Susan Harris Joins The Chattanooga Tourism Co. As Chief Operating Officer


The Chattanooga Tourism Co., the official destination marketing organization for Chattanooga and Hamilton County, announces Susan Harris will be joining the team as chief operating officer on April 18. Ms. Harris announced her resignation as president and chief executive officer for See Rock City, Inc. effective March 31.

“We are in the business of inspiring people to visit Chattanooga and connecting them with authentic experiences,” said Barry White, CEO of the Chattanooga Tourism Co. “Susan’s 30 years of experience, knowledge, and passion for the travel and tourism industry make her uniquely qualified for this role. We are thrilled to have her join our team as COO. It is an exciting time in travel and tourism, and we look forward to working with Susan as we continue to build upon the successes of our community.”

In her new role, Ms. Harris will oversee strategic opportunities, advance organizational effectiveness, and strengthen partnerships with tourism-related businesses in the area. She will be a member of the leadership team, responsible for working with all departments and team members, with direct impact in all aspects of the organization.

Ms. Harris said, “I have great respect for the leadership the Chattanooga Tourism Co. has brought to our region, especially in lifting up this vital industry through the challenges of the past two years. Chattanooga is thriving with new hotels, restaurants and experiences and increased tourism visitation and spending. I look forward to joining the team and working alongside community leaders on strategic initiatives to help Hamilton County continue to grow.”

Ms. Harris served on the Chattanooga Tourism Co.’s executive committee for the 2021-2022 term. Before accepting the position as COO, Ms. Harris stepped down as a member of the board and executive committee. The Chairman of Board, Hugh Morrow, under the current authority of the bylaws, appointed immediate past chair, Keith Sanford, to serve out Ms. Harris’s term on the executive committee.

“Susan and I have been colleagues in the tourism industry for more than a decade,” said Mr. Morrow, president of Ruby Falls. “There’s a world of opportunity ahead of us for building a stronger tourism economy in the Chattanooga area and Susan makes the team at the Chattanooga Tourism Co. even stronger.”

Ms. Harris joined See Rock City, Inc. in 2008 as director of human resources and organizational development. She was promoted as president in 2013, added COO responsibilities in 2016, and became CEO in July 2020. Prior to that, she served in human resources and operations roles for Express Check Advance, LLC, Chattanooga Group, and W.E. Salmon, Inc. dba/Piggly Wiggly.

The travel and tourism industry is a significant economic driver for Hamilton County and vital to the success of the community. In 2019, the most recent normal year, 43,000 visitors spent $4.1 million in Hamilton County every day, generating $345,000 in local and state taxes. Those tax dollars save each Hamilton County household $868 in taxes annually. Visitor spending also support jobs, economic development, and critical services such as education and public safety.


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