DC-based executive named as new head of The Enterprise Center in Chattanooga

The Founder of an initiative that was a model for one of the key programs at The Enterprise Center in Chattanooga has been named as the latter’s new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to succeed the retiring Ken Hays.

In an announcement yesterday, the economic development organization said that Deb Socia, President of Next Century Cities in Washington DC, will assume the top leadership role at The Enterprise Center July 15.

According to the news release, Socia will come to Chattanooga from an organization she founded and has led that “advocates for communities who seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband. She has a national reputation for her work with community broadband and digital equity, and she has a long history as an educator. ”

Socia was selected from a pool of candidates by a search committee that included representatives from The Enterprise Center’s board, City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

“There was unanimous agreement by all who interviewed Deb that she was far and away the best candidate,” said Sydney Crisp, the Chairman of the Search Committee. “Her experience, command of the room, energy, vision and personal national brand was significantly better than any other candidate.” 

One of The Enterprise Center’s digital equity programs, “Tech Goes Home Chattanooga,” is modeled after Boston’s program “Tech Goes Home” which Socia established in 2010. As the founding Executive Director, Socia led “Tech Goes Home” to serve more than 13,000 Boston residents, and she co-created a national version of the program with Intel.  

“The Enterprise Center aims to leverage Chattanooga’s fiber network for the good of the community,” said current President and CEO Ken Hays, “and there’s nobody who understands what broadband can do for a community more than Deb Socia.”  

Prior to her current role at Next Century Cities, Socia spent 32 years as an educator and administrator. She was the founding Principal of the award winning Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Boston Public School where she led the one-to-one laptop initiative.  

Here’s a link to her LinkedIn site.

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