when the Southern Industrial Development Council (SIDC) was formed with Mr. Grace elected as its first president. Today, SEDC is the nation’s oldest regional development council.

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, industrial recruitment was emerging rather quickly as a profession in Tennessee. The states surrounding Tennessee were getting in the recruiting game as well and state-wide organizations were being formed to provide leadership, educational and networking opportunities to this new exciting profession. Since a number of Tennesseans belonged to SIDC, discussions were going on to form a state-wide organization for industrial development.

The Tennessee Economic Development Council was organized in a meeting at the Jackson Golf and Country Club on June 20, 1967. The meeting was chaired by Chuck Walker of Jackson.

In attendance at the organizational meeting were people involved in industrial development across the state:

Alf Barnette / Paul Mooney / Dick Clark / Glen Nicely / Glover Cary / Bob Nicholas / Dave Dickey / C.S. Parrish / Mike DuBois / Don Pace / Haynes Elliott / Nolen Puckett / Thurman Gregg / Bill Sublette / Al Hager / Bill Teuton / Fred Harris / Ralph Thomas / Russ Johnson / Jim Thurston / Nick Kieffer / Chuck Tomchey / Dick Laughlin / Bill Tune / Ralph Lupton / Chuck Walker

After the approval and adoption of the TEDC By-Laws, the following were nominated and elected officers:

Chuck Walker, President
Bill Teuton, Vice President
Dick Laughlin, Secretary-Treasurer

Other board members were:

William Tune, Jr., Nashville
Dave Dickey, Knoxville
Bob Nicholas, Nashville

Discussion ensued concerning the next meeting date and location with Gatlinburg being selected to host the event. Also, the amount of annual dues was discussed with no conclusion being reached by the membership. The Board of Directors was given the authority to decide on an amount necessary to finance the new organization.

In just a few short years, the membership had grown to 75 people. The early make-up of the membership was mainly individuals representing the state, large banks, utilities, large city chambers of commerce, and at the time, the many railroads that served Tennessee. The early leaders set the foundation and direction for those of us that have followed and had a tremendous influence on the enormous success we enjoy in this great State of Tennessee!