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CIO Behind Chattanooga’s Smart City Innovation Is Moving On

After two years as the Tennessee city’s tech leader, Tyson Morris will pursue other opportunities. He said Friday he is committed to continuing his work using technology to help people.

Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee is seen at night across the Tennessee,River.
The CIO of one of the nation’s leading smart cities is stepping down from his post to pursue other opportunities.

Tyson Morris, who was named CIO of Chattanooga, Tenn., in February 2022 after eight years working in technology at The Coca-Cola Co., confirmed Friday he is moving on. He declined to say exactly what he will be doing next but told Government Technology he will be staying in Chattanooga.
Tyson Morris
Tyson Morris
City of Chattanooga
“My sweet spot is still using my technology skills in the community I love,” said Morris, who added that there’s “so many cool tech things out there.” He emphasized he is looking forward to continuing his work in innovation and using technology to help the community.

Chattanooga’s Intelligent Cities Director Jerele Neeld has been named interim CIO, Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said in a written statement provided to Government Technology. Neeld is a longtime executive at Dell Technologies, who served until February 2023 as its vice president of global localization and content design/development, according to LinkedIn.

Morris said he’s filled with a mix of emotions as he departs the position.

“This decision has not been made lightly and comes after much reflection on my personal and professional goals,” Morris said Friday in a post on LinkedIn, calling this week his last as CIO. “As I embark on this next chapter, I carry with me the lessons learned and the relationships built here.”

When Morris joined the city, he told The Wall Street Journal, “Chattanooga is kind of that dream job,” expressing excitement to work with the city’s high-powered technological capabilities. Chattanooga, The Journal said then, “is considered among the most advanced of so-called smart cities,” a designation its CIO worked to preserve.

Under Morris’ leadership, Chattanooga started an initiative to create a digital city hall in 2023. Morris told Government Technology at the time that his background in the private sector helped inspire the project, aimed at improving digital service experiences. It included a new website programmed to improve usability for people of all ages and abilities and capable of capturing data and user feedback, to ensure constituents’ needs were met.

“I want to thank Tyson for his more than two years of dedicated service to the people of Chattanooga, and I wish him the best in his next chapter,” Kelly said. “Under Tyson’s leadership, city government and our partners have done award-winning work to increase access to technology, use data to improve infrastructure and city services, upgrade city cybersecurity, and leverage our tech assets to move our community forward.”
Nikki Davidson is a data reporter for Government Technology. She’s covered government and technology news as a video, newspaper, magazine and digital journalist for media outlets across the country. She’s based in Monterey, Calif.