Led by Dr. Garrett Harper, the Research Center provides each client with hands-on research rooted in a data-driven approach that has been nationally recognized. The Research Center’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Billboard magazine and The Atlantic, among others.

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Dr. Garrett Harper

Dr. Harper serves as Vice President of Research and Information for The Research Center, a position he has held since 1990. He has also served as Research Director for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau and for Heartland Alliance in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Harper is past president of the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association and he is a Certified Community Researcher. He serves on the National Steering Committee of the U.S. Census American Community Survey Data Group and is active in a variety of academic and practitioner organizations relating to demographics, business research, regional science, quality-of-life studies, market research, geography, and economic and international development. Dr. Harper’s work has been featured in numerous national outlets, including The Atlantic Cities, NPR, The New York Times, The Carnegie Reporter and others. Dr. Harper serves as adjunct professor at Lipscomb University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Cumberland University, Columbia State Community College and Volunteer State Community College. Dr. Harper holds the following degrees: B.A. Geography (Middle Tennessee State University); M.B.A., Healthcare Marketing (Kennesaw State University); M.P.H., Health Planning and Administration (University of Tennessee- Knoxville); J.D., Law (Nashville School of Law); Ph.D., International Economic Development (University of Southern Mississippi); M.T.S., Theology (Lipscomb University); GIS Cert, Geographic Information Systems (Penn State University); and M.S.A.N.R., Agriculture and Natural Resources (current, University of Tennessee - Martin). Dr. Harper is proficient with EMSI, REMI, Implan, ArcGIS, SPSS and a wide variety of data sources and tools.

Rebecca West

Rebecca West serves as Director of Applied Research. Previously at the Chamber, Ms. West managed a small business accelerator program called ScaleUp Nashville. Prior to her work with the Chamber, Ms. West worked in non-profit management, small business development and participated in the six-month government-sponsored start-up program StartUp Chile. Ms. West has completed the following degrees: M.A. Economic Development (Vanderbilt University); M.A. Latin American Studies (Vanderbilt University); and B.A. Theology (Georgetown University. Ms. West is proficient with IMPLAN, R, and STATA.

Chris Zimmer

Chris Zimmer serves as Manager of Analytics and Applied Research. In this role he compiles demographic and economic data for a variety of studies on business, economics, and the public sector. He is a graduate of Belmont University with a degree in business administration and marketing. Mr. Zimmer is proficient with EMSI, ESRI, IMPLAN, Qualtrics, SPSS and survey design.


Riley Scholer

Riley Scholer serves as Coordinator of Applied Research in the Research Center of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. A native of Lake Bluff, Illinois, Scholer is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Public Policy. 

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