E.L. Morton grew up on a small Campbell County, Tennessee farm. His first non-farming jobs came in 1982 in a combined restaurant, gas station and gift shop just minutes north of Knoxville’s World’s Fair.
While attending the University of Tennessee, E.L.’s tourism work continued on breaks and weekends. He also served in the National Guard, ROTC and as UT Residence Hall Assistant/Head Resident coordinating student life, accommodations, building and facility maintenance.
Graduating UT in 1989, E.L. and high school sweetheart Elaine Jones married and the two embarked on an Army career. His tours spanned 20 years across the Southeastern U.S., Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, retiring from the Army in 2009.
E.L. next served as Executive Director of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce leading business and tourism promotion for a local economy including eleven marinas, four state parks, a Tennessee Welcome Center, multi-use trails, expansive public lands and a restored elk herd. Averaging 4% growth over 5 years with a 7.6% high in 2014, county tourism receipts now exceed $50M annually.
A graduate of the Tennessee Tourism Professional Course, UT Economic Developer Course and the Oklahoma State Veteran Entrepreneur Course, E.L.’s awards include the 2013 LaFollette Press Businessman of the Year, the 2014 Chuck Davis Tourism Award, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab and Bronze Star.
In keeping with his tourism roots, E.L. joined 300 visitors on his first day as Mayor on Labor Day 2014 at Indian Mountain State Park for the Jellico Hospital Miner’s Mile Fun Run. Excited to serve friends, neighbors and visitors in Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountains alongside Norris Lake and I-75, E.L.’s goal is to improve lives through open, efficient government, jobs growth and attraction development.
E.L., Elaine and sons Ethan, Garrett and Gabriel live in Jacksboro and enjoy an active church community, boating, music, fishing, UT football, shooting sports, trail riding, hiking, camping and conservation.