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INSIDE: Innovation Valley Update pg. 76 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 78












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 PARTNER Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits (865) 963-0830 Transportation: Fleet Maintenance Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics: Import/ Export Assistance

AccuForce (423) 707-0004 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals (865) 286-8284 Hotels & Lodging Bailey’s Sports Grille (865) 531-2644 Restaurants

BeautiControl - Susan Smith (865) 599-5989 Personal Services

Greenlight E-Mail Marketing (865) 226-9472 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

PatriotGrrlz (865) 659-0502 Shopping: Jewelry

Spanish Language Solutions (865) 394-5087 Business & Professional Services: Translators/Intepreters

Biltmore Property Group (865) 279-0670 Real Estate: Commercial

Ideal Roofing and Exteriors, Inc. (855) 766-3665 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

Planet Beach (865) 671-6560 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Superior Carpet & Rug Cleaning (865) 691-5686 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies

Cappiello Real Estate (865) 482-1214 Real Estate: Commercial

Knoxville Fashion Week (865) 680-1707 Entertainment: Arts & Culture

Pleasant Hill Nursery (865) 567-0345 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping

CL Butcher Insurance Agency (865) 689-5482 Insurance

Knoxville Transport Services, LLC (865) 684-4868 Transportation

Cross Creek Apartments (865) 584-4624 Apartments Goldman Partners Realty (865) 247-7809 x101 Real Estate: Commercial

OfficeMax (865) 938-2771 Shopping: Electronics, Business & Professional Services: Credit Card Equipment & Processing, Office Equipment, Supplies, & Services: Digital Copy/Print/Fax/Scan Equip. & Ser, Business & Professional Services: Printers

PowerUp Fitness, LLC (901) 283-9018 Education & Training RT Clapp of Knoxville (865) 524-1241 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Repair & Service Snack Healthy Knoxville (865) 414-7482 Food & Beverage:Food/Food Service Dist.

















ThyssenKrupp Elevator (865) 588-8519 x6530 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Elevator Sales & Service U.S. Bank - Corporate Real Estate (865) 540-5884 Real Estate: Property Management Wunderlich Securities (865) 951-0445 Financial Services: Investments

Chamber Sets State, Regional Legislative Agendas


ith the 108th Tennessee General Assembly back in session, the Knoxville Chamber, along with its counterparts across the state and region, has set its 2014 legislative agendas. The Chamber has worked with its regional partners in Blount County and Oak Ridge, and with the other “Big Four” chambers in Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis, to develop legislative agendas for both the region and the state for the benefit of the business community. “Advocating on behalf of our members is critical to our ability to help our community grow,” said Danielle South, director of public policy for the Chamber. Education is a driving issue on both the state and regional legislative agendas. A well-educated and trained workforce is key to economic growth. The chambers are urging the General Assembly and the Tennessee Department of Education to “stay the course” with education initiatives that will produce a workforce that will meet the business needs in the state and the region. “We’re fortunate that we have good schools, but we want great schools,” said Susan Richardson Williams, chairwoman of the Chamber’s government relations committee. “You cannot take your eye off the ball when it comes to education issues. They’re dynamic and ever-evolving.”

See “Legislative Agenda” on pg. 50

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“Legislative Agenda” continued from pg. 49 The chambers are advocating the continued implementation of Common Core State Standards, which provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn by the end of each school year. This helps parents and educators know what they need to do to help students get to that point. The chambers also support the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers, or PARCC, assessment. The assessment, which will be implemented for the first time this fall, will help students build a pathway to college and career readiness by measuring their progress from third grade to graduation. It provides teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. “The continued implementation of Common Core State Standards and the new PARCC assessment are critical to preparing tomorrow’s workforce,” South said. The chambers would also like to see continued appointment of superintendents and annual teacher evaluations tied to student performance. Both issues are expected to be discussed on The Hill again this session. Another initiative to improve the state’s education is “Drive to 55,” which aims to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to

55 percent by the year 2025. The state is currently at 32 percent. Randy Boyd, founder and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, is spearheading the initiative for Gov. Bill Haslam. “It’s not just a post-secondary mission. It’s not just a workforce development mission or an economic development mission,” Boyd said. “It is the state’s mission, and if we fail to get our citizens these post-secondary certificates and degrees, we fail our state.” Creating new economic development incentives for Innovation Valley is a priority on the regional agenda. The regional chambers are urging lawmakers to create significant, transparent, and consistent economic development incentives for new and expanding businesses. Projects like the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge will create opportunities for existing businesses and new business recruitment across the state and region. “The state of Tennessee and Innovation Valley are consistently ranked as one of the top locations for business in the nation,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Chamber. “We need the support of lawmakers to create economic incentives that make our state even more attractive to prospective and existing businesses.” Additionally, the state agenda also supports the establishment of a mechanism to fill judicial vacancies that keeps Tennessee’s appellate judges out of the partisan political cycle. As the session progresses, the chambers will monitor any legislative developments that might affect business in the state of Tennessee. “The agendas serve as a guideline for those bills impacting business that we expect to be introduced during the session,” South said. “The individual chambers will continue to keep an eye on additional bills that appear on the docket.” Visit the “Workforce and Education” section of to learn more about Common Core and the Drive to 55 initiative.

New Jobs and Investments Announced for Innovation Valley Two companies recently announced expansions that will bring a total of $60 million in capital investments and more than 280 new jobs to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley region. Knoxville Locomotive Works will be establishing a new assembly and fabrication plant, while automotive supplier, Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, is investing in additional equipment and jobs in order to support both increased customer demand and new products secured for future models. “The Innovation Valley continues to build momentum with the two recent expansion announcements by existing industries Aisin and Knoxville Locomotive Works,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Existing industry expansions offer the strongest testament that our region is a great place for business to thrive and the reason that we focus on our existing employers as part of the Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0 regional economic

development strategy.” Knoxville Locomotive Works new plant in Innovation Valley is being built to support new EPA emission requirements for locomotive engines. The announcement represents an investment of $6.1 million and will create 203 new jobs over the next three years. Our locomotives use cutting-edge diesel engine technology to conform to the latest EPA air quality regulations and will save at least 25 percent on fuel costs,” said Pete Claussen, president of Knoxville Locomotive Works. The Aisin Automotive Casting Clinton operation is a full-process, die casting facility that includes casting, machining, and assembly to produce engine components such as water pumps, oil pumps, and pistons that will be installed in automobiles produced by Aisin customers located throughout North America. Its expansion will add 81 new jobs to Innovation Valley over the next two year with a $53.8 million capital investment. Both expansions highlight Innovation Valley’s strategic priorities to promote sustainability efforts and implement targeted business retention and expansion programs.

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Knoxville Chamber App Now Available The Chamber has partnered with Rich DeForest and his company, The Social Farmer, to develop a Chamber app for iOS and Android platforms. Developed utilizing the Apptova design platform and content management system, the Chamber’s app provides the business community with quick and easy access to some of the Chamber’s most requested information including: a link to the upcoming events calendar, mobile access to www.iKnowknoxville. com, direct links to the Chamber’s most trafficked social media sites, directions to the Chamber and parking information, a mobile version of the Office Depot Employee Purchase Discount Card, and a few other features. “The Chamber’s marketing committee had mulled over the idea of creating a Chamber app for quite a while,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Chamber. “Our discussions kept boiling down to ‘is the ROI worth the time and financial commitment that comes with creating a new app’ and for quite a while our answer to that question was ‘no.’ However, the Apptova platform allowed us to create a great looking app in very little time and at a very reasonable cost. I love that we can update and change it on the fly – it is a great solution for us.” Apptova’s developer has also created apps for several other well-known entities in Knoxville including Tennessee Sports Radio, the Knoxville Ice Bears, and GameTruck Greater Knoxville. The platform was designed to simplify mobile application development without sacrificing quality. “I am actively engaged with the Chamber and I knew we could help them develop a great app that the business community would recognize as a valuable resource,” said DeForest. “In a short period of time it has received a significant number of downloads and it is getting great reviews.”

To download the free app, visit the Apple or Android store and search for “Knoxville Chamber.”

Career Magnet Academy Recruiting First Freshman Class students to continue on to a techniThe Career Magnet Academy, Knox County cal college, university, or career after Schools’ newest magnet school, will officially open graduation. When defining the clusters, its doors to students this fall. However, students and the school system worked closely with parents are getting a preview of the school through a the Knoxville Chamber and businesses open houses. to identify areas of local industry that “Our hope is that parents and students alike will have a high demand for skilled workers. leave the event with a better understanding of the op“Making sure students leave high portunities that CMA can provide along with providing school with a set of skills that will make them enough information to make their decision and them successful in the post-secondary transition into high school easier,” said John Faulconer, realm and workforce is what is making principal of CMA. this an amazing adventure,” Faulconer Located on Pellissippi State Community College’s The Career Magnet Academy will be located in this building on the said. “Students need to leave high Strawberry Plains campus, the new school will accept PSCC Strawberry Plains campus. PHOTO: JOHN FAULCONER school with the ability to not only per125 incoming freshmen for the 2014-15 school year. form well within college, but within a designed career as well.” Those students will then have a year to determine which “cluster” area they want An open house will be held on Feb. 3 and from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Strawberry to be the focus of their instruction – advanced manufacturing, sustainable living, Plains campus. teacher preparation, or homeland security. These cluster areas will prepare

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Stakeholder Update JULY 1 - DECEMBER 31, 2013


NEW RECRUITS: $6.2 Million – 240 Jobs

BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION VISITS Helping to nurture businesses currently located in the region is a significant portion of our economic development efforts. Innovation Valley staff visited with 97 companies offering services to support business growth.

SITE VISITS BY PROSPECTIVE COMPANIES 14 prospective companies visited Innovation Valley during this period to explore doing business in the region.


Innovation Valley had representatives at the following 2013 conferences: • Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminar, Traverse City, MI, Aug. 6-8 • Society of Industrial and Office Realtors Southeastern Conference, Nashville, TN, Aug. 23-25

$5.4 Million – 109 Jobs

• Site Selection Consultant Key Market Visit, Chicago, IL, Sept. 16 • Industrial Asset Management Council Fall Forum, Salt Lake City, UT, Sept. 30-Oct. 2


• CoreNet, Las Vegas, Oct. 20-23 • East Tennessee Environmental Business Conference, Knoxville, Nov. 13-14 • Composites World Carbon Fiber Conference, Knoxville, Dec. 10-11

$53 Million – 81 Jobs $7 Million – 115 Jobs

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS • In May of 2013, Innovation Valley announced the launch of the Competitive Airfare Partnership

$6.1 Million – 203 Jobs

(CAP), an effort to recruit sustainable low-fare air service to Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. Joining Innovation Valley in this effort are: Blount County, City of Knoxville, Knox County, Visit Knoxville,

TVA SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY In September, Knoxville Mayor Madelline Rogero announced that Knoxville achieved Platinum Sustainable Community status. IV partner communities also received recognition with Oak Ridge also garnering Platinum status and Roane County receiving Silver status.

as well as several private sector supporters. Thus far, $1.6M towards a goal of $3M has been committed towards this important regional economic development effort. • 560 residential relocation packets were distributed to people considering moving to Innovation Valley. • 102 teachers participated in the Educators in the Workplace program – an Innovation Valley effort to place teachers in manufacturing, service, and technology businesses as a summer in-service opportunity. • 73 small, minority, women, and veteran-owned companies participated in Propel business growth counseling sessions. • On Nov. 19, Innovation Valley was a supporting entity to the PlanET capstone event that drew


more than 200 people to a discussion of sustainable regional growth initiatives.

• February 24-26, Site Selector’s Guild, Denver, CO

Valley Pint Night. The event provided YP groups from around the region an opportunity to network

• February 27-28, TVA Valley Forum, Nashville, TN

and learn about the importance of regional economic development and workforce retention efforts.

• April 15-16, Meet the Consultants, Dallas, TX

• More than 100 entrepreneurs, representing businesses of various stages of maturity, were pro-

• April 26-29, International Asset Management

vided assistance through the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

• On Nov. 21, Innovation Valley hosted 50 young professionals of the region to the first Innovation

Council, Pinehurst, NC

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(Dec. 2013)

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



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

% Change Nov. ’12Nov. ‘13

Nov. 2013

Oct. 2013

Nov. 2012

% Change Oct. ’13Nov. ‘13

228,370 359,530 3,065,200 155,046,000

228,150 359,210 3,058,300 154,918,000

239,480 377,410 3,104,000 154,953,000

0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1

-4.6 -4.7 -1.2 0.1

341,100 2,802,500

337,800 2,776,300

335,600 2,762,900

0.9 0.9

1.6 1.4

14,900 24,430 253,530

16,990 27,710 280,430

13,970 22,910 242,910

-12.3 -11.8 -9.6

6.7 6.6 4.4

5.9 6.1 7.4 6.6

6.7 7.0 8.2 7.0

5.2 5.4 6.9 7.4

-0.8 -0.9 -0.8 -0.4

0.7 0.7 0.5 -0.8

Note: May workforce numbers were unavailable at time of printing.

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Dec. 2013 889 9,746 $142,900

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

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


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

% Change Dec. ’11Dec. ‘13 0.1 -0.2

Dec. ’12-‘13

Nov. ’12-‘13

Dec. ’11-‘12

1.7 1.5

1.5 1.2

1.6 1.7

0.2 0.3

% Change Dec. ’12Dec. ‘13

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Nov. 2013* 82 23 59

Nov. 2012 17 17 0

% Change Nov. ’12Nov. ‘13 382.4 35.3 100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

135 76 59

77 75 2

75.3 1.3 2850.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

163 104 59

99 97 2

64.6 7.2 2850.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,359 1,013 346

1,457 969 488

-6.7 4.5 -29.1

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2013

Nov. 2013

Dec. 2012

% Change Nov. ’13Dec. ‘13

46,435,582 63,977,492 577,619,591

45,762,458 64,147,878 579,425,678

45,863,576 62,676,326 563,391,827

1.5 -0.3 -0.3

1.2 2.1 2.5

12,817,969 18,146,948

13,037,455 18,067,596

3.0 1.0

1.2 1.4

% Change Dec. ’12Dec. ‘13 4.3 4.2 4.7 -1.5 2.6 4.1 5.0 0.5 0.0 5.9 2.8 6.3 14.0 5.8


Passengers Cargo

Oct. 2013 158,871 7,070,219

Sept. 2013 142,580 6,962,302

Oct. 2012 154,557 7,058,848

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2013 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


905 12,941 $140,275


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Nov. ’12Dec. ‘13

Dec. 2012

13,197,366 18,328,939

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

Dec. 2013

Nov. 2013

488,666 22,988 33,710 12,856 58,936 47,666 10,200 42,562 75,435 27,047 11,992 78,448 54,190

431,809 24,643 23,225 10,353 55,309 45,789 9,392 42,224 60,793 23,601 10,538 76,041 41,566

468,589 22,054 32,205 13,058 57,467 45,808 9,713 42,351 75,410 25,543 11,666 73,830 47,546

% Change Nov. ’13Dec. ‘13 13.2 -6.7 45.1 24.2 6.6 4.1 8.6 0.8 24.1 14.6 13.8 3.2 30.4





Dec. 2012

% Change Dec. ’12Dec. ‘13 -1.8 -24.7 1.9

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Nov. 2013 974 10,631 $141,000

% Change Nov. ’13Dec. ‘13 -8.7 -8.3 1.3

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

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EST. 1869

% Change Sept. ’13Oct. ‘13 11.4 1.6

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13 2.8 0.2

Innovation Valley Hosts Carbon Fiber Conference In December, more than 200 carbon fiber professionals from across the globe met in Knoxville for the CompositesWorld’s Carbon Fiber 2013 conference. Innovation Valley, along with Visit Knoxville, helped host the four day event where industry experts discussed emerging and traditional industrial markets for carbon fiber and composites. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett along with Rhonda Rice, executive vice president for the Knoxville Chamber, helped kick off the conference at a networking breakfast for attendees, which was sponsored by Innovation Valley. Later in the week, IV and the Tennessee Valley Authority hosted dinner for 35 carbon fiber perspective industrial recruits at the Sunsphere. “The Innovation Valley team worked hard, along with Visit Knoxville, to recruit the Carbon Fiber conference to our community,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “This was an exceptional opportunity to showcase everything Innovation Valley has to offer to some of the world’s leading carbon fiber companies. We are having continuing dialogues with multiple prospects from this effort.” Conference attendees spent their time discussing new developments for carbon fibers in emerging industrial markets, such as wind energy, marine, and construction, as well as in traditional markets, such as aerospace and sporting goods. They also toured the Oak Ridge National Lab and its new Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. “Having ORNL in Innovation Valley’s backyard is highly attractive when it comes to recruitment efforts in our region,” said Lawyer. “Now that conference attendees have seen our technological asset capabilities in person, they will keep our region top-ofmind when it comes to relocation and expansions.” Carbon fiber composite production technology has evolved at a rapid pace in the past decade. When used in place of steel, this strong, yet lightweight material can reduce the weight of an automobile by 60 percent. This trend is further driven by new emissions regulations and tariffs in the automobile industry. With a world-class research and technology center at ORNL, and a strong auto manufacturing industry, carbon fiber and advanced material manufacturers are a target sector of Innovation Valley, and helped us become the location for the conference this year. Several factors led to Knoxville being chosen as the site of the 2013 conference including: the world-class research and technology center at ORNL, the strong auto manufacturing industry in the region, and the fact that advanced material manufacturers are a target sector of Innovation Valley.


Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen and Carpenter, PLLC For nearly 20 years, Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen and Carpenter, PLLC has been a premier legal resource for the Knoxville area. The firm has two office locations – Knoxville and Sevierville – and has 23 partners and 12 associate attorneys. The firm represents clients in a wide range of legal topics. The firm’s litigation group represents the interests of businesses in cases ranging from product liability, toxic torts, insurance defense, and class action defense to commercial litigation, as well as cases arising in its tax, employment and construction practices. Woolf McClane has a broad business organizations practice and also assists clients in meeting their individual needs in areas such as wills, trusts, and estate planning. “Woolf McClane is a full service law firm. The firm’s attorneys have the experience, legal background, and legal resources to address most legal needs,” said Dennis McClane, managing partner of Woolf McClane. “We combine the strength of a business legal team that includes seven lawyers with advanced tax law degrees and considerable experience in mergers and acquisitions, borrowing, and other large transactions with a nationally recognized litigation group that represents some of the nation’s largest companies as well as businesses located here in East Tennessee.” The firm is particularly well-known for its capabilities in all areas of tax law and estate planning. The firm’s litigation section is well-recognized for its regional and national reputation in several litigation practice areas, including toxic torts, environmental litigation, employment, and product liability. Woolf McClane and its attorneys boast an impressive list of prestigious accolades. The firm has made U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firm list for four consecutive years. Eleven of its attorneys have been named Best Lawyers in America in 15 different practice areas. Three of its attorneys have served as president of the Knoxville Bar Association. And CityView Magazine has named 17 of its attorneys 2013 Knoxville Top Attorneys. As a member of the community, Woolf McClane works to make a difference outside the courtroom. The firm is an active contributor and supporter of many civic and charitable organizations, including: American Diabetes Association, the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, Boy Scouts of America, Dogwood Arts Festival, Second Harvest, Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, the Helen Ross McNabb Center and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to working on a number of Habitat Houses, the firm has partnered directly with Knoxville Habitat to build two houses, one for a displaced Louisiana family following Hurricane Katrina.

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Josh Scull

New Bill Requires “Impact-to-Commerce” Analysis

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

On Jan. 1, a new bill went into effect that requires Tennessee state legislators to consider the financial impact proposed legislation has on state’s economy. The Knoxville Chamber, along with it’s counterparts in Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, initiated the bill that directs the Fiscal Review Committee to provide an “impact-to-commerce” analysis for legislation referred to specific committees, ensuring bills are studied not only for their impact on government but also for their impact on commerce or jobs. “This is a big victory for businesses in Tennessee,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Chamber. “With our lawmakers becoming more aware of the fiscal impact of legislative proposals on commerce, our state will become more

Age: 27 Title: Human Resource Manager for the Biosciences and Environmental Sciences Divisions

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory Education: Bachelor of Science in human resources from the University of Tennessee. Currently finishing a master’s in human resource management at UT.

Hometown: Hendersonville, TN YP affiliation: Early Career Professionals at ORNL Community involvement: I volunteered for the Innovation Valley Science Fair for the past three years. Promoting science to our future leaders is very important and I am honored to be a part of this event. I have also participated in the Annual Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries Dragon Boat Race three out of the past four years as a team organizer. This is a great event that supports the KARM mission while also building teamwork within our own ECP group.

business-friendly.” Prior to SB 116/HB 220 – which was sponsored by state Sen. Bill Ketron and state Rep. Mark White, being passed – Tennessee was one of many states that required some level of analysis on proposed legislation to identify the fiscal impact each bill will have on the state. However, there was no objective process for legislators to also consider the impact these bills would have on commerce in the state.


Favorite thing to do in Innovation Valley on the weekend: I enjoy golfing at a number of the great golf courses in the East Tennessee area. Also, I like to take my two boxers to the dog park. Few things bring joy as much as the animals we love. 
 The Knoxville Chamber and Innovation Valley have partnered with six locally-established young professional organizations to recognize outstanding young professionals on a monthly basis. To nominate a YP deserving of recognition, fill out and submit the online form located at: http://www.

GameTruck Greater Knoxville celebrated its grand opening in January with a ribbon cutting and open house on Market Square. Theresa and Jeff Maples are pictured center cutting the ribbon in front of the GameTruck and are joined by their children, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knox County Commissioner Ed Shouse, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors and representatives. This unique party venue allows customers to take their party anywhere the GameTruck can be parked. Call (865) 262-8700 to book your party!

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Knoxville: Green by Nature Coffee Table Book Now Available Knoxville’s history and scenery are beautifully captured in the new coffee table book Knoxville: Green by Nature. The book was published by Publishing Resources Group Inc. and has been endorsed by the Knoxville Chamber. The 270-page book features hundreds of stunning photos of the city and a narrative written by local historian and author Jack Neely. Neely’s account showcases the individuals, businesses, and institutions that have helped shape Knoxville’s path to becoming a premier place to live and work.

“This is a phenomenal book about our city,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber. “We are in the process of distributing a copy to all of our member businesses and plan to use it as part of our marketing efforts.” Gov. Bill Haslam provides the introduction to the book. He recounts the revitalization of downtown during his time as mayor of the city of Knoxville. “Today, Knoxville’s an obviously busy, urban place, with a diversity of attractions in a historic downtown. … That’s happened in other cities, but to me Knoxville seems unlike others,” Haslam says in his introduction. “In Knoxville, there’s a remarkable civic spirit. You don’t have that same sense of ‘What’s in it for me?’ There’s more of a sense of, ‘What can I do to help?’ Everything feels more personal.” Chamber member businesses who have not picked up their complimentary copy of the book can do so at the Chamber between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The book can also be purchased for $49 from Union Ave Books or online at

Program Propels Local Business Local businesswoman Sharon Meredith joined the Knoxville Chamber’s Propel mentor/protégé program last year in hopes of taking her business to the next level. She did just that. Meredith graduates from the program on Feb. 5 not only with improved business skills and connections under her belt, but also with a major corporate partnership. In 2012, Meredith started her company SM Sales & Marketing Consultants with the intent of taking an environmentally and socially conscious approach to promoting products that make a difference. Her company began selling a unique eco-friendly showerhead designed by ShowerStart Technology to hotels, architects, and universities. “I met Sharon when she was dropping off some information about ShowerStart showerheads at the Chamber,” said Doug Minter, business development manager for the Chamber and Propel program director. “I found her business goals extremely interesting and her product very unique, and thought she was a perfect fit for the mentor/protégé program. She’s a tremendous success story for our program.” When Meredith joined the Propel program, she was partnered with mentor Anita Lane, general manager of Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Knoxville. Lane helped Meredith learn more about becoming a supplier to hotels. Before, she had only sold the eco-friendly showerheads to hotels by cold calling. “The Propel program helped me in so many areas of my business,” Meredith said. “It helped introduce me to other business leaders and companies

in Knoxville. It taught me how a small business can partner up with a larger business and both can benefit.” One connection Meredith made through the program was particularly pivotal. She met Ferguson Enterprise sales representative David Harris. At the time, Ferguson, the largest wholesale distributors of residential and commercial plumbing supplies in the nation, wasn’t offering a product like Meredith’s ShowerStart eco-friendly showerhead. “We were both calling on the same customers, so we discussed seeing if Ferguson might sell Sharon Meredith this product,” Meredith said. “He agreed, so we worked together for Ferguson to become a distributor.” In August 2013, Ferguson became the new distributor of the ShowerStart showerhead, and Meredith became the manufacturer’s representative for ShowerStart, representing the company in the Southeast. Despite her new role with ShowerStart, Meredith will continue to grow SM Sales & Marketing. This month, she’ll start doing sales and marketing for a newly launched local company, Bag Packs Inc., which makes a line of carry, wear, reusable eco-shopping bags. “I would highly recommend this program if you have the privilege of being accepted to participate in the Propel program,” Meredith said. “Take advantage of the great tools and the mentors who volunteer their time to assist with this program. The entire staff at the Knoxville Chamber is an awesome group of people to work with in helping give you the guidance for you to be a success with your business.”

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FEBRUARY 4 Power30 Speed Networking

Members Only 4 – 7 p.m. | Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

FEBRUARY 7 Governor’s Breakfast


7:30 – 9 a.m. | Knoxville Convention Center $40 for Chamber members; $50 non-members Presented by: Supported by:

FEBRUARY 11 Progressive Marketing Conference Presented in partnership with the Knoxville Chapter of the American Marketing Association Noon – 5:15 p.m. | The Foundry at World’s Fair Park $75 (early bird); $95 (after February 3)

FEBRUARY 21 Legislative Briefing 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. | Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:

MARCH 7 Exclusive Premier Partner Event Featuring Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. | Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

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 February 2014  
Commerce February 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.