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Carter Brings Focus to Chamber Leadership Roles

The following is a feature from the previous issue of Memphis Crossroads MagazineClick here to view the full issue.

Trey Carter is big on focus, very big. 
His savvy about the local workforce and his ability to see the big picture while handling the immediate task at hand has made him a successful entrepreneur and a valuable member of the Greater Memphis Chamber. 
Carter, who is on the Chamber’s board, brings that focus as chair of SoundCheck: the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council, a member of the Regional Logistics Council and as part of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) initiative. 
"Trey has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the success of his company and in his engagement with the Chamber across several key fronts,” said Phil Trenary, President & CEO of the Chamber. “We are excited to have him on our board and as a leader of SoundCheck."
His commitment to economic development in Memphis is directly related to his job as founder of the Olympic Career Training Institute. OCTI was created to train workers for the thousands of jobs in Memphis going unfilled because of the lack of qualified people. 
“Companies are saying hey, we need people,” Carter said. “But they need particular skills. There weren’t specific courses around town, so I decided if no one else will, I’ll do it.”
It took focus and dogged determination. 
“I didn’t know how tough it would be to create a post-secondary higher education institution,” he said. “It took two and a half years, but I got all my certifications.” OCTI has been approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and is authorized by the Work Investment Network. The three-week course in Warehousing in the Supply Chain teaches students how to handle warehouse logistics, including technical instruction, OSHA compliant forklift training and job professionalism.
The students are taught not just what it takes to do the job, but to think proactively, to seek out ways to help the team. They also get a quick course in economics. 
At 9 a.m. on a recent Monday, half a dozen people were at OCTI ready to start forklift training. Carter asked them why they wanted to do it. That conversation opened it up for him to put their job quest in context. He told them, “All roads lead to Memphis,” and gave them a Chamber-worthy briefing on what he calls “the 40,000-foot view,” where global companies “look to Memphis as a place where goods can move more efficiently.” He said companies like Target, IKEA and Nike have high expectations and need operators who understand that. He told the class if those operators bring additional skills and a willingness to grow, they can be part of what Carter calls the “freight rush” in Memphis which, like the gold rush of 1849, is providing abundant opportunities for those who make the effort. 
Carter also brings in speakers to give the job hopefuls a real-life perspective on working in Memphis. One was attorney Jack Shelton of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, PLLC.
“I talked to them about networking and the importance of making good associations,” Shelton said. “It’s important to make a good impression because that person might help you later.”
OCTI is also reaching out to teens who’ll soon be in the market for jobs. “We have a group of 15- to 19-year-olds during the summer who learn the basics: show up on time, have the right attitude, know what a work day feels like and work with others.”
Carter’s skills at getting workers connected to jobs are also handy in his job as chairman of SoundCheck, the Chamber’s council for young professionals. 
“We are the succession plan,” Carter said. “We’re reaching out to business leaders to ask for advice.”
SoundCheck aims to involve younger members in economic and professional development with the support of veteran Chamber members. There’s a synergistic effect, Carter said, with the young professionals savvy about what the millennial generation is looking for and the seasoned business pros having experience. 
Shelton is a SoundCheck member who says Carter is an ideal leader for the group. “I believe he wakes up and goes to bed thinking about what he can do to make Memphis a better place. With SoundCheck, young professionals have an opportunity to buy in and grow with the city.” 
Carter is also devoting his time and focus to GMACW. “I’m a training provider that it looks to as part of their network of certified schools and training facilities that can help them reach their goal of a very competitive, trained workforce,” he said.
GMACW is the lead initiative of the Memphis & Shelby County Regional Economic Development Plan. It’s developing specific strategies to bring together businesses, training programs and skilled job seekers.  
“It was natural for me,” Carter said. “Being a training provider, I can speak to it because I live it every day. You see me wearing steel-toe boots — I don’t really sit in an office. I’m on the forklifts, I’m in the plant, I’m making sure that I understand what a day in the life of the worker is like.”

Story by: Jon W. Sparks
Photo by: Troy Glasgow

Posted: 10/6/2015 10:19:24 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Carter, Olympic, Trey

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (