8. President and CEO of the Tennessee Aquarium, Keith Sanford
Financier turned non-profit leader, Keith Sanford is the President and CEO of the Tennessee Aquarium. Sanford is well-known throughout Chattanooga, as he was the Market President of First Tennessee Bank and was named Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year in 2014. After 36 years in the banking industry, Sanford felt it was time for a change.
“I was on the board and on the search committee and found a job that I didn’t know I was going to apply for, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
The Tennessee Aquarium is more than just a tourist attraction, it focuses largely on the conservation of different wildlife throughout Tennessee and across the United States.
“15 years ago, Lake Sturgeon who used to be plentiful in the Tennessee river were extinct and we have put 220,000 sturgeon back in the system and we go test the waters, see how big they are. And then secondly, we are now native Brook trout. And back in the 20s, in the streams coming out of the Appalachian Mountains, they actually took out the native Brook trout and brought in a Western trout and Rainbow. And so, the Brook trout were kind of competing for food and didn't do so well. So, we are growing trout and putting them back into the Headland streams and working with Tennessee wildlife and the U.S. Forest service,” explained Sanford.
To hear more about all the good things the Tennessee Aquarium is up to and to find out where you can grab the best sweet tea in Chattanooga, listen to the whole episode below!