Crook tapped for seat on Tennessee Economic Partnership board


UPPER CUMBERLAND – A Cookeville official has landed a seat on the board of directors for the Tennessee Economic Partnership.

Stephen Crook, vice president of economic development, Highlands Economic Partnership, will serve on the 2017 board members, according to a news release issued this week. The Tennessee Economic Partnership (TEP) is a statewide public-private partnership that markets the state of Tennessee as a premiere place for business; it works closely with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to market Tennessee for corporate expansion and relocation.

Clay Walker, CEO of NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership of the Tri-Cities region, was additionally elected as the 2017 chair of the board of directors. Walker brings more than 20 years of experience in economic development, including principal of his own consulting firm, vice president of the 45-county regional organization West Kentucky Corporations and head of multiple communities’ economic development organizations.

Other newly tapped appointees include Brian Hercules, senior vice president of economic development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, 2017 chair-elect; and board members Rachel Buchanan (Blount Partnership, director of economic development), and Andy Lawson (Tennessee Valley Authority regional specialist and Tennessee Economic Development Council president).

Crook is the lone local representative. Charly Lyons, president/CEO, Tennessee Central Economic Alliance, formally the Four Lake Authority, which represents Macon, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale and Wilson counties, is also on the board of directors for 2017.

The complete 2017 Tennessee Economic Partnership board is as follows:

  • Chair: Clay Walker, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership
    Chair-Elect & Treasurer: Brian Hercules, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce
    Past Chair: Mark Herbison, Greater Memphis Chamber
    Secretary: Charles Wood, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
    Marketing Committee Chair: Wil Evans, Maury Co. Chamber & Economic Alliance
    Investor Relations Committee Chair: Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber
    Rachel Buchanan, Blount Partnership
    Stephen Crook, Highlands Economic Partnership
    Mike Evans, Clarksville-Montgomery Co. EDC
    Lindsay Frilling, Obion Co. Joint Economic Development
    Jeff Hite, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
    Matt Largen, Williamson County Office of Economic Development
    Charly Lyons, Tennessee Central Economic Alliance
    Allen Neel, East TN Economic Development Agency
    Mike Philpot, West Tennessee Industrial Association
    Heidi Smith, Tennessee Valley Authority
    Kyle Spurgeon, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce
    Commissioner Randy Boyd, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (ex officio)
    Allen Borden, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ex officio)
    John Bradley, Tennessee Valley Authority (ex officio)
    Andy Lawson, Tennessee Economic Development Council president (ex officio)

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at

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