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INSIDE: Propel Protégé Graduation pg. 48 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50







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.






NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS SILVER PREMIER PARTNERS Walker’s Collision Repair (865) 577-6083 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Body Repairing & Painting

BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Caliber Consulting (865) 604-3220 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants CCS Presentation Systems (865) 963-2443 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services Audio-Visual Services Construction & Contractors Mac’s Pharmacy (865) 806-6453 Healthcare Providers & Services: Pharmacies SmartBank (865) 868-2701 Financial Services: Banks



Tetra Tech (865) 483-9900 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services; Business & Professional Services: Technical Services Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Freedom Chiropractic (865) 310-2296 Healthcare Providers & Services: Chiropractors Gravity Networks, LLC (865) 934-9900 Computer & IT Services Imaging Technology Consulting, Inc. (865) 392-5700 Computer & IT Services

1-N-ONLY Airport Taxi Service (865) 740-8026 Transportation: Taxis Advance Financial (615) 426-8424 Financial Services

Kinetic Business Strategies (865) 675-6499 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Aerotek (865) 292-2415 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services Business & Professional Services Human Resources

Knoxville Plumbing (865) 362-0094 Construction & Contractors: Plumbing

Bath Planet of Knoxville (865) 357-5867 Construction & Contractors Billy Lush Board Shop (865) 332-5874 Shopping: Specialty

Lendmark Financial Services (865) 299-6880 Financial Services Mac’s Edgemoor Pharmacy (865) 945-3333 Healthcare Providers & Services: Pharmacies

Mac’s Longterm Care Solutions (865) 945-4441 Healthcare Providers & Services: Pharmacies Monster Wash, Inc. (865) 919-0760 Residential Services: Cleaning Services Old School Creative, LLC (865) 368-2319 Business & Professional Services Ole Ben Franklin Motors (865) 693-9315 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Pre-Owned Cars Paul Davis Emergency Services of East Knoxville (865) 247-6005 Construction & Contractors Peace Communications, LLC (423) 664-8401 Telecommunications










K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 44

Realty Executives Associates - Nikitia Thompson (865) 688-3232 Real Estate Robin Porter State Farm (865) 546-0668 Insurance Social Joey (423) 476-5990 Business & Professional Services: Marketing Super 8 Powell/Knoxville North (865) 938-5501 Hotels & Lodging Sweet Productions Personal Chef Services (865) 804-5991 Food & Beverage Teka Building and Development (423) 328-0127 Construction & Contractors Trojan Labor (865) 240-4995 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services Walker’s Collision Repair - Kingston Pike (865) 577-6083 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service


Taking Business to New Heights Business is soaring in Innovation Valley. The 201415 fiscal year was the strongest yet for the economic development initiative, which is comprised of eight regional partner agencies and managed by the Knoxville Chamber. “Our goal was to create 2,300 jobs, secure $300 million in capital investments, and increase wages by 2 percent,” said Rhonda Rice, executive administrator for Innovation Valley. “We greatly exceeded those goals and are excited to announce the outcome in our annual report later this fall.” Innovation Valley’s tremendously successful

year was highlighted by recruiting several topnotch companies to the region. Companies like Fresenius Medical Care, Hicks Plastics, and, most recently, Cirrus Aircraft all decided to establish a significant presence in Innovation Valley. And companies like Total Quality Logistics (TQL) and Fulton Bellows, LLC, made further investments in the region by expanding their operations. The region’s recruitment efforts show no signs of slowing either — Rice said there are currently 45 active projects in Innovation Valley’s recruitment pipeline. Like many of the businesses that landed in the region over the last year, the bulk of these potential recruits are in the manufacturing industry — which is one of Innovation Valley’s five target recruitment sectors.

PLANNING FOR FUTURE SUCCESS In hopes of capitalizing on the positive momentum, Innovation Valley is proceeding with an initiative that will help make the region even more attractive to potential recruits. The Competitive Airfare Partnership, or CAP, is working to recruit a low-fare airline to McGhee Tyson Airport, with the goal of making Knoxville a more economical destination for businesspeople and tourists alike. While Innovation Valley is easily accessible by Interstates 40 and 75, the lack of variety in commercial flights to Knoxville has proved to be a challenge for marketing the region to prospects.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 45

“CAP” continued on pg. 46

“CAP” continued from pg. 45 “Depending on the project, air service can be a significant factor,” said Brandon Talbert, senior location consultant for Austin Consulting. “We’ve seen small- to mid-size markets that are otherwise great locations get pushed down the list because it’s a challenge for the company to reach a particular city or their employees to get to and from their headquarters or regional offices.” Each day, approximately 140 flights depart and land at McGhee Tyson Airport with an average fare of nearly $450. Airlines like Delta, American, U.S. Airways, and United have served the airport for years — making the competition low and driving the fares high. While there have been several economy airlines like Frontier and Allegiant that have flown in and out of McGhee Tyson, few have stayed long enough to make an impact on their competitors’ prices. Market research shows that approximately 20 percent of Knoxville-area travelers are using other airports for their boarding points. Based on recent passenger levels for Knoxville, that 20 percent represents 310,000 passengers, or 425 per day. However, bringing in a low-fare carrier can reverse this leakage and stimulate the market by 10 to 20 percent — providing another 200 to 400 passengers per day.

FINALIZING FUNDRAISING CAP is a regional partnership of private and public entities that have teamed up to bring a low-fare carrier to the Knoxville area. The partnership is made up more than 40 entities, including the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Innovation Valley, Visit Knoxville, Blount County, and the Knoxville Chamber. Since 2013, these entities have been working toward a $3 million fundraising goal. These funds would be used to incentivize a low-fare carrier to come to the Knoxville area, and serve as marketing dollars for the airline. CAP has received strong support from both the City of Knoxville and Knox County, with commitments of $170,000 and $400,000, respectively, to the initiative. “I am excited to see momentum around CAP’s efforts to attract and secure additional low-fare service at McGhee Tyson,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “It takes the support of the entire community — both public and private — to recruit and retain low-fare air carriers, and the Competitive Airfare Partnership is an important part of the work.” CAP has also received generous commitments from Visit Knoxville, Blount County, Sevier County, and numerous area businesses. There is also a grant from the Department of Transportation to assist with air service development.

BUILDING THE BUSINESS CASE With $2.2 million of the $3 million goal raised, the

initiative is now shifting from fundraising to gathering data and studying best practices of cities that are similar to Knoxville where partnerships like CAP have been successful. These components will be key for the initiative as it prepares to present its formal business case to a low-fare airline. “The Competitive Airfare Partnership is essential for area businesses, potential businesses, and tourism,” said Mitch Steenrod, chairman of the CAP board of directors. “Knoxville air service is one of the highest in the country. The partnership’s focus is a concerted effort between the public and private sectors to drive economic incentives to reputable low-fare air carriers that see the value that the East Tennessee market can deliver. Moreover, the cooperation between the public and private sectors is making this area a stronger, more vibrant place to live and work.” The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority is also interested in the possibility of bringing in a new economy carrier to McGhee Tyson, but unlike CAP, the airport authority has to follow Federal Aviation Administration rules and cannot offer incentives to one company and not the rest. “Airports are limited by the FAA in the incentives they can offer to mitigate an airline’s risk to enter a new market,” said Jim Evans, vice president of marketing and air service development for the airport authority. “Communities are not limited by such regulations. Similar airport/ community partnership models have been used across the country and have been very successful in their recruitment of new airline service.”

CONSULTING EXPERT ADVICE The airport hired InterVISTAS consulting group to look at new efforts to recruit air service. One of the consultants with InterVISTAS, John Jamatta, is a former Southwest executive. Jamatta retired from the airline in 2014 as the vice president of network planning. In that role, he helped identify sites that Southwest should consider establishing service. Jamatta said the key to landing a low-fare carrier is creating a strong business case. “Knoxville at the city level is a very attractive place to live and a very attractive place to do business,” Jamatta said. “That’s a clear signal for an airline that wants to expand. But I think what is really compelling about Knoxville is that it’s the front door to a lot larger tourism market. “The vast amount of tourism coming to the region is coming by car, not air. So the business case is — can Knoxville align itself to compel a low-fare airline to the community by committing to converting travelers who are driving to flying.” Jamatta said the strongest business cases are told from the community perspective. He said the more an airline can hear firsthand from the business community —

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50 46

be it tourism or any other industry — about how well the economy is performAdvisory Board ing, the more compelling the Chair case becomes Mitch Steenrod to start a new SVP-CFO and Chief service. Risk Officer “(In my expePilot/Flying J rience) Southwest, like any Kim Bumpas great airline, Executive Director understands Visit Knoxville the aspiration narrative of Mark Paganelli why a city like Executive Director, Knoxville’s a Administration cool place to and Finance live in and visit, University of Tennessee but they want the raw numJohn Tolsma bers that will CEO help them go Knowledge Launch to their leaders and say, ‘This Leon Downey is the right, Executive Director next thing to Pigeon Forge Tourism do because the risk is small, because the community is helping us cover them.’ ”

PREPARING FOR TAKEOFF As CAP gets closer to an official presentation with a low-fare airline, Lawyer said the initiative continues to gather financial support from the business community and hopes to meet its $3 million goal soon. Community leaders like Eddie Mannis, Prestige Cleaners president and an airport authority commissioner, have encouraged additional businesses to get involved in the initiative’s current efforts. “The successful efforts of CAP will have a long-lasting impact on East Tennessee,” said Mannis. “I believe that securing a low-cost air carrier is vital to the continued growth of our economy through new business and tourism. It’s also vital that residents living in this area do not have to drive to an airport hours away to get a convenient airline schedule with a fare that is reasonably affordable.” To learn more about CAP or how to support the initiative, contact Doug Lawyer at or at 865-246-2645.

Premier Partners Get Exclusive Access to UT Athletics’ New Digital Broadcast Studio On July 17, the Knoxville Chamber’s Premier Partners got an exclusive look at the University of Tennessee Athletics Department’s new digital broadcast studio. Located on the ground floor of the Brenda Lawson Athletic Center, the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio is a stateof-the-art production center. The space boasts two broadcast studios, a 19-foot anchor desk, editing suites, a production control room, as well as office space, which makes it one of the largest studios in college sports. However, before the studio opened in fall of 2014, the space it now occupies was simply a warehouse piled full of boxes. Chris Fuller, UT’s senior associate athletic director for external operations, gave Premier Partners some background on what it took for the $10 million studio to become a reality. Fuller explained that the project had been on the minds of the athletics staff for some time and with the advent of the SEC Network, the need for a studio became even more important. Fuller said it took The Knoxville Chamber hosted an exclusive Premier Partner event at the University of Tennessee Athletics Department's Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio on July 17. Sponsored by Cope Architecture and McCarty Holsaple McCarty, the event gave attendees an Athletic Director Dave Hart’s vision and inside look at the new facility. Pictured left to right: Chamber Chairwoman Robyn Askew; Nathan Honeycutt, associate principal leadership to get the ball rolling. of McCarty Holsaple McCarty; Peter Ludman, principal of Cope Architecture; Chris Fuller, UT senior associate athletic director for “He got (the need) it right away, and had external relations; Jeffrey Johnson, executive vice president and chief administrator of McCarty Holsaple; and Lanny Cope, founder and president of Cope Architecture. been involved with creating studios in the past with Florida State and Alabama,” Fuller said. “He empowered us to pursue this one of the cool things about this space is with the click of a button this space can be project.” tailored to any of our sports, which is great when entertaining student-athletes. If you’re In April 2013, the athletic department was ready to move forward on the coming in here as a soccer player or a swimmer, you want to feel like your sport is as project, but didn’t have the funding. However, the owners of Eagle Distributimportant as all of the others.” ing, Ray and Lucy Hand, were inspired by the project and donated $4 million The studio also has impressive capability to broadcast any sporting event on campus. to initiate the project’s fundraising efforts. The Rice-Hudson production control room has live feeds to 13 athletic facilities on cam“As business leaders of Knoxville, you all know it’s important to find somepus. Because of this capability, the studio is also getting requests to produce events for one to buy into your vision and help to make it happen,” Fuller said. We were ESPN, because it’s more cost effective for network than bringing in its own production incredibly fortunate that Ray and Lucy Hand bought into our vision. We could equipment. not have found a better partner for this project, and it couldn’t have happened To learn more about the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio, visit our YouTube channel without them.” to view the event in its entirety. Once the funding was secured, the athletic department went head-on into the planning the facility with Cope Architecture and McCarty Holsaple McCarty – both of which served as sponsors of the Chamber event. Sponsored by: “We wanted this to be more than an operational space, more than just offices and edit suites,” Fuller said. “When people walk into our athletic venues – especially student-athletes – we want them to have that ‘Wow’ moment. So

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Propel Celebrates Seven Protégé Graduates On July 10, Innovation Valley hosted the 2015 Propel protégé graduation and salute to mentors. The event was sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber, SunTrust Bank, and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Hosted at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the event honored six protégé companies that successfully completed the two-year Propel mentor/protégé program, with special guest and radio personality Hallerin Hilton Hill facilitating the event, and former University of Tennessee football player, Inky Johnson, delivering a powerful keynote address. “This is the fifth graduating class of the Propel mentor/protégé program and I am very proud of our graduates and the hard work and dedication they put into their businesses and this program,” said Doug Minter, business development manager for the Knoxville Chamber. “One of our graduates, InsureFit Risk Management, grew from nearly no revenue to more than $1.2 million in sales within the two years they were part of the program, and I could not be more pleased with that outcome.” The graduating class included CG Services, Elder Advocates, HME, Inc., InsureFit Risk Management, M&W Design and Install, and Mesa Technologies, with each sharing individual businesses successes and milestones thanks to the Propel program. This year the Propel program celebrated expansions into the Southwest Indiana Chamber and Hampton Roads Chamber in Virginia, with Doug Minter facilitating training and adaptation for their specific market needs. The Propel program also celebrated expansions on a more regional level through the LiftTN Microenterprise grant from TNECD. This grant allows Propel to expand into four of Innovation Valley’s partner communities including Jefferson, Roane, Blount, and Anderson counties. “This expansion is opening the door to so much opportunity for the Propel program, and I could not be more excited for it,” said Minter. “This allows us to continue to prove our model, while also learning from our interactions with other small businesses as they give insight into what they truly need from a business perspective.” Designed for small, woman-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses, the mentor/ protégé program pairs an established community business leader with a protégé that is relatively new to business. The Propel program provides individuals with one-on-one assistance to help them get their business off the ground. If you are interested in learning more about the Propel mentor/protégé program, please contact Doug Minter at Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

The Knoxville Chamber’s Doug Minter poses with former University of Tennessee Vol Inky Johnson (left) and radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill at the Propel protégé graduation on July 10.

The graduating protégés pose for a photo. Left to right: Endia Sharde Williams (wife of protégé Martin Wade), Doug Minter, Henry Perry, and Mel Evans.

Chamber’s Adkins Graduates from Institute of Organizational Management Ashleigh Adkins, membership development manager for the Knoxville Chamber, graduated from the Institute for Organization Management in early July. IOM is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Graduates of the four-year Institute for Organization Management program receive the IOM Graduate Recognition, signifying 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. Adkins is pictured with the Chamber’s Mark Field, who serves as vice chairman for the Southeast Institute Board of Regents.

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Knoxville Companies Find Franchising Success Knoxville has had several locally-owned small businesses expand their brand through franchising with the help of another Knoxville-based company, 1st Choice Franchising. From home care and pie shops to wings and beer markets, the franchising company has helped a number of local companies grow in other markets. Buttermilk Sky Pie and Casual Pint were two of the first companies that 1st Choice engaged with. Buttermilk Sky Pie was the first franchised pie shop in the U.S., and Casual Pint was one of the first craft beer markets in the country. “Every community could have what Buttermilk Sky Pie and Casual Pint have, but they came to us and said we want to spread this across the country,” said Lisa Batcheller, co-founder of 1st Choice Franchising. “They’re the incubators, we’re the spreaders.” Casual Pint currently has eight stores around East Tennessee, and will be expanding its reach with another eight stores that are ready to be built in cities like Nashville, Chattanooga, Charleston, S.C., and Cincinnati. Buttermilk Sky Pie has two franchised locations in Knoxville and three more being constructed in Franklin, Tenn., Dallas, and Atlanta. “There are a lot of strong businesses in Knoxville,” said Roger Flynn, COO and executive vice president of 1st Choice. “(1st Choice is) kind of an incubator for small businesses — especially the food business.” 1st Choice was founded in 2012 by Lisa and John Batcheller, who had personal experience in establishing and operating a successful franchise operation — Stay At Home in-home care. “We look for unique businesses that have a different way of doing business,” Flynn said. “They’re not your average Joe, they’re not another sandwich shop, or another burger shop. They have key differentiators and they’re unique in their segment.” While 1st Choice’s success has had companies knocking at the door in the hope that 1st Choice can work the same magic for their businesses, Flynn said not all companies are fit for a franchise. “We’ve had a lot of local companies approach us that think they want to franchise, and to be honest we turn down more companies than we work with,” Flynn said. “Some companies just aren’t right and don’t understand what franchising is and what the benefits are. It’s not just a means to fix a financial situation. Franchising can be expensive, and it requires a lot of detail to build an infrastructure around your business. “We only build franchise systems we know we can sell.” To determine if a company is right for franchising, the business goes through a very thorough evaluation process. Once the company passes the initial discovery phase and is determined to be a good franchising option, 1st Choice works with the company on all aspects of making their business a functioning franchise. Since the year began, the company has added two more Knoxville-area businesses to its stable of clients, a mobile phone store and a fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant concept. The company is also is working with Farragut-based Big Kahuna Wings to expand its brand.


The City of Oak Ridge Located just 22 miles northwest of Knoxville, and occupying portions of both Anderson and Roane counties, lies the City of Oak Ridge, which is one of eight partner agencies in Innovation Valley, the regional economic development initiative managed by the Knoxville Chamber. “Our partnership with Innovation Valley is an essential economic development tool, and important to the growth of the City of Oak Ridge,” said Steve Jones, economic development consultant for the City of Oak Ridge. “Oak Ridge is home to many of the region’s largest employers. When one community wins, the region does too.” Oak Ridge is recognized across the region for its for high-tech, high-wage jobs, and is home to world-renowned facilities like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, both Department of Energy facilities. Oak Ridge is also home of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of 115 educational institutions creating collaborative partnerships in science and technology. With a staff of 4,400 including scientists and engineers in more than 100 disciplines ORNL spends $1.4 billion annually on research and development. Each year, more than 3,200 scientists from universities, laboratories, and private industry around the world conduct experiments at ORNL’s 11 scientific user facilities. “Oak Ridge’s most unique asset is the ability to combine cutting edge research science & technology facilities with private industries to create unparalleled opportunities for high-tech growth,” said Jones. Oak Ridge has also celebrated several economic development successes during the last year. In March, Gov. Bill Haslam and Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, announced plans for CVMR to locate its global headquarters to Oak Ridge investing $313 million and creating 620 jobs for Innovation Valley. “Oak Ridge is a community receptive to new technologies for manufacturing, innovative science, and industrial production,” said Michael C. Hargett, president, of CVMR. “A combination of superior local resources, an ability to leverage cutting-edge knowledge, and emerging demand for high-performance products makes East Tennessee the place for the CVMR headquarters, manufacturing and production.” To learn more about Innovation Valley and its regional partners visit its website at Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

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(June 2015)

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 June ’14June ‘15

June 2015

May 2015

June 2014

% Change May ’15June ‘15

235,900 418,970 3,129,900 158,283,000

233,350 414,800 3,106,400 157,719,000

226,864 403,572 3,051,746 156,997,000

1.1 1.0 0.8 0.4

4.0 3.8 2.6 0.8

386,700 2,860,300

388,200 2,877,800

372,300 2,796,500

-0.4 -0.6

3.9 2.3

13,810 27,050 215,960

11,990 23,820 194,020

15,970 31,090 249,260

15.2 13.6 11.3

-13.5 -13.0 -13.4

5.4 5.9 6.3 5.5

4.7 5.3 5.7 5.3

6.1 6.7 7.1 6.3

0.7 0.6 0.6 0.2

-0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

June 2015 1,561 10,769 $160,000

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 June ’13June ‘15 -2.5 -2.0

June ’14-‘15

May ’14-‘15

June ’13-‘14

-0.4 0.1

-0.7 0.0

2.1 2.1

0.3 0.1

% Change June ’14June ‘15

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

May 2015* 252 18 234

May 2014 188 12 176

% Change May ’14May ‘15 34.0 50.0 33.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

382 148 234

286 110 176

33.6 34.5 33.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

485 232 253

322 146 176

50.6 58.9 43.8


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,652 1,611 1,041

1,933 1,337 596

37.2 20.5 74.7

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

June 2015

May 2015

June 2014

% Change May ’15June ‘15

52,877,483 81,523,965 677,590,592

50,793,972 77,484,446 643,705,081

48,898,170 75,539,961 629,642,610

4.1 5.2 5.3

8.1 7.9 7.6

14,519,262 22,863,597

14,024,930 22,036,971

13,560,783 21,412,900

3.5 3.8

7.1 6.8

% Change June ’14June ‘15 2.9 1.7 2.5 0.8 2.7 7.8 6.5 -16.2 0.9 3.0 5.9 9.9 6.9 8.9


Passengers Cargo

April 2015 136,818 6,928,666

March 2015 149,593 6,217,774

April 2014 138,442 6,432,670

% Change March ’15April ‘15 -8.5 11.4

% Change April ’14April ‘15 -1.2 7.7

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2015 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


1,303 11,556 $159,000



June 2014

% Change June ’14June ‘15 19.8 -6.8 0.6

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

May 2015 1,466 10,368 $163,000

% Change May ’15June ‘15 6.5 3.9 -1.8

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

June 2015

May 2015

445,819 31,038 19,297 8,058 56,165 51,598 8,268 40,472 54,352 25,401 10,347 96,534 37,291

461,911 33,472 22,006 7,798 58,645 55,303 8,694 40,071 57,031 25,632 10,596 98,908 36,912

433,388 30,506 18,829 7,998 54,678 47,863 7,762 48,322 53,888 24,669 9,768 87,810 34,869

% Change May ’15June ‘15 -3.5 -7.3 -12.3 3.3 -4.2 -6.7 -4.9 1.0 -4.7 -0.9 -2.3 -2.4 1.0





June 2014

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

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

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

tnAchieves Seeking Mentors for Class of 2016 tnAchieves, is currently seeking mentors for the 2015-16 school year. The program needs more than 6,000 volunteers statewide by Nov. 1 to mentor the more than 30,000 students projected to take advantage of this program. The tnAchieves is a last-dollar scholarship fund that will fund qualified students up to $4,000, annually, for five consecutive semesters. The amount of money awarded is determined after all other sources of scholarships and financial aid have been awarded. To become eligible for the scholarship, each student in the program is assigned a mentor who helps keep his or her college application process on track. After the student is admitted to a college or university, they have to maintain a certain GPA as well as log mandatory community service hours. tnAchieves, a partnering organization to Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, serves primarily first-generation, low-income students in an effort to increase this population’s likelihood of earning a college credential. While the funding provided by Tennessee Promise is critical to increased post-secondary access, tnAchieves data confirms that working with a mentor further enhances a student’s likelihood of entering the post-secondary pipeline.

tnAchieves mentors spend less than one hour per month serving as a resource to the students. The role is simple but significant as mentors help the students reach their potential. To start the process of an application, mentors choose their preferred high school, complete a one-hour training session, attend two one-hour meetings, and communicate with students every two weeks via email, phone or text as they transition from high school to college. Holly Helton, Lori Fuller, Kayla Witt, Lauren Longmire and Katie Wells of the Knoxville Chamber participated in mentoring the class of 2015. Witt, marketing coordinator for the Chamber, mentored five homeschooled girls. “It was really fun to be a mentor to my high school girls and help guide them through the sometimes confusing and scary steps of the college admission process,” Witt said. “Their desire for help and success was clear, and it made me really proud to be part of the tnAchieves program. The time commitment was minimal, but the difference made in the students’ lives is huge.” tnAchieves designed its mentoring program so even the busiest executive, parent, or young professional could make a meaningful impact. To sign up or learn more about the program, visit


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 August. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS


20 – 24 YEARS

Wal-Mart Store #1318



Hines and Company



10 – 14 YEARS



Witt Building Material Co., Inc.


David’s Carpet Sales, Inc.

General Shale Brick Inc.


East Knox County Business & Professional

Rose Mortuary, Inc.


Regions Bank


Furrow Auction Company


Dale Carnegie of Knoxville


Belk, Inc. - West Town Mall


East Tennessee Foundation


Knoxville Marriott Hotel


University Health System, Inc.


Courtyard by Marriott


Peak Restaurants LLC


Tennessee Valley Title Insurance Co.


Scripps Networks


Turkey Creek Medical Center


Blackberry Farm


MillenniTEK, LLC


Consolidated Nuclear Security Y-12


15-19 YEARS

Goodson Bros. Coffee Company, Inc.


Keep Knoxville Beautiful


Enrichment Federal Credit Union - Main Office


Best Western Strawberry Inn & Suites


The Muse Knoxville


Exedy America Corporation


McAlister’s Deli


The Stokely Company


Realty Trust Group, LLC


Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc.


Cooper Realty Investments, Inc.


McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects

Securitas Security Services USA


Wal-Mart Store #1320


Hodges & Pratt Company, P.C.


Suburban Propane


25 – 30 YEARS


BB&T 1986



K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 51

& Interior Designers Knoxville Fire Fighters Association

2005 2005

Inaugural YEA! Class Filling Up Quickly Recruiting for Knoxville’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program is well underway. With 18 spots already filled, only six remain for the inaugural class beginning in October. The program is presented by Pilot Flying J and supported by Clayton Bank. YEA! is a year-long program that teaches students how to develop and run their own businesses while giving them the opportunity to hear from local entrepreneurs and grow more confident in their ideas and abilities. The students will brainstorm business ideas, develop a business plan, pitch their plan to potential investors, and actually launch their own businesses. The Knoxville Chamber has partnered with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Tech 2020 to make the program available in Knoxville. Knoxville is the first city in Tennessee to offer the program, which is in more than 100 communities nationally. Classes for the program will meet every Tuesday evening for three hours at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee. It is $395 for 30 weeks of classes with the opportunity for scholarships based on financial need and merit. Students will be taught by an instructor with the opportunity to also hear from guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs, and business mentors. The program is recruiting students in grades 6-12 to fill its inaugural class. Eligible students can apply on their own or be nominated by their parents, counselors, teachers, or mentors. These students should be responsible and creative with the ability to commu-

nicate well and demonstrate a commitment to their community and family. “We’re very excited about the students we’ve recruited to the program so far,” Mark Field, senior vice president at the Knoxville Chamber. “The students are very diverse in idea and age, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the program.” Recruitment will continue until the class is filled. To apply for YEA!, students must fill out the application form, complete the essay and short answer questions, and submit their most recent transcript. They must also submit a letter of recommendation from their religious or community leader, teacher, or guidance counselor. After this process, the student will be invited for a personal interview with a YEA! Student Selection Committee member. The application and interview process will occur on a rolling basis. To apply, nominate a student, or learn more about the program visit or call 865-637-4550.


Innovation Valley Wraps Up Successful 4th Quarter, Fiscal Year Innovation Valley rounded out the 2014-15 fiscal year with the announcements of a major recruit to the region and three existing industry expansions. In addition to these successes, the fourth quarter also included the completion of Innovation Valley’s Educators in the Workplace program and significant fundraising strides in the Competitive Airfare Partnership initiative. The quarter was highlighted by Cirrus Aircraft’s May 6 announcement that it would be building its new customer experience center at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. The announcement represents an investment of $15 million and 170 new high-wage technical jobs for Innovation Valley. Existing Innovation Valley companies Carlex Glass Company, PerfectServe, Inc., and Vendini each announced expansions and new locations across the region. “We could not be more pleased with the conclusion of the 2014-15 fiscal year,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “To see a company like Cirrus Aircraft locate here is a huge win for Innovation Valley, and is a true testament of why a regional approach to economic development offers the most advantages for our community and its continued progress.” Innovation Valley also celebrated the success of the 2015 Educators in the Workplace

summer series, which concluded at the end of June. This year, more than 350 regional educators took advantage of the opportunity to visit one of the 13 participating businesses from around the region, marking it the largest group of educators and businesses to participate in the program to date. “We expanded the program to more businesses this year, and the educator’s response was terrific,” said Sharon Shanks, workforce development manager for the Knoxville Chamber. “We sent a survey to this year’s participants, and all of the feedback has been positive, so I am really pleased with how this year turned out. I already have some fresh ideas for 2016, and look forward to seeing the program continue to grow.” The end of the quarter brought the Competitive Airfare Partnership, which aims to bring additional low-fare carrier service to McGhee Tyson Airport, closer to its fundraising goal of $3 million. More than $2.2 million in financial commitments were secured from both private and public entities, putting the initiative a step closer to developing a business case for more low-fare air service in Knoxville. “I am glad we have successfully completed this initial fundraising phase of our CAP initiative, and am looking forward to implementation,” said Lawyer. For more information about Innovation Valley, visit

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SunTrust Partners with Chamber for a New Women’s Series The Knoxville Chamber has partnered with SunTrust Bank to produce a new professional development series focused on professional women. “Women on the Rise to Shine” will feature four quarterly events during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Topics and speakers will be selected in conjunction with SunTrust, but will focus on issues pertinent to working women. “The Chamber has been looking at creating a women’s series for several years now, but we needed the right partner to help us execute it,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Knoxville Chamber. “It was ironic that SunTrust approached us with the same idea several months ago. We are excited to have them on board as the presenting sponsor and we can’t wait to get the programming launched. The series will provide valuable opportunities for women to learn from and network with some of the region’s leading female business leaders.” The series will kick off Oct. 22 with a breakfast event featuring Regal Entertainment’s CEO Amy Miles. Miles will discuss how women can find a work/life balance and be in leadership. The kick off breakfast will be followed by two lunch and learn seminars in subsequent months focused topics relevant to professional women. The series will wrap up with a “Wine and She’s” event at the end of the year that will include a panel discussion with prominent female business leaders sharing experiences and wisdom with attendees, as well as an opportunity for established female business leaders to network with young up-and-comers. “At SunTrust, our purpose is ‘Lighting the way to financial well-being.’ That goal is at the heart of everything we do, whether it be a loan for a small business or a sponsorship,” said Missy Williams, vice president and Tennessee marketing manager for SunTrust. “This strategic sponsorship affords us the opportunity to showcase our capabilities through a program that will contribute to financial well-being for the participants.” Williams said women-specific programming is incredibly important because more than ever women are the decision makers, both personally and professionally. “It is important that we offer this type of programming to give women the resources they need to maximize their potential,” she said. “This partnership with the Chamber is an investment not only in women, but also their families and the community.”


The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority As the owner and operator of McGhee Tyson Airport, it’s the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority’s mission to meet the aviation needs of East Tennessee. On a daily basis, more than 8,000 people travel through McGhee Tyson to catch one of the airport’s 140 departing or arriving commercial flights. In addition to McGhee Tyson, the airport authority operates the Downtown Island Airport, a general aviation airport near downtown Knoxville. The airport is home to approximately 140 private aircraft. The airport authority employs nearly 170 staff members, and is overseen by a board of nine commissioners. “The airport authority’s nine-member board of commissioners is appointed by the mayor of Knoxville and confirmed by Knoxville’s City Council,” explained Becky Huckaby, the airport authority’s vice president of public relations. “The board is responsible for setting airport policies and approving airport capital improvement projects. The board appoints an airport president, who serves as the chief administrator and executive officer.” McGhee Tyson is currently served by Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and U.S. Airways. In addition to commercial aviation, the airport accommodates air cargo shipments with FedEx and UPS; military operations with the Tennessee Air National Guard Base; and general aviation aircraft. The airport has room to further grow aviation operations with available sites in its West Aviation Area. The newest company to call this area home is Cirrus Aircraft. The general aviation company recently announced its plans to build a state-of-the-art customer experience and delivery center in 2016. Huckaby said even with the addition of Cirrus, there’s still ample land for development in the area. “The West Aviation Area offers shovel-ready building sites with easy access to the airport’s two 9,000-foot runways,” she said. “The Airport Authority partners with local and state economic development agencies to assist companies expanding or relocating to East Tennessee.” Huckaby said the airport authority participates in many community programs that have an emphasis on aviation, education, or environmental efforts. In April, the airport will host the Smoky Mountain Air Show. The airshow will partner with HonorAir, a non-profit that takes World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor “There is no doubt that the Smoky Mountain Air Show will be a premier aviation event that will have something for everyone to enjoy,” said Eddie Mannis, Founder of HonorAir Knoxville. “More importantly, the air show allows us to rally around those who have bravely served our country. We appreciate the support of the Air Show Partnership and we look forward to the chance to honor our community’s veterans at the Smoky Mountain Air Show on April 16-17, 2016.”

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New Member Orientation 4 – 6 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 Presented by:

Mountain Commerce Bank celebrated the grand opening on June 26th of its new Knoxville financial center at the corner of Kingston Pike and Northshore Drive. Bill Edwards, President and CEO, is pictured in the center cutting the ribbon and is joined by board members, associates, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

AUGUST 18 Logistics: From Pain Point to Profit Center Presented by: Ted Stank, University of Tennessee

7:30 – 9 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 Sponsored by:

AUGUST 18 Bright Ideas: Networking Now Presented by Samantha Lane, King University 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for non-members (boxed lunch included) Child Therapy Services celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville center in June. Brent and Jaime Hemsley, owners, are pictured center assisting their son, Logan, with the ribbon cutting. They are joined by family, associates, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

Sponsored by:

AUGUST 20 Business After Hours at the News Sentinel Open 4:30 – 7 p.m. • Fox Den Country Club, 12284 N Fox Den Drive Sponsored by:

Westmoreland Health & Rehab Center celebrated the grand opening of its newly renovated facility in July. Chris Gustin, CEO, is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by Westmoreland associates, Knox County Commissioners Jeff Ownby and Bob Thomas, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

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

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Commerce - August 2015  
Commerce - August 2015  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.