Born in April 1967, Mayor Tim Kelly is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga. He found his first job at age 15, working as a busboy at the original Vine Street Market, and he continued to work through summers in high school at the automotive dealership that his grandfather, Jim Ayers, founded in 1936.
Kelly graduated from the Baylor School in 1985 and went on to attend Columbia University in New York as a John Jay Scholar. After earning his undergraduate degree in 1989, he returned to Chattanooga to work at his family’s business. In the years to follow, Kelly expanded his family’s business and launched several successful ventures of his own, including co-founding Chattanooga’s local, independent professional soccer club, Chattanooga Football Club, in 2009. Kelly returned to school in 2010, enrolling in the Executive MBA program at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. He graduated two years later as a member of the Gamma Sigma honor society and a recipient of the Al Bows Executive MBA Outstanding Achievement Award, in recognition of his significant contributions to academic and community life.
Kelly has always been active in the community, working closely with local organizations to address community concerns and even teaching entrepreneurship and marketing as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. He has served on boards and volunteered for scores of local nonprofits, including the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chattanooga, the Benwood Foundation, River City Company, Allied Arts (now ArtsBuild), Chattanooga 2.0, and the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, among others.
Kelly was inaugurated as the 66th Mayor of Chattanooga on April 19, 2021 and has since been working toward realizing his vision to create One Chattanooga: A city where every resident has the opportunity to thrive and prosper.