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INSIDE: Sponsor Salute pg. 43 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 46









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 BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS B2B CFO (888) 611-4091 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Blue River Partners (865) 470-4095 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants DME Leadership Development Consulting (865) 964-0743 Business & Professional Services

Accurate Excavating & Contracting Services, Inc. (865) 438-0359 Construction & Contractors Air Products & Chemicals (423) 246-1168 Industrial Supplies & Services



Asen Marketing (865) 769-0006 Advertising Agencies

Clean Appearance Building Services (865) 622-9711 Cleaning Services & Supplies

James Freeman Interiors & Gifts (865) 522-3230 Shopping: Specialty

Svelte Body Contouring (865) 312-5696 Personal Services

Balanced You Studios (865) 207-9588 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being

Crown Packaging Corporation (937) 294-6580 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics

Banks & Jones (865) 407-2122 Legal Services: Attorneys

Edward Jones - Lee Vaughan (865) 253-1604 Financial Services

KSV Group (865) 599-9822 Environmental Services & Equipment: Consultants

The Stables at Hunter Valley Farm (865) 607-4984 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

Massage Envy Spa Emory Road (865) 947-3689 Healthcare Providers & Services

Valet Gourmet (828) 252-1221 Restaurants

Morristown Automatic Sprinkler Company (865) 689-4480 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Safety Equipment & Services

WorldWide Staffing (888) 501-5897 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

Breezeway Yoga (865) 951-6024 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being BrightStar Care (865) 690-6282 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services Clarus Merchant Services - Natalie Donahue (888) 245-7216 x 705 Business & Professional Services: Credit Card Equipment & Processing

Expeditors International (865) 673-6639 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics:Import/ Export Assistance GEFCO - Loudon (865) 408-2100 Manufacturing The Henley Apartments (865) 573-8884 Apartments Hunter’s Coin Laundry (804) 731-5631 Personal Services

Ricoh USA (865) 293-0319 Office Equipment, Supplies, & Services Ripley PR, Inc. (865) 977-1973 Public Relations Agencies










K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 40

WUOT Public Radio (865) 974-5375 Broadcast Media Your Ticket To Travel (865) 804-4522 Personal Services: Travel


nnovation Valley offers an ideal business climate for any industry. With its skilled workforce, low cost of living, and unparalleled quality of life, companies from around the globe have chosen to locate their businesses here. More than 70 entities, including Clayton Homes, DeRoyal, Pilot Flying J, Scripps Networks Interactive, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, operate their headquarters in the region, and more than 25 businesses — ADT, Answer Financial, and U.S. Cellular among them — have back-office services located here. Since the corporate services industry has a sizable presence in the region, it has been included in Innovation Valley’s strategic plan as a target recruitment cluster. The plan, or Blueprint 2.0, outlines five target recruitment clusters that are perfectly suited to take maximum advantage of the area’s strengths, especially its concentration of scientific and technological assets, central location, well-developed infrastructure, and low cost of living. “Corporate services employers often bring with them name brand recognition to a region as well as high-paying white-collar jobs,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “These types of companies take quality of life very seriously when making site location decisions, and Innovation Valley has much to offer in that realm.”

tion’s proximity to Interstate 40 and other amenities also influenced the company’s decision to locate in Knoxville. “We chose this location because of the great features that it has: easy access to the freeway, a beautiful 10-mile greenway, great location for accessibility to banks, restaurants and other services,” Slingerland said. “We hope that will help us attract and retain new associates as we continue to grow. U.S. Cellular is another company that was drawn to Knoxville’s excellent quality of life and abundant resources. “The availability of land, the support of local government, the accessibility of resources including an energetic, customer-focused workforce, and support of the greater Knoxville community of new business growth were all important factors in deciding to build U.S. Cellular’s first Customer Care Center in Knox County in 1997,” said Sharon Stewart, director of the U.S. Cellular Customer Care Center in Knoxville. The Customer Care Center currently employs more than 400 associates. Stewart said because of the early success of the call center, U.S. Cellular also decided to locate the company’s East Region headquarters in Knoxville as well, which led to additional company jobs and increased economic impact in the area.


CENTRAL LOCATION In 2013, Los Angeles-based insurance company Answer Financial Inc. opened a new 33,000-square-foot facility in Knoxville. The company had operated a smaller sales office in Oak Ridge for 10 years, but decided to move and expand its space in Knoxville. Peter Foley, Answer Financial’s senior vice president of sales and client service operations, said the new location is more centralized for the majority of the company’s employees. “About 45 percent of our employees are within a 15-minute drive (to the building) and 80 percent are within a short commute,” Foley said. Robert J. Slingerland, CEO and president of Answer Financial, said the loca-

Security company ADT has been in Innovation Valley since the 1960s with the opening of its Sales and Service Office. After decades of success in the region, the company expanded its presence by opening its Customer Monitoring Center in 2006. Bob Duncan, director of the Customer Monitoring Center, said one of the reasons ADT chose Knoxville — aside from its low risk of severe weather and natural disasters — was the area’s excellent workforce.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 41

See “Target” on pg. 42

“Target” continued from pg. 41


“The people of East Tennessee are excellent workers who show a high level of care for our customers and deliver excellent service,” Duncan said. “Our center was recently recognized by ADT as having the highest customer satisfaction scores from customer surveys in the company. This is in large part due to the culture we have here with our East Tennessee workforce — they care about the customers and about each other, which leads to strong employee retention as well.” The company currently employs 652 staff members. Duncan said ADT has more than doubled its employee base in Knoxville in the past two years. The company has also invested more than $7 million in facility and infrastructure upgrades to its facility here. Loan company 21st Mortgage operates its headquarters in downtown Knoxville and employs nearly 600 team members. Since it began in 1995, the company has always taken advantage of hiring the talented workforce coming out of universities and community colleges in the area. In fact, since 2006, 21st Mortgage has been the largest employer of graduates from the University of Tennessee, Maryville College, and East Tennessee State University in the area. “We hire primarily college graduates and train them to become managers,” said Tim Williams, CEO of 21st Mortgage. “We develop our team members to become experts in our industry. We have a strong culture of hard work with Golden Rule values. We promote our management team from within the company. We provide our people with the tools to develop their leadership capabilities. We expect our team members to be responsible members of the community.”

In addition to headquarters and call centers, Innovation Valley is looking to recruit more data centers to the area. Data centers serve as a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information. The facilities are used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. “As the information age evolves, the data center is to the Information Revolution what the manufacturing facility was to the Industrial Revolution,” said Spencer Sessions, market specialist for data centers/mission critical facilities at the Tennessee Valley Authority. “It’s an absolutely core piece of a community’s economy moving forward.” TVA Economic Development has worked with Deloitte Consulting to identify suitable sites for data centers. These sites would have all the required utilities needed for a data center to operate. Four locations in Innovation Valley have been designated as data center-ready. Sessions said the work TVA’s done to identify these sites will help bring companies to the area, because they won’t have to spend time assessing the sites on their own. Sessions said data centers are a great asset for an area to have, because they have a minimal impact on city services; an extremely positive impact on the city’s economy; create well-paying jobs; and result in considerable capital investment. “It’s something that aligns well for a metro community like Knoxville that’s looking to grow its industry base, but it also adds services to the industries already there,” Sessions said. “From the TVA local power provider standpoint, we see data centers not only as very good complimentary neighbors, but also as great engines for economic development growth.”

Community Comes Together to Recognize Veterans at Annual Luncheon The East Tennessee Military Affairs Council hosted its 32nd annual Veterans Day Awards Luncheon on Nov. 11 at the downtown Marriott. Since 1996, the annual luncheon, coordinated by the Knoxville Chamber, has brought together the community to celebrate those who have served their country. This year, more than 550 guests were in attendance, including veterans, active duty, guard, and reserve personnel, and community and government leaders. Each year, the event honors one of the four branches of the military. The Air Force was this year’s highlighted branch. “The annual luncheon serves as an opportunity for local community leaders to show appreciation of the sacrifices of our veterans and their families, and to recognize the special bond of service the attendees share,” said Patrice Collins, economic development assistant for the Chamber and event coordinator. ”This is highlighted by honoring the local active duty enlisted troops and future military leaders, who along with the veterans in attendance, represent the rich tradition of military service in East Tennessee.” During the event, 13 enlisted personnel from various units, and two University of Tennessee ROTC cadets, were honored for their outstanding performance throughout the year. Two recipients received the ETMAC’s highest award – the Sam Hardman Memorial Award, which is named in memory of one of Knoxville’s most ardent supporters of veterans’ affairs. “This is one of the largest luncheons of its kind in the nation,” said ETMAC President Barry Allen. ETMAC is fortunate to have been sponsored by the

Knoxville Chamber since we were founded in 1990. We are also provided with support from the Blount Partnership.”

Members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing pose for a photo at the annual ETMAC Veterans Day Awards Luncheon.

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Sponsor Salute As 2014 draws to an end, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the great local businesses that sponsored a Chamber event over the past year. 21st Mortgage Corporation 3 Minute Magic Carwash of Knoxville, LLC Ackermann PR Alcoa, Inc. All Occasion Catering All Occasion Party Rentals Appalachia Business Communications Aqua-Chem, Inc. ARG Financial Staffing AT&T Bandit Lites BB&T BGT Recruiting & Consulting Blackhorse Pub & Brewery Blaine Construction Corporation Campbell, Cunningham & Taylor, P.C. Cannon & Cannon, Inc. CapitalMark Bank & Trust Caris Healthcare Cellular Sales ChoiceSpine Club LeConte Comcast Business Class Cope Associates Inc., Architecture Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants Cornerstone of Recovery Coulter & Justus, P.C. Covenant Health Cumulus Media Inc. Dale Carnegie DMG | Bluegill Eagle Distributing East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Edfinancial Services Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, P.C. EnergySolutions


ExpoQuip, Inc. Ferguson Bath Kitchen and Lighting First Tennessee Food City FSG Bank Functional Pathways Gerdau Graphic Creations Greater Knoxville Business Journal H&T Enterprises, Inc. Harmony Family Center Harper Auto Square Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park HR Comp Image Matters KaTom Restaurant Supply, Inc. Knoxville Fashion Week Knoxville News Sentinel Open Knoxville Utilities Board KNS Media Group Kramer Rayson LLP LBMC, P.C. Management Solutions, LLC Markets Demand More, LLC Master Dry, LLC Master Terminal Technologies Mercedes of Knoxville ORNL Federal Credit Union Partners Development Pellissippi State Community College Pepsi Pilot Flying J Pinnacle Financial Partners Prestige Cleaners, Inc.



K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 43

Prestige Tuxedo Publix Super Markets Radio Systems Corporation Regal Entertainment Regions Bank Relix Variety Theatre Riverstone Resort Rodefer Moss & Company, PLLC Ruth’s Chris Steak House Sam’s Club Small Business Development Center Sound Ventures Southeastern Technology Consultants Spontivity SRW & Associates StaffSource Storage Pros Stowers Machinery Corporation Studio Four Design SunTrust Bank Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc. TeamHealth Tennessee Valley Authority The Casual Pint The Stables at Hunter Valley Farm The University of Tennessee Thermocopy Toyota of Knoxville U.S. Bank U.S. Cellular University Health System, Inc. UT Federal Credit Union UT Haslam College of Business UT-BATTELLE, LLC/ORNL Visionary Solutions, LLC Willis


MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ SPOTLIGHT PROTÉGÉ: Kelly Absher Company: KS Absher Marketing & Events Title: Owner

What benefit has being a mentor offered you? Mentoring has allowed me to see the world through a new set of lenses. It validates our natural inclination for connection and invigorates my desire for lifelong learning.

Why do you think being a mentor is important? Mentoring someone keeps me on my toes! It pushes me to explore ways to encourage someone else and help bring out the best in them and me. Mentoring helps us better understand when and how to ask for help and advice, while also allowing us to learn from each other in the process.

Industry: Marketing Website: Briefly describe your firm: KS Absher Marketing & Events enjoys the tasks of increasing a client’s exposure, which in turn will increase their profits. As the owner, I handle client’s social media, marketing, public relations, and special events needs. It is great to help existing businesses find new markets and patrons, and equally exciting to help a startup company find its footing and help them reach their benchmark goals.

What are your thoughts on the future success of your Protégé? Kelly is awesome and has the best outlook on life. No matter what comes his way, he will go far as long as he keeps his positive mental attitude and strong work ethic. The best part for me is that I have gained a talented, smart, and kind new friend.

What are the three main things you learned from your mentor(s)? I am blessed two-fold by having two amazing mentors – Tammy White, president/ CEO of Leadership Knoxville, and Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville. I have learned a great deal from each of my mentors. They each have a strong skill set that they share with no reservations. With Tammy I have learned how the power of networking can help a business, and how vital it is to get out in the community and be seen. Kim has coached me on different communication styles. I am one that states the facts too bluntly at times, and she has helped me with my delivery of information and the importance of having patience. With each of them I have learned how important it is to always give back and to always pay it forward.

Kim Bumpas Company: Visit Knoxville Title: President Industry: Tourism Website:

How has your business changed because of your mentor(s)? With the help of my mentors’ I have streamlined processes that make involvement with my clients easier and more professional. Kim has introduced me to software that saves me time enabling me to focus on my clients so I can help increase their profits. Tammy has been great in introducing me to people that I may have not had a chance to meet previously and helped increase my exposure.

What benefit has being a mentor offered you? It has given me the opportunity to give back. After 20 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, I have a wealth of experiences to share and Kelly was an awesome candidate to share them with. It’s also provided me with the opportunity to learn from those I’m mentoring.

Why do you think being a mentor is important?

MENTORS: Tammy White Company: Leadership Knoxville

Having someone to bounce ideas off of, or to discuss if it is time to grow the business and add staff, is important to a small business owner. If mentoring can provide an individual with the edge he or she needs to succeed in business, it’s worth every bit of the time invested.

What are your thoughts on the future success of your Protégé?

Title: President and CEO Industry: Non-profit Website:

Kelly is always open to sharing about his successes, as well as his struggles, and he is ready to accept feedback and apply it. Being open in this mentor/protégé relationship says a lot about Kelly’s desire to succeed and willingness to learn from those who are invested in his success.

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Wanted: Big Ideas Entrepreneurial Competition in Search of Big Ideas What’s the Big Idea returns in January with an exciting new format. Initially launched as a business plan competition that spanned two months and three levels of elimination, the new version of the entrepreneurial competition will be compressed into an intense, twoday startup summit, called What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch. The program, sponsored by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and the Knoxville Entrepreneurial Center, is designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level. “We’re really excited about the new format for What’s the Big Idea,” said Todd Napier, president and CEO of the Development Corporation. “The time crunch will test the participants’ ability to think on their feet and perform under pressure.” The competition will begin on Friday, Jan. 23, and conclude on Sunday, Jan. 25. During that time, the entrepreneurs will go through a rigorous period of prototyping, planning, incubating, and launching their startup ideas. The entrepreneurs won’t be going it alone though, they’ll have a team of professionals from a variety of different fields available to them 24/7 at KEC to help them refine their ideas. “For the past few years WTBI has had a team of talented coaches that have helped the entrepreneurs craft and improve their ideas through a series of sessions,” Napier said. “We still have that mentor support in the 48-hour launch format, but now it’s an entire roomful of them who are available around the clock for contestants.” Emily Skaar, KEC’s entrepreneur coordinator, competed in a similar competition at The Company Lab in Chattanooga in 2013 with her startup “The Gifter’s Market.” She said the 48-Hour Launch differs from traditional entrepreneurial competitions because it’s more focused on the business idea than an actual finalized product. “Most startup competitions aren’t there to help you develop your idea; they are there to say you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to your product,” she said. “But the 48-hour competitions want to see your idea improve from Friday to Sunday, and they do everything they can to help you get there with all of the mentor support.” As with the traditional WTBI contest, the winner of the competition will receive a Big Idea Launch Package that includes up to $10,000 in start-up reimbursement costs, rent-free office space at the Fairview Technology Center for one year, and complimentary business services. However, before claiming their prize, the winner must complete the KEC CO-STARTERS Program, a nine-week business development program, which will help further their path to startup success. “This is a no-excuses weekend for starting a business,” Skaar said. “If you want to start a business, then this is a golden opportunity to put your name out there.” Deadline to apply to be in the competition is Jan. 7. For more information on the competition and to apply, visit

Business Leaders from South Carolina, Missouri Look to Knoxville for Inspiration The Knoxville Chamber hosted two regional chambers in October and November for leadership visits. The Columbia Missouri Chamber of Commerce held its Inaugural Leadership Visit in Knoxville from Oct. 28-30. While in town, the group heard from experts on economic development strategy, the sports and tourism industry, education, city government, and air travel. “We learned so much from this trip,” said Kristi Ray, executive vice president of the Columbia Missouri Chamber. “We learned that the Knoxville community has an incredible sense of collaboration. We were impressed with how all of the area’s organizations seemed to be on the same page when it came to promoting Knoxville.” The Columbia Chamber hopes to use what it learned in Knoxville to improve on its brand, business partnerships, airport, and regional economic development efforts. The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce held its 2015 Board of Directors Retreat in Knoxville from Nov. 6-7. The group also heard presentations on economic development, education, and sports and tourism, as well as a session on the Knoxville Chamber’s membership department. “The Knoxville model is something we look to duplicate in Spartanburg,” said Allen Smith, president and CEO. “It was interesting to learn that five years ago Knoxville and the Knoxville Chamber faced many of the same issues our community and organization are looking to address today. It was incredibly enlightening for my leadership and I to see what we could be with focus, innovation and community cohesion.” “We are honored that these two great chambers chose to visit Knoxville,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership. “We hope the information they gathered here will help them as their chambers grow and evolve.”

Columbia Tribune President Andy Waters traveled to Knoxville with the Columbia Missouri Chamber of Commerce to observe the visit. Scan the QR code to read his column on the trip, “Lessons from Knoxville: Business group learns from Tennessee city.” http://www. article_76fdd000-4198-51ed-b22e-77edd989a238.html

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(September 2014*)

NOTES - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties. *October 2014 updated data not available at time of publication.



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

% Change Sept. ’13Sept. ‘14

Sept. 2014

Aug. 2014

Sept. 2013

% Change Aug. ’14Sept. ‘14

226,470 355,500 3,000,000 155,903,000

227,910 357,430 3,010,900 156,434,000

232,160 365,440 3,103,200 155,536,000

-0.6 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3

-2.5 -2.7 -3.3 0.2

344,700 2,831,000

343,300 2,806,100

335,400 2,769,900

0.4 0.9

2.8 2.2

13,360 21,680 218,850

15,810 25,180 246,860

17,110 27,850 282,690

-15.5 -13.9 -11.3

-21.9 -22.2 -22.6

5.4 5.6 6.6 5.7

6.3 6.4 7.4 6.3

6.6 6.8 8.1 7.0

-0.9 -0.8 -0.8 -0.6

-1.2 -1.2 -1.5 -1.3

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Sept. 2014 1,148 11,320 $150,000

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

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


% Change Sept. ’12Sept. ‘14 0.1 0.5

Sept. ’13-‘14

Aug. ’13-‘14

Sept. ’12-‘13

1.5 1.7

1.5 1.7

1.4 1.2

0.0 0.0

% Change Sept. ’13Sept. ‘14

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

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Aug. 2014* 16 16 0

Aug. 2013 22 22 0

% Change Aug. ’13Aug. ‘14 -27.3 -27.3 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

109 109 0

125 123 2

-12.8 -11.4 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

159 159 0

150 148 2

6.0 7.4 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,472 1,372 100

1,636 1,257 379

-10.0 9.1 -73.6

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2014

Aug. 2014

Sept. 2013

% Change Aug. ’14Sept. ‘14

49,027,309 68,727,415 622,113,570

48,326,011 68,619,708 629,734,407

46,711,449 65,761,292 590,714,853

1.5 0.2 -1.2

5.0 4.5 5.3

13,346,911 19,304,423

12,951,136 18,311,085

1.1 0.0

4.2 5.4

% Change Sept. ’13Sept. ‘14 5.8 7.1 3.3 8.0 2.7 7.3 2.6 -1.9 13.5 8.1 5.1 12.8 8.2 2.7


Passengers Cargo

July 2014 168,680 6,046,162

June 2014 164,397 5,466,645

July 2013 162,233 6,797,296

% Change June ’14July ‘14 2.6 10.6

% Change July ’13July ‘14 4.0 -11.1

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


1,156 11,709 $145,900


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

Sept. 2013

% Change Sept. ’13Sept. ‘14 -0.7 -3.3 2.8

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Aug. 2014 1,294 11,387 $155,000

% Change Aug. ’14Sept. ‘14 -11.3 -0.6 -3.2

13,496,108 19,296,656

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

Sept. 2014

Aug. 2014

424,608 26,944 18,997 8,574 53,782 46,484 8,279 44,635 50,896 24,655 10,332 86,964 37,193

455,566 27,488 22,220 8,593 57,067 49,716 8,715 47,892 56,703 24,779 10,667 95,927 37,431

401,379 25,167 18,387 7,937 52,354 43,321 8,073 45,522 44,835 22,814 9,827 77,071 34,381

% Change Aug. ’14Sept. ‘14 -6.8 -2.0 -14.5 -0.2 -5.8 -6.5 -5.0 -6.8 -10.2 -0.5 -3.1 -9.3 -0.6





Sept. 2013

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 | 46

Knox County Schools Scores All ‘A’s on State Report Card For the second consecutive year, Knox County Schools earned all “A”s in achievement on the Tennessee State Report Card. The school system scored “A”s in achievement for reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies. The achievement grades are based on how well students performed on the TCAP assessments against the curriculum standards. “(For) Knox County Schools (this means) that even among unprecedented change in the public education landscape in the state of Tennessee, we have continued to improve our student outcomes and reach the higher standards that we have set for ourselves and our community,” said Jim McIntryre, superintendent of Knox County Schools. “We will continue these educational aspirations with a deep commitment to meeting our students’ learning needs and supporting our teachers and staff every step of the way.” This was also the fourth consecutive year that Knox County Schools’ overall scores were either higher or on par with the state of Tennessee in every achievement category. The state posted grades of B, A, B and A for reading/language arts, math, science and social studies, respectively, on its 2014 report card. The Tennessee Department of Education has been issuing yearly report cards since 2000. In addition to achievement, they also measure demographics and discipline. “Tennessee is at the forefront of education reform in the U.S., and has had the fastest improving National Assessment of Educational Progress exam scores in the country,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, who also serves on the Tennessee Board of Education. “What’s even more exciting is that Knox County Schools has received ‘A’s on its district scorecard. Knox County, along with several other districts in the region, is performing at the highest level, which means we are developing a strong workforce pipeline in this area.”

December Bright Ideas Seminar: Secrets to Recruiting and Coaching a World-Class Sales Team With more than 30 years of recruiting and coaching experience, Lance Cooper and Steve Suggs of SalesManage Solutions will bring their expertise to the Knoxville Chamber’s upcoming Bright Ideas seminar on Dec. 16. Through their work at SalesManage Solutions, the duo assists companies, locally and nationally, recruit and coach sales teams to yield higher production. “Secrets to Recruiting and Coaching a World-Class Sales Team” will dive into to best recruiting practices, as well as how to get the highest level performance from current sales teams. “We coach people to build high-performance sales teams by training them to recruit and coach at a world class level,” said Lance Cooper, president of SalesManage Solutions. “The ‘Recruit the Best’ system teaches people how to select sales reps who can sell.” While Suggs focuses on the “Recruit the Best” system, Cooper will analyze the processes, tools, and skills of a great sales team by using the “Coach the Best” system. This will teach attendees how to coach sales reps to perform at levels that help them and their company thrive. Those attending the seminar will learn secrets to motivating people that few are aware of and how to change a sales culture into better performance. With the help of Suggs and Cooper, attendees will be able to increase profits through innovative recruiting and coaching practices. The seminar will take place on Dec. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members with a boxed lunch included. For more information or to register for the event, please visit . Chamber Intern Jessica Karsten contributed this article.


Blount Partnership Situated at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blount Partnership is one of eight partner agencies that make up Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, the regional economic partnership managed by the Knoxville Chamber. The Blount Partnership represents all of Blount County, which encompasses the municipalities of Maryville, Alcoa, Townsend, Rockford, Friendsville, and Louisville. Known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and rooted in Southern charm, Blount County embraces a diverse array of people, cultures, and landscapes. It is also home to McGhee Tyson Airport. “Individually, the communities that make up Innovation Valley each have amazing assets. However, collectively, Innovation Valley is a powerhouse in east Tennessee and throughout the southeast,” said Rachel Trump, director of economic and workforce development for the Blount Partnership. “The technology is here, taxes are low, we are within a day’s drive of three-quarters of the nation’s population; the list goes on. Being able to market these collective assets gives us a huge advantage over other regions, and the results show as businesses are locating here.” Blount County is also known for its welcoming approach to business. It is currently, or soon to be home to some of the most innovative companies in their respective industries. Just two of the latest are ProNova and K12, Inc. It also has companies who have been calling it home for a very long time – Alcoa and Denso are just two examples. “There is a reason companies like these come here, and stay here. We are good for business, but we also recognize that those businesses are good for us,” Trump said. “We offer something very different in Blount County. Our unique approach to economic development starts with the Blount Partnership and our coming together of the cities of Alcoa and Maryville with the county itself to work collectively to bring new business to Blount County. It’s our belief that when we get that new business, we all win, so we work together to provide the best package possible.” Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

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Former Mayor of Pittsburgh Speaks on Urban Revitalization On Nov. 4, Knoxville Chamber members had the opportunity to hear from Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh and Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow, about communities building on innovation. The visit was sponsored by NAI Knoxville and Innovation Valley. Murphy served as the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1994 until 2006. There he initiated a partnership strategy between the public and private sector, which leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development for the city. He also developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail, and public uses, and oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and parks. “When I began my term, (Pittsburgh) we were a city facing a very uncertain future. We were the second oldest county in the United States, and it wasn’t because people were retiring there. It was because our young people were leaving,” said Murphy. “Fast forward to a few years ago and The Economist, and Forbes, ranked Pittsburgh as the most livable city in the U.S. That happened because of a strong partnership with the business leadership, the foundations, the banks, and the political leaders. We looked at what we wanted to do, how we were going to do it, and pursued a very aggressive strategy to get there.” Since joining ULI in 2006, Murphy has represented the foundation in a number of cities helping them shape a revitalization strategy, stating that within the last six months he has been to 28 cities around the world. While at the Doug Lawyer of the Knoxville Chamber, Maribel Koella of NAI Chamber, Murphy Knoxville, former Pittsburgh mayor, Tom Murphy, and Mike Edshed advice on urban wards of the Chamber, pose for a photo. revitalization and what it takes to be competitive and stay relevant it today’s ever-changing global economy. He also emphasized the importance of cities investing in themselves to drive change. “The reality of it is if you’re not going to invest in the future, you’re not going to grow,” said Murphy. Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.


Since 1869, the Knoxville Chamber has been the leading voice for business in our region. Each of these businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries as Chamber members during the month of December. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community!



25 – 30 YEARS


20 – 24 YEARS


15-19 YEARS


10 – 14 YEARS


Lamar Outdoor Advertising 1953 McDonald’s Restaurants 1960 The Lilly Company 1967 Waste Connections of Tennessee 1967 Lawler Wood 1975 Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC 1976 Workforce Connections 1979 Journal Broadcast Group of Knoxville 1981 Girl Scout Council (Southern Appalachians) 1982 South College 1983 Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley, PC 1984 Custom Cellular Inc. – Authorized AT&T Reailer 1986 The Trust Company 1986 Dogwood Arts 1987 Aqua-Chem 1988 K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. 1989

Kimberly-Clark Corporation 1990 Talent Trek Agency 1990 HG&A Associates, PC 1991 Read Window Products, Inc. 1991 Holston Hills Country Club 1991 Ijams Nature Center 1992 Morris Creative Group, LLC 1993 The Willows Apartments 1993 Drain Construction 1994 Office Furniture Outfitters 1995 Blue Ridge Realty, Inc. 1996 HealthCare 21 Business Coalition 1997 Southern Safety Supply, LLC 1997 Office Depot 1998 ModernTech Corporation 1998 Bush Brothers & Company 1998 Image Matters, Inc. 1999 Phillips & Jordan, Inc. 1999 Jacobs Engineering Group 1999 Unity Mortuary 1999 The Florence Crittenton Agency, Inc. 1999 The Tomato Head 1999 Threds, Inc. 2000 Smoky Mountain CVB 2000 Strategic Employee Benefit Services 2000 B & T Distributing Company 2000 Adams Products 2000 Volunteer Ministry Center 2000 CDM Smith 2000 Valliant Harrison Schwartz & Green 2002 Fairfield Inn by Marriot - Knoxville East 2002 Total Polish Solutions 2002 Knoxville Ice Bears 2002 Market Realty 2003 Cumberland Heights 2003 Emerald Youth Foundation 2004 Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park 2004 Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant 2004 Pete’s Coffee Shop Restaurant 2004 Crowne Plaza Knoxville 2004

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48 Helping Members Market Their Business

The Knoxville Chamber’s interactive membership directory,, is a convenient digital resource for Knoxville businesses and is used to provide information and visual content to online consumers. allows Chamber members to promote and market their businesses, while driving traffic to their own sites at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. Building out an iKK page is cheaper per year than many advertising options are per month, and an increasing number of people are using the site to search for local businesses. “ serves as our member directory, but it is also a great low-cost marketing tool for our members to gain more exposure for their businesses,” said Katie Steenrod, membership development coordinator for the Chamber. “Members have an additional presence online that supplements or can even substitute a website.” The total number of page views this year has reached just over 500,000 with an average of 45,000 page views per month. Since the site’s creation, these numbers have drastically increased each year allowing for member businesses to receive more exposure online. “All of our members receive a promotional page on with their membership and as membership development coordinator, my role here at the Knoxville Chamber is to assist members with building these pages,” Steenrod said. “By taking full advantage of the features offered with, members are driving traffic to their businesses and serving as a resource for customers and visitors to their pages.” There are a variety of iKK promotional plans available based on Chamber membership level, as well as the ability to add on more features by making an additional modest investment. Basic membership allows for a short description and location of the business to be promoted on iKK, while members at the Premier Partner levels have the ability to have a logo, post jobs, events, and coupons, among other features. For more information on developing an promotional page, please contact Katie Steenrod at Chamber Intern Jessica Karsten contributed this article.

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Mercedes a.m. Exchange Draws Large Crowd


DECEMBER 16 Premier Partner Event – Behind the Scenes of the UT Veterinary School

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • UT Veterinary School, 2407 River Drive, Classroom A118

DECEMBER 16 More than 100 business people joined the Knoxville Chamber for its a.m. Exchange hosted by Mercedes Benz of Knoxville on Nov. 6. Guests enjoyed getting a look at Mercedes’ Sprinter cargo vans, as well as a breakfast buffet provided by catering sponsor All Occasion Catering. The morning concluded with Mike Russell of All Crane Rental of Tennessee and John Young of Coulter & Justus each winning a door prize – a $25 Starbucks gift card provided by the dealership.

Bright Ideas Seminar: Secrets to Recruiting and Coaching a World Class Sales Team Presented by Steve Suggs and Lance Cooper, SalesManage Solutions

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for members/$35 for non-members (boxed lunch included)

Sponsored by:

Save the Date! 2015 Social Media Series Presented by:

JANUARY 7 8 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media Presented by Chris Martin, FletcherPR

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

JANUARY 14 Internet Marketing 101 – Half-Day Seminar Presented by Corey Cleek, Vanderbilt University Marketing Professor, CEO/ Co-Founder of Uloop Inc.

8 a.m. - Noon • $90 for members/$115 for non-members State Rep. Roger Kane, Bradley Guinn of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC, and Brannon McNeillie of Coulter & Justus pose for a photo at the Nov. 6 a.m. Exchange at Mercedes Benz of Knoxville.

JANUARY 21 15 Cool Social Tools for ‘15 – A Panel Discussion Moderated by Dino Cartwright, WVLT-TV

Panelists: Jeremy Floyd, BPV Capital; XX, Moxley Carmichael; Dan Thompson, Claris Networks • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Sponsored by:

JANUARY 28 Rocking the Ages: Using Social Media to Connect with Generations of Customers Presented by Chuck Morris, Morris Creative

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) 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 December 2014  
Commerce December 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.