Page 1

INSIDE: What’s the Big Idea Recap pg. 51 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 54


MEMBERSHIP MATTERS NEW MEMBERS & NEW PREMIER PARTNERS THE KNOXVILLE CHAMBER’S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Gilreath and Associates (865) 637-2442 www.gilreathandassociates.com Legal Services

East Tennessee Economic Council (865) 483-4577 www.eteconline.org Associations & Organizations

Sailaway Learning & Academy (865) 376-7005 www.sailawaylearning.com Education & Training:K-12

Financial Education Services (678) 256-4781 www.myfes.net/AGiles Financial Services: Educational Financing Guitar Center (865) 670-1022 www.stores.guitarcenter.com/knoxville Shopping: Specialty

Skillworks (865) 742-1355 www.skillworksunited.com Building & Grounds Maintenance Sleep Outfitters (859) 806-7465 www.sleepoutfitters.com Shopping

Hard Knox Pizza (865) 602-2114 www.hardknoxpizza.com Restaurants

Stay Mobile (865) 599-5590 www.staymobile.com Telecommunications: Wireless

Hodge Engineering Company, Inc. (865) 546-3232 www.heci.com Architectural & Engineering Services

The PEER Academy (423) 277-6697 www.knoxpeeracademy.org Education & Training

A & E Medical, LLC (865) 313-0282 Medical Supplies, Sales & Services

Humana (865) 329-8892 www.humana.com/about/humana-inyour-community/tn/4438-westernavenue-knoxville Social Services: Senior Services

The Villas on Wallace Road (865) 898-1211 www.thevillasonwallaceroad. com Apartments

Absolute Access ID, LLC (865) 771-9697 www.absoluteaccessid.com Business & Professional Services

Ignition Church (865) 309-4468 www.ignitionchurch.com Church & Church Supplies

Bargain Calendar Company (865) 922-7490 www.bargaincalendars.net Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics

Mango’s Decor & Co. (865) 247-4569 www.mangoshomedecor.com Shopping: Furniture

Bravo Cucina Italiana (865) 584-5510 www.bestitalianusa.com Restaurants

Merchants of Beer (865) 223-6845 www.mobknox.com Restaurants: Bars

Breakout Knoxville, LLC (865) 730-4909 www.breakoutgames.com/knoxville Education & Training

Morningside Gardens Apartments (865) 523-4133 www.mhmltd.com Apartments

CAC Mobile Meals (865) 524-2786 www.knoxseniors.org Social Services: Senior Services

Paychex, Inc. (865) 816-2755 www.paychex.com Business & Professional Services: Billing, Payroll, & Collection Services

Chatterbox Media (865) 388-5144 www.chatterbox-media.com Business & Professional Services: Marketing & Sales

Precision Door Service (865) 221-7068 www.garagedoorsknoxville.com Residential Services: Garage

Clothes Mentor Turkey Creek (865) 444-6832 www.clothesmentor.com/knoxvilleturkey-creek Shopping

Printedge (865) 898-0558 www.printedge.com Business & Professional Services: Printers

Peak Restaurants LLC (865) 692-4122 www.mcalistersdeli.com Restaurants

BASE TIER MEMBERS

TLC Transportation & Luxury Shuttle (865) 934-8521 Transportation

TOP ACHIEVERS 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.

1ST PLACE

Freight Management Systems (865) 922-7491 www.shipfms.com Business & Professional Services Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics Transportation

Prism Pool and Backyard (865) 584-1372 www.prismpoolsknoxville. com Shopping: Specialty

JILL GREEN BGT RECRUITING & CONSULTING, INC.

TOM O’BRIAN

ASSISTANT EDITOR JESSICA KARSTEN DESIGN LADDY FIELDS CONTACT THE KNOXVILLE CHAMBER (865) 637-4550 www.knoxvillechamber.com PRESIDENT & CEO MICHAEL EDWARDS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RHONDA RICE

FINANCE & OPERATIONS LARRY JOHNSON MEMBERSHIP MARK FIELD

CORE BENEFITS & INVESTMENTS

PUBLIC POLICY AMY NOLAN

RENA AMERSON AMERSON GROUP

CENTRAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (865) 246-2654 mhummel@downtownknoxville.org THE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (865) 546-5887 TENNESSEE SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER (865) 246-2663 LEADERSHIP KNOXVILLE (865) 523-9137 U.S. DEPT. OF COMMERCE EXPORT ASSISTANCE CENTER (865) 545-4637

Tropical Smoothie Cafe (865) 985-0344 www.tropicalsmoothie.com Restaurants Upstairs at the Mansion (423) 371-4100 Restaurants

EDITOR LYNSEY WILSON

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DOUG LAWYER

2ND PLACE

All Crane Rental of Tennessee, LLC (865) 686-0707 www.allcrane.com Construction & Contractors: Equipment/Supplies Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services

CPI Security Systems (704) 945-6102 www.cpisecurity.com Building & Grounds Maintenance: Security Systems

3RD PLACE

SILVER PREMIER PARTNERS

RIBBON CUTTING

Wal-Mart Store #2065 (865) 690-8986 www.walmart.com Shopping: Discount Stores Wordsworth Classics (865) 922-7491 www.wordsworthclassics.com Distribution/Warehousing/ Logistics

Guaranty Trust Co. celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville location on Dec. 13. The new office is located at 9648 Kingston Pike, Suite 3.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48


FUELING FUTURE PROSPERITY:

Sustainability in Knoxville BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Sustainability and energy conservation are increasingly important to steady economic growth, as environmental sustainability continues to be a significant deciding factor for relocating companies and families. The City of Knoxville, through its Office of Sustainability, has developed a number of initiatives to reduce energy consumption and enhance the competitiveness of the region. These initiatives focus on reusing existing infrastructure, minimizing waste, and creating a transportation network supporting walking, biking, and public transit. Other initiatives include minimizing the costs of operating office buildings while maximizing the health and productivity of their occupants; increasing the availability of clean, renewable energy; and creating new jobs. Through these efforts, the City of Knoxville is working to make Knoxville a greener, more sustainable city – one where the economy, environment, and community can thrive today and in the future.

What is Sustainability? Sustainability is necessary to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, reduce impact on natural systems, and leave future generations with plentiful

resources and a good quality of life. It is defined as the process of meeting society’s present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This process extends far beyond activities like recycling. In Knoxville, sustainable practices are seen as a long-term dedication to mitigating air pollution, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and capitalizing on economic development opportunities afforded by the transition to clean energy technologies. Practicing sustainability can also significantly reduce spending and be profitable in many cases, including saving money through the efficient use of resources. It teaches accountability, promotes community values, and gives citizens ways to take an active role in preserving where they live.

A Greener Knoxville Since 2007, the City of Knoxville’s Energy & Sustainability Initiative has worked to make the city more energy efficient and sustainable. City operations are not only greener and saving money, they are reducing their impact on the environment. The local economy is also poised for growth in clean and advanced energy markets that offer good jobs to the local workforce. Wasting energy means wasting money, and because the majority of energy comes from fossil fuels, wasting energy also creates a negative impact on the en-

“Sustainability” continued on pg. 50

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 49


“Sustainability” Continued from page 49

vironment. To combat this issue, the City of Knoxville has developed numerous energy efficient projects and supported the integration of renewable energy systems. “By investing in sustainability in Knoxville, we can help our economy, our environment, and our people thrive both now and in the long term,” said Erin Gill, director of the City of Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability. “Sustainability initiatives help Knoxville stay competitive in a global market, while also protecting our natural resources and improving quality of life.” The Office of Sustainability works to reduce energy waste in city facilities, advance clean energy, and promote policies and programs that save energy and money by improving the efficiency of local buildings. This includes leading the Smarter Cities Partnership to improve the quality and affordability of Knoxville’s homes through energy efficiency. One recent initiative of the partnership is the Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover Program (KEEM). Since the program’s launch in August 2015, it has provided a no-cost, whole-home energy efficiency retrofit program for more than 900 families. The KEEM retrofit is expected to reduce energy consumption by 31 percent, saving these families hundreds of dollars each year. Like many communities across the nation, neighborhoods in Knoxville struggle with aging housing that consumes large amounts of energy, often leaving residents with utility bills they cannot pay. Each year, the Knoxville community spends over $4.8 million to help struggling families pay utility bills. KEEM provides a long-term solution by lowering bills through practical energy upgrades, rather than the short-term fix of bill payment assistance. The Tennessee Valley Authority-funded program is led by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) in partnership with the City of Knoxville, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), and the Alliance to Save Energy. Gill says energy consumption in city government facilities is down over 13 percent since 2009, and greenhouse gas emissions are down more than 15 percent in government operations and nearly 8 percent in the community as a whole, relative to a 2005 baseline.

Renewable Energy Sources In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy selected Knoxville to become a Solar America Cities partner and help accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies. Through this partnership, the City of Knoxville created the Solar Knoxville Program to help promote solar technologies by removing market barriers through a comprehensive, city-wide approach. Solar energy is a clean source of energy that is inexhaustible, abundant, and powerful. Solar technologies use the sun’s energy to provide heat, light, hot water, electricity, and cooling for homes and businesses. Knoxville Utilities Board, which provides utility services to more than 453,000 customers in the Knoxville area, has a long-standing dedication to environmental responsibility and green power. KUB has approximately 120 solar systems interconnected to

its electrical grid, ranging in size from large solar farms to small rooftop systems owned by businesses and residential customers. The total solar capacity from these systems is over seven megawatts. “Part of KUB’s long-standing commitment to the environment is providing support for customers who are interested in utilizing solar power,” said Elizabeth Hannah, manager of KUB Environmental Stewardship. “We are excited to see the recent growth of investment in renewable energy projects, with total capacity of solar facilities interconnected to KUB’s system more than doubling in the last two years.” Similarly, as part of its long-range vision for sustainability, KUB completed the first public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in the Knoxville area last year. KUB has demonstrated leadership in the use of alternative fuels since the 1970s, when it first converted some of its fleet vehicles to CNG. Today, KUB’s fleet includes almost 50 CNG vehicles and is planned to expand to 100 vehicles by 2020. The new station not only serves KUB’s fleet, it also makes the cleaner burning, domestic fuel available to the public.

TVA Sustainable Communities Sustainable practices not only benefit the environment, they are essential in longterm prosperity and economic development growth. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Valley Sustainable Communities program works with cities, towns, and counties to help them commit to long-term economic development. These communities work toward a “triple bottom line” – developing a healthy environment, a thriving economy, and long-term economic prosperity. The program, now in its fifth year, offers three levels of qualification based on a points system. Communities can earn points in numerous categories by implementing sustainability policies and can receive a Platinum, Gold, or Silver qualification. In 2015, Knoxville became the first large city in Tennessee to receive a Platinum-level qualification and has retained that level ever since. Lindsay Hammill, chamber economic development project manager, led the efforts for the platinum recertification process. Valley Sustainable Platinum Communities are recognized for having made a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and having thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts. “Environmental sustainability continues to be an increasingly important factor to companies looking to invest or locate in a community,” said TVA Senior Program Manager Millie Callaway Parkes. “By participating in TVA’s Valley Sustainable Communities program, communities in the region are increasing their competitiveness in the economic development market by showcasing their sustainability efforts.” She continued, “The program, the only one of its kind focusing on economic development, offers communities assistance in developing and implementing sustainability initiatives that not only serve to make the community more competitive, but also support TVA’s mission of service through energy, environment, and economic development.”

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50


Asthma Treatment Mobile App ‘BreatheEasy’ Wins What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

A winner was crowned from a group of six finalists after 48 intense hours of refining and developing their “big ideas” for the business start-up competition. On Feb. 26, the finalists took to the stage at Scruffy City Hall to present their final ideas to a panel of judges in a Shark-Tank style pitch event. This year boasted an impressive array of business concepts, but it was Laura Odom and Jeff Gotcher’s BreatheEasy that took home the grand prize – up to $10,000 in startup reimbursement costs, one year free rent at the Fairview Technology Center, a spot in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s CO.STARTERS program, and other business services. BreatheEasy is a mobile app and web-based portal that refines the way the world treats asthma by providing easier access to treatment information. “I continue to be impressed year over year with the overall quality of the companies seeking to compete in WTBI,” said Todd Napier, president and CEO of the Development Corporation of Knox County. “While it’s not unusual for us to have a broad mix of company types competing, this year’s competition also included one of the most diverse group of company founders and owners that we have ever had. It’s encouraging to see that WTBI’s appeal continues to broaden and still remains at a very high overall quality.” During the finale pitch event, each finalist had six minutes to pitch their ideas and two minutes for questions from a panel of judges. Leading up to the finale, the finalists worked around the clock to make their ideas pitch-ready with the help of mentors and coaches from the community. “The most special part about this weekend was that I got to see six people’s lives change right in front of my eyes,” said Jonathan Sexton, entrepreneur in residence at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. “It was amazing to see them realizing that these ideas really have a shot and that there is a community full of experts here to help them. The mentors are the real heroes of the weekend, and from here I’m excited to see all the relationships that started continue to grow.”

The BreatheEasy team took home the grand prize, a launch package including up to $10,000 in startup reimbursement costs.

He continued, “Laura and Jeff from BreatheEasy are a dynamite team. They have the knowledge, skills, and work ethic to take their business to the next level and really have a positive impact on the lives of asthma patients everywhere.” “I am thrilled to have been a part of What’s the Big Idea,” said Laura Odom, founder of BreatheEasy. “The experience was wonderful. Our team had the opportunity to connect with some amazing mentors and really focus on our product and messaging. Winning the competition was important, but we got months of work accomplished in a weekend. The networking connections we have now and continue to have from our ability to be a part of the weekend have moved our business forward by leaps and bounds.” What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour launch is an annual event presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. This year’s event was sponsored by Magnum Venus Products.

The five other “big ideas” competing against BreatheEasy were:

Laura Odom pitches her big idea - BreatheEasy - at the 2017 What’s the Big Idea finale pitch competition at Scruffy City Hall.

• TrapBeats: Sound dampening panels with aesthetic designs • Command Glove: A glove that allows the wearer to control electronic devices by the natural movement of their fingers • Origami Day: A system dedicated to helping people visualize, prioritize, and execute daily tasks • Prometheus: An integrated, customized, and detailed risk mitigation tool for the global traveler • Urban Valley Farms: Provides a sustainable protein source from crickets in the form of pulverized flour products or whole cricket

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Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk Draws Record Crowd to Knoxville Expo Center BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

More than 800 businesspeople gathered at the Knoxville Expo Center on March 2 for Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk, the Knoxville Chamber’s biannual networking event and tabletop expo. This spring’s Coney Island boardwalk-themed bash was presented by Comcast Business, Business Owners Benefits Association (BOBA), and Centriworks. Attendees enjoyed eating and drinking tasty food and beverages, networking with area professionals, and exploring more than 120 business tabletop exhibits. Students from the Knoxville Chamber’s second Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) class also exhibited their businesses and organizations developed throughout the course of the 30-week program. The evening concluded with a drawing for several door prizes. Rosie Noriega with Spanish-On-Site took home a cooler, tumbler, and wireless speaker provided by Comcast Business; Rick LeCates with Liberty Mutual won a $50 Amazon gift card; and Rachael Box with Scoles Family Chiropractic went home with the evening’s grand prize: a Google Home voice-activated speaker.

Chamber Ambassadors Anthony Ingram and Josh Vehec welcomed guests to Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk on March 2 under a popcorn balloon arch created by Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs.

The Pavilion at Hunter Valley Farm won most creative tabletop exhibit for its impressive Coney Island boardwalk-themed display at Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk on March 2.

Kiley Niles and Kristen Bridgers from Pinnacle at Turkey Creek pose with their face cut-out photo board at Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk at the Knoxville Expo Center.

Kelsey McBee from All Occasion Catering poses with the company’s festive and tasty Coney Island boardwalk-themed tabletop display and food.


Barger’s Beer Truck provided Schmoozapalooza attendees with delicious brews at the Knoxville Expo Center.

Former Tennessee Volunteer and CEO of Impact, Inspire, and Empower LLC Derrick Furlow (pictured center) with Chamber Ambassador Kenneth Herring (left) and Chamber Board Member Mel Evans (right) at Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy students Alexander YarKhan and John D. Cobb exhibited their nonprofit organization RefugeeLikeMe at Schmoozapalooza.

Autumn Yates from Maple Hall works the boutique bowling alley’s tabletop exhibit at its first-ever Schmoozapalooza experience.

XX from Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs helps Schmoozapalooza attendees play a game.

Shular Hospitality’s Tracy Porier and Amy Johns got into the Coney Island boardwalk spirit with themed costumes.


MONTHLY ECONOMIC INDICATORS

(Feb. 2017)

NOTES – Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane & Union Counties.

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Jan. ’16Jan. ‘17

Jan. 2017

Dec. 2016

Jan. 2016

% Change Dec. ’16Jan. ‘17

232,690 412,560 3,162,600 158,676,000

235,590 417,410 3,156,400 158,968,000

229,570 406,840 3,071,900 157,347,000

-1.2 -1.2 0.2 -0.2

1.4 1.4 3.0 0.8

388,700 2,952,600

396,700 3,027,100

383,600 2,898,000

-2.0 -2.5

1.3 1.9

11,040 22,360 181,600

9,710 19,300 155,100

9,030 18,440 150,800

13.7 15.9 17.1

22.3 21.3 20.4

4.7 5.4 5.7 5.1

4.1 4.6 4.9 4.5

3.9 4.5 4.9 5.3

0.6 0.8 0.8 0.6

0.8 0.9 0.8 -0.2

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Feb. 2017 1,185 6,622 $159,900

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

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

INFLATION RATES -

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

% Change Feb. ’15Feb. ‘17 2.5 1.7

Feb. ’16-‘17

Jan. ’16-‘17

Feb. ’15-‘16

3.0 2.7

2.8 2.5

0.5 1.0

0.2 0.2

% Change Feb. ’16Feb. ‘17

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Jan. 2017* 20 20 0

Jan. 2016 37 37 0

% Change Jan. ’16Jan. ‘17 -45.9 -45.9 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

115 115 0

106 106 0

8.5 8.5 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

206 190 16

178 159 19

15.7 19.5 -15.8

Tennessee

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,845 1,677 168

2,419 1,235 1,184

-23.7 35.8 -85.8

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2017

Jan. 2017

Feb. 2016

% Change Jan. ’17Feb. ‘17

47,307,970 72,372,430 616,905,381

64,612,386 97,296,698 904,860,781

44,873,381 68,175,000 579,440,565

-26.8 -25.6 -31.8

5.4 6.2 6.5

13,045,931 20,597,033

18,147,618 28,205,056

12,499,549 19,558,373

-28.1 -27.0

4.4 5.3

AIR SERVICE (MCGHEE-TYSON AIRPORT)

Passengers Freight

Dec. 2016 149,603 8,223,846

Nov. 2016 159,115 7,085,258

Dec. 2015 140,311 7,143,268

% Change Nov. ’16Dec. ‘16 -6.0 16.1

% Change Dec. ’15Dec. ‘16 6.6 15.1

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2017 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

*South – City Size Class B/C

SALES TAX REVENUE - STATE & LOCAL ($) State Sales Tax

1,114 8,224 $157,501

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Jan. ’16Feb. ‘17

Feb. 2016

% Change Feb. ’16Feb. ‘17 6.4 -19.5 1.5

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Jan. 2017 1,106 6,730 $160,000

% Change Jan. ’17Feb. ‘17 7.1 -1.6 -0.1

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

Feb. 2017

Jan. 2017

422,072 24,160 18,511 7,177 54,182 52,000 8,321 31,375 49,947 27,265 9,042 89,772 44,453

422,761 24,014 15,748 7,616 57,685 52,314 8,263 33,131 48,866 28,401 9,130 83,826 47,119

413,554 23,290 18,712 7,956 54,663 51,676 8,203 27,096 50,661 26,559 9,094 88,262 41,094

% Change Jan. ’17Feb. ‘17 -0.2 0.6 17.5 -5.8 -6.1 -0.6 0.7 -5.3 2.2 -4.0 -1.0 7.1 -5.7

5,867

6,648

6,288

-11.7

Feb. 2016

% Change Feb. ’16Feb. ‘17 2.1 3.7 -1.1 -9.8 -0.9 0.6 1.4 15.8 -1.4 2.7 -0.6 1.7 8.2 -6.7

EST. 1869 For more information on research, contact Joe Riley, jriley@knoxvillechamber.com.

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

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MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ SPOTLIGHT PROTÉGÉ: DARKHORSE ENTERTAINMENT, LLC; TENNESSEE MEDIEVAL FAIRE; TENNESSEE PIRATE FEST

MENTOR: JOHN SWINDEMAN, NANOMECHANICS, INC.

Owners: Barrie and Lars Paulson

Website: www.nanomechanicsinc.com

Website: www.TMFAIRE.com

Industry Type: Scientific Equipment

Industry Type: Entertainment (festival

Who has been one of your important mentors and why? What were the key lessons learned?

production)

Describe your firm briefly, and what are your main markets or services? We have been developing an outdoor festival site as an economic development project with the City of Harriman and Roane County, Tenn. This year, we are producing the third annual Tennessee Medieval Faire in May and the second annual Tennessee Pirate Fest in October. These festivals have a regional draw, and are quality, interactive, family-friendly, outdoor, costumed, themed events.

What are some lessons you have learned from your mentor? 1) We are doing a good job. 2) Sometimes you’re doing all you can, but it just takes time. 3) Once things catch on, it’s like a “fly wheel” where it doesn’t take as much effort and it’s hard to stop.

How has your business or management thinking changed because of your mentor? To have more confidence in my/our abilities. To value each idea and contact as an open door – it’s for us to walk through. We set the process for employees to follow.

Why should every business have a mentor? Having an outside perspective helps you see things you couldn’t see while right in the middle of doing everything. All businesses are different, but they can be viewed from a standard business perspective to gain insights and help focus efforts. Success is not ensured, but having someone who has achieved success and is willing to encourage and make suggestions is invaluable.

Any other thoughts? Being part of the Propel program has changed our lives. We are grateful to have been selected by Roane County as a small business with great potential. Every subject covered has helped move our business forward.

Dr. Warren Oliver, NAE - I began working for Warren in 1992 in his first company, and have learned a great deal from him in technology and business. The key lessons I’ve learned from him are: evaluate every situation calmly - success and failure are both temporary. Assume nothing - evaluate every opportunity as if it stands alone. Treat others with respect, through all parts of your organization, as well as with clients and vendors.

What are the benefits of being a mentor? I am energized every time I meet with Barrie. It’s inspiring to see the passion and dedication that she puts into her business, and to see the application of the unique skill sets that Barrie and her husband bring to their endeavor. It’s also a regular opportunity to try to distill learnings and principles from my own career.

Do you think successful firms should mentor a small firm? No matter what we have achieved on our own, we are part of a community that has helped us in sometimes subtle, sometimes overt ways. Helping others on their own path to success is not only the right thing to do, but it bolsters the business climate that creates great employees and great leaders, and this enriches the talent pool that our own organizations can rely on. It further contributes to the prosperity of our region, and that helps attract further investment and opportunity. So, yes, I firmly believe that successful business leaders should participate in mentoring.

What are the three key priorities small firm owners should consider every day? 1) Will the market value what I am doing today enough to pay for it? 2) Are my employees engaged and pulling in the same direction? 3) Do I have the resources to complete what I’m beginning?

Contact Doug Minter at (865) 246-2662 or dminter@knoxvillechamber.com to learn more about Propel.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 55


Education Hot Topic at March Capitol Connections Panel Discussion BY: AMY NOLAN

Teacher salaries, parental choice, and more flexibility for local school boards were hot topics at the March Capitol Connections, a panel discussion featuring three legislators with significant influence on Tennessee education. Reps. Harry Brooks, Bill Dunn, and Roger Kane agreed that Gov. Bill Haslam’s budget request to add $200 million in K-12 spending – about half of which is earmarked to raise teachers’ salaries or add teachers in the systems – would receive legislative approval. “Teachers have really stepped up,” Rep. Dunn said. “We have gone through a lot of reforms. There has been pain, misery, and changes, but they have come through. Tennessee is now the fastest-improving state three years in a row when it comes to education, and I think you reward people for that.” Still, some students continue to be stuck in schools where they aren’t being prepared for success, and the legislators said that’s one reason they will coalesce behind legislation that gives parents vouchers to send their children to a private school if they

live in a district with more than 30 schools that don’t meet state standards. That limit would result in only Shelby County/Memphis students having that choice. “It is sad some schools have failed for decades,” Rep. Brooks said. “We have failed, that is government has failed, if you have an environment where these students don’t have the opportunity to succeed. I want to create a pilot program where we can answer will this program work, has it improved the lot of these children who are stuck in a community that has been failing for years?” Rep. Kane said legislators are also studying teacher training programs and holding them more accountable for teachers’ success. One program has already given up its charter, and several more are “on the bubble,” he said. “We have a real problem with reading,” Kane said. “Most teacher colleges subject teachers to only two reading classes, and then we are surprised we don’t know how to teach reading. If you want workforce development, students have to be able to read.” All three agreed that local school systems need more flexibility to spend state money on how they think student achievement can best be improved. The next Capitol Connections event will be held at 8 a.m. Friday, April 21 at the Chamber.

SPONSORED BY:

APRIL - MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES Since 1869, the Knoxville Chamber has been the leading voice for business in the region. Each of these businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries as Chamber members during the month of April. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS East Tennessee Natural Gas Gouffon Moving & Storage Company, Inc. Johnson & Galyon, Inc. Ambrose, Wilson, Grimm & Durand, LLP BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Cherokee Distributing Co., Inc. Tennessee Valley Fair The Tombras Group Knoxville Area Association of Realtors M. S. McClellan & Company Tennessee Smokies Baseball Club Boy Scouts of America Goodwill Industries - Knoxville, Inc. Hallsdale Powell Utility District Bullock Smith & Partners

25 – 30 YEARS O’Neil, Parker & Williamson, PLLC Customer Service Electric Supply, Inc. UT Federal Credit Union Moxley Carmichael Schmid & Rhodes Construction Co. Lance Cunningham Ford Knoxville Bar Association

MEMBER SINCE 1950 1951 1954 1955 1957 1958 1958 1965 1975 1977 1978 1979 1979 1982 1984

MEMBER SINCE 1989 1989 1989 1990 1992 1992 1992

20 – 24 YEARS Farm Credit Mid-America Sun Electric Company Conner Siding & Window Company Hart Graphics, Inc. Knox Rail Salvage, Inc. M & L Sound, Inc. Michael T. Crawford Agency Quality Machine & Welding Co., Inc. Robert A. Brown, CPA Russell Printing Options Sperry Van Ness/R.M. Moore New York Life/Eagle Strategies LLC

15-19 YEARS Martin Printing LLC Great West Casualty Company Gulf & Ohio Railways Roddy Vending Company, Inc. TDS Exhibits, Inc. Knoxville Chamber RIVR Media, LLC Century 21 Select Properties Star Construction, LLC. Alstom Power WVLT-Volunteer TV

MEMBER SINCE 1993 1994 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1996

MEMBER SINCE 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 2001

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Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Knoxville Convention Center Appalachia Business Communications

10 – 14 YEARS

2001 2001 2002

MEMBER SINCE

The Park Vista a DoubleTree by Hilton 2003 Dienamic Tooling Systems, Inc. 2003 ARCADIS US, Inc. 2003 WATE-TV 2003 American Trust Bank of East Tennessee - Bearden 2003 Messer Construction Company 2004 American Book Company 2004 Comcast 2004 Swiss Technologies, Inc. 2005 Lincoln Memorial University 2005 NAVARRO Research and Engineering Inc. 2005 Fifth Third Bank 2006 The House Guy 2006 Mast General Store 2006 McKibbon Hotel Management 2006 WoodmenLife 2006 Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs 2007 Tennessee Equipment Supply Inc. 2007 The Great Backyard Place 2007 Pinnacle Financial Partners 2007 Claiborne Hauling Contractors, LLC 2007


Commissioner Kevin Triplett Talks Tourism At Premier Partner Event BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners had the exclusive opportunity to hear from Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett at an event sponsored by Bristol Motor Speedway on March 9. His engaging presentation detailed the significant impact tourism has on Tennessee’s economy, as well as the “Soundtrack of America Made in Tennessee” brand. “One of the things we try to market and promote is what is unique to us,” Commissioner Triplett said. “What do we have that other people don’t, and how do we treat people when they’re here?” Tourism in Tennessee boasts an impressive $18.4 billion in economic impact and generates $1.6 billion in state and local sales tax. “Tourism development is economic development,” he explained. Commissioner Triplett also described the importance of storytelling when marketing Tennessee as a great place to visit. He concluded his presentation with a question and answer session with attendees. To see a video of Commissioner Triplett’s presentation, visit the Knoxville Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett, and Logan McCabe, VP of Consumer Group at Bristol Motor Speedway, at the Knoxville Chamber’s Premier Partner event on March 9.

RIBBON CUTTINGS

Prosperity Pointe Assisted Living celebrated the grand opening of its new facility on Dec. 16, 2016. It is a newly renovated, state-of-the-art, 54-bed community owned and operated by Dr. Noi Nuyen and will provide high-quality, personalized elderly care. Prosperity Pointe is located at 214 Prosperity Drive in Knoxville.

AFC Urgent Care celebrated the grand opening of its second Knoxville location on Jan. 26. They specialize in providing the best healthcare possible, in a kind and caring environment and in a timely manner. The new location is at 6108 Kingston Pike on the corner of Northshore Drive.

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RIBBON CUTTINGS

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 12 Power 30 Speed Networking

4:00 – 6:30 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

April 18 Bright Ideas Workshop – “An Entrepreneurs Lament” by Chris McAdoo, Best Behavior Creative Club 11:30 – 1:00 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

SPONSORED BY:

Duck Donuts celebrated the grand opening of its Knoxville location at 6104 Kingston Pike on Jan. 31.

April 20 Premier Partner Event with Thom Mason, Oak Ridge National Laboratory 8:00 – 9:00 AM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

SPONSORED BY:

April 21 Capitol Connections 8:00 – 9:00 AM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

SPONSORED BY:

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville location on Dec. 13. The new location is found at 6100 Kingston Pike.

Go to “Chamber Events” on www.knoxvillechamber.com to learn more or register for any of these events.

Knoxville Chamber Details Young Professional Programs Holly Holloway, events manager for the Knoxville Chamber, represented the organization at the 12th Annual TVA Economic Developers’ Forum in Nashville, Tenn. held Feb. 23-24. She presented the Chamber’s recent young professional initiatives, including the 2016 Endeavor Young Professionals Summit, in a session titled, “Young Talent Cool Your Way?”

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