Page 1

INSIDE: Chamber Staffer named SBA Champion pg. 49


Monthly Economic Indicators

pg. 50


With The



Top Achievers are recognized for their countless volunteer hours and dedication to the Ambassador Program’s mission of serving as an active volunteer extension of the Knoxville Chamber to cultivate, promote, and maintain positive relationships between the Knoxville Chamber, its members, and the community.

Vice President of Economic Development Doug Lawyer recognized Vice President of Member Services Melissa Spangler as June’s Employee of the Month


Communications and New Media Manager Justin Kropff presents Vice President of Economic Development Doug Lawyer May’s Chamber Employee of the Month award



visit and search for Knoxville Chamber

BRIAN COMBS Great West Casualty Company


Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation

CHAMBER STAFF Doug Lawyer @knoxoakridgeIV Jennifer Evans @knoxevans Justin Kropff @jkropff Kyle Touchstone @knoxecondevguy Mark Field @field101 Michelle Kiely @mkiely1

DREW CLEMMONS Connell Properties Inc.


NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS SILVER University of Phoenix - Knoxville Campus (865) 288-6800 Education & Training: Colleges

A-1 Contractors, Inc. (865) 382-8557 Construction & Contractors:Roofing ACS Document Imaging (865) 675-3020 Office Equipment, Furniture, Supplies & Printing Services: Document Management Capital Commercial Real Estate (865) 769-4644 Real Estate: Commercial

Computer Information Systems (865) 246-9801 Computer & IT Services Cornerstone Home Lending (865) 329-6345 Financial Services Creative Catering of Knoxville/ Ms. Cock-a-doodles (865) 386-1405 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues: Catering Edward Jones - Jeff Givens (865) 573-1537 Financial Services Envision Community Magazine (865) 201-2627 Publishing/Publications

Ideal Exteriors, LLC (865) 323-2379 Construction & Contractors: Roofing Jani-King of Knoxville (865) 271-8021 Residential Services: Cleaning Services Jia-Moore Construction (865) 308-3677 Construction & Contractors: Roofing Knoxville Star Storage (865) 693-7600 Residential Services: Storage Living Social - Noel Roberts (865) 250-6808 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

Millennium Roofing and Construction, LLC (865) 566-8256 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

Redbird Architecture (865) 524-5045 Architectural & Engineering Services: Architects

Staffmark (865) 693-4047 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

Petra Roofing Company, LLC (865) 776-8880 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

RockTenn Company (865) 297-9101 Manufacturing: Paper

Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc. (865) 583-3957 Construction & Contractors: Plumbing

Titan Exteriors (865) 277-1367 Construction & Contractors: Exteriors

Roofing Professionals, LLC (865) 675-9100 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

ProChoice Lawn Care (865) 256-4475 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping

Shelton Group (865) 524-8385 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

















Union Ave Books (865) 951-2180 Shopping: Books

CORRECTION The phone number for IT eXpertise in last month’s Commerce was incorrect. It is 865.806.9459

Great teachers and great schools are key components that will help the Chamber meet its goals of creating, attracting, and sustaining a world-class workforce in order to meet the needs of the region’s existing and target industries. A skilled workforce with 21st century skills is critical to our area’s quality of life, well-being, and business success. Therefore, the quality of our education system is of the utmost importance. By working with the education community, local workforce partners, and area businesses, Knox County Schools’ recently adopted a Strategic Compensation Plan that will help attract and retain great teachers. The plan provides a pool of $10 million for additional pay to teachers who meet or exceed evaluation parameters. In addition to this plan, changes in teacher collective bargaining and tenure will allow the region’s education system to reach higher outcome levels. Finally, the opening of the area’s first STEM academy will increase the region’s focus on science, technology, engineering, and math and will help further the Innovation Valley’s reputation of being a world-class location for excellence in education and workforce development.

APEX AGENDA The Knox County Board of Education’s recently approved transformational strategic compensation system, called APEX (Advance, Perform, EXcel) is an investment in excellence that provides additional compensation for teachers who deliver high quality instruction, achieve positive academic outcomes for their students, and are instructional leaders among their colleagues. The school system is funding the strategic compensation plan with $10.7 million in Race to the Top funds and an Innovation Acceleration Fund grant. In the plan there is also an incentive for principals and assistant principals. The APEX system is tightly aligned to Knox County Schools’ most important instructional goals outlined in its strategic plan, entitled Excellence for All Children. The plan is innovative and representative of the high expectations that the school system has for its schools, its students, and its educational professionals. The Knoxville school district may be the third largest in the state but a recent report detailed it to rank 38th in average teacher salaries. Fixing this imbalance is critical to creating an environment that will help the region reach higher academic successes. “We need to make real progress in addressing this compensation gap if we want to be able to recruit and retain the best possible talent in our classrooms and the best leaders for our schools,” said Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. James McIntyre. “APEX is one way for us to be more competitive in the salaries we pay for our most effective educators, all while investing our resources in ways that will incent and reward our primary objective: enhanced student learning.”

Beginning this fall, Knox County teachers who meet effective instructive performance levels in their classrooms can expect to see a bonus in their paychecks at the end of the school year. There are different levels of incentive pay. Teachers reaching model performance levels will receive a $1,500 bonus. Those who reach exemplary performance levels will receive a $2,000 bonus. Seventy percent of incentive pay is based on the new Tennessee performance evaluation system that evaluates teachers based on student performance and instructional practice. In addition to teacher bonuses, there will also be school excellence awards given to the district’s highest rated elementary, middle and high schools. These schools will receive awards of $5,000 to $10,000 based on student test score growth percentages. Race to the Top funding, Teacher Incentive Fund monies, and Innovation Acceleration Fund dollars will fully fund this initiative for the first two years. If APEX is found to be an effective strategy, Dr. McIntyre said he would then recommend that the school system begin to gradually replace the grant dollars with general fund resources. A crucial message about APEX that Dr. McIntyre emphasizes is that the plan doesn’t simply mean more pay for better test scores. It is about enabling and accelerating the comprehensive education reform initiatives that are already going on in the Knox County Schools. “From focusing on excellent instruction and teacher leadership, to developing additional capacity in our high-needs schools and using data to inform good teaching, APEX will directly support and reinforce the important educational improvement efforts outlined in our strategic plan,” said Dr. McIntyre. “Ultimately, we believe APEX will help enhance academic success and will be a critical factor in achieving our ambitious goal, Excellence for All Children.” The school system will deploy a comprehensive communications plan that will help its stakeholders understand the APEX system and its components, its alignment to the school system’s strategic plan, and the opportunities it offers educators to improve their craft beyond the monetary aspect of the plan. This will include outreach opportunities via town hall meetings, the creation of an overview brochure, detailed information on and school system intranet sites, training videos, internal newsletters, and more.

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES The adoption of the strategic compensation plan is one way to improve education within the Innovation Valley. Another recent breakthrough is legisla-



“CHASING PERFECTION” continued from pg. 45 tion that both ends collective bargaining between teachers’ unions and school boards across the state and updates the teacher tenure law that is designed to hold teachers more accountable. Teacher tenure will now be rewarded based on the new teacher evaluation system for scores above or significantly above expectations. The effect of this Chamber recommended and supported legislation will lower the number of tenured teachers in the area, but will provide an opportunity for teachers to grow and develop as professionals. The updated law requires teachers to be on the job five years instead of three to get tenure. It also enables the school board to revoke job security for poor teaching performances. “As a state we have to treat teaching like the honorable and important profession it is,” said Governor Bill Haslam. “We must make Tennessee a place where great educators feel rewarded and appreciated for their efforts. We have many great teachers in Tennessee, and we can have even more.” Better teachers mean it’s more likely the state and the region can meet its goals of providing a better-educated workforce so that employers choose to relocate or expand in Tennessee. As a Race to the Top leader, the state is setting the pace for improved student outcomes and is being closely watched by the rest of the country. “Reformers all over the country are trying to figure out what works,” Chamber Vice President of Workforce Development and Education Jennifer Evans said. “We have an opportunity in Tennessee, and also locally, to make a serious impact in teaching and student learning.” However, updated teacher tenure legislation and recently passed legislation that puts an end to collective bargaining between the teachers’ unions and school systems are helping define the future of education. The end to collective bargaining will prevent the teachers’ union from negotiating strategic compensation pay, hiring practices, employee retention, etc. The measure replaces union contracts with binding memorandums of understanding on issues such as salaries, grievances, benefits, and working conditions. In addition, it shields areas such as differential pay and evaluations from discussions. These measures are prompting district administrators to rethink how they design their human resources activities and possibly will free them up to do some innovative things to attract and retain the best and the brightest to teach.

STEM ACADEMY & HUB Knoxville’s STEM Academy opens its doors this fall. Curriculum is catered

towards subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The school is located in the former L&N Station in downtown Knoxville and is one of only two STEM Schools in the state, with Nashville being home to the other. The school offers an exciting opportunity to sharpen the focus on STEM education and provides students with an interest in STEM careers an opportunity to study in a specialized and rigorous environment. Former Knox County Schools director of curriculum and instruction Becky Ashe is the STEM school’s principal. Curriculum has been designed so that it can be easily replicated in other schools across the state. “Rather than a model school, we’re building a platform school,” Ashe said. “All educators are invited to come learn about our coursework and take what fits or can be modified for their needs back to their schools.” Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman is happy to hear the STEM school’s curriculum can migrate easily. “Obviously, a background in math and science is incredibly important in today’s labor market,” said Commissioner Huffman. “I’m really excited to learn from this pilot and see what we can take to other districts in the state.” In addition there are going to be two STEM Hubs located in Knoxville and Nashville. The Hubs will support the STEM schools and work to share what’s being done at the STEM schools with other schools in the region. Knox County Schools has been the lead partner in its proposal to manage the Knoxville Hub. The Chamber and its Innovation Valley partners are also proposed partners to operate the Hub with Race to the Top funding that totals nearly $850,000. Ashe says these Hubs can become valuable tools for the business community. “The education community knows that business moves at a certain pace,” said Ashe. “One goal that we have at the STEM school is to help our teachers move at the speed of business. Our local Hub will be a perfect place for businesses to share the kind of skill sets they’re looking for. This would allow us to build these skills into our STEM courses and provide an opportunity for the business community to custom build its workforce.” Whether it’s supporting great teachers in the region by rewarding them for jobs well done, making necessary legislative upgrades that enhance teacher and student performance levels, or working with the region’s business community to increase outcomes, the chase to perfect the region’s public education system is on. The Chamber will continue working with the education community, local workforce partners, and area businesses to create the best possible platform to enable our students, teachers, and educators to be successful.

TCAP Scores Improve Governor Bill Haslam recently announced that Tennessee students scored higher in all subject areas and grade levels (in grades 3-8) on this year’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program achievement test than they did in 2009-10. These improvements are a critical step forward in the state’s education reform plan being funded by federal Race to the Top dollars. Reading scores improved by 3.7 percent and math scores improved by an impressive seven percent over last year. In 18 school systems, student

State’s Standardized Test Results Reflect Teachers’ Hard Work

scores improved by 20 percent or more. Governor Haslam gave Tennessee’s teachers credit for the results. “I want to thank the teachers of Tennessee,” he said. “Every now and then it’s easy to say we need to do so much better in education, but in the midst of that, we should always stop and recognize when improvement happens.” To find district-by-district test score results, visit the state Department of Education’s website at





Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Since his appointment as Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner in March, Kevin Huffman’s main goals have centered around fulfilling Governor Bill Haslam’s initiative to make Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. Commissioner Huffman has taken to this challenge by learning about the current status of the state’s education system, making sure we have a solid plan to attract and keep great teachers in the state, and updating businesspeople about how they can support the state’s education goals. Commerce recently had the opportunity to ask Commissioner Huffman about these topics, and more. Q: You’ve been on the job for over 100 days now. What have you learned so far about Tennessee’s education system? A: Over the past several months, I have had the privilege of learning from teachers, principals, superintendents, and community leaders from Memphis to Johnson City. What I have heard again and again is that Tennesseans believe education is the critical link in developing well-rounded and productive citizens, attracting economic development to the state, and investing in our future leaders. I have also been inspired by the way in which Tennesseans worked collaboratively over the past several years to set ambitious and achievable goals for student success in our state. Here in Knoxville, business and community leaders have partnered with Superintendent Jim McIntyre and school leaders to start innovative programs, such as an in-depth teacher evaluation rubric and a performance pay structure, that currently inform best practices across the state. Q: We know that effective teachers are the key to increasing student outcomes. How does the Department of Education plan to support districts in attracting and retaining the best and the brightest in the teaching profession? A: I think there are a few pieces to this. First, we need to aggressively recruit the most talented people. Second, we have to build a profession that rewards excellence, so that excellent people want to come and to stay. Third, we have to figure out ways to differentiate in pay and in leadership opportunities. We are working with Tennessee universities and highly-regarded teacher recruitment groups such as Teach For America and The New Teacher Project to incentivize top undergraduate students and professionals to pursue a career in teaching. We are also working on rewarding high-performing teachers. Starting this fall, all schools are overhauling teacher and principal evaluation. The evaluation system will consider student achievement, growth, and classroom observations to support educators in improving student outcomes. The new system is not perfect, but it is an important step in the right direction of recognizing teachers who truly transform their students’ lives. Q: How will your previous experiences help Tennessee improve its education system? A: Twenty years ago, I began my career in education as a classroom teacher. My experiences teaching first and second grade in a low-income community in-

formed my belief that when we give kids the educational opportunities they deserve, they can achieve at the highest-levels, regardless of their background. I bring my understanding of the challenges teachers face and my sense of possibility that our children can achieve on an absolute scale to every professional decision I make. I also practiced law for an education law firm in Washington, D.C. and then spent the past decade at Teach For America, helping them grow into what is now the nation’s leading provider of teachers to low-income communities. My role at Teach For America allowed me to work with 30 different states and see a variety of different reform efforts on the ground. At Teach For America, I came to believe that change management is possible, and that talent matters, at all levels of an organization and a system. I think those core beliefs help define my views today. Q: Why do you want to see extensions in school days and the school calendar? A: If you look at the top performing public and private schools in the country, including top charters like KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program, a national network of Schools in 20 states and Washington D.C.), almost uniformly, they extend learning opportunities into longer days and/or weekend instruction. While there are many paths to success, teaching kids more makes a difference. We want all of our students succeeding at the highest levels, and the reality is it will take some students more time with their teachers to get there. There are many strategies for increasing quality learning time and we are investigating all of them right now to determine which strategies have the greatest impact. Increasing instructional time is only part of our plan for growing student achievement, but it is important to the success of our other programs and initiatives. Q: What impact will Knoxville’s new STEM School have on the community? A: Itoffers an exciting opportunity to sharpen the focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The school provides students with an interest in STEM careers an opportunity to pursue them in a specialized, rigorous environment. Obviously, a background in math and science is incredibly important in today’s labor market, so I am really excited to learn from this pilot and see what we can take to other districts in the state. Q: How will you make sure that Tennessee uses its Race to the Top funds wisely and holds itself accountable? A: We are not backing away from the very ambitious student achievement goals, and my priority is to marshal the resources at our disposal and channel them. The funds provide a huge chance to invest in infrastructure and in supporting innovation in districts, but I think the bigger piece of Race to the Top is actually the plan and the broad support for ambitious reform. In many states, people are still arguing about whether change is needed. Here, we are focused on how to change even faster.


See “Q&A” continued on pg. 48


“Q&A” continued from pg. 47 Q: What can the business community do to support education at the state and local level? A: Stay involved, and bring a commitment to data and evidence to the education field. Too often, people in business come to believe that education is somehow distinct from their day to day business experiences. Education is not different. We need to set big goals, build the capacity to reach them, hire talented people, manage them effectively, and measure, measure, measure so that we can keep improving. I think you have a great model for partnership right here in Knoxville. The Chamber’s partnership with Superintendent McIntyre and the School Board has lent an entrepreneurial spirit to providing a better education for children in this school system. Collaboratives such as The Great Schools Partnership are an excellent avenue for the business community to support education programs with a proven track record of success, as well as promising new programs.

Melaleuca’s new distribution facility in Forks of the River, a recent Blaine project.

Blaine Construction Corporation

Business Retention Program Designed for Any-Sized Business

Blaine Construction Corporation provides general contracting, construction management, design/build, and pre-engineered metal building services. The company, founded in Knoxville in 1969 by Vice Chairman of the Board, Dorman Blaine, has a diverse portfolio including industrial, commercial, hospitality, institutional, energy, transportation, and governmental projects. Projects built by Blaine Construction paint the local landscape as well as areas throughout the U.S. and in a few select countries abroad. No matter how challenging a project is, or how remote its location, chances are Blaine Construction can handle it. The firm has recently started a project on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. “We focus on local projects and projects in neighboring states,” said Blaine Construction President Gary Bennett. “However, our size, expertise with specialty steel structures, and involvement with large international contractors and firms has given many of our employees the opportunity to travel and build in other parts of the country.” Bennett attributes the company’s success to its employees’ unmatched combination of knowledge, skill, experience, integrity, and commitment to customer needs. “Our folks work hard to complete projects from ground breaking to ribbon cutting,” he said. “We are a part of the community and enjoy developing relationships with clients. We enjoy seeing people we have worked for at the grocery store, church, or a kid’s baseball game. We want the building process to be enjoyable for our clients.” Bennett also says the company’s success is ultimately measured one project at a time. “After the completion of each project we undertake, there must remain a satisfied client, one who will ask us back for the next project and recommend us to others,” he said. “We simply try harder, and the results speak for themselves.” For more information about Blaine Construction call (865) 693-8900 or visit the company’s website at

The Chamber’s Business Retention program not only assists large manufacturers, it helps any type of business located within the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley. A unique aspect of the Chamber’s Business Retention program is access to many local economic development professionals working daily to aid area companies. For example, Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Doug Lawyer and Economic Development Project Manager Kyle Touchstone have extensive experience in recruiting new corporate office and manufacturing businesses, and assisting local expanding businesses. The Chamber often refers businesses eager to take advantage of the region’s many technology resources to Innovation Valley Director of Technology Jesse Smith. In addition, Chamber Technology and Manufacturing Consultant, Sam Hart, helps companies seeking technology advantages to link together. Minority or veteran-owned businesses looking for grant or partnering opportunities can also receive assistance by connecting with Chamber Business Development Manager Doug Minter. “Our Business Retention program is designed to help us become a one-call resource for area businesses,” Touchstone said. “The program is helping us increase our relationships with local companies, which helps us more effectively assist them with their needs.” Many times, existing businesses are a ripe source for new business recruitment leads as well. Relationships are fueled when Chamber staff members meet one on one with businesses in an effort to help them identify ways to grow through the use of noand low-cost programs. Some of the programs and services available include: • Access to capital & incentives • Business strengthening programs • Utility efficiencies • Job training resources • Finding the right employees Any-sized business looking to grow, seeking additional contracts, or needing access to capital or training can find the desired resources by visiting the program’s webpage at To refer a business for a visit, call Chamber Economic Development Project Manager Kyle Touchstone at (865) 637-4550 or email him,

Dedicated to Providing Superior Service


Chamber Staffer Named Tennessee Small Business Champion! Featured Speaker: Kevin Ross, Vice President and General Manager of adidas Golf/ TaylorMade

The Chamber’s execUTive Speaker Series sponsored by UT Federal Credit Union returns August 23 and will feature University of Tennessee Graduate School alum and adidas Golf /TaylorMade Vice President and General Manager Kevin Ross. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Knoxville Marriott. Make plans to come hear Ross’s presentation about a career that led him from Knoxville to a senior position with a global sports apparel/equipment manufacturer. Registration is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members and available online at Sponsored by:

In July, Doug Minter was named the winner of the Tennessee Small Business Champion of the Year award presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award was presented to Chamber Business Development Manager Doug Minter. Minter manages the PROPEL Chamber Business Development Manager program, established in 2009 Doug Minter was presented the 2011 U.S. it helps small businesses grow Small Business Administration’s Minority Small through mentoring, counseling, Business Champion of the Year Award by SBA District Director Walter Perry and government procurement assistance. In 2010-11 the program provided 144 face-to-face counseling sessions, facilitated the creation of 25 mentor/protégé relationships, and reinvigorated the Diversity Champions Taskforce. The Mentor/Protégé program helped the small business participants grow their workforce by 67 percent and their economic impact stands at $34.5 million.

Area Businesses Providing Teachers Lesson-Application Experiences Third Annual Educators in the Workplace Program Underway Over one hundred math and science teachers from the Innovation Valley region, are taking part in this year’s Educators in the Workplace program designed to allow educators and school counselors to meet with business people in a workplace setting for a two or more hour event. Educators in the Workplace is an Innovation Valley Inc. initiative bringing together educators and companies in Blount, Knox, Roane, and Loudon Counties and in Oak Ridge. Members of various departments within the company are providing information on the nature of the company’s business and workplace culture, and specifics on ways to apply what the students learn in the classroom with what is experienced in the workplace. Companies are offering tours and arranging question and answer sessions with representatives from various departments. CEMEX, Inc. drew from its experiences with Knox County Schools’ Schooled for Success internship program when it hosted area high school teachers during a two-day event in June. The nation’s largest supplier of cement and ready-mix concrete has annually hosted rising ninth graders who “go to work” for two days to explore career opportunities. Teachers received a plant and rock quarry tour on day-one and then were paired up with company employees on the second day. Teachers were able to shadow workers and participated in a unique concrete building experiment that is designed to debunk some common misconceptions about the often-used construction material. The goal was to create a floating cement boat. “If teachers filled cement into the form correctly, the boat floated,” said Cemex Administrative Assistant Karen Suffridge. “Most people think that concrete is very

Harding Valley High School math and business teacher Jim Friedrich and Rockwood High School math teacher Morgan Moore receive a plant tour from CEMEX, Inc. Environmental Assistant James Scott

heavy when in fact it can be made to be very light. The experiment is a good way to demonstrate how versatile concrete can be.” Hands-on demonstrations such as these prove valuable in the classroom. In this case, science teachers can illustrate to students how various natural elements react when manipulated differently. Students become more engaged any time teachers can show students how textbook examples apply to real life. Students learn better when they’re more engaged. For more information about the Educators in the Workplace program or if you’re interested in participating next year call Chamber Workforce Development Manager Ahnna Estes at (865) 246-2658 or email her at


Monthly Economic Indicators

(June 2011)

Notes - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties.


Resident Labor Force

May 2011

Apr. 2011

May 2010

% Change Apr. ’11- May ‘11

Knox Co. 240,220 239,360 231,320 Knoxville MSA 376,560 375,210 363,190 Tennessee 3,133,900 3,113,600 3,023,600 U.S. 153,449,000 152,898,000 153,866,000

Non-Ag Employment

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.

7.4 7.7 9.5 8.7

3.8 3.7 3.6 -0.3

325,000 2,634,500

0.3 0.3

1.2 0.2

19,700 32,000 332,120

-4.5 -4.5 -1.7

-1.8 -1.9 -2.2

7.7 8.0 0.9 9.3

-0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0

-0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.6

Knox Co. 19,360 20,230 Knoxville MSA 31,410 32,820 Tennessee 325,030 330,710

Unemployment Rates

0.4 0.4 0.7 0.4

7.7 7.9 9.6 8.7

Sources: Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Inflation Rates - Consumer Price Index (CPI) – All Items

June ‘10-‘11

*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg.

May ‘10-’11

4.1 3.6

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

June ‘09-‘10

4.0 3.6

% Change May ’10- June ‘11

0.8 1.1

0.1 0.0

3.3 2.5

June 2011

May 2011

June 2010

% Change May ’11- June ‘11

% Change June ’10June ‘11

Knox Co. $46,198,607 $41,923,133 $42,060,209 Knoxville MSA $65,057,712 $59,054,788 $59,266,642 Tennessee $554,963,608 $538,780,075 $521,995,454

Local Sales Tax

% Change June ’09June ‘11

*South – City Size Class B/C

Sales Tax Revenue – State & Local $ State Sales Tax

Knox Co. $12,380,494 Knoxville MSA $17,403,623

Housing Market

June 2011

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

897 15,886 $154,800

May 2011

June 2010

828 15,774 $140,350

% Change May ’11- June ‘11

1,097 17,504 $152,950

8.3 0.7 10.3

% Change June ’10June ‘11 -22.3 -10.2 1.2

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Knoxville MSA 328,800 327,900 Tennessee 2,640,200 2,632,600

Available Labor

% Change May ’10May ‘11

10.2 10.2 3.0

9.8 9.8 6.3

$11,971,421 $11,788,378 $16,815,255 $16,514,762

3.4 3.5

5.0 5.4

(in millions of dollars)

% Change June ’10June ‘11

Residential Building Permits

May 2011*

Knoxville (City) Total Single-Family Multi-Family

16 16 0

% Change May ‘10May 2010 May ‘11 159 9 150

-893.8 77.8 -100.0

Knox Co. Total 78 218 Single-Family 78 68 Multi-Family 0 150 Knoxville MSA Total 107 239 Single-Family 107 89 Multi-Family 0 150 Tennessee Total 968 1,090 Single-Family 855 883 Multi-Family 113 207

-179.5 14.7 -100.0 -123.4 20.2 -100.0 -12.6 -3.3 -83.2

*All 2011 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey

Air Service (McGhee-Tyson Airport)

Apr. 2011

Passengers 133,417 Cargo 7,820,439

Mar. 2011

Apr. 2010

143,459 8,593,171

% Change Mar. ’11- Apr. ’11

134,773 8,002,110

-7.5 -9.9

% Change Apr. ’10Apr. ’11 -1.0 -2.3

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Source: Tennessee Dept. of Revenue

Retail Sales – National Category

June 2011

May 2011

Total Retail Sales 395,410 Building Materials 30,296 Clothing Stores 17,418 Electronics & Appliances 7,822 Food & Beverage Stores 51,447 Food Svcs & Drinking Places 41,181 Furniture & Home Furnishings 7,179 Gasoline Stations 47,633 General Merchandise Stores 51,260 Health & Personal Care Stores 22,554 Miscellaneous Stores 10,497 Motor Vehicle & Parts Sales 70,715 Non-store Retailers 30,601 Sporting Goods/Books/ Hobby/Music 6,807

June 2010

% Change May ’11- June ‘11

400,940 31,522 18,586 7,555 52,082 42,719 7,274 48,163 52,164 22,967 10,503 69,905 30,845

364,774 27,911 16,194 8,007 47,999 39,373 7,168 38,561 48,796 21,711 9,986 64,836 27,522

-1.4 -4.0 -6.7 3.5 -1.2 -3.7 -1.3 -1.1 -1.8 -1.8 -0.1 -1.2 -0.8

8.4 8.5 7.6 -2.4 7.2 4.6 0.2 23.5 5.0 3.9 5.1 9.1 11.2





Census 2010 Data Releases - Housing Units Occupancy Status County

Census 2010 Population

Total Housing Units

Occupied Housing Units

Vacant Housing Units

75,129 123,010 432,226 48,556 19,109 698,030

34,717 55,266 194,949 21,725 8,958 315,615

31,253 49,265 177,249 19,826 7,391 284,984

3,464 6,001 17,700 1,899 1,567 30,631

Anderson Blount Knox Loudon Union MSA Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report


PROPEL MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE Protégé: DeeAnn Sparhawk, President, Cool Pouch Mentor: Mike Akers, Chief Operating Officer, Power Systems, Inc. Power Systems, Inc. chief operating officer Mike Akers is committed to helping fellow businesspeople succeed, however possible. He’s volunteering his time as a mentor in the Chamber’s PROPEL Mentor/Protégé program because he feels mentorship may be the most effective way to positively influence others. “Mentoring’s a very powerful and practical way to share business experiences, good and not-so-good, with a protégé,” said Akers. “The Chamber’s PROPEL Mentor/Protégé program is allowing me to offer guidance to my protégé, which includes how I overcame roadblocks that helped me find success.” Akers is sharing his lessons learned with protégé DeeAnn Sparhawk, President of Cool Pouch. Sparhawk’s company has created a 100-percent cotton and patented cooling device that helps the body maintain normal temperatures. Her product utilizes ice’s cooling relief to chill the neck and upper back’s major blood vessels, which can guard against overheating, reduce stress, and lower the heart rate. She values Akers’s mentorship because it helps her keep mistakes to a minimum. “Having a mentor like Mike and the entire Power Systems’ team, which is not only surviving in its industry, but also thriving, has helped me learn the importance of knowing what I can do and doing what I can do well,” said Sparhawk. “Mike’s helped me determine what necessary risks I must take to achieve growth. He’s also helped me navigate through a lot of

obstacles that can quickly overwhelm a new business.” With Power Systems’ help, Sparhawk’s 2011 goals include establishing Cool Pouch as a desired product in the athletics market. Power Systems has been a leading provider of health, Power Systems, Inc. chief operating officer and mentor exercise, sport Mike Akers and protégé DeeAnn Sparhawk, Cool Pouch performance, and president fitness equipment since 1986. It provides coaches, athletes, and fitness experts with a wide assortment of quality sports and fitness training equipment. For total athletic development and general fitness training, Power Systems has the most current fitness equipment and exercise programs available online at For more about PROPEL’s Mentor/Protégé Program, call program director Doug Minter at (865) 246-2662 or email him at dminter@knoxvillechamber. com.



Photo courtesy: Paul Efird, Knoxville News Sentinel

Exedy America Corporation Producing “Excellent” and “Dynamic” Automotive Parts for Top Auto Manufacturers Exedy America Corporation’s parent company, Exedy Corporation, traces its history back to 1923 when it was a small, family owned operation. Formally incorporated as Daikin Manufacturing Company Ltd. (DKJ) in 1950, the company was eventually named EXEDY Corporation in 1995. The new name is a coined word combining “excellent” and “dynamic” – terms that describe the company’s qualities as a corporation. With headquarters in Osaka, Japan and facilities worldwide, EXEDY Group Companies provide top-quality original equipment components and assemblies to the world’s major automotive, industrial, agricultural, and construction vehicle manufacturers. Originally established as Daikin Drivetrain Components in Mascot, Tennessee on October 27, 1994, the local plant began production on August 16, 1995 and shipped the first torque converters in March of 1996. Then in April 2004, it became EXEDY America Corporation. Since that time, it has expanded its facilities three times to include an employee fitness center and an aluminum casting facility. The Mascot location employs 487 full-time employees and 176 temporary employees. EXEDY America Corporation produces and sells automotive torque converters and manual transmission clutches. It is a Tier I supplier to General Motors, Ford, and other auto manufacturers. Processes include stamping, casting, heat treatment, brazing, welding, machining, and sophisticated assembly. Last year EXEDY accomplished many milestones, including the celebration of its 60th Group Anniversary. Locally, it also produced its ten-millionth torque converter in March. What’s more, 2010 annual sales were the highest in the corporation’s history with the outlook for 2011 even brighter. Currently business is on target to exceed last year’s sales record and many other challenges should set the company up for continuous improvement.

Diversity Champions Taskforce Helping Increase Innovation Valley’s Economic Inclusion In order to attract and retain businesses in the Innovation Valley, economic inclusion and workplace diversity must be valued objectives. The Diversity Champions Taskforce, a group made up of more than 60 diversity professionals and business leaders representing over 35 companies, is working to make sure the region stays focused on these objectives. The group champions the idea that inclusion is important in East Tennessee, and it strives to help make East Tennessee a place where everyone is embraced and empowered to excel. The organization is working to set a baseline for measuring economic inclusion throughout the Innovation Valley. The measurement will include workforce diversity best practices and an aggregate monetary total of spending by firms that monitor their spending with small, minority, women, and veteran-owned firms. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Innovation Valley businesses are responsible for over $75 billion in revenue. Regional minority businesses account for $802 million, woman-owned companies produce over $2.25 billion, and veteran-owned companies account for $3.2 billion. As it relates to the workplace, the group sees importance in studying and fostering best practices not only with regards to race, gender, or sexual orientation, but also to raise awareness about workplace issues related to persons with disabilities and hiring workers from other regions of the country. “We need to understand what everyone’s doing so that we can effectively move diversity and economic inclusion to the forefront of the East Tennessee business community,” said SunTrust Bank, Inc. Vice President of Community Development and Diversity Champions Taskforce co-founder Angela Conner. “This taskforce allows us to do this.” Raising the economic inclusion and diversity bar is important because it directly affects the area’s quality of life. “Any area around the country that is prospering can thank economic inclusion for helping make it a viable region,” said Chamber Business Development Manager and Diversity Taskforce member Doug Minter. “We have to get past the notion that economic inclusion and diversity is only about doing the right thing. While this notion is true, when you look at the $6.2 billion in revenue produced in this region by minority, women, and veteran-owned firms, it is also an issue of dollars.” Minter added that, while these are impactful numbers, there is much work to do since they represent just 8.3 percent of the total revenue for all Innovation Valley businesses. The Diversity Champions Taskforce will release its findings and more in its 2012 annual economic inclusion report to be published during the first quarter of 2012. For more information about the Diversity Champions Taskforce, call Chamber Business Development Manager Doug Minter at (865) 246-2622 or email him at


Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards Appointed to State Board of Education Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently appointed Knoxville Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards to the Tennessee State Board of Education. The board is the governing and policy making body for the state’s public and secondary education systems affecting accountability, evaluation, curriculum, and teacher education, among other areas. “This is a great honor that I gladly accepted and I will do my best to serve Tennessee,” Edwards said. “There have been great strides in education in our state over the past few years but there is still much to be done. Together with my fellow board members, I will strive to make policy decisions that improve student outcomes so that Tennessee has the most skilled and knowledgeable workforce in America.” Edwards has been president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber since 2002, and he is also the president and CEO of The Development Corporation of Knox County. He serves on the Education Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the Public School Forum of East Tennessee, the state Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee, and the Board of Trustees for the Great Schools Partnership. “Improving the education we offer Tennesseans is the best long-term job growth strategy, and I’m confident Mike is up to the task of helping to guide the state’s schools as we seek to positively impact the classroom experience for every student in every school,” Haslam said. Edwards has been appointed to a nine-year term.

Team LIVING LIGHT Set for D.C. Solar Decathlon The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Team LIVING LIGHT is preparing to compete in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon that will be held on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall. The international competition takes place September 23 through October 2. More than 200 UT students and faculty members have worked together to develop a solar-powered, energy-efficient 800 square-foot home that will be transported from Knoxville to the nation’s capital next month. The Living Light home was designed to incorporate daylight, natural ventilation, and adaptability to natural conditions. For example, the home features technologies that allow it to automatically adjust its inner temperature. The airspace within the exterior wall can react similarly to a greenhouse in the winter to warm the home, or keep the house cool when the same space is ventilated. Electricity is produced by direct and reflected sunlight coming into contact with a trellislike tubular solar array and the home’s reflective roof. The structure’s steel doubles as a highway trailer chassis, which will enable the team to easily relocate the home to Washington, D.C. and then later take it on tour throughout Tennessee. Designers will begin using the home to demonstrate sustainability, energy-efficiency, and emerging technologies to the public next year. For more information about Team LIVING LIGHT, visit the initiative’s website at


Dr. Joseph DiPietro President, University of Tennessee Only 21 percent of Tennessee adults have bachelor’s degrees or better. Under the leadership of President Joe DiPietro, the University of Tennessee is working to improve that statistic. “Increasing the number of college graduates would provide a big boost to the state of Tennessee, the economy, and the credentials of our workforce,” DiPietro said. “As the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Tennessee is well-positioned to tackle this challenge.” DiPietro took office as UT’s 25th president in January. He serves as the chief executive officer of a statewide university system that includes the flagship campus in Knoxville, campuses in Chattanooga and Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis, the Space Institute in Tullahoma, and statewide institutes of agriculture and public service. DiPietro also serves as chairman of UT-Battelle’s Board of Governors. The board manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy. A veterinarian by training, DiPietro was chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture from 2006 to 2010, overseeing UT Extension, AgResearch, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. “In my previous position, I traveled the state, worked with legislators in Nashville and gained an appreciation for the huge role the University plays in the lives of many Tennesseans, from young children in 4-H to farmers and companies seeking business advice, to senior citizens attended by our physician faculty members at hospitals around the state,” DiPietro said. Topping his long list of priorities for the University is increasing graduation rates, which also will guide the University’s long-range strategic plan. Boosting graduation rates is the purpose of the Complete College Tennessee Act, 2010 legislation that ties higher education funding to output – or the number of graduates produced – rather than merely to the number of students enrolled. As expectations for higher education in Tennessee rise, the amount of state appropriations available for public institutions continues many years of decline. “We know the governor and legislators would like to help us, but there is very little funding available for them to allocate,” DiPietro said. “There has never been a more important time for the University of Tennessee and all public higher education to be as effective and efficient as possible. The longer it takes students to earn degrees, the more it costs those students and the schools they attend.” DiPietro’s entire higher education career has been at land-grant institutions. He progressed through the ranks of academia and administration first at the University of Illinois, then at the University of Florida before he and his wife, Deb, made Knoxville and Tennessee their home. “I proudly claim to be a Tennessean, and I assure you I am committed to be here for a long time,” he said. “I’m confident there is no better place to be than the University of Tennessee.”


Business After Hours to be held at the News Sentinel Open



Sponsored by Comcast Join the Knoxville Chamber for a Business After Hours networking event during the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot at Fox Den Country Club. The event will be held Thursday, August 25 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. All registrants receive complimentary access to the VIP event and the course to watch the final holes of the first day of play Parking is $5 (all parking monies go to the Shriners charity). To register, go to “Chamber Events” on or call the events line at (865) 246-2622.

Knoxville #1 For Green Job Growth!

Innovation Valley Technology Showcase

8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Haslam Business Building, University of Tennessee


Power 30 Speed Networking

4:15 – 7 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

Hosted by:


Exclusive Premier Partner Event w/ Dr. Joseph DiPietro, President, University of Tennessee

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square,

Sponsored by:

Brookings Study Says Innovation Valley is #1 in Clean Economy Jobs Knoxville is the nation’s fastest growing area for green jobs according to a report, “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment,” released by the Brookings Institute. Knoxville saw green jobs grow by 14.6 percent annually between 2003 and 2010. During that period the region added 10,000 green jobs, and now clean-economy jobs account for 4.9 percent of all jobs in the Innovation Valley. The measure of the concentration of green jobs ranks Knoxville 2nd in the nation. “When we put together the regional economic development strategy for Innovation Valley, we built on the assets unique to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge corridor,” said Thomas Mason, chair of Innovation Valley and the director Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Industries in the clean economy sector were an obvious area of concentration given what we have to offer with assets like the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. We have worked hard to recruit green businesses to the region and to help nurture clean economy entrepreneurs.” The largest sectors for clean economy jobs in the Innovation Valley are professional energy services, remediation, professional environmental services, waste management and treatment, and recycling. The fastest growing segment, professional energy services, added more than 8,000 jobs from 2003-2010. “Sizing the Clean Economy” examines data from 2003 to 2010 to identify the size, growth, and geography of the green economy in the United States. While there has been much national discussion about the importance of clean energy jobs, the Brookings study is one of the first to define green jobs. “The clean economy has remained elusive in part because, in the absence of standard definitions and data, strikingly little is known about its nature, size, and growth at the critical regional level,” according to Brookings.

Catering Sponsor:


execUTive Speaker Series Lunch

Featuring Kevin Ross, General Manager and VP of adidas Golf/TaylorMade 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Knoxville Marriott $25 for Chamber Members & $35 for non-members

Sponsored by:

AUGUST 23-24 Excellence in Leadership Workshops

Presented by Robin Lawton, President of International Management Technologies All Day Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Visit the website to see “Team” pricing options


Business After Hours at the News Sentinel Open

4:30 – 7 p.m. $5 parking fee (which goes to the Shriners) Fox Den Country Club, 12284 North Fox Den Drive Sponsored by:

Go to “Chamber Events” on to learn more or register for any of these events. You may also call the events line, (865) 246-2622.