Page 1

A Toast to Excellence:

Pinnacle Business Awards Celebrate 10th Anniversary pg.53

INSIDE: Past Pinnacle Winners, Today pg. 56 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 58


MEMBERSHIP MATTERS TOP ACHIEVERS TOM O’BRIAN

RENA AMERSON

CORE BENEFITS & INVESTMENTS

AMERSON GROUP

ROB GLASS

CHRISTA EARLY

COMPUTER SYSTEMS PLUS

STAFFINGSOLUTIONS/ EMPLOYBRIDGE COMPANIES

DANIEL MONDAY SLAMDOT, INC.

3RD PLACE

2ND PLACE

1ST PLACE TIE!

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.

JUSTIN BAXTER SHAFER INSURANCE AGENCY, INC.

NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS DIREC Consulting LLC (865) 456-3123 www.direcconsult.com Business & Professional Services: Human Resources; Business & Professional Services: Marketing & Sales Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Kirk’s Rentals (865) 281-0440 Real Estate Real Estate: Rentals Residential Services

ARiES Energy (865) 309-4674 www.ariesenergy.com Environmental Services & Equipment Avalon Golf & Country Club (865) 986-4653 www.avalongolf.com Sports & Recreation: Golf Blackhorse Pub & Brewery (865) 249-8511 www.blackhorsepub.net Restaurants

5LINX (786) 837-3453 www.5linx.net Business & Professional Services AD Graphic Art LLC (865) 805-8364 www.adgraphicart.com Business & Professional Services: Graphic Designers

THE KNOXVILLE CHAMBER’S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

EDITOR | WRITER JENNY WOODBERY DESIGN LADDY FIELDS

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

Butler Woodcrafters (865) 310-5003 www.butlerwoodcrafters.com Office Equipment, Supplies, & Services Capitol Theatre (865) 980-1966 www.bookthecapitol.com Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

Cars, Inc - Collision Automotive Repair Specialists (865) 531-6411 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Body Repairing & Painting

First Place Finish (865) 482-1959 www.firstplacefinish.us Construction & Contractors: Commercial

On Time LLC (865) 406-6288 www.ontimetaxiservices.us Transportation

Diligence Security and Training, LLC (865) 809-5180 www.diligencesecurity.com Business & Professional Services: Security Services

Holiday Inn Cedar Bluff (865) 693-1011 www.holidayinn.com/cedarbluff Hotels & Lodging

Outlet Key Shop (865) 523-4541 www.outletkeyshop.com Residential Services

Direct Source Media (865) 403-9587 dsmadvantage.com Business & Professional Services: Advertising Media

KS Absher Events & Marketing (865) 621-4737 www.ksabsher.com Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

The District in Bearden (865) 604-1775 www.thedistrictinbearden.com Attractions & Tourism

Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store (865) 394-9762 Shopping: Discount Stores

Mahogany Development LLC (865) 300-8517 Construction & Contractors

Dollywood (865) 429-9783 www.dollywood.com Attractions & Tourism

Mary Kay Cosmetics - Megan Murphy-Boutwell (865) 313-6399 www.facebook.com/meganmurphyboutwellmarykay Personal Services: Beauty Supplies

The Emert Group (865) 250-5105 www.emertgroup.com Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Dress Barn (865) 966-1825 www.dressbarn.com Shopping: Women’s Clothing

Mesa Associates, Inc.- Kingsport, Oak Ridge (423) 246-0860, (865) 777-5910 www.mesainc.com Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers

First Choice Medical (865) 983-4999 Medical Supplies, Sales & Services

Modern Woodmen of America (865) 546-0804 www.modern-woodmen.org Insurance: Life

CONTACT THE KNOXVILLE CHAMBER (865) 637-4550 www.knoxvillechamber.com

FINANCE & OPERATIONS ljohnson@knoxvillechamber.com

THE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (865) 546-5887

MEMBERSHIP mfield@knoxvillechamber.com

PRESIDENT & CEO MICHAEL EDWARDS

PUBLIC POLICY & EDUCATION dsouth@knoxvillechamber.com

TENNESSEE SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER (865) 246-2663

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RHONDA RICE

CENTRAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (865) 246-2654 mhummel@downtownknoxville.org

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT dlawyer@knoxvillechamber.com

LEADERSHIP KNOXVILLE (865) 523-9137 U.S. DEPT. OF COMMERCE EXPORT ASSISTANCE CENTER (865) 545-4637

K N O KNOXVILLE X V I L LCHAMBER E CHA M B E R | 52 44

The Lawn Butler (865) 777-1755 www.lawnbutler.com Building & Grounds Maintenance The Scout Guide Knoxville (865) 604-1775 www.thescoutguide.com Publishing/Publications Thompsonco, Inc. (865) 691-3111 Real Estate: Commercial


A Toast to Excellence: Pinnacle Business Awards Celebrate 10th Anniversary

S

ince 2005, Knoxville’s business community has raised a glass to salute its own at the Pinnacle Business Awards. This year, the Knoxville Chamber celebrates the 10th anniversary of its annual gala that recognizes excellence in business. The elegant affair, presented by BB&T, is expected to draw more than 500 businesspeople to the Knoxville Convention Center on May 2 to honor this year’s recipients. “We are proud that the Pinnacle Awards have had such a successful tenure in our business community,” said Mike Edwards, Chamber president and CEO. “From the beginning, the Chamber wanted the awards to shine the spotlight on excellence in area businesses. Not only have we been successful in doing that, the Pinnacle Awards are now one of the most prestigious honors a local business, entrepreneur, or organization can receive.” Since its inception, the Pinnacle Awards have recognized 72 businesses and individuals. “We’ve not only had success from a longevity standpoint with the awards, but the winners continue

to be strong businesses in our community and contribute to the Knoxville area’s successful economy,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Chamber. Field pointed out that while there are other business awards in the area that recognize specific fields or positions, the Pinnacle Awards highlight a broad representation of the business community. The eight award categories honor large and small businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders, and civic contributors. Originally, the Pinnacle Awards comprised five categories: the Small Business Excellence Award, which recognizes a local, non-franchised business with 50 or fewer employees; the Minority-Owned Business Excellence Award, which is presented to a locally owned company operated by an ethnic minority group member; the Impact Award, which recognizes a company’s commitment to improve the community; the Innovator Award, which is awarded to an East Tennessee company that has developed a new, innovative way to improve its

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business operations; the Young Entrepreneur Award, which is presented to a local young professional who has achieved success through his or her business ventures and shows promise to become one of tomorrow’s top business leaders; and the James A. Haslam II Leadership Award, which recognizes the longtime achievements of local business leaders who exhibit strong character, commitment to the community, and exemplary success in the region’s business community. Over the years, two more awards were added to the lineup. The Business Excellence Award was included in 2007 with two subcategories to recognize midsized and large companies that have shown stability and success in the region. In 2010, the Woman-Owned Business award was added. This award recognizes an outstanding company run by a businesswoman. “We are proud to recognize businesses and businesspeople that are positively impacting our region by contributing to the economic prosperity of the community and making it a better place to live,” Edwards said.


Pinnacle Business Award Winners 2005 - 2013

Small Business Excellence Award
 2005 – Construction Plus, Inc.
 2006 – Impact Associates, Inc.
 2007 – Dayton’s Pest Control Services, Inc.
 2008 – Studio Four Design, Inc.
 2009 – AC Entertainment
 2010 – Partners Development
 2011 – Sword & Shield Enterprise Security
 2012 – All Occasions Party Rentals
 2013 – Design Innovation Architects

Woman-Owned Business Excellence Award
 2010 – Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center
 2011 – The Tomato Head
 2012 – The Trust Company
 2013 – Management Solutions, LLC

Minority-Owned Business Excellence Award 2005 - Navarro Research and Engineering Inc.
 2006 – Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation
 2007 – NetGain Corporation
 2008 – (tie) ES&H, Inc. and Visionary Solutions, LLC
 2009 – Information International Associates, Inc.
 2010 – G2 Management & Engineering
 2011 – HME, Inc.
2012 – Always Moore Janitorial Service
 2013 – ExpoQuip Inc.

Business Excellence Awards Mid-sized
 2007 – Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network, Inc.
 2008 – Merit Construction, Inc.
 2009 – Prestige Cleaners
 2010 – Analysis & Measurement Systems 2011 – Pershing Yoakley & Associates
 2012 – Consolidated Products, Inc.
 2013 – Aqua-Chem

Large
 2007 – Scripps Networks
Interactive 2008 – Pilot Travel Centers, LLC
 2009 – Bandit Lites Inc.
 2010 – Cherokee Distributing
 2011 – Oak Ridge National Laboratory
 2012 – Cellular Sales
 2013 – Caris Healthcare

Impact Award 2005 – First Tennessee
 2006 – Pilot Travel Centers LLC
 2007 – Knoxville News Sentinel
 2008 – Goody’s Family Clothing
 2009 – Food City, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
 2010 – U.S. Cellular
 2011 – Covenant Health
 2012 – Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
 2013 – Radio Systems Corporation

Innovator Award
 2005 – CTI Molecular Imaging, Inc. (now Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.)
 2006 – Radio Systems Corporation
 2007 – Nucsafe Inc.
 2008 – Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network, Inc.
 2009 – UT-Battle LLC
 2010 – Schaad Companies
 2011 – TrakLok Corporation
 2012 – Aqua-Chem
 2013 – Wampler’s Farm Sausage Company

Young Entrepreneur Award
 2005 – John Tolsma, Knowledge Launch
 2006 – Jimmy Rodefer, Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC
 2007 – Chuck Witkowski, Protein Discovery, Inc.
 2008 – Chris VanBeke, Tennetic Ventures, LLC
 2009 – Sean Christman, Slamdot
 2010 – Sara Hedstrom, Hedstrom Design
 2011 – Brian Winter, Pyxl, Inc.
 2012 – Parker Frost, Gigmark
 2013 – Matt Tunstall, Stall Talk

James A. Haslam, II Chairman’s Leadership Award 2005 – James A. Haslam, II, Pilot Travel Centers LLC
 2006 – F. Rodney Lawler, Lawler-Wood, LLC
 2007 – Bill Sansom, The H.T. Hackney Company
 2008 – Pete DeBusk, DeRoyal
 2009 – Mike Campbell, Regal Entertainment
 2010 – Sam Furrow, Furrow Auctioneers
 2011 – Jim Clayton, Clayton Bank
2012 – Larry Martin
 2013 – Raja Jubran, Denark Construction, Inc.


Pinnacle Business Awards 10th Anniversary:

Past Winners, Today

The Knoxville Chamber hosted the inaugural Pinnacle Business Awards in 2005. It was the first awards program in Knoxville that was solely dedicated to singing the praises of the business community. This year, the Chamber will celebrate the 10th annual awards and looks back at a few of the winners from the first year.

served as a great progress report for the company. “Often times, as entrepreneurs, we don’t take time to stop and reflect on successes because we’re already working on the next idea,” Tolsma said. “The Pinnacle Award was a chance to stop and celebrate. It also motivated me to take on the next chapter of our business with a great sense of momentum.” Since winning the award, Tolsma said the educational media firm conducts more international business “The financial crisis of 2008 forced us to be keenly aware of opportunities outside of the United States,” he said. “We built delivery teams in those regions and realized that a way to smooth out hiccups in economies is to be diversified – regionally and by product offerings.”

MINORITY BUSINESS AWARD

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD

Susan Navarro-Valenti, CEO and President of Navarro Research and Engineering. John Tolsma, CEO of Knowledge Launch

In 2005, John Tolsma, CEO of Knowledge launch, was presented with the first Young Entrepreneur Award. “The award gave me credibility and confidence,” Tolsma said. “I knew that some of the top business leaders in Knoxville had given me and our company a literal “thumbs up”. That gave me a lot of encouragement to think more boldly about our business and its potential.” Toslma, who had founded Knowledge Launch in 2000, said the award also

Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., was the first recipient of the Minority Business Award. “Navarro had been listed in several national rankings (Inc. 500 and Hispanic Business Magazine) at the time we won our Pinnacle Award but this was the first local recognition we received and it helped us raise our profile locally,” said

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See “Past Winners” on pg. 57


“Past Winners” continued from pg. 56

Susana Navarro-Valenti, CEO and president of Navarro. The engineering firm is a premier contractor for the Department of Engineering, National Nuclear Security Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. When Navarro received the award in 2005, the company had around 200 employees in 2005 and valued at $40 million. Today it boasts more than 350 employees, has offices located nationwide, and is valued at $85 million. “It was very important to us to have this local recognition; it meant a lot to us to be recognized in our local community,” said Navarro-Valenti.

SMALL BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD At the inaugural Pinnacle Business Awards, Construction Plus received the first award of the night – the Small Business Excellence Award. “Recognition is always rewarding, but winning the Pinnacle Award for Small Business Excellence was a shot in the arm for Construction Plus because we were being recognized for doing things the right way,” said Sandy Loy, president and CEO of Construction Plus. Since winning in 2005, Construction Plus has not only grown, but has also successfully weathered a recession. “We responded to the recession by expanding our services to appeal to a wider expanse of client needs,” Loy said. “I became the first contractor in East Tennessee to become a Certified Construction Manager, which has paid off in tremendous dividends.” Loy said the CCM designation allowed the company to offer new professional services on a regional basis such as various pre-construction services, post-construction service, and post-occupancy services. He said adding these services made them a diverse, full-service construction company, and refining them improved the company’s primary services of construction management and design-build.

Sandy Loy, President & CEO of Construction Plus.

“I think the Pinnacle awards are a tremendous way to recognize businesses and individuals in our area who provide a very critical part of the business community’s fabric of integrity and success,” Loy said. “Not all businesses are in the headlines or high profile type businesses and bringing their critical value to the success of our community is invaluable and very inspiring to those so deserving of the recognition.”

Six Chamber Member Businesses Win U.S. Chamber Blue Ribbon Awards Six Knoxville Chamber member companies were selected as 2014 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners. This program recognizes companies for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to restoring jobs and supporting economic growth. This year, AMS Corporation, G2 Engineering & Management, Inc., Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center, Management Solu-

tions LLC, Prestige Cleaners, Inc., and The Trust Company of Knoxville were chosen from a record number of nationwide applicants and will be honored at the 2014 America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. “We are incredibly proud of these companies that have received national recognition,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “They are excellent examples of the small businesses in operation across Innovation Valley, and we are honored to have them represent our region.” The six finalists are also eligible for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Community Excellence Award that recognizes a business who has demonstrated considerable commitment to and support of their local community. The winner will be announced during this year’s summit.

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MONTHLY ECONOMIC INDICATORS

(Feb. 2014)

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

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Feb. ’13Feb. ‘14

Feb. 2014

Jan. 2014

Feb. 2013

% Change Jan. ’14Feb. ‘14

224,620 353,470 3,017,000 155,027,000

224,110 352,750 3,019,400 154,381,000

231,160 364,370 3,092,600 154,727,000

0.3 0.2 -0.1 0.4

-2.8 -3.0 -2.4 0.2

NA NA

231,600 2,734,700

328,400 2,708,400

NA NA

NA NA

14,330 24,180 248,860

13,840 23,510 246,460

16,230 27,020 282,500

3.5 2.8 1.0

-11.7 -10.5 -11.9

5.7 6.1 7.3 7.0

5.5 5.9 7.2 7.0

6.4 6.7 8.2 8.1

0.2 0.2 0.1 0.0

-0.7 -0.6 -0.9 -1.1

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Feb. 2014 810 9,847 $131,400

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

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

INFLATION RATES -

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Jan. 2014* 24 24 0

Jan. 2013 15 15 0

% Change Jan. ’13Jan. ‘14 60.0 60.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

71 71 0

65 65 0

9.2 9.2 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

96 96 0

94 94 0

2.1 2.1 0.0

Tennessee

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,386 1,048 1,338

1,359 1,035 324

75.6 1.3 314.0

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

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Jan. ’13Feb. ‘14

% Change Feb. ’12Feb. ‘14 -0.8 -0.9

Feb. ’13-‘14

Jan. ’13-‘14

Feb. ’12-‘13

1.1 1.1

1.5 1.6

1.9 2.0

-0.4 -0.5

% Change Feb. ’13Feb. ‘14

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2014

Jan. 2014

Feb. 2013

% Change Jan. ’14Feb. ‘14

41,042,037 56,877,874 519,696,988

56,124,357 76,524,758 743,107,446

40,316,215 56,476,734 514,021,485

-26.9 -25.7 -30.1

1.8 0.7 1.1

16,036,609 22,119,763

11,247,091 15,865,573

-28.5 -27.9

2.0 0.5

AIR SERVICE (MCGHEE-TYSON AIRPORT)

Passengers Cargo

Dec. 2013 138,080 6,952,683

Nov. 2013 139,142 6,391,819

Dec. 2012 130,232 7,168,838

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2014 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

876 13,212 $139,450

11,472,289 15,949,506

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. 2014

Jan. 2014

385,143 19,974 18,221 7,764 50,611 42,957 7,489 40,024 48,807 23,358 9,172 74,321 36,614

389,880 20,659 15,433 7,733 54,749 43,303 7,519 41,998 47,805 24,484 9,074 71,103 39,410

379,466 19,350 17,787 7,944 49,202 41,896 7,490 41,958 49,249 22,116 9,139 72,880 34,298

% Change Jan. ’14Feb. ‘14 -1.2 -3.3 18.1 0.4 -7.6 -0.8 -0.4 -4.7 2.1 -4.6 1.1 4.5 -7.1

5,831

6,610

6,157

-11.8

Feb. 2013

% Change Feb. ’13Feb. ‘14 -7.5 -25.5 -5.8

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2013

Jan. 2014 661 9,827 $143,950

% Change Jan. ’14Feb. ‘14 22.5 0.2 -8.7

% Change Feb. ’13Feb. ‘14 1.5 3.2 2.4 -2.3 2.9 2.5 0.0 -4.6 -0.9 5.6 0.4 2.0 6.8 -5.3

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

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EST. 1869

% Change Nov. ’13Dec. ‘13 -0.8 8.8

% Change Dec. ’12Dec. ‘13 6.0 -3.0


Stylish Crowd Turns Out for Fashion Week Business After Hours The Knoxville Chamber helped kick off Knoxville Fashion Week with its Business After Hours at Gift Gourmet & Interiors on Feb. 26. The stylish event drew a crowd of more than 150 people and served as the official start to the 2014 Fashion Week festivities. As guests networked, the store’s showroom became a catwalk and more than 100 models wove through the crowd to showcase looks from local designers and boutiques. Five lucky guests won two passes to attend the full week of the Knoxville Fashion Week events. Glen Spidell of Snack Healthy Knoxville, Sarah Turner of Strayer University, Jeremy Boler of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball, Wendy Johnson of Nerium, and Carol Matthews of Ullrich Printing all took home a set of tickets.

Amy Chandler of Johnson Service Group and Suzanne Koontz of TradeMark Advertising pose for a photo at the Chamber’s Knoxville Fashion Week Business After Hours on Feb. 26. A model gets her photo taken by local photographer during the Chamber’s Knoxville Fashion Week Business After Hours on Feb. 26.

SPONSORED BY:

LEADERSHIP PROFILE

Keith Goodwin,

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital As president and CEO of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Keith Goodwin leads the region’s premier institution for children’s healthcare. “It’s a privilege to be part of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital,” Goodwin said. “While we are certainly not perfect, I am continually impressed by the dedication and expertise of our medical staff, our hospital team, and our board of directors.” Goodwin has been with Children’s Hospital for the past seven years, and on a day-to-day basis, he oversees approximately 1,900 staff members at the hospital and takes care of various tasks. “(On a daily basis, I have) discussions with team members, meetings involving community leaders, work with the medical staff, and ensure we keep our promise of great care to the community and region’s children.” Goodwin, who has nearly four decades of experience in the healthcare industry, said several factors attracted him to the field. “(I was drawn to healthcare because of) my love of children, my interest in helping people, and the excitement and intellectual stimulation that comes from working in an ever-changing and dynamic environment like healthcare,” he said. Goodwin said the most rewarding part of the job is creating an environment that allows physicians, nurses, and professionals to do their best work. He said the most challenging part is balancing competing priorities coupled with continual funding pressures. “Healthcare is facing significant change and challenge,” he said. “It is because of our team and their commitment I am confident we will continue to fulfill our mission of caring for children (and their families), while helping to educate the next generation of caregivers and continually looking for ways to improve the health of our region’s children.” An Ohio native, Goodwin and his wife, Dianne, have been married for 37 years and have three children and five grandchildren. He said Knoxville stands out from other places he’s lived. “(Knoxville) is the most welcoming and supportive community I’ve ever lived in,” he said. “Beyond the natural beauty and (of course the Vols) it is the people that make Knoxville and East Tennessee so special.”

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State Legislators Discuss Education & Healthcare with Business Community For the past three months, the Knoxville Chamber has presented its annual Legislative Briefing series, sponsored by AT&T. “The Legislative Briefing series gives the community the opportunity to hear state legislators talk about hot-button issues in Nashville, and also gives them a chance to have their questions directly answered,” said Danielle South, director of public policy for the Chamber. Susan Richardson Williams, the chairwoman of the Chamber’s government relations committee, has moderated the panel discussions for this year’s series of briefings. From education to healthcare to budget cuts, the sessions have been informative and yielded lively debate. The first session welcomed state Reps. Harry Brooks and Bill Dunn to discuss education reform. The duo talked about the state’s implementation of Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which they both support. Dunn also discussed his bill, which has now passed, that addresses the concerns people have over Common Core and protection of data collection. “Tennessee is in control of its own standards,” Dunn said. “They are not coming from Washington. Tennessee has developed these. Also, with any changes in the future or adoption of other standards, the House and Senate committee will need to know in advance. It also deals with data collection – where it goes and who gets to see it.” The representatives also discussed Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed Tennessee Promise scholarship program, which would provide two years of community college or technical school for every high school graduate in the state. While they both support the idea, they said financing issues need to be worked out. “It will be a game changer for a lot of people’s lives,” Brooks said. “(I have) great support for the concept and growing the number of certificates and degrees if there’s a way to fund it effectively, and that’s a big piece of the puzzle.” The topic of the second briefing was healthcare. State Sens. Stacey Campfield and Becky Duncan Massey, along with state Reps. Joe Armstrong and Gloria Johnson, weighed in on the governor’s plan for Medicaid expansion, in which the state would use federal money to subsidize private insurance plans to expand coverage. “I would support the governor’s plan, but ultimately we need to have everyone buy into their own health,” Massey said. “Our healthcare costs are eating up our whole budget, and it’s taking away money from education, social services, our roads, and everything.” Johnson countered: “We have an opportunity here (with Medicaid expansion). We need to help our hospitals. We need to help our citizens. It’s going to be good for business and it’s going to mean jobs. We need to make it happen.” The series concluded April 4, following the printing of this publication, with a panel discussion on Tennessee’s budget. State Reps. Ryan Haynes, Steve Hall, and Roger Kane discussed the financial impact of pending legislation in this lean budget year for the state. Watch videos of all the sessions on the Chamber’s YouTube channel at www. youtube.com/user/knoxvillechamber.

SPONSORED BY:

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Chamber Lands Manufacturing Recruit – Fresenius Medical Care in Knox County Fresenius Medical Care North America, the world’s largest provider of products and services for kidney dialysis, recently announced it will bring its East Coast manufacturing operations to Innovation Valley. The company will invest $140 million and create 665 jobs in Knox County. “We are so pleased Fresenius Medical Care has decided to establish its East Coast manufacturing operations in Innovation Valley,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “The company’s investment in the region is one of the largest in recent history and will create 665 jobs for our workforce.” Fresenius Medical Care will occupy the former 277,000-square-foot Panasonic Building at Forks of the River Industrial Park. The company plans to begin retrofitting the facility later this year. NAI Knoxville represented the seller during the transfer of the building to the medical supply manufacturer. “I am excited to welcome Fresenius Medical Care to Knox County, and am thankful for their considerable investment in our community,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said. “Not only will their expansion into Forks

of the River utilize a now-vacant piece of industrial property, the hundreds of high-tech manufacturing jobs they will bring to Knox County will have significant economic impact on our entire region.” Rice and Doug Lawyer, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chamber, began the process to recruit Fresenius Medical Care to the area began in May 2013, and was a collaborative effort by the Chamber, Knox County Industrial Development Board, the state of Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Knoxville Utilities Board. “In Knoxville, we’ve found a home with an excellent workforce pool, a facility that will work well for our purposes, and a location that will enable us to serve our customers in the eastern half of the U.S. more efficiently,” said Troy McGhee, vice president of manufacturing for Fresenius Medical Care. “We are additionally drawn to the area’s outstanding business climate, and are looking forward to developing and expanding our presence here in the coming years.” The company is dedicated to raising life expectancy and improving quality-of-life for the one in 10 Americans that will be diagnosed with kidney disease. The Knoxville facility will produce dialysis related products, which will be distributed to Fresenius Medical Care’s clinics and distribution centers in the eastern part of the United States. The company

currently serves more than 266,000 patients in 3,220 clinics; 10 of those are located within a 30-mile radius of downtown Knoxville. Fresenius Medical Care will begin moving one production line to the Knoxville facility in September 2014. Actual production at the facility is not expected to begin until early 2016, pending a designation from the Food and Drug Administration that the facility is a qualified plant for production. Once production reaches full capacity, the operations will bring an estimated $37 million in annual wages into the region. “The Knox County Industrial Development Board is thrilled to have been part of the recruitment of such an outstanding company to Knox County,” said Trey Coleman, chairman Knox County Industrial Development Board. “With the number of new jobs and capital investment being reported, Fresenius Medical Care will have a very positive long-term economic impact on our community.” Fresenius Medical Care joins several other successful medical equipment manufacturing companies in Innovation Valley like ProNova, Seimens, DeRoyal, and Kimble Chase Life Science. Medical equipment is one of Innovation Valley’s target recruitment sectors because of the region’s trained workforce and easy access to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

RIBBON CUTTING Custom Communications, an authorized AT&T retailer, celebrated the grand opening of its newest Knoxville location on Moss Grove Boulevard in March. Rick Fessler, owner, is pictured cutting the ribbon and is joined by AT&T associates and representatives, city and county officials, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

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Morning Networking Event Showcased Ferguson Showroom Approximately 80 businesspeople filled the beautifully illuminated showroom of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery at the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange on March 6. Guests were treated to a breakfast spread provided by All Occasion Catering while they networked and meandered through the stunning showroom, which showcases items like high-end kitchen appliances, cabinetry, baths, faucets, and lighting. Located on 215 Peregrine Way, this is Ferguson’s first showroom in Knoxville. Matthew Bryan of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management was able to take home a new appliance of his own when he won the event’s door prize – a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, courtesy of Ferguson and Whirlpool.

UPCOMING EVENTS

APRIL 8

Bright Ideas Seminar: Step-up the Conversation Presented by Terry Crow, Starfish Performance Consultants, LLC 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

APRIL 17 Exclusive Premier Partner Event Featuring UT Football Coach Butch Jones 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Cherokee Country Club Sponsored by:

APRIL 22 Premier Partner Reception 5 – 7 p.m. Club LeConte, 800 South Gay Street Sponsored by:

MAY 2 Guests enjoy networking and breakfast at the Chamber’s a.m. Exchange at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery on March 6.

Pinnacle Business Awards Gala 6 – 10 p.m. Knoxville Convention Center, 701 Henley Street Presented by:

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

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Commerce April 2014  
Commerce April 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.

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