Page 1

INSIDE: A Site Consultant’s Perspective pg. 40


Monthly Economic Indicators

pg. 44




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.

EnerNex celebrated the grand opening of its Smart Grid Lab in February. Erich Gunther, Chief Technology Officer, is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by Mayor Madeline Rogero (picture left), EnerNex executives, and Knoxville Chamber representatives. EnerNex Smart Grid Labs is a premiere facility for end-to-end Smart Grid device interoperability testing.


LANEY SHORTER Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation

with the



Tillman Companies, LLC



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


Accord Federal Services, LLC (865) 332-4476 Government Always Moore Janitorial Service (865) 755-8145 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies Ideal Roofing & Exteriors (865) 323-2379 Construction & Contractors: Roofing Jessup & Associates, Inc. (865) 690-5200 Shopping: Crafts & Collectibles Perceptics, LLC (865) 966-9200 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Security Systems

Tennessee Wesleyan College (800) 742-5892 Education & Training: Colleges Uster Technologies, Inc. (865) 588-9716 Manufacturing

All Convention & Expo Services (865) 251-6016 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues American Cancer Society (865) 584-1669 Associations & Organizations Archers BBQ (865) 675-2880 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places



Barker Sleep Institute (865) 584-3850 Healthcare Providers & Services: Sleep Disorders Best Western Knoxville Suites (865) 687-9922 Hotels & Lodging Citizens National Bank (865) 453-9031 Financial Services Cruise Holidays (865) 851-7833 Personal Services: Travel DigiPro Video, Inc. (888) 544-3384 Broadcast Media: Video Production Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, Inc (865) 689-4022 Social Services: Disabilities

Foxfire Mountain Adventures (865) 453-1998 Attractions & Tourism

Liberty Mutual Group (865) 539-0039 Insurance

Strayer University (865) 288-6000 Education & Training: Colleges

Gourmet’s Market (865) 584-8739 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

PMG Benefits Consulting (865) 392-4020 Insurance: Employee Benefits

Tennessee Veterans Business Association (865) 332-4476 Associations & Organizations

Kubota of Knoxville (865) 687-5418 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Equipment Lakewood Land Company (865) 777-1170 Real Estate Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan, PLLC (865) 523-0404 Legal Services: Attorneys

Protexer / Bootie Butler (800) 710-9863 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics Services RHP, CPA - Richard H. Perry, CPA (865) 392-4020 Business & Professional Services: Accounting, Auditing, & Bookkeeping Sam’s Club West #8256 (865) 694-2168 Shopping: Discount Stores Skyco Staffing Services (865) 566-0221 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services















Tommy Stokes Design, Inc. (865) 531-3186 Business & Professional Services: Graphic Designers U.S. Bank Home Mortgage (865) 342-5600 Real Estate: Mortgage Banking Watson Roach Batson Rowell and Lauderback, P.L.C. (865) 637-1700 Legal Services: Attorneys

Inaugural Diversity Champions Report: Cause for Conversation


his month the Knoxville Chamber releases the first-ever diversity and inclusion report, a summary of diversity issues in the workplace and marketplace in Innovation Valley. The report details factoids and best practices among industries working to create a culture of inclusion. The report was the effort of the Diversity Champions Task Force, which found its beginnings from an initiative started by SunTrust Bank in 2008. This group of diversity officers and employers requested the Chamber get involved and help facilitate discussions centered on diversity. In October the task force hosted a Diversity Summit for nearly 200 business leaders, and the report is as a continuation of that conversation. “The goal was just to bring diversity officers together to have a discussion and share with one another what was going on in terms of inclusion,” Doug Minter, the Knoxville Chamber’s business development manager said. “This report is meant to create a conversation within companies.” This year’s inaugural report serves as a baseline for what is going on in the community. It covers everything from common diversity issues such as race, to sometimes lesser-thought of considerations like income level, and even highlights what Innovation Valley businesses are doing to promote diversity within their facilities. Even a community that is relatively homogenous can benefit from recognizing and embracing diversity. Demographically, the population of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley is nearly 90-percent Caucasian. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t diversity. “Diversity is about more than just race, gender, or sexual orientation. It also means, where did you come from? Age is another factor. There are multigenerational issues that employers need to be aware of,” Minter said. “We have a lot of residents who relocated to our region and being inclusive with those from different states and different cultures has been a key to our economic development.” The task force recommends that even businesses that are well-established should recognize the importance of diversity as it relates to the community and work environment. Several studies, including a 2008 study at the University of Michigan, found diverse workplaces tend to be more productive than homogenous environments. “People from different backgrounds have various ways of looking at problems, what I call ‘tools.’ The sum of these tools is far more powerful in organizations with diversity than in ones where everyone has gone to the same schools, been trained in the same mold, and thinks in almost identical ways,” Dr. Scott Page, a University of Michigan professor of complex systems and economics said. That means a bottom-line impact for organizations that understand diversity and make it work effectively. “If you want to further innovation and production of your company, then be diverse. This is about dollars, profit, and your organization surviving,” Minter said. “If you don’t understand diversity and its importance, you’re not going to

be able to enter and penetrate new markets.” That can mean more than just the employees who work for the business. It speaks to interactions in the community and vendors with which the organization does business. While best practices are recognized by the Diversity Champions Task Force, that doesn’t mean there is a set formula that will work across industries and various cultures. “Each company will view diversity differently within their firms, and that’s good,” Minter said. “The key is to be intentional by having a plan and following it.”

THE FIRST STEP As a starting point, the task force found CEO commitment and engagement from the top down was a good starting-point for organizations interested in embracing diversity and inclusion. “When you look at these groups of people, you need to be intentional with a plan to help welcome diverse employees,” Minter said. “If that doesn’t come from the top down, it’s often lost through the organization or even forgotten over time. You need to have buy-in from the top-level in order for any culture shift to be effective.” From here, the Diversity Champion Task Force aims to create biennial reports and author white papers focusing on different segments of diversity and inclusion. In the future, the task force hopes to take a more in-depth look at specific issues as the Knoxville Chamber takes a leadership role as one of just a few chambers in the country tackling diversity issues in its community. “This initial report is a baseline of facts and best practices. There are so many facets to diversity and inclusion and we want to spend time in future reports on those issues,” Minter said. “For example, we have many employers in our community that intentionally embrace the hiring of people with disabilities and that is just one of many topics that the group will explore.” Future reports will delve deeper into various issues around inclusion in the workplace and marketplace. One area of focus will be exploring the details of procurement and how working with diverse vendors is good business. A key issue relative to procurement is the complexities of tracking. Many business segments have difficulty tracking and reporting their procurement activities, especially with regard to ethnic minorities. The task force will also look at perpetuating a culture that most recognize as extremely friendly, while continuing to educate the community on topics of inclusion and diversity. They are topics tantamount to economic development and the quality of life in East Tennessee. “This region can be different from any other in the country--- we don’t have to be like anyone else. We just need to be ourselves, but we do need to be intentional about welcoming others,” Minter said. “We’re a city with blank pages yet to be written and anyone, even a newcomer to the Innovation Valley, should be welcome to contribute to writing the history of our community.”


Site Consultant: Knox County Needs More Available Land for Job Growth Knoxville and Knox County have all the key assets companies are looking for… except one, according to Ed McCallum, a national real estate consultant who helps companies identify locations for new facilities. A major research university; a nearby national laboratory and other DOE facilities; affordable energy; access to interstate highways, rail, barge, and air transport; a great quality of life; a low cost of doing business; and a workforce with improving skills all make the Knoxville region attractive to businesses interested in new facilities or expansions. What Knox County doesn’t have is enough available land for industrial development and the community is losing out on potential new jobs and economic growth because of it, said McCallum, a senior principal at McCallum Sweeney Consulting. At the Knoxville Chamber’s February Board of Directors meeting, McCallum took Chamber directors, elected officials, and other community leaders through the business recruitment process. McCallum Sweeney has worked with a number of high-profile businesses, such as Boeing and Nissan, as the companies explore expansion and consider different sites. The Knoxville Chamber’s Board of Directors suggested the presentation and encouraged elected leaders to attend. “I think it is beneficial for everyone to hear from someone like Ed McCallum, who isn’t necessarily a part of our community but knows where we stand in the minds of outsiders, specifically businesses that may consider the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley for future expansion,” Mitch Steenrod, Chairman of the Knoxville Chamber’s Board of Directors. The site selection process moves much more quickly today than it used to. McCallum said the process that used to take around one-year can now be accomplished in about six weeks. And that process is about eliminating locations more than finding the perfect spot. “This is a process of elimination, it’s not a process of inclusion. I’m not looking for ways to keep your community in the site selection process, I’m trying to find ways to eliminate you.” McCallum said. When considering a community, McCallum said there are six main categories they consider as part of that community’s “product” offering. Leadership, sites, infrastructure, human resources, taxes, and community assets all play critical roles but none are more important than available sites. “You guys need to be ready when a project comes up,” McCallum said. “You may not even know you’re a candidate. You might have been eliminated without us even talking to you.” McCallum shared several examples of site searches his company has assisted with. In one particular case, he showed where a company called

Ed McCallum of McCallum Sweeney Consulting shares a typical site selection process with the Knoxville Chamber board, county commission, city council, the Development Corporation board, and mayors Rogero and Burchett at the Chamber’s regularly scheduled February meeting hosted at the Tennessee Valley Authority.

American Titanium Works was looking for a community, with a strong university, for their manufacturing facility. After a search, the company decided to build in Laurens, South Carolina, about 20 miles south of Clemson University. “One of the reasons Knoxville was knocked out was because you didn’t have a site,” he said. “If Knoxville’s community leaders are okay losing projects because you don’t have the property, then okay. But as leaders, I would suggest that’s unacceptable.” As businesses look to expand, McCallum said the Knoxville area has many competitive advantages, like the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Valley Authority. However, without having publicly-held land that can quickly and easily be made available for economic development, those resources are not enough to keep the Knoxville area from being eliminated. Privately-held land often comes with a much higher price tag because those developers typically aren’t looking to benefit the community with job growth. Instead, those landholders want to turn a profit and will price their properties higher than potential industries might consider. Private land can also take longer to get under contract, which leads to delays in a company becoming operational. “We don’t have time for that, the land needs to be under public control,” he said. “When you say ‘what does a week’ matter, it can mean $30 million a day to a company like an automotive manufacturer. That’s what speed is about.” If a community isn’t ready with publically-held land or a proposal, it means they are eliminated from the process instantly. “If you’re not a candidate then, as a community, you have no ability to influence the business’s decision. That means no amount of education, tax incentive, or quality-of-life factor can draw the industry in,” he continued. The Tennessee Valley Authority hosted the presentation and the Chamber would like to thank Mayors Madeline Rogero and Tim Burchett, Commissioners Brad Anders, Richard Briggs, and Ed Shouse, as well as City Council members Finbarr Saunders and Marshall Stair for attending. To see McCallum’s full presentation, please head to the Knoxville Chamber’s YouTube channel.


WBHOF a.m. Exchange Tips Off March Madness As March Madness tipped off, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame graciously welcomed Knoxville Chamber members to a recent a.m. Exchange. Dana Hart, the hall’s general manager told chamber members they are anxiously preparing for the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. This year, Nancy Fahey, former Lady Vol Nikki McCray, Pamela McGee, Igne Nissen, Robin Roberts, and Dawn Staley will be inducted. With breakfast provided by All Occasion Catering, members got a chance to see the hall’s exhibits and do some networking as the sun came up. Door prize winners each won a copy of the Knoxville Lifestyle coupon book, courtesy of the Knoxville Chamber: Ryan Cox, Tennessee Smokies Baseball LaVance Davis, Volunteer Realty Allen Tillman, Tillman Companies, LLC Connie Francis, WSI Digital Marketing




1. Dozens of chamber members filled the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame atrium. 2. The 32,000 square foot hall of fame was built in 1999. 3. Neal Green, owner of All Occasion Catering, addresses the crowd. 4. Dana Hart, WBHOF General Manager welcomed the crowd. 5. Derek Jarrard of First State and Jonathan Patrick of UT Federal Credit Union pause for a quick photograph. 4.


Knoxville Businesses Celebrated as Blue Ribbon Award Winners The Knoxville Chamber congratulates two Knoxville Chamber members selected as 2012 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation and Pyxl set great examples for the community and nation. In addition to the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners, two Knoxville Chamber members were named national Free Enterprise Honorees for their strong business practices and contributions to the economy. Knoxville-

based Studio Four Design and The Tomato Head are two of just 25 businesses to receive this national recognition. “We’re thrilled to have these members recognized nationally,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Chamber. “The companies are representative of all the terrific small businesses that exist in the Innovation Valley region.” The Knoxville Chamber nominated eight local businesses for the U.S. Chamber Small Business Awards program. All nominees were past winners of a Knoxville Chamber Pinnacle Business Award and met the U.S. Chamber’s criteria. In 2011, Prestige Cleaners represented the region well and was honored as a regional finalist.


Education Reform Continues to be a Focus School officials from across East Tennessee gathered at the University of Tennessee to share what they believe to be the successes and challenges of the state’s new teacher evaluation model. The State Collaborative on Reforming Education recently held the meeting at the University of Tennessee to collect feedback on the state’s new system. Jennifer Evans, the Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development, was a member of that panel and lone representative speaking up for the interests of the business community. “We need to continue to have the evaluations and just refine the process so it’s not as difficult. It’s only the first year but it’s tough,” Evans said. Tennessee’s new teacher evaluations require every teacher be evaluated every year on a scale of 1 to 5. Half of that score is based on classroom observations. The remaining 50 percent is made up of value-added data, information that gauges how much a student has learned from one year to the next, and a variety of student achievement data chosen by educators and their supervisors. Evans believes keeping the evaluation process SCORE CEO Jamie Woodson welcomes a Educators and parents filled the room eager fairly simple and understanding what makes a good teacher means their crowd to the Knoxville roundtable at the to hear comments on Tennessee’s new students will achieve more. University of Tennessee. teacher evaluation model. Feedback has largely been mixed since the teacher evaluation changes were initiated in Tennessee. Teachers, however have comTennessee State Board of Education and the state’s Department of Education by mented that the new evaluation system has them working together more than June 1. Go to for more information and to view SCORE’s newly in the past and has helped make them feel more worthwhile as educators. released annual report on education Gov. Bill Haslam asked SCORE to gather the data and report back to the

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley Tops for Spring Job Growth Knoxville is going to be a great place to find a job this spring, according to a survey released Tuesday by ManpowerGroup and published by Forbes magazine. Twenty-five percent of Knoxville employers surveyed expect to add jobs during the Spring 2012 quarter, making Knoxville the top spot for jobs in the country. “Through our business retention and expansion visits we have seen companies beginning to hire again,” says Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “As the economy has picked up, even if only slightly, Knoxville companies are feeling more confident and are proceeding with expansion plans that have been on hold for the last couple of years.”

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC tied with Knoxville for the ranking. According to Forbes, both have “a 24% net employment outlook, the percentage of employers that expect to add employees (26% and 25%, respectively) minus the percentage that expect to reduce their workforce (a mere 2% and 1%, respectively).” Manpower, an employment services firm, surveyed 18,000 businesses in 100 metropolitan areas to determine the number anticipating hiring or laying-off employees and those that will maintaining staffing levels during in the second quarter of 2012. Knoxville’s health care industry, automotive suppliers, renewable energy services, and food manufacturing are doing particularly well right now, says Rice. Some of the largest employers in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley are Scripps Networks, Covenant Health, Energy Solutions, Exedy America, Pilot Flying J, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Business After Hours Goes High Fashion

Jaime Hensley welcomed the crowd and talked about why Knoxville Fashion Week is important to her heart and the community.

LaVance Davis, of Volunteer Realty, checks in to Business After Hours.

More than 125 Chamber members helped kickoff the first-ever Knoxville Fashion Week at Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville at a recent Business After Hours event. Jaime Hemsley, the director of Knoxville Fashion Week, said she wanted to bring the week of fashion awareness to Knoxville after seeing similar events in other cities like Austin, Texas. “I figured I could think about how great it would be to have one here or I

Rick Terry, owner of Rick Terry Jewelery Designs welcomes the crowd and announces the winner of a beautiful gold necklace and earring set.

could go out and make it happen,” she told the crowd. “Standing in this room I already feel like bringing fashion week to Knoxville was a success.” Door Prize Winners: Sherry Ailor of Focus Image Coaching: A pair of premium Royal Highnies lounge pants graciously supplied by Coachman Clothiers. Martha Kopp of Skyline Exhibitors won a gold necklace and earring set, courtesy of Rick Terry Jewelery Designs

Knoxville Named STEM Hub, More Resources Coming for Educators The Knoxville Chamber is part of an exciting evolution in science, technology, engineering, and math education in Tennessee. At a recent press conference in Nashville, Governor Bill Haslam announced the addition of three new STEM Schools as well as two STEM Hubs, one of which will be managed from Knoxville. Knoxville’s Hub, known as the K.A.R.S.T. Coalition, will be looked to as a pacesetter by partners and districts throughout the state. The Hub means more support for L&N STEM Academy as well as an $850,000 grant from UT-Battelle and the Tennessee Department of Education to help spread successful STEM strategies beyond the walls of L&N to schools all over East Tennessee. “We’ve got all this excellence happening at L&N but we don’t want it to stop there. We want to spread the learning so other teachers at other schools can benefit from it,” Jennifer Evans, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development said. “This grant will allow educators from all over East Tennessee to find out what teaching strategies work in the classroom and will ultimately mean our workforce is more prepared for 21st century jobs.” The STEM Hub concept will rely on resources from the private sector and post-secondary institutions to improve both student and educator performance. The expectation is that there will be two conversations going on: one among the teachers as they discuss with one another effective classroom strategies and another with other stakeholders that will include private sector businesses sharing their technology and expertise. Vols4STEM and the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley are both partners in the program. Vols4STEM is expected to help by putting employees working in

Governor Bill Haslam announced new STEM academies in the state and an $850,000 grant to increase science, technology, education, and math education in the Knoxville area .

STEM fields in touch with educators. Innovation Valley will handle marketing and branding for the hub. Becky Ashe, who helped spearhead a successful first year at Knox County’s L&N Academy as principal, will play a critical role as STEM education expands in East Tennessee. “We’re so lucky to have her because she gets it. She really understands STEM is about teaching students how to think like problem-solvers so they can go out and truly understand how technology works, even as the machinery evolves in that workplace,” Evans said. In the coming months, the Chamber and other partners will continue their work on the STEM Hub with more announcements coming soon, including ways that private businesses can help secure a prepared workforce for years to come.


Monthly Economic Indicators

(February 2012)

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

WORKFORCE Resident Labor Force Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.

HOUSING MARKET % Change Jan. ’11Jan. ‘12

Jan. 2012

Dec 2011

Jan. 2011

% Change Dec. ’11Jan. ‘12-

236,620 374,130 3,097,900 153,485,000

238,030 373,860 3,099,800 153,373,000

231,690 364,740 3,054,400 152,536,000

-0.6 0.1 -0.1 0.1

2.1 2.6 1.4 0.6

330,900 2,639,800

332,300 2,675,600

320,600 2,587,100

-1.5 -2.2

3.2 2.0

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Jan. 2012 632 12,835 $136,375

Dec. 2011 705 12,939 $142,500

Jan. 2011 508 13,949 $133,625

% Change Dec. ’11Jan. ‘12 -11.6 -0.8 -4.5

% Change Jan. ’11Jan. ‘12 24.4 -8.7 2.1

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee


Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Jan. 2012* 23 23 0

Jan. 2011 20 20 0

% Change Jan. ’11Jan. ‘12 15.0 15.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

57 57 0

57 53 4

0.0 7.5 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

79 79 0

78 74 4

1.3 6.8 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,104 771 333

612 575 37

80.4 34.1 800.0

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

16,310 27,880 300,810

15,590 26,340 280,640

19,350 33,060 347,130

4.6 5.8 7.2

-18.6 -18.6 -15.4

6.2 6.7 8.7 8.8

5.9 6.4 8.1 8.3

7.5 8.2 10.2 9.8

0.3 0.3 0.6 0.5

-1.3 -1.5 -1.5 -1.0

Unemployment Rates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.

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


*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Feb. ’11-‘12

Jan. ’11-‘12

Feb. ’10-‘11

3.3 2.9

3.3 2.9

2.3 2.1


% Change Jan. ’11Feb. ‘12

% Change Feb. ’11Feb. ‘12

0.0 0.0

1.0 0.8

*South – City Size Class B/C

*All 2012 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

SALES TAX REVENUE - STATE & LOCAL ($) State Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2012

Jan. 2012

Feb. 2011

40,821,209 56,695,851 501,865,565

58,431,702 79,315,769 710,227,711

35,972,562 50,283,046 455,267,064

-43.1 -39.9 -41.5

13.5 12.8 10.2

11,295,121 15,684,753

16,591,828 22,489,974

9,951,558 13,932,158

-46.9 -43.4

13.5 12.6

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

% Change Feb. ’11Feb. ‘12

% Change Jan. ’12Feb. ‘12


Passengers Cargo

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Source: Tennessee Dept. of Revenue

RETAIL SALES - NATIONAL (IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) Category Total Retail Sales Building Materials Clothing Stores Electronics & Appliances Food & Beverage Stores Food Svcs & Drinking Places Furniture & Home Furnishings Gasoline Stations General Merchandise Stores Health & Personal Care Stores Miscellaneous Stores Motor Vehicle & Parts Sales Non-store Retailers Sporting Goods/Books/ Hobby/Music

Dec. 2011 144,043 7,565,269

Feb. 2012 379,522 20,819 17,639 8,088 49,502 41,469 7,464 42,047 49,335 22,736 9,781 70,540 33,805

Jan. 2012 362,946 19,895 14,320 7,473 50,161 39,874 7,191 41,344 46,525 22,989 9,110 62,046 34,869

Feb. 2011 343,955 17,618 15,799 7,887 46,008 37,207 6,638 36,767 46,293 21,483 8,833 63,178 30,382

% Change Jan. ’12Feb. ‘12 4.5 4.6 23.2 8.2 -1.3 4.0 3.8 1.7 6.0 -1.1 7.4 13.7 -3.1





% Change Feb. ’11Feb. ‘12 10.3 18.2 11.6 2.5 7.6 11.5 12.4 14.4 6.6 5.8 10.7 11.7 11.3 7.4

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


Nov. 2011 145,847 7,430,031

Dec. 2010 132,256 8,156,876

% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘11 -1.3 1.8

% Change Dec. ’10Dec. ‘11 8.9 -7.8

Thousands Cheer FIRST Robotics at Smoky Mountains Regional Several East Tennessee teams picked up honors as FIRST Robotics’ Second Annual Smoky Mountains Regional came to a close in March. The Knoxville Chamber supports the competition in part because it helps encourage high school students to explore science and technology in a real-world, competitive setting. “It was amazing! We had a lot more teams from Tennessee which was great and we just need to continue to build on that,” Jennifer Evans, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development said. FIRST Robotics requires teams to design, build, and operate robots that can do various tasks. This year, the teams’ robots competed against one another on a basketball court, picking up and shooting balls through hoops. “Science and technology is truly the goal here, we want students to recognize that science can be just as powerful and fun as some of the other careers that are out there,” Michael Wehrenberg, FIRST Robotics’ “Volunteer of the Year” award winner said. Hardin Valley Academy’s team picked up honors for the Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by Delphi for their efforts. Oak Ridge High School won the Rookie of the Year award and the team from Rogersville was named a regional finalist. Hosting a regional has done a lot to help engage Tennessee schools in the competition, which is one of the main reasons the Chamber has been a vocal supporter of the competition. “I’m really excited to see what happens next year. The number of local teams is growing and we’re getting more community participation,” Evans said. “We doubled the local representation on the judge’s panel in comparison to last year.” That growth is good news for local businesses as well as the future of sci-

ence and technology in East Tennessee. Thanks to the following “Four years ago there were Knoxville Chamber member only three high schools in businesses for helping judge Tennessee that participated and sponsor the FIRST and they traveled out of state Robotics Competition this to compete. Here we are now year! with 54 teams, 23 of them from Tennessee, coming here • Alcoa, Inc. to Knoxville,” commented • Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville Wehrenberg who works for • First Tennessee Bank Kendall Electric. • Integrated Solutions & Services, Inc. The three regional cham• Kendall Electric, Inc. pions advancing to nationals • Kimberly-Clark Corporation were from Ontario, Indianap• Knoxville News Sentinel olis, and Somerset, Kentucky. • Knoxville Utilities Board “FIRST is a great way to • Smalley Manufacturing Co., Inc. showcase what a STEM • Tennessee Valley Authority education is all about to the • University of Tennessee - Department entire community. These of Engineering students are working hands• UT-Battelle and Oak Ridge National on with science and putting Laboratory together the skill-set many of our employers are looking for right here in East Tennessee,” said Evans. To see highlights and a video of the robots in action, head to the Chamber’s YouTube channel at



Leo Sain

Edwards Named Chair of National Workforce & Education Board Mike Edwards has served as president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber since 2002.

President & Project Manager, UCOR

Leo Sain is UCOR’s president and project manager. In this position he is responsible for all work under the East Tennessee Technology Park contract, including safety; decontamination and decommissioning; waste management operations at ETTP, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 Security Complex; and surveillance and maintenance. At UCOR, Sain oversees five imperatives for the organization that involve not only employees but also the community at large. UCOR works in the best interest of the Department of Defense, as well as the taxpayers, and is committed to the safety of employees, the safety of the nation’s nuclear program, bolstering the local economy, and contributing to educational programs in the community. To help ensure UCOR meets those imperatives, Sain brings 37 years of experience in nuclear facility operations; training and strategies for plant startups, and improving troubled plants through the use of Integrated Safety Management Systems. Prior to coming to ETTP, he served as executive vice president, performance assurance and operations, for URS’ Global Management and Operations Services Group. In this position, he was responsible for performance and integrated operations in high-level waste facilities across the DOE complex. He oversaw operations at 11 DOE cleanup projects valued at $33.5 billion, with nearly 9,000 personnel and more than 1,000 subcontractors. His teams completed decontamination and decommissioning of more than 300 chemical and radiological facilities in two years. He also served as Washington Savannah River Company’s president and executive vice president, where he was responsible for managing the Savannah River Site’s10,000-person workforce and work scope, with an annual budget of $1.3 billion. Sain also served in other leadership roles at the Savannah River Site, including chief closure officer. Prior to Savannah River, Sain also served as president of Washington Safety Management Solutions, where he led 900 employees and provided Integrated Safety Management services to DOE sites and contractors, the Department of Defense, and commercial customers. Sain is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, the Oconee Nuclear Power Station, and the Bellafonte Nuclear Plant. Prior to TVA, he was employed by Babcock and Wilcox in the Nuclear Power Generation Division.

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently announced Knoxville Chamber president and CEO Mike Edwards has been named chairman of the board. Founded in 2006, ICW promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America’s greatest economic resource, its workforce. In his new role, Edwards will lead the U.S. Chamber’s education and workforce affiliate, and its 15-member board to be the national voice of business in education reform. “Mike’s leadership and commitment to education and business over the years makes him the perfect choice to chair the ICW board,” said Cheryl Oldham, vice president of ICW. “He understands education is vital to job growth and keeping the nation competitive in a global economy.” Edwards has been president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber since 2002. In addition to his leadership role at the Knoxville Chamber, Edwards serves on the Tennessee Board of Education, the U.S. Chamber Education Employment and Training Committee, the board of the Great Schools Partnership, the board of the Public School Forum, the board of the Discovery Center, and on the Tennessee Business Roundtable board of directors.

Cameron Puckett of Bank of America, Danny Hastaba of WATE-TV, Jonathan Williams of Accord Federal Services and the Tennessee Veterans Business Association, and Doug Minter, the Chamber’s Business Development Manager, pose for a photo at March’s Ambassador meeting.


Mayors Rogero and Burchett Explore TSBDC’s Services The Tennessee Small Business Development Center helped more than 1,000 businesses in 2011 and recently • New Businesses Helped Start: 33 shared their stories of • New Jobs Created: 128 success with community • Total Sales: $152 million leaders from the City • New Capital Investment: $6.34 million of Knoxville and Knox • Training Attendees: 1892 County. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett sat down with TSBDC to hear about the center’s services. TSBDC helps existing businesses and start-ups and is a Knoxville Chamber partner. The meeting served as an opportunity for both community leaders to ask questions about TSBDC and tell staff what other services they would like to see TSBDC offer businesses in the community. TSBDC currently offers more than a dozen different classes ranging from financial workshops to marketing.

TSBDC’s 2011 Economic Impact at a Glance

Larry Rossini of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center shares the counseling and business development resources available with city and county leaders.

Cherokee Farm Ready to Spark More Innovation in the Valley With roads already paved and construction of the first building expected to break ground this April; Cherokee Farm is well on its way to improving East Tennessee’s standing as a research hub, Dr. David Millhorn told Premier Partners at an exclusive event sponsored by Skanska. Cherokee Farm is set to become the innovation campus of the University of Tennessee. Using the resources available through partners like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cherokee Farm hopes to tackle research that will provide a springboard to start-ups and ultimately contribute to the Innovation Valley as a leader nationally for high-tech jobs. Millhorn is an executive vice president at the University of Tennessee and oversees the campus. “Our vision is very lofty and we’re going to continue building Oak Ridge National Laboratory into the biggest Department of Energy lab in the country,” Millhorn said. Millhorn told Premier Partners in attendance that the mission of land-grant universities has changed in recent years, adding the importance of spearheading economic development to their roles as education and research centers. In order for that to become a reality, Millhorn stressed the importance of private development as well as a culture change for the University of Tennessee. Universities are traditionally very risk-adverse. In the world of economic development, sometimes you have to take a risk in order to see significant return, he said. “We have to be bold. Cherokee Farm is the boldest endeavor the University of Tennessee has ever taken on,” Millhorn said. Ideally, the campus will attract researchers, investors, and businesses to East Tennessee. Already, several Fortune 500 companies have visited the campus to see what Cherokee Farm is all about.

Dr. David Millhorn poses for a photo with Mendy Mazzo and Katy Raburn of Skanska. Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups.

Still, space is an issue. With few areas providing speculation space, prospective companies sometimes have a hard time visualizing themselves moving to East Tennessee and growing into the community. Many of the organizations cannot afford to wait four years for a building to be built, they need a facility as fast as possible. “If you don’t have that capability, you’ll lose a lot of potential candidates,” he said. “When it happens, it’s going to change the perception of our region, university, and state,” he said. In addition to the prospect of numerous research buildings, the first of which will be centered on materials science, the campus is looking at the a number of commercial amenities that could help to lure tenants, as well as a greenway running along the Tennessee River.



APRIL 18 Bright Ideas – Keys to Successful Project Management

Presented by: Marie Gray, Management Solutions 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Management Solutions, 2202 Award Winning Way, Suite 201, Knoxville, TN, 37932 $25 for members and $35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

APRIL 23 Business During Hours with the Tennessee Smokies 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Smokies Ballpark, Kodak, TN Tickets are $10 (include a picnic lunch). Call Rey Regenstreif-Harms at 865.286.2315 to purchase tickets.

APRIL 27 Legislative Briefing 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:

APRIL 27 Social Slam 2012 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Knoxville Convention Center Registration is $75 and available until sold out. Visit www. to register.

MAY 4 Pinnacle Business Awards Gala, presented by BB&T


6 – 8 p.m. – Silent Auction & Reception 8 – 10 p.m. – Dinner & Awards Knoxville Convention Center Tickets are $100 for members and $130 for non-members Table sponsorships available for $1500 for members and $1600 for non-members

MAY 15 Business After Hours 5 – 7 p.m. UT Gardens, off of Neyland Drive Sponsored by: