About the Research Center

Every data point tells a story. Through one-on-one interviews, focus groups and surveys of stakeholders and industry leaders, our staff will elicit a full understanding of the context behind the numbers and trends. The Research Center does not merely take quantitative data at face value; trends often mask part of an industry’s story.

The Research Center conducts research on a variety of different topics and strives to be a center of knowledge for the community. End products for research clients engage many levels of planning and analysis to support industry needs and goals for growth. Regardless of the scope of your project, the Chamber's Research Center is equipped to deliver the data you need to feel confident in your results. With sensible, rational and consistent methodologies, the Research Center works with businesses, social institutions, communities, and entrepreneurs to help them function better and make strategic decisions.

To contact a member of the Research Center, click here


The Research Center’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Billboard magazine and The Atlantic, among others.

Rupa DeLoach

Rupa R. DeLoach currently serves as Vice President of Research of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. She comes to the Nashville Chamber having served as Economic Development Manager for the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance, as well as Vice President, Research Services for North Star Destination Services and the Director of Research for the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.

At North Star, Rupa developed research products for communities across the United States, with focus areas on tourism, economic development, and community branding. While there she increased, North Star’s research sales by 150% and was instrumental in developing their community brand barometer as well as their economic & tourism development evaluation assets.

At the state, she was responsible for all research activity pertaining to Tennessee’s business recruitment, expansion and retention efforts, community and rural economic development strategies, as well as the statistical evaluation of job and investment growth in Tennessee and other aspects of the labor market landscape reported to the executive and legislative branches. Under her tenure with the state, ECD’s data systems (particularly those pertaining to the automotive industry and foreign direct investment) caught the attention of notable organizations such as the Brookings Institute and the Financial Times FDI Markets, as being the definitive source of investment and industry data in Tennessee. Rupa’s tenacious nature, ability to ferret out just the right data set, and shape it into marketable information allowed Tennessee to “land” major competitive recruitment efforts that would have otherwise gone to competing states.

Additionally, Rupa has had nearly two decades of experience as an entrepreneur and consultant to various NGOs throughout the world. She has a deep interest in poverty elimination strategies for women and children in rural communities and the developing world.

Rupa currently serves on the board of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a Middle Tennessee organization focused on smart growth. She was a founding member of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum, where she served on the Board of Directors as VP of Research and Development as well as on the organization’s executive leadership team, from 2009 - 2013. As co-chair of the scholarship committee, she helped to raise and disburse nearly $100K in scholarships to deserving young women pursuing careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) fields with the hope of advancing in the automotive industry. As part of this passion for promoting education and furthering diversity in STEM, she also served on the Advisory Board for WISTEM (Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) at Middle Tennessee State University. She has also served on the Board of Examiners for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, helping Tennessee companies and organizations evaluate their operational processes using the National Baldrige Criteria.

Rupa has a graduate degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and an undergraduate degree in Public Management from Florida Atlantic University. She currently resides in the Nashville region with her husband, Jonathan and their two children. Rupa enjoys camping, running, being a soccer coach, scout leader and collecting art.

Joanna McCall

Joanna McCall currently serves as Coordinator of Applied Research of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and has held this position for two years. McCall, despite being a Nashville native, comes to the Chamber by way of Chicago where she was most recently a graduate student at DePaul University studying Sustainable Urban Development, a co-owner and bicycle courier with Cut Cats Courier - the largest service cooperative in the country, and an energy policy intern at both the Environmental Law and Policy Center and sustainability nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead.

At the Environmental Law and Policy Center, McCall was involved with various advocacy efforts and research related to air quality mitigation and the Volkswagen state settlements in the Midwest region. Additionally, she tracked and mapped prospective renewable energy generation projects across the state of Illinois for the purpose of monitoring the effects of new energy programs. McCall completed an internship doing similar work during graduate school with Seven Generations Ahead in Oak Park, Illinois. Here she was responsible for assisting their solar energy specialist during the stakeholder feedback, pre-implementation stage of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act. McCall evaluated potential solar output for different categories of host-type that would be eligible for various incentives. This work ultimately resulted in enabling a network prepared to take part in new programs that promoted more solar in Illinois’ generation portfolio.

At Cut Cats Courier, Joanna participated in and enjoyed ownership of a large operation created by workers, for workers. This is a community comprised of cycling enthusiasts whose mission is to cultivate and promote a self-propelled lifestyle and community that is collectively owned and operated. The courier service provides consistent and intelligent solutions to contracted delivery clients in the Chicago area by bicycle. McCall was with Cut Cats for four years.

Joanna has a graduate degree in Sustainable Urban Development from DePaul University, where she was a recognized Chaddick Scholar with the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. This program focuses on Public Policy, Geography, and Urban Planning, as well as the cultivation of relevant technical skills. Additionally, she has an undergraduate degree in Physics, also from DePaul University, where she graduated Cum Laude. She currently resides in East Nashville with her small flock of chickens and her dog, Farmer. Joanna enjoys gardening, bicycling, bagpiping and spending time with her neighbors.

Barrett Smith

Barrett Smith also serves as a Coordinator of Applied Research in The Research Center of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Barrett is originally from Dallas, TX but fell in love with Nashville during her time as an undergrad at Vanderbilt University from where she has a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health and Society as well as Spanish. Prior to being at the Chamber Barrett was a Quality Analyst intern at PhyMed Healthcare Group in Nashville where she worked heavily in data analytics and reporting as well as overseeing the management and execution of all Quality projects and initiatives. Barrett also has work experience in PR, Marketing and Event Planning and is proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Impact Analysis & Economic Planning

The Research Center can help you determine your project’s total economic impact as well as operational, planning, and sales forecasting strategies. For example:

  • What impact does hosting meetings in your office have on the local economy?
  • How much money is circulated in the community after hosting a music festival?

Strategic Business Development

The Research Center makes a priority of delivering turn-key research on a range of business, economic demographic and related topics. We focus on areas that have high impact to the economy and region. In all projects, research is application- and action-directed with an objective of serving real-life solutions for businesses and industries with ties in the Nashville and Tennessee markets.

Connect With the Chamber