KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Kingsport Chamber informed its members that the state of the Chamber is strong, and local leadership is pleased with the way the city is progressing.

The chamber held its annual State of Your Kingsport Chamber Holiday Breakfast Friday morning and highlighted its 75th year, calling it a success.

Russ Rogers, the outgoing chair of the Kingsport Chamber, spoke on the organization’s achievements, and incoming chair Ramona Jackson previewed plans for 2023.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Kingsport Chamber Board chair – especially this year our 75th year,” Rogers said.  “I hope your takeaway from everything we have highlighted this morning is to see what an incredible organization your Kingsport Chamber truly is and how active and involved they are and how vital they are to our community.”

“I am truly honored and thrilled to be the next Board chair of your Kingsport Chamber,” Jackson said.  “It’s humbling to hold the same position as those inspiring leaders who have given this very same address in our Kingsport Chamber’s 75-year history.”

Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull was at the breakfast and told News Channel 11 he was pleased with the direction the city was heading.

“I’m very impressed with the move to Kingsport, that’s doing really well,” Shull said. “Our area is attractive to other people from other states, and they have some good statistics on that.”

Shull also expressed excitement about the incoming academic dental clinic made possible by collaboration among the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University and Ballad Health. The learning clinic could one day evolve into a full-fledged dental school in Kingsport.

According to Shull, tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee, and Kingsport has seen success in capitalizing on that.

“We want people to shop through downtown Kingsport every day throughout the year,” Shull said.

The chamber also took the breakfast as an opportunity to honor Paul Montgomery with a Lifetime Member Award, the organization’s most prestigious award. Montgomery is the 38th member to receive the honor, which is granted to a person who has made “an enormous contribution to the Kingsport Chamber and the community throughout his or her lifetime,” a release from the chamber states.