He’s the one on the left. He grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Franklin, Tennessee, at age 15, and graduated from Franklin High School. He attended UT Knoxville, where he majored in chemical engineering and was a co-op at Dupont in Brevard, North Carolina.
His senior year, in the mid-80s, he met Allison Reilly, another UT student. She had a 1967 Nova with a back door that swung open if she took a hard left turn. He had a 1964 Dart with green cloth front seats and red vinyl back seats and cafeteria trays where the floor was supposed to be. It was a perfect match. They were engaged within three months and celebrated their 35th anniversary last April.
Tim and Allison lived in North Carolina and then Memphis before moving to Chattanooga in 1997. When they got here, they said they finally knew they were home. They raised the three of us here: my older sister, Casey, who’s now a doctor in Baltimore; my little sister, Anna, who’s a student at UTK; and me, Meg. Like me, my dad is a middle child and a born mediator. He was probably also the favorite.
He enjoys cooking (and eating), Sunday bike rides to the Chattanooga Market with my mom, visiting local breweries, live music, cheering on CFC, and walking in the woods. He really likes walking in the woods. Over the years he’s hiked much of the Appalachian Trail and camped in national parks from coast to coast, including Zion, Glacier, Mount Rainier, Acadia, and of course the Smokies. But most of his hiking happens right here in District 2, where he and my mom walk their dogs several miles each night.
- Meg Gorman
Tackling projects. Managing budgets. Leading people.
Since 1997 I’ve lived in Chattanooga but worked in Cleveland, Tennessee. I’m director of engineering and technical operations at Beiersdorf Manufacturing, formerly Bayer. Formerly Merck. Formerly Schering Plough.
Yes, I’ve worked for four different companies over 23 years without moving offices. And I haven’t just managed major projects and multimillion-dollar budgets through all those transitions. I’ve also led a lot of people—for all 23 of those years.
In late 2016, I was hand-picked to serve as temporary plant manager at a Bayer manufacturing facility . . . in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. The factory was being sold, and although the employees were staying, there was naturally a lot of uncertainty and worry. I’d never met any of the 155 employees at the Quebec factory, and I didn’t speak their language. With an international workforce of 100,000 people, Bayer had plenty of French-speaking managers with the technical skills to run the plant. But I had a long track record of earning a team’s trust in order to overcome challenges together.
Leadership isn’t just about technical skills. It’s also about listening, having integrity, and following through on your commitments. It’s a lot easier to lead in tough times when people know you’re fair. It’s a lot easier for people to work through change when they know you’re with them every step of the way.
You can’t overcome challenges and move forward together without trust and mutual respect. That’s a language everybody understands.
No more business as usual.
I’ve lived in Chattanooga long enough to see what business as usual looks like here. It’s not a unique model: highly networked people building careers through public office. But when every City Council vote is also a political calculation, the hard work of structural improvement through municipal governance—work that brings broad, lasting change—probably won’t happen.
What does that hard work look like? I lay it out in detail here. It includes my plan for Chattanooga and for District 2. In short, we need to focus on taking care of people, taking care of neighborhoods, and taking care of each other, so our diverse communities—their residents and businesses—can flourish and be vested in Chattanooga’s success. That’s how to build a healthy, vibrant city with a sustainable economy.
Progress for all of us.
Right now Chattanooga is facing serious challenges. Chattanooga also has a rare opportunity to move forward—not as a brand, but as a city of 184,000 people.
In March we’ll elect a new municipal government that will have to hit the ground running to help families and businesses struggling due to Covid-19. But there are whole neighborhoods in Chattanooga, including some in District 2, that have been struggling for decades. And while the Gig City moved forward, these neighborhoods were overlooked.
If we want to make meaningful progress, we can’t go back to business as usual. It’s time for us to move forward together. All 184,000 of us.