Page 1

INSIDE: Endeavor Summit pg. 56 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 58


McHale Performance (865) 588-2654 Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers Business & Professional Services: Technical Services; Environmental Services & Equipment: Consultants

Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center (800) 555-2650 Hotels & Lodging InfoSystems (423) 624-6551 Computer & IT Services

Trotta Montgomery Real Estate (865) 213-2000 Real Estate: Residential, Real Estate: Commercial. Real Estate: Property Management. Real Estate: Rentals, Real Estate

Kelsan, Inc. (865) 525-7132 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services

Vistage (865) 407-0703 Education & Training

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (865) 999-5251 Restaurants

Allstate - Anne Bernot (865) 888-9101 Insurance Anna’s Gate, LLC (865) 803-5445 Associations & Organizations Arsenal Strength Training Facility (865) 963-3030 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Bloomers - Flowers and Gifts (865) 951-1152 Florists, Nurseries & Garden Centers Brainstorm International (865) 470-2966 Computer & IT Services: Web Design & Hosting Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. (865) 584-2265 Business & Professional Services: Printers Clarion Inn & Suites West Knoxville/Turkey Creek (865) 671-1010 Hotels & Lodging D1 Sports Training, LLC (865) 622-7117 Sports & Recreation: Sports Training Di-Fi Solutions (865) 688-3434 Computer & IT Services Dixie Highway Association (865) 213-2000 Business & Professional Services: Marketing El Chico (865) 687-4242 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues: Catering Express Health Clinic (865) 690-2921 Healthcare Providers & Services: Hospitals & Clinics Fox Sports Knoxville - WKGN - AM 1340 (865) 806-3106 Broadcast Media: Radio

Microbial Insights, Inc (865) 573-8188 Research & Development: Laboratories Norsemen Training and Consulting Group (865) 805-5970 Education & Training

TOP ACHIEVERS Top Achievers are recognized for their countless volunteer hours and dedication to the Ambassador Program’s mission of serving as an active volunteer extension of the Knoxville Chamber to cultivate, promote, and maintain positive relationships between the Knoxville Chamber, its members, and the community.


Keller Group, LLC (865) 583-3900 Business & Professional Services

High Profile Enterprises (865) 924-2244 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors


Profusion Strategies (865) 228-5368 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors




Northshore Medical Group, LLC (865) 409-1033 Personal Services: Aestheticians & Medispas Nouveau Classics (865) 525-4755 Retail Stores




Development and Design Concepts, LLC. (865) 806-2284 Construction & Contractors

GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc. (865) 482-2112 Manufacturing





Rural King Farm and Home Store (217) 235-7102 Shopping Simple Bites Gourmet (865) 696-0249 Food & Beverage Sitel Corp. (865) 621-9476 Business & Professional Services Smart Auto (865) 684-2277 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service Survature (865) 300-6079 Business & Professional Services Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe (865) 429-5700 Restaurants The Honey Do Service Inc. (865) 690-7772 Construction & Contractors: General Contractors The Real Estate Firm Inc. (865) 922-5500 Real Estate Volunteer Knoxville (865) 582-4085 Associations & Organizations

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 52


QA &





Buzz Thomas, president of the Great Schools Partnership, was selected as interim superintendent of Knox County Schools until the school board selects a permanent replacement. The position comes with managing a sizeable $438-million budget, 89 schools with more than 52,000 students, and an 8,500-member workforce. Thomas moved into the role on June 15, giving him the opportunity to work side-by-side with former superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre before he stepped down on July 8. Thomas’s first course of action was drafting an open letter to the community outlining his plans for the first 90 days of his administration, which can be found on The Knoxville Chamber sat down with Thomas to further discuss his priorities for Knox County Schools and what he hopes to accomplish during his tenure as interim superintendent. CHAMBER: First and foremost, what are your top priorities for Knox County Schools as interim superintendent? THOMAS: While educational excellence and improvement is a marathon, my work is a sprint as an interim superintendent. I have a limited amount of time to do the things I think need to be done, and I want to make sure that every single day of my administration counts. Priority number one would be reading. We are still not moving the dial on reading at either the state or local level like we need to. So, we’re adopting a lot of different strategies. We’re using everything from theatre to enlisting a lot of volunteer reading tutors. We also want to be more site-driven. That is to say, we want to give our principals and teachers more authority to go along with the responsibility that they currently have for their classrooms in their schools. So, to the fullest extent possible, we want them to be able to make decisions about curriculum, assessment, and instruction because they're the folks who know best what kids need. Ninety-five percent of the decisions that are made for a child’s education ought to be made by the classroom teacher. We've got to get our own operations in order here at the central office. We've expected accountability out of our teachers and students, and we need to be

accountable. So, we need to figure out how to better manage our transportation system, our human resources, and our public information. There are things that we need to do better here. We need to be more transparent. We need to be more responsive. We need to be quicker. What's not going to change is the commitment to excellence that I think has become part of the culture in Knox County, and that will certainly continue during my watch. We are going to create the best school system in the South, period. We're going to do it. CHAMBER: A new school board will be seated this fall. How will you work to build successful relationships with members to accomplish your goals? THOMAS: It is my responsibility to build strong relationships with every single one of our board members, and I'm proud to say I have a good relationship with every single one of our current board members. I have an immense amount of respect for them. They are all committed to the well-being of students and teachers. They want our teachers to be happy, and they want our students to learn. So, we're united in that, and I'm confident the three new school board members that will be sworn in this September will be the same sort of people. I think the best way to develop those relationships is mostly face-to-face and realizing that we all have the same ultimate goal, which is educational success and excellence, and also the complementary goal of making sure Knoxville is a place where people want to teach. CHAMBER: How do you plan to effectively communicate your priorities to teachers and staff to get them on board? THOMAS: Again, the best way to do it is face-to-face, and most of that needs to be listening. So, it's not me talking to them, it's them talking to me while I listen

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“Q&A” continued on pg. 54

“Q&A continued from pg. 53 carefully and purposefully. I wasn't a K-12 teacher, and I know that. That's a weakness of mine. I'm proud of my teaching experience at Georgetown University, but that's nothing like teaching a room full of seventh graders that don't want to be there. So, one day a month I go out and I teach with a teacher. Last year I taught English at Fulton High School. I taught kindergarten, third grade, and fifth grade. Toward the end of the year I went out to Gibbs Elementary and spent the day in a pre-K class. It's good for me because it reminds me of what the work looks like - how challenging it is to teach, and what good teaching looks like. It helps me know better how to serve them. One new thing I’m going to do is ask for some of our very best teachers in the district to rotate in and out of my weekly senior-management meeting, so every time we meet to make decisions about our schools, we've got a good teacher sitting there at the table thinking through it with us. So, giving voice to teachers is going to be one of our very highest priorities, and those are some examples of how we're going to do that. CHAMBER: How will you address recent concerns about inequities in the school system? THOMAS: We know that low-income students, students with disabilities, and minority students are being disciplined and suspended from school at a rather alarming rate, as compared to the rest of the school population. Some of those reasons are suspected to be that we don't understand each other very well. There's a lot of crosscultural communication going on. There was a task force that has looked at this issue over the last two years and has come back with some very good recommendations for things we can do to address these disparate outcomes and inequities that we see. We are immediately moving on several fronts to address these. When we talk about our goal as “excellence for every child,” that's every child, not just my kids or ones that look like me or act like me. I’m going to be talking to community leaders, maybe in conjunction with the new Change Center that's being built here in the inner-city, and use that as one vehicle of getting student voices at the table. I'm not just talking about the honor students. The kids that I'm talking about are the kids who are struggling academically. Why are they struggling academically? What can we do to ease that struggle? What do we need to be aware of that could help them stay in school? What are the barriers to their suc-

cess that we need to be addressing? We want to meet this challenge and make sure every single child, whether they be white, black, brown, or disabled, has the chance to succeed in Knox County, and we're going to work hard to make sure they can. CHAMBER: In the short time that you’ve had the perspective of the superintendent, do you have any advice for search committee members as they search for a new one? THOMAS: I think it is good for this person to have had teaching experience. I've had some teaching experience, but I mean, a lot of teaching experience. It is a big job. I would encourage them to get a person who has the capacity to manage at a large scale. You’ve got to be tough for this job. They will need somebody who is not worried about the politics, so much as they are about the impact on children. They have to find a superintendent that is courageous, who is strong enough, brave enough, and tough enough to do what is right even when it isn't expedient. It will take a lot of energy, even when school isn't in session. Also, they'll need a person who can work long hours, and finally a person with good judgment because nearly every decision that gets to the superintendent is a hard decision. CHAMBER: How can Knox County business leaders support quality local education? THOMAS: One thing they can do is continue making the case to the community that money spent on education is an investment in the future of our community. It is a job creator. In fact, great schools are the single biggest job creator we have. The business community can make a case to taxpayers when we ask them to invest in schools. Keep telling us what you need. Now, we've heard some of what you told us, like kids need to communicate, work in groups, be critical problem solvers - all these soft skills - but we also need to know what specific hard skills they need. So, if we are going to create, not just the best school system in the South but best city in the South, we've got to work together between business and school to make sure that you're helping us meet our needs for resources and we're helping you meet your needs for the local workforce. You know, it’s a partnership, which means whether we go up or down, we go together.

How You Can Help Knox County Schools The Knox County School system has many business and organizational partners, but they are always looking for more to ensure that all of their students have everything they need to succeed. Here are some ways you can get involved: • Be a Coupon Book sponsor or have one or more coupons in the book. This program brings in approximately $1.5 million each year, almost all of which goes directly back to the schools. • Be a participating restaurant in the one-day Dine Out for Education event in the spring. • Be a school-level partner for one or more schools. School partners bring a variety of resources to their respective schools, including special fundraising events and school beautification projects. • Participate in Principal for a Day in the fall by spending a morning in one of the schools and debriefing over lunch with other participants.

• Participate in the annual Career Day designed to help eighth-grade and highschool students develop ideas about higher education and career choices. • Sponsor one of the many events and programs during the year, including the Teacher of the Year banquet and the Barney Thompson scholarship program. • Help celebrate teachers during Thank a Teacher Week in the fall by donating gifts, lunches, or prizes. • Donate school and office supplies to the Teacher Supply Depot and slightly-used and new clothing to the Clothing Center. • Provide discounts to our very deserving teachers and staff in the form of membership discounts or percent-off coupons. • Present programs in the schools, be a student mentor, or provide paid or unpaid internships for students. For more information about how to support Knox County Schools, contact Jeannie Dulaney, director of community relations at or Carrie Witt, manager of business partnerships at

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Luncheon Speaker Will Offer Strategies for Women in the Workplace BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Knoxville Chamber will continue its Women on the Rise to Shine series, presented by SunTrust, with a lunch on Aug. 17 featuring Susan Packard, co-founder of HGTV. Packard will be discussing concepts from her 2015 book entitled New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace. Packard has helped build powerhouse media brands such as HBO, CNBC, and HGTV. She was the chief operating officer at HGTV and helped the lifestyle cable television brand become one of the fastest growing networks in television history. She spent 16 years with Scripps Networks. Her book, which was released in February 2015, discusses the lessons she learned while she climbed her way from the ground floor to the corner office with a view. With a theme of competition at its core, the book uses the metaphor of what it takes to win at sports or games to communicate the strategies is focuses on. “We are excited to be able to provide Knoxville’s female professionals with an opportunity to hear and learn from Susan Packard,” said Lori Fuller, vice president

of marketing and events at the Knoxville Chamber. “I’m confident that regardless of where you are in your professional career, you will walk away from Susan’s talk having had an ah-ha moment.” The Women on the Rise to Shine series, presented by SunTrust, was launched in 2015 and features quarterly events designed to recognize and develop female professionals. Programs range from lunch and learns to “Wine and Shes” receptions, and while the majority of attendees are women, men are encouraged to attend as well. The Aug. 17 lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. Tickets are $30 for Chamber members and $40 for non-members. Table sponsorships are also available. Each attendee will receive a complimentary copy of Packard’s book New Rules of the Game.

Morning Networking Event Draws Large Crowd in West Knoxville BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Nearly 90 businesspeople gathered at the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting showroom in West Knoxville for an a.m. Exchange on July 21. Attendees enjoyed networking with other local professionals, eating a breakfast spread provided by All Occasion Catering, and exploring the location’s sizeable collection of lighting and bath and kitchen fixtures. Three lucky guests took home door prizes. Dianna Glandon of Above the Rest Balloon and Event Designs took home a Wolf Gourmet knife set, and Kathleen Tomaszewski of Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC and Jina Foltz of Freedom Chiropractic took home gift cards for Kichler Lighting.


A crowd of nearly 90 businesspeople gathered at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery for the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange on July 21.

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The 2016 Endeavor Young Professionals Summit is a celebration of the next generation of leaders in Knoxville. It aims to create a space for young professionals to get engaged, become empowered, and provide opportunities to get involved. Attendees will meet the region’s thought-leaders, changemakers, and innovators. The day-long experience will feature two inspiring keynote speakers and

three breakout sessions, providing attendees the opportunity to pick and choose sessions of most interest to them. The Summit will officially kickoff on Aug. 9 with Sip & Be Social, a networking event at Schulz Brau Brewing Company. Learn more about the day’s agenda and speakers or register at

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8 a.m.

9-10 a.m.

Registration, networking and breakfast (The Mill & Mine) Opening session: “The Local Motors Story: Challenging the Status Quo to Spur a New Industrial Revolution.” Speaker, Jay Rogers, CEO Local Motors (The Mill & Mine)

10:20-11:10 a.m. Breakout Sessions 1: Personal Development Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority 1A: Southern Station / Room 101 Let Gymnasts Worry About Balance Moderated by: Austin Church Angie Hamstead, Hozho Project Sean Alsobrooks, Remedy Coffee & Makers Donuts Paul & Alex Sponica, Hard Knox Pizza Jennifer Evans, Patricia Nash Designs 1B: Southern Station / Room 102 No Wonder You Have Churn: Honest Thoughts On Leadership Cheryl Middleton Jones, SCRIPPS Networks Interactive 1C: Regas Building / Room 203 Learning to Love Conflict Patrick McAnally, Lipscomb University 11:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions 2: Professional Development Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority 2A: Southern Station / Room 101 Career Pivoting: How To Adapt But Stay On Track Ashley Capps, AC Entertainment Courtney Jones, MomSource Patricia Robledo, City of Knoxville

2B: Southern Station / Room 102 How To Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb: What a Cereal Aisle Can Teach About Differentiating Your Brand John Tolsma, Knowledge Launch 2C: Regas Building / Room 203 The Brass Tacks of Business Breakthrough Moderator: Jonathan Sexton, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Brandon Bruce, Cirruspath Will Overstreet, Voices Heard Media

12:20 p.m.

Food Truck Food Court Lunch (The Southern Station, Sevier Yard Plaza)

1:30-2:20 p.m.

Breakout Sessions 3: Our Community Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority

3A: Southern Station / Room 101 Innovation Moderator: Jim Biggs, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center Jill Van Beke, Launch Tennessee Caleb Fristoe, Great Schools Partnership

3B: Southern Station / Room 102 Outdoor, Recreation & Wellness Moderator: Carol Evans, Legacy Parks Foundation Ben Epperson, Knox County Health Department Jason Altman, Knoxville Marathon

3C: Regas Building / Room 203 Regional Growth Moderator: Terrence Carter, Knoxville Area Urban League Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber Christi Branscom, City of Knoxville

3D: Regas Building / Room 202 Civic Engagement Moderator: Nicole Chandler, The Change Center Ian Dovan, Seeds of Change Daryl Arnold, Overcoming Believers Church

3E: Regas Building / Room 201 Knoxville’s Culture Scene Moderator: Becky Hancock, Tennessee Theatre Kim Bumpas, Visit Knoxville

2:40 p.m. 3:40 p.m.

Afternoon Keynote: “Great City? Great Generations!,” Amy Lynch, Generational Edge (The Mill & Mine) Closing Session (The Mill & Mine)

4:10 p.m.

Happy Hour (The Mill & Mine), Featuring Live Music from The Frog & Toad Dixie Quartet

5 p.m.

After Party (The Mill & Mine), Featuring Live Music

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From Electric Darling


(June 2016)

NOTES – Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane & Union Counties. *June labor force data was not available at time of publication.

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change May ’15May ‘16

May 2016

Apr. 2016

May 2015

% Change Apr. ’16May ‘16

235,610 416,650 3,131,500 158,800,000

234,110 413,990 3,121,100 158,488,000

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

0.6 0.6 0.3 0.2

1.0 0.4 0.8 0.7

396,100 2,954,600

394,600 2,958,300

386,000 2,889,100

0.4 -0.1

2.6 2.3


8,270 16,270 133,250

11,990 23,820 194,020



3.2 3.5 3.8 4.5

3.2 3.6 3.9 4.7

4.7 5.3 5.7 5.3

0.0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2

-1.5 -1.8 -1.9 -0.8

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

June 2016 1,885 8,752 $166,850

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 ’14June ‘16 1.0 0.9

June ’15-‘16

May ’15-‘16

June ’14-‘15

0.6 1.0

0.7 1.0

-0.4 0.1

-0.1 0.0

% Change June ’15June ‘16

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

May 2016* 111 21 90

May 2015 252 18 234

% Change May ’15May ‘16 -56.0 16.7 -61.5

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

224 134 90

382 148 234

-41.4 -9.5 -61.5

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

346 239 107

486 233 253

-28.8 2.6 -57.7


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,351 1,731 620

2,950 1,653 1,297

-20.3 4.7 -52.2

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

June 2016

May 2016

June 2015

% Change May ’15June ‘16

53,148,226 81,429,576 686,261,685

53,245,202 82,082,615 685,464,196

52,877,483 81,523,964 677,590,592

-0.2 -0.8 0.1

0.5 -0.1 1.3

14,327,239 22,782,577

14,680,344 23,203,507

14,519,262 22,863,597

-2.4 -1.8

-1.3 -0.4


Passengers Cargo

Mar. 2016 135,891 6,913,181

Feb. 2016 114,587 6,050,754

Mar. 2015 139,486 6,217,774

% Change Feb. ’16Mar. ‘16 18.6 14.3

% Change Mar. ’15Mar.‘16 1-2.6 11.2

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2016 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


1,561 10,769 $160,000



June 2015

% Change June ’15June ‘16 20.8 -18.7 4.3

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

May 2016 1,721 8,673 $164,000

% Change May ’16June ‘16 9.5 0.9 1.7

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 2016

May 2016

462,314 34,060 19,590 8,003 59,328 54,260 8,760 37,061 54,730 27,745 11,265 95,740 44,256

469,523 34,788 21,472 7,697 59,829 57,357 8,769 36,192 55,712 27,828 11,330 96,894 44,460

448,229 31,709 19,612 8,311 57,062 51,875 8,501 40,745 54,135 25,647 10,584 94,109 38,855

% Change May ’16June ‘16 -1.5 -2.1 -8.8 4.0 -0.8 -5.4 -0.1 2.4 -1.8 -0.3 -0.6 -1.2 -0.5





June 2015

% Change June ’15June ‘16 3.1 7.4 -0.1 -3.7 4.0 4.6 3.0 -9.0 1.1 8.2 6.4 1.7 13.9 6.1

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

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

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Chamber’s Leslie Smith Graduates from Institute of Organization Management BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Leslie Smith, director of human resources and operations for the Knoxville Chamber, graduated from the Institute of Organization Management (IOM) in late June. IOM is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Graduates of the fouryear institute program receive the IOM Graduate Recognition, signifying 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. This year’s Southeast Institute was held in Athens, Georgia from June 26-30. Mark Field, senior vice president of the Knoxville Chamber, served as chair of the U.S. Chamber Foundation Southeast Institute of Organization Management.

Leslie Smith, director of human resources and operations for the Knoxville Chamber, poses for a photo alongside Bob Thomas, left, chair of U.S. Chamber Foundation Institute of Organization Management Board of Trustees and Mark Field of the Knoxville Chamber. Photo courtesy of IOM

AUGUST - 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 August. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS Witt Building Material Co., Inc. General Shale Brick Inc. Rose Mortuary, Inc. Regions Bank Belk, Inc. - West Town Mall University Health System, Inc. Tennessee Valley Title Insurance Co. Blackberry Farm Consolidated Nuclear Security Y-12 Keep Knoxville Beautiful The Muse Knoxville The Stokely Company BB&T - Knoxville Main

MEMBER SINCE 1951 1953 1961 1964 1972 1972 1978 1984 1984 1985 1985 1985 1986

20 – 24 YEARS

15-19 YEARS 25 – 30 YEARS


Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center 1989 Martin & Company, Inc. 1989 Buddy’s Bar-B-Q 1991 FASTSIGNS 1991


David’s Carpet Sales, Inc. East Knox County Business & Professional Association Furrow Auction Company Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter, PLLC Brauer Material Handling Moon Capital Management East Tennessee Foundation Scripps Networks Interactive Enrichment Federal Credit Union - Main Office Exedy America Corporation

Meridian Trust & Investment Company Realty Trust Group, LLC Cooper Realty Investments, Inc. Wal-Mart Store #1320 Hodges & Pratt Company, P.C. Suburban Propane Wal-Mart Store #1318 Hines and Company Advanced Communications, Inc.

1992 1993 1994 1994 1994 1995 1995 1995 1996 1996

MEMBER SINCE 1997 1998 1999 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 2001

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10 – 14 YEARS Dale Carnegie of Knoxville Knoxville Marriott Hotel Peak Restaurants LLC MillenniTEK, LLC Goodson Bros. Coffee Company, Inc. Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc. McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects & Interior Designers Knoxville Fire Fighters Association MACH 5 Leadership Performance Knoxville Bolt & Screw, Inc. Greater Knoxville Tennis Association Tennessee State Bank

MEMBER SINCE 2002 2002 2002 2003 2003 2004 2005 2005 2006 2006 2006 2006

Educators Get Insight into Business Operations BY: KAYLA WITT

Innovation Valley recently wrapped up its eighth annual Educators in the Workplace summer program. Held throughout the month of June, 22 companies hosted 330 educators from across the region. The Educators in the Workplace program is designed to show educators realworld applications of the curriculum they teach so they can engage and excite their students. Participants receive a facility tour, discussion about day-to-day business operations, and insight into workplace culture, all while receiving in-service credit hours. “I participate in the program because it gets me into businesses that are doing the work my scholars will be doing in the near future,” said Ryan Milani, instructional coach at Career Magnet Academy. “It allows me to see the current working conditions, technologies, and trends. This information is invaluable as I take it back to Career Magnet Academy to tell my scholars more about it, as well as help our teachers integrate our pathways into their curriculum.” This year was the largest yet for Educators in the Workplace, with 30 company visits offered providing diverse opportunities for our region’s educators to participate. “At Flowers Baking Company, we realize the importance of hiring applicants who can problem solve, communicate effectively, and bring critical thinking skills to the job,” said Bob Brown, director of human resources for Flowers Baking Company. “We love the fact that teachers want to come to our business, through Educators in the Workplace, and hear about what we are seeing in the applicant pool, what our expectations are for applicants to be considered, and what they can hopefully share

Regional educators were invited inside Scripps Networks Interactive as part of the 2016 Educators in the Workplace program. The program exposes educators to the careers they are preparing their students for so they have a better understanding of the skills needed to excel in the workforce.

with their students to better prepare them for a career opportunity.” Educators in the Workplace is an initiative of Innovation Valley. The Knoxville Chamber, Blount Partnership, Roane Alliance, Loudon County Economic Development Agency, Anderson County Economic Development Association, and Jefferson County Chamber worked together to organize the Educators in the Workplace series.

New Web Tool Helps Tennesseans Identify Hot Jobs BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with state-wide partners including the Knoxville Chamber, launched a new interactive resource to help students and adults identify hot jobs in Tennessee. The official launch event took place in Nashville on June 28. The American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) College Measures, Gallup, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation—with funding from USA Funds—have collaborated to develop a state-specific online tool that will give prospective students information to evaluate college programs based on potential earnings, employment, and other outcomes following graduation. Launch My Career TN is a free, open website at Tennessee is among the first states in the nation to offer this new college-selection tool. “Tennessee students and Tennessee businesses have a common interest to ensure students are making informed decisions about college,” said Bradley Jackson, interim president of the state chamber. “A degree is one of the biggest investments Tennesseans make, and they deserve to have all the information available on how that decision may affect their ability to meet their personal goals.” He added, “At the same time, companies want a workforce trained in the skills they need. The Launch My Career TN tool is an innovative way to address the needs of both.” The web tool not only identifies the hot jobs that are in demand across Tennessee and

the degree or certificate programs to prepare for those roles, it shows users what skills are necessary to be successful in a particular career. “A skilled workforce with 21st-Century skills is critical to our state’s well-being and business success,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “This web tool is a great way to show students and adults what jobs are indemand and what skills are necessary to be successful in those jobs. Having a highly-skilled workforce in Tennessee is critical if we want to continue recruiting innovative companies to the state.” Launch My Career TN also compares projected future earnings to the investment required to graduate from a program, analyzes earnings potential, and helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies different careers. Other features of the tool include a lifestyle-goal calculator, showing the number of years it will take for the salary from a particular occupation to meet a user’s lifestyle goals; and a break-even calculator that demonstrates the numbers of years it will take for the earnings after completing a particular degree program to exceed the total net price of the program. For more information, please visit

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Propel Graduates Six Firms, Boasts Millions in Regional Economic Impact BY: KAYLA WITT

On July 8, nearly 60 people gathered at Scruffy City Hall for the 2016 Propel protégé graduation. Hosted by Innovation Valley and sponsored by SunTrust Bank, the event recognized six protégés who successfully completed the two-year Propel program. Doug Minter, director of small business development for the Knoxville Chamber, facilitated the graduation and former University of Tennessee football player Inky Johnson delivered an inspirational keynote address to the crowd. The graduating class included Accurate C&S Services, BGT Recruiting and Consulting, EXPOQUIP, First Place Finish, Mahogany Development, and Spanish Language Solutions. “It was tremendously helpful to participate in the operations and knowledge that the mentors shared with me,” said Dereke Foster of Mahogany Development. “Seeing their projects opened my eyes to various areas in the field I had not imagined. My goal is to make Mahogany Development an extremely successful company, and I feel excited that the Propel program got me off to a great start.” The Propel mentor/protégé program was launched as a small business initiative of Innovation Valley in 2008. Since 2010, the Propel program has made a significant economic impact across the region. Seventy-two businesses across Innovation Valley have completed the program, representing a total economic impact of $61.7 million and 726 jobs. “We entered the Propel program a couple years after we started our company and had specific goals in mind when we went into the program,” said Christine Bell, professional recruiter and shareholder at BGT Recruiting and Consulting. “We believe the opportunities we had along the way with the program – Chamber recognition and support, encouragement from other Propel members, and the attention of our mentor, Eddie Mannis – helped us accomplish our goals and further our marketing initiatives.” Propel prides itself on its economic inclusion and the diversity of the people and industries in the program. It is designed for small, women-, veteran-, and minorityowned businesses, and pairs established community business leaders with a protégé that is relatively new to the marketplace. Protégé businesses have represented more than 30 different industries, have revenues averaging $500,000, and have an average of six employees. “This year’s group represents both urban and rural protégés from multiple backgrounds and industries,” said Minter. “I am excited about this group because they represent the second year of our rural expansion thanks to a LiftTN grant and our second year protégés are breaking their own revenue numbers. This means we, as

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Christine Bell of BGT Recruiting & Consulting, Caleb Lewis of Accurate C&S Services, Laurel Patrick of First Place Finish, Dereke Foster of Mahogany Development, and Coral Getino of Spanish Language Solutions pose for a photo at the 2016 Propel protégé graduation. LEFT: Former University of Tennessee football player Inky Johnson delivers an inspirational keynote address at the 2016 Propel protégé graduation ceremony on July 8.

a program, are making a real economic impact on the region.” The Propel program is now open to businesses across multiple East Tennessee counties, including Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Loudon, Oak Ridge, and Roane counties. If you are interested in learning more about the Propel mentor/protégé program, please contact Doug Minter at

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Consumer iD Tool Will Help Grow B2C Businesses The Knoxville Chamber recently entered into a partnership with Acxiom, an enterprise data and analytics company with more than 7,000 global clients, to provide members with access to powerful “intelligent data” to connect you with more consumers. Only 10 Chambers, nationally, have been identified to pilot the program. The fee-based service is available to Chamber members at a fraction of the cost of non-affiliated data solutions. Consumer iD provides consumer-based businesses (retail, restaurants, real estate, automobile dealers, etc.) with two business development opportunities: Look Alike Profiles Identifies the common traits of a business’s existing loyal customers and finds more people with similar traits. Targeted Mailing Lists Businesses can market to specific audiences utilizing mailing lists based on the Look Alike Profile or pull lists based on specific data points such as: • New Home Owners • Household Income $100K+ • Number of Children • Customized Lists - You name the filters – we can pull the list Learn more by visiting or schedule an appointment with Michelle Kiely, vice president of business development, by calling (865) 246-2617.


AUGUST 3 Premier Partner Event featuring Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero

8 – 9 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 Exclusive to Premier Partners SPONSORED BY:

AUGUST 9 Kickoff to Endeavor – Sip & Be Social Before the Summit! Found from website 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. • Schulz Brau Brewing Company • $10 Recreate PMS 126 Bernard Avenue, Knoxville, 37917


AUGUST 17 Women on the Rise to Shine Featuring Susan Packard 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Lunch and Networking 12 – 1 p.m. Program Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown • 525 Henley Street, Knoxville, 37902 $30 Chamber Members; $40 Non-Members SPONSORED BY:

AUGUST 18 Knoxville News Sentinel Open - Business After Hours 4:30 – 7 p.m. • Fox Den Country Club • 12284 North Fox Den Drive, Knoxville, 37934 SPONSORED BY:

AUGUST 19 Endeavor – Young Professional Summit Knoxville 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. • The Mill & Mine • 299 West Depot Avenue, Knoxville, 37917 $125 SPONSORED BY:

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

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August 2016 Commerce  
August 2016 Commerce