Page 1

INSIDE: Schmoozapalooza Recap pg. 52 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 55


Bethel University College of Professional Studies (865) 599-9232 Education & Training Bite Squad (865) 850-9556 Food & Beverage: Food/Food Service Distributors Cedar Pond Farms (865) 300-5397 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, REALTORS® - Lakeside Office (865) 342-4200 Real Estate Daniel Hood Roofing Systems in East Tennessee (865) 851-5002 Construction & Contractors: Roofing Dean and Janet Palombi - Realty Executives (865) 317-3765 Real Estate: Residential EnerG3 (865) 740-2637 Architectural & Engineering Services Financial Planning Association (865) 456-1900 Financial Services FOCUS Ministries (865) 694-3837 Social Services Fresh Kale Bath Company (865) 333-5251 Shopping: Specialty Gen225, Inc. (865) 776-8088 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Go Dance (917) 370-2373 Entertainment: Arts & Culture Greenbrier Real Estate Advisors, LLC (865) 320-0609 Real Estate: Commercial Hickory Hardscapes, LLC (865) 675-6900 Construction & Contractors Kindred At Home Home Health (865) 584-3133 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services Knoxville Real Estate Professionals, Inc. (865) 766-4090 Real Estate: Residential Mold Doctors USA, LLC. (865) 945-3000 Residential Services


New2Knox (865) 591-2508 Residential Services Online Development, Inc. (414) 303-6155 Computer & IT Services: Hardware/Software Developers Pathways Church (865) 428-6312 Church & Church Supplies Pella Windows and Doors (865) 966-9951 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services Planet Fitness (865) 253-7652 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being

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.


EXIT Real Estate Professionals Network (865) 383-3948 Real Estate



PROFILE by Sanford - Bearden (865) 410-8660 Personal Services SEI, Inc. (865) 909-9419 Business & Professional Services Seiber Restoration (865) 922-1428 Construction & Contractors: General Contractors

Society for Financial Awareness - East TN Chapter (865) 441-1794 Insurance Southeast Oral Surgery - Powell (865) 947-9800 Southeast Oral Surgery - Seymour (865) 577-7800 Southeast Oral Surgery - West (865) 693-4442 Healthcare Providers & Services: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons




Sharon Bailey and Dick Brower - Realty Executives Associates (865) 531-2020 Real Estate: Residential Smoky Mountain Wedding Association (865) 934-7437 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues




Busmax Rent-A-Bus (865) 317-8007 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service

Mystery Shoppers, Inc. (865) 450-8841 Shopping: Specialty






The Press Room (865) 544-4199 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues Tim Hathaway - Realty Executives Associates (865) 643-3232 Real Estate TNFIRST, INC. (865) 951-1053 Associations & Organizations TNT (865) 405-7954 Business & Professional Services: Associations & Organizations Trusted Waterproofing, LLC (865) 249-7794 Residential Services

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Chamber Urges Schools to Focus on Reading Proficiency READING IS THE BUILDING BLOCK FOR ALL LEARNING.



he Knoxville Chamber’s Board of Directors is urging Knox County Schools to focus on students’ reading proficiency and building strong relationships between its career and technical education (CTE) programming and employers. The recommendations came as part of comments the Chamber’s board submitted to Superintendent Bob Thomas, whose staff is creating a new three-year strategic plan for the school system. The Chamber noted that while Knox County students’ test scores are improving, too many students are not reading at grade-level standards. About 60 percent of students in grades third-fifth and grades sixth-eighth are not proficient – that is 15,800 students who are not ready to master the high school coursework that will prepare them for college and careers.


Knox County Schools is rightfully proud that its students outperformed the state and its three largest urban districts in the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2017 Report Card. Knox County Schools had the highest percentage of students compared to the other large urban districts who scored “mastered” or “on track” in every subject and combination with the exception of Algebra 1. Knox County students also had the highest ACT composite score of 21.1 compared to the state and other large urban districts. A deeper dive into this data, however, reveals that thousands – indeed, the majority – of students in Knox County Schools are not proficient in English/ Language Arts (reading) and are graduating not ready for careers or college. The TNReady data shows 60 percent of students in grades third-fifth and grades sixth-eighth are not proficient in reading – that’s 15,800 students who are not ready to master the high school coursework that will prepare them for the post-secondary opportunities or the job market once they graduate. The system’s ACT scores reflect the impact on these students’ continued learning. Again, Knox County Schools is applauded for becoming the first of Tennessee’s four urban school districts to meet the state’s goal of a 21-average composite score on the ACT. A closer look, however, shows a wide gap between those who are proficient and excelling and those students who are not. While 1,922 high school students scored 21 or higher on the ACT, another 1,324 high school students scored below a 19. A score of 19 or below doesn’t just hinder these students from attending and being successful in college – it reflects a lack of proficiency in skills, particularly reading and math, which will inhibit their ability to be trained for high-quality jobs. The Knoxville Chamber urges Knox County Schools to place a greater emphasis on ensuring that a significantly greater number of students are proficient in reading at an earlier age to ensure that they have a pathway to meaningful college and career opportunities after graduation. Knox County

The Knoxville Chamber is a nonprofit organization with 2,400 members and serves as the economic development agency for Knoxville and Knox County governments. The Chamber also manages Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley Inc., a coalition of seven regional economic development agencies that together achieved remarkable success during the 2016-17 fiscal year with 1,568 new jobs created and $241.68 million in capital investments secured. In its roles serving existing businesses and recruiting new ones to the community, the Knoxville Chamber hears loud and clear that employers’ no. 1 concern regarding their ability to be successful here is finding qualified employees. Tennessee’s Drive to 55 – the goal of having 55 percent of Tennesseans earning a post-secondary credit by the year 2025 – is predicated on the fact that the majority of new jobs will require advanced credentials beyond a high school diploma. It’s imperative for our economic future that every student graduates from a Knox County school ready to be trained for high-quality jobs. CONTINUED ON PAGE 58 To accomplish this, Knox County Schools must put increased emphasis on achieving faster and better results in two areas: reading Reading Proficiency continued on page 50 proficiency and career and technical education.

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Reading Proficiency continued from page 49 Schools’ strategic plan should settle for nothing less than 100 percent reading proficiency at the end of three years.

CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROVIDES HEAD START FOR COLLEGE, CAREERS. Knox County Schools has endured a tumultuous year with its Career and Technical Education program, and the Knoxville Chamber hopes the resulting reorganization will result in a higher priority being placed on attracting students to CTE curriculums that will lead to jobs that are in demand in this community. An encouraging development locally is the work of the Pathways to Prosperity group, which includes the Knoxville Chamber and neighboring economic development agencies, along with school systems’ CTE leaders from Knox, Blount and Anderson counties. The Pathways group is focused on two industry sectors – advanced manufacturing and information systems – that are showing growth in the Knoxville area. The group’s focus is on providing more awareness of career opportunities to parents and students at an earlier age and seamless pathways to post-secondary opportunities and careers. That work will expand quickly to include other sectors, as well. It’s become clear in the Pathways discussions that Chambers and employers in our neighboring counties have stronger relationships with their K-12 school systems and, as a result, provide their students with more meaningful off-site work-based learning opportunities, including internships, apprenticeships and jobs that help many students accumulate the resources necessary to continue their educations. The Knoxville Chamber looks forward to working with Knox County Schools’ CTE leaders this spring and summer in providing students and teachers opportunities to visit local employers in one- and two-day job shadowing and externship

experiences. The Chamber stands ready to do more to bridge the gap between students, educators and employers, particularly regarding work-based learning. The Chamber this year is bringing to Tennessee the Talent Pipeline Management Academy, an effort that empowers employers to play an expanded leadership role as “end-customers” of education and workforce partnerships. The TPM Academy recognizes that employers need to take an active and engaged role in closing the skills gap. Using TPM principles and methodology, for example, the Knoxville Chamber is currently working with a collaborative of local employers who find it difficult to hire software developers to better define their needs now and in the future and to communicate those results to education providers. The Knoxville Chamber needs Knox County Schools to be an active partner in this work and other initiatives that link employers to students and teachers to ensure that graduates are prepared for jobs that are in demand now and in the future. Knox County Schools must prepare students who meet the needs of employers. Today, according to the U.S. Chamber Foundation, 50 percent of open, available positions in this country go unfilled, because the candidates aren’t available. At the same time, 40 percent of businesses can’t take on more work because they can’t fill the jobs they have open. For the Knoxville area to prosper economically, local businesses cannot fall victim to that statistic. And indeed, many won’t – they will move and grow in communities that beat those odds. In conclusion, the Knoxville Chamber applauds the progress students and teachers have made to meet higher academic standards. That progress must not slow down, but accelerate to ensure a prosperous future for all Knox County students.

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Legislators Give Update at Capitol Connections BY: AMY NOLAN

Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, Rep. Eddie Smith and Rep. Jason Zachary updated Chamber members on what’s happening at Tennessee’s state Capitol on March 9 at a Capitol Connections breakfast sponsored by AT&T and WGU Tennessee. With committees starting to wind down, the legislators said work is still underway to deal with two big issues the state is grappling with – the opioid epidemic and school safety. The mass murder at a Parkland, Fla., high school has resulted in several pieces of legislation being filed that would allow more armed individuals inside schools. Rep. Jason Zachary noted that since 2013 Tennessee law has allowed teachers and staff to carry guns if they have approval of the school officials, a carry permit and undergo significant training. All three lawmakers noted that while Knox County Schools has its own security officers, many rural counties cannot afford additional security officers. They praised Gov. Bill Haslam for creating a task force on school safety, and Rep. Eddie Smith said the governor has not ruled out a special session should the task force make recommendations that need legislative approval. Likewise, debate continues about legislation designed to combat the opioid epidemic. The Tennessee Medical Association has push backed against the limits the governor proposed in his legislation, but Sen. Massey predicted that a compromise would end up being negotiated. The medical marijuana bill – which would allow cannabis oil to be used in treatment of specific medical conditions – may have a harder time getting legislators’ approval. While Sen. Massey and Rep. Zachary support the idea in very limited circumstances, Rep. Smith said he believes more research needs to be done on the issue.

Sen. Massey does not believe the measure will be able to pass the Senate, noting that Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, a retired pharmacist, is against the bill. The next Capitol Connections event will be at 8 a.m., Friday, April 13. Rep. Harry Brooks and Rep. Roger Kane are confirmed as guests.

(from left) AT&T Regional Director Alan Hill, Rep. Jason Zachary, Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, Chamber President & CEO Mike Edwards, Chamber Government Relations Committee Chair Susan Richardson Williams, Rep. Eddie Smith and WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kim Estep.


Propel Program Offers Contractors Bootcamps BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

The Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Program recently offered three Contractors Bootcamps in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Kingsport as part of a LiftTN Urban Edition grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development’s Business Enterprise Resource Office. The Chamber partnered with the Kingsport Office of Small Business Enterprise, the Kingsport Chamber and the Chattanooga Area Chamber to conduct three bootcamps for small, minority, woman and veteran-owned contractors and constructionrelated firms.

More than 50 people attended the sessions instructed by Tony Booth, founder of Builder’s Grid and Contracting Coach Academy. Booth works to turn construction companies into elite contracting organizations by providing contractors with tips, ideas and knowledge to elevate their game. Each bootcamp focused on key business management functions including customer service, brand management, tracking performance indicators and accounting. Attendees also learned industry best-practices in estimation, bid management and project planning and management. To learn more about the Chamber’s Propel program, please visit

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Large Crowd Travels Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk at Knoxville Expo Center BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

More than 750 business professionals and community members gathered at the Knoxville Expo Center on March 1 for Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk, the Knoxville Chamber’s biannual bash in the name of business. This spring’s networking event and tabletop expo was presented by Comcast Business. Attendees enjoyed sampling tasty food and beverages, making connections with area professionals and exploring the 120 business tabletop exhibits. Students from the Chamber’s third Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) class also exhibited their businesses and organizations developed throughout the 30-week entrepreneurial program. The evening concluded with a drawing for several door prizes. Shawn Stutz with FOCUS Ministries took home a $50 Archers BBQ gift card; Chad Rogers with Old Number Eleven won a $50 gift card to Ashe’s Wine and Spirits; and Mitchell Petty with Axle Logistics took home the evening’s grand prize: a Google Home mini.

Sponsored by:





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1. Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk attendees entered the event through an impressive balloon tent created by Above the Rest Balloon and Event Designs. 2. BRAVO Cucina Italiana served up delicious pasta to more than 750 attendees at the Chamber’s spring Schmoozapalooza. 3. Pace Bike Share, which recently launched its app-based bicycle sharing service in downtown Knoxville, served as the Schmoozapalooza Carnival Buggy Sponsor. 4. Sharon Sivley, sales manager for The 9 Group, and Justin Daly, sales coordinator for the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Knoxville, in front of their boardwalk-themed exhibit, which took home the prize for most creative display. 5. Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) student Daniel Scrugham presented his Early Investing Podcast and made numerous connections at Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk. 6. More than 750 local professionals gathered at the Knoxville Expo Center for the Chamber’s biannual networking event and tabletop expo. 7. The Virtuous Products team showed off their impressive collection of quartz products at the 2018 Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk. 8. Big Slate Media, the Chamber’s video production partner, showcased a variety of video projects at their first-ever Schmoozapalooza experience. 9. Brandon Fecher with Goody Bag Sponsor Threds passed out t-shirts to attendees of the Chamber’s spring Schmoozapalooza. 10. Cortney Roark and Jennifer Dedman with the Greater Knoxville Business Journal offered Plinko and prizes at their Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk exhibit.

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Composites Coalition Featured at International Composites Show BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

Tennessee’s Composites Coalition initiative was showcased to the world at JEC World 2018, the leading international composites show held in Paris, France. The event, which took place March 6-8, brought together 1,300 exhibitors and more than 42,000 visitors to discover the endless possibilities of composites, from process to products. Lindsay Hammill, director of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber, presented the Composites Coalition on the JEC World main stage and met with people from across the globe to discuss Tennessee’s unique composites assets.

Lindsay Hammill, director of economic development for the Chamber, and Jesse Smith, manager of industrial partnerships and economic development for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at JEC World 2018.

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 Harley-Davidson, Inc. 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

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 Farm Credit Mid-America

MEMBER SINCE 1950 1951 1954 1955 1957 1958 1958 1965 1972 1975 1977 1978 1979 1979 1982

MEMBER SINCE 1989 1989 1989 1990 1992 1992 1992 1993

20 – 24 YEARS


Sun Electric Company 1994 Conner Siding & Window Company 1995 Hart Graphics, Inc. 1995 Knox Rail Salvage, Inc. 1995 M & L Sound, Inc. 1995 Michael T. Crawford Agency 1995 Quality Machine & Welding Co., Inc. 1995 Robert A. Brown, CPA 1995 Russell Printing Options 1995 New York Life/Eagle Strategies LLC 1996 Martin Printing LLC 1998 Great West Casualty Company 1998 Gulf & Ohio Railways 1998 Windstream 1998 Roddy Vending Company, Inc. 1998

15-19 YEARS TDS Exhibits, Inc. Knoxville Chamber RIVR Media, LLC Century 21 Select Properties Star Construction, LLC. WVLT-Volunteer TV Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Knoxville Convention Center

MEMBER SINCE 1999 2000 2000 2000 2000 2001 2001 2001

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Appalachia Business Communications 2002 The Park Vista a DoubleTree by Hilton 2003 Dienamic Tooling Systems, Inc. 2003 WATE-TV 2003 Citizens Bank- Bearden Office 2003

10 – 14 YEARS


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 Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs 2007 The Great Backyard Place 2007 Pinnacle Financial Partners 2007 Claiborne Hauling, LLC 2007 Thompson Engineering 2008 Rowe Transfer 2008 Carey Moving & Storage of Knoxville 2008


(Feb. 2018)

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. ’17Jan. ‘18

Dec. 2017

Jan. 2017

% Change Dec. ’17Jan. ‘18

418,000 3,191,100 160,037,000

235,130 415,290 3,207,400 159,880,000

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

0.8 0.7 -0.5 0.1

1.8 1.3 0.9 0.9

394,100 2,986,300

400,100 3,061,300

389,300 2,947,400

-1.5 -2.4

1.2 1.3

7,240 14,640 120,400

6,100 12,070 99,500

11,040 22,360 181,600

18.7 21.3 21.0

-34.4 -34.5 -33.7

3.1 3.5 3.8 4.5

2.6 2.9 3.1 3.9

4.7 5.4 5.7 5.1

0.5 0.6 0.7 0.6

-1.6 -1.9 -1.9 -0.6

Jan. 2018236,900

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Feb. 2018 1,264 5,747 $177,900

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

% Change Feb. ’16Feb. ‘18 -1.1 -0.5

Feb. ’17-‘18

Jan. ’17-‘18

Feb. ’16-‘17

1.9 2.2

1.6 2.1

3.0 2.7

0.3 0.1

% Change Jan. ’17Jan. ‘18

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Jan. 2018* 24 24 0

Jan. 2017 20 20 0

% Change Jan. ’17Jan. ‘18 20.0 20.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

209 209 0

115 115 0

81.7 81.7 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

333 317 16

216 200 16

54.2 58.5 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,271 1,712 559

1,831 1,711 120

24.0 0.1 365.8

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Jan. 2018

Dec. 2017

Jan. 2017

% Change Dec. ’17Jan. ‘18

64,862,339 96,550,459 913,864,999

54,637,892 83,014,466 730,212,261

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

18.7 16.3 25.2

0.4 -0.8 1.0

19,422,820 30,027,655

15,618,237 24,707,569

18,147,618 28,205,056

24.4 21.5

7.0 6.5


Passengers Freight

Dec. 2017 163,850 5,103,336

Nov. 2017 177,150 7,081,521

Dec. 2016 149,603 8,223,846

% Change Nov. ’17Dec. ‘17 -7.5 -27.9

% Change Dec. ’16Dec. ‘17 9.5 -37.9

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2018 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


1,185 6,622 $159,900



% Change Jan. ’17Feb. ‘18

Feb. 2018

% Change Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18 6.7 -13.2 11.3

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Jan. 2017 1,136 5,842 $167,000

% Change Jan. ’18Feb. ‘18 11.3 -1.6 6.5

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. 2018

Jan. 2018

437,407 25,358 18,784 7,385 55,578 53,532 8,580 35,375 51,414 25,649 10,170 90,859 49,240

445,661 25,501 16,128 7,682 59,619 53,425 8,928 37,915 50,783 27,315 10,116 88,809 53,470

420,352 24,129 17,856 7,078 53,865 52,093 8,336 32,597 50,223 25,565 9,354 89,010 44,570

% Change Jan. ’18Feb. ‘18 -1.9 -0.6 16.5 -3.9 -6.8 0.2 -3.9 -6.7 1.2 -6.1 0.5 2.3 -7.9





Feb. 2017

% Change Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18 4.1 5.1 5.2 4.3 3.2 2.8 2.9 8.5 2.4 0.3 8.7 2.1 10.5 -3.4

EST. 1869 For more information on research, contact Joe Riley,

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

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Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Students Finalize Businesses BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

Students in the Knoxville Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) are finalizing their business plans and preparing to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors. Since early October, these middle and high school students from across Knox County have worked to build their own businesses from the ground up. Beginning with idea generation and market research, the students moved into prototyping and business plan development and are now finalizing brand identity and presentations. During the weekly classes, students have learned about opportunities and skill sets needed to be an entrepreneur from their instructor, Haseeb Qureshi, guest speakers and field trips. The class had the chance to visit Local Motors’ state of the art microfactory and learn about advertising while visiting local digital marketing firm, Pyxl. The YEA! students will graduate from the program on Tuesday, April 17. STUDENT BUSINESSES: Hannah Rodriguez, Clayton Bradley Academy Hannah Ashton Content – provides a personal online mentoring course that trains YouTubers, influencers or anyone wanting to grow their social media channels. She offers a personal connection with the flair and knowledge of running Hannah Ashton YouTube channel for over five years. Mentor – Cody Quillen, Knoxville Graphic House Daniel Scrugham, Homeschool Early Investing Podcast – teaches young people how to invest their money and help them beat the stock market through a fun and enjoyable weekly podcast, which is only fifteen minutes per week. Mentor – Ariana Shannon, Your Growth Expert Hunter Bumgarner, Maryville High School TN Martial Art Events – hosts martial arts parties for children where they are taught a fun and energetic martial arts class, celebrate with their friends and even cut their birthday cake with a sword! Mentor – Josh Goldman, Power Systems

complete satisfaction of each client. He works to ensure each lawn will be properly mowed, edged and all trimmings and debris will be removed from the property. Mentor - Ian Dovan, Seeds of Change Grace Theriot, Bearden Middle School Teaching with Classic Movies – an online worksheet database made by students for teachers. They are dedicated to bringing you high-quality, useful worksheets that take well-known movies and put an analytical spin on them, enabling them to be used as subject and skill reinforcement. Mentor – Calvin Skinner, Lincoln Memorial University DeMaré Bean, Bearden High School The Great American Scourge – a political commentary book written from the perspective of a high school student. The book will evaluate the two-party system and how it has affected political decisions in America. Mentor - Doug Minter, Knoxville Chamber Davis Jones, West Valley Middle School Elastasock – a product that helps people with limited mobility and dexterity put on and remove their socks. Mentor - Jim Brown, M&M Productions Presented By:

Supported By:


Luis Gomes, Bearden High School ScribeTogether – aims to bring communities together by connecting writers, educators and students all in one place. ScribeTogether is a new tool for the community to freely write with other people and have fun with it, while also taking a step closer to their personal writing goals. Mentor – JD Samples, Slamdot John Martinez Mateo, West High School Clover Clothing Co. – a brand built on diversity. The designs are created around the Three Leaf Clover, whose three leaves are used to represent the affordability, quality and look of the products. Mentor – Haseeb Qureshi, Morehous Legal Group Cole Lusk, Halls Middle School Lusk Lawn Care – pays special attention to the details of every project to ensure the

Mesa Technologies, Inc. (MTI) celebrated the grand opening of its second Knoxville manufacturing facility on Feb. 12. MTI provides machine build, custom equipment and panel fabrication for customers throughout the Southeast region and internationally. Mesa Technologies’ newly constructed state-of-the-art facility is located at 720 Simmons Road.

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Composites Coalition Hosts First Quarterly Meeting



More than 60 people gathered on Feb. 28 for the first Composites Coalition quarterly meeting, hosted at the Knoxville Chamber. Industry partners and companies had the opportunity to learn more about the statewide composites initiative, hear about industry progress throughout the region and speak casually with each other about shared pain points and opportunities. Speakers included Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber; John Hopkins, CEO of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); Craig Blue, director of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); and Dr. Uday Vaidya, UT/ORNL Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing and chief technology officer for IACMI. During the event, attendees took part in an informal, open dialogue about private sector needs and what the Composites Coalition can do to address those needs. They also had the opportunity to tour the University of Tennessee’s Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility and Engineering Annex. The next Composites Coalition meeting will take place Wednesday, May 16.

Founded in July of 2014, The Real Estate Firm is a company established on the principles of hard work, perseverance and dedication. Its employees strive daily to instill these qualities in every aspect of the business. Their hard work is shown through the company’s extreme growth over the past few years. The Real Estate Firm now has four branch offices in Knoxville and the surrounding areas, including Clinton and Maynardville. The number of quality agents has also increased drastically, allowing them to better serve the area’s real estate needs. Inspired by the unique spirit of the Knoxville area, The Real Estate Firm has vowed to do “Real Estate a Different Way.” Every decision made must be good for the brokerage but GREAT for the agent. This assessment ensures that the company stays focused on the agents and what they need to thrive in the competitive world of real estate. This agent-centric business model ensures that the agents have what they need to deliver the highest level of personal attention to each client. Home-buying or selling can be a complex process, and The Real Estate Firm is devoted to providing clients with a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Owner and broker Dagan Greene creates a one-word theme each year that becomes the over-arching goal for the entire company. For 2018, he states that The Real Estate Firm is, “focused on being ‘intentional’ in everything we do. We will strive to be intentional in our daily work habits, intentional in our care for others and intentional in developing the best real estate professionals on the planet.” Being intentional drives The Real Estate Firm to achieve its mission to “recruit, educate and retain agents that will professionally and ethically add value to their clients and to their community.” By arming the agents with an unparalleled arsenal of tools, training and guidance, the company provides them with the edge they need to successfully cultivate their business. The Real Estate Firm also takes pride in the ability to stay ahead of the technological curve. They know that technology is an essential aspect of real estate. This is why agents are never charged technology or printing/copying fees. Aside from the dedication to agents and clients, The Real Estate Firm is also devoted to giving back to the Knoxville community. The company participates in charities and community events that are important to the agents as a way to support them and the community simultaneously. A few of the charities they have participated with are Habitat for Humanity, FISH Hospitality Pantry, Angel Tree and MEDIC Regional Blood Center. The team includes a group of highly skilled and well-educated real estate professionals. The Real Estate Firm focuses on unmatched dedication to its agents. This dedication creates an environment that allows clients to experience a smooth, stress-free transaction.

Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber, gives a Composites Coalition brief at the first quarterly meeting.

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Premier Partner Event Featuring Coach Fulmer 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM Hyatt Place Knoxville Downtown – 530 S. Gay Street This is event is exclusive to Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners.

Sponsored by:

APRIL 5 The Press Room by Spaces in the City celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville fullservice event facility on March 9. The new event facility is located at 730 N. Broadway.

Mayoral Debate 2018 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM JTV – 9600 Parkside Drive Presented by:

Media Partner:

Hosted by:


Capitol Connections




University Eye Specialists celebrated the grand opening of its fifth East Tennessee location on Feb. 20. Since 1935, they have provided a spectrum of eye care to bring your life in focus. The new Hardin Valley office is located at 2547 Willow Point Way.










Interested in scheduling a ribbon cutting for your business? Contact Julie Massie at (865) 246-2606 for more information.

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

Presented by:


K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 58

Commerce April 2018  
Commerce April 2018