Page 1

INSIDE: Hats Off Recap pg. 48 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50




2ND PLACE TIE Slamdot celebrated a ribbon cutting for its new store at Northshore Village with staff, customers, family, and friends on Dec. 12. They collected toys and stuffed animals for Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the 9th Judicial District, and hosted a holiday open house as part of the festivities. Slamdot now offers SEO and online marketing along with website design and hosting service.








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 TITANIUM PREMIER PARTNERS DeRoyal Industries, Inc. (865) 938-7828 Medical Supplies, Sales & Services

BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Mesa Associates, Inc. (865) 671-5439 Architectural & Engineering Services:Engineers



Aerus of Knoxville (865) 687-1742 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services American Heart Association (865) 212-6500 Healthcare Providers & Services: Agencies Bridge Marketing (865) 310-8532 Business & Professional Services: Marketing Clancy’s Tavern and Whiskey House (865) 712-1815 Restaurants

Dr. Anjana Love Dixon, D. Div (865) 437-7144 Personal Services

PHE - Polymer Eng. LLC (865) 249-7773 Manufacturing

Terminus Real Estate (865) 673-6300 Real Estate

GoodFellas Barber Shop (828) 337-8775 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Premier Martial Arts (865) 690-8819 Sports & Recreation: Self Defense

The UPS Store - Hardin Valley (865) 249-6943 Business & Professional Services: Mailing & Fulfillment

KnoxHispano (865) 236-7479 Broadcast Media P&HR Solutions (865) 622-4715 Business & Professional Services: Human Resources

Random Acts of Flowers (865) 633-9082 Associations & Organizations Smoked Hawgs (865) 214-7665 Restaurants










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

Two Rivers Church (865) 777-2121 Church & Church Supplies Work Now! (423) 581-9850 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

In the past year, Innovation Valley has welcomed some world-class recruits to the area and celebrated the expansions of several existing companies. The Knoxville Chamber, which manages the Innovation Valley economic development initiative, wants to continue this momentum, but the lack of sufficient acreage and business park space limits the economic growth potential of this vibrant area. “We want Innovation Valley to continue to be a premier location for business and industry, but we can’t achieve that goal unless we have a variety of available land, built-in infrastructure, and utilities in place to attract prospects,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber.

LAND LIMITATIONS In 2014, Innovation Valley and The Development

Corporation of Knox County contracted the Comerford Consulting Group to conduct a study looking at the quantity and quality of available land and business parks in comparison to other regions located in the Southeast. “One of the most frequent issues we deal with when assessing our ability to recruit companies is understanding how competitive Knox County and Innovation Valley are compared to other regions when it comes to having available, ready-to-go sites,” said Todd Napier, president and CEO of The Development Corporation. The study analyzed seven markets that regularly compete with Innovation Valley for economic development projects — Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga; Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville; Roanoke, Va.; Columbia, S.C.; and Greenville, S.C. The Comerford Consulting Group found that in comparison with these other areas, Innovation Valley has a significant deficit of available acreage. The region currently has 3,191 acres of land. However, only 540 acres were rated “good” or “excellent” to pitch to prospects. This pales in comparison to areas like Nashville, Roanoke,

and Columbia, which all boast more than 1,000 acres of “excellent” or “good” land in their inventory. It’s also those 1,000-plus acre sites that are most valuable. Referred to as “megasites,” these large plots of land are key to recruiting large operations in the area.

READIED FOR SUCCESS Last year, Innovation Valley saw great success with ready-to-go facilities at Forks of the River Industrial Park in Knox County. Manufacturing recruits Leisure Pools and Fresenius Medical Care both located at the park not only because of the ample square footage, but also because of the infrastructure and utilities already in place. Gary Human, East Tennessee regional director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said the project pipeline is strong right now with new companies looking at sites and buildings in the area, as well as existing companies looking to expand their current operations. He said having these elements in place are critical to recruiting and retaining these prospects because it

See “Growing Pains” on pg. 46

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

“Growing Pains” continued from pg. 45

helps shorten the timeline to delivery of product to the market. “Communities must be prepared with available developed land, which would include road access, electricity, water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications,” Human said. “Site consultants and companies are looking at communities that can reduce or eliminate the time it takes to select a site or building and begin manufacturing their products. They are looking to minimize or eliminate any hurdles, issues and challenges that may occur as a company moves quickly to market.” For underdeveloped sites, the Tennessee Valley Authority is helping bring them up to par through its Industrial Product Readiness Program, which assists communities in preparing new or improving existing industrial sites and facilities for the marketplace. One example of this program’s success is the Hardin Business Park in Knox County. “Through TVA’s Industrial Product Readiness Program, the Knoxville Chamber and The Development Corporation of Knox County utilized the opportunity to redesign and enhance the entrance sign for Hardin Business Park,” said Andy Lawson, TVA’s Economic Development regional consultant. “Since that time, FedEx has begun work on its new state-of-the-art distribution center in the industrial park. This project represents an approximate $35 million investment, will retain approximately 260 existing Knox County jobs, and is projected to eventually employ more than 450 people.” Lawson said creating more marketable properties improves a community’s likelihood to rise to the top during company location searches. Russ Watkins, president and CEO of Partners development firm, echoed the need for readied sites. “Our recent experience is that about 50 percent of prospects want ‘pad-

ready’ sites while the other 50 percent are interested in ultimate flexibility. Regardless of ‘pad-ready,’ prospects are most interested in sites that have necessary utilities immediately adjacent and are zoned properly,” Watkins said. “If the property is not zoned properly, this can take several months to achieve.”

PROSPECT PIPELINE Innovation Valley had a banner year in 2014 with eight new major recruits to the area. In total, these projects occupied more than 1 million square feet of the region’s facility inventory Currently, Innovation Valley has 553 acres of land and 3.25 million square feet of existing facilities being pitched to prospects –– 83 percent of which are new recruits. These prospects represent several business sectors -- manufacturing, corporate office, and distribution. “We’re thrilled to have so many prospects lined up, but each project commitment subtracts from the region’s already dwindling supply of readied land and facilities,” Lawyer said. “If we want to keep prospects and site selectors looking at our region, we need to drastically boost our inventory.” Joe Ledford, Knoxville office manager at Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon and chairman of the Chamber’s economic development committee, said Innovation Valley needs to be aggressive in working to create more sites for prospects through acquiring new sites and marketing of existing facilities. “It’s critical that we are always thinking about sites for jobs to locate on,” Ledford said. “My firm does work all around the southeastern United States, and I see first-hand, and very often, just how stiff the competition is and that other communities are activity having these important conversations and actively creating new products.”

President Obama Makes Major Education, Manufacturing Announcements During Visit to Knoxville President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Knoxville on Jan. 9 to announce a new education initiative and a new manufacturing hub. Obama and Biden first visited Pellissippi State Community College to announce the proposed America’s College Promise program to a packed auditorium. This program, inspired by Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, provides students two years of free community college or technical school as long as they meet certain benchmarks like maintaining a 2.5 GPA and part-time student status. “A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class,” Obama said in his speech. “It is the key to getting a good job that pays a good income and to provide you the security where even if you don’t have the same job for 30 years, you’re so adaptable and you have a skill set and the capacity to learn new skills, it ensures you’re always employable.” The next stop on the trip was Techmer PM in Clinton. The company –– which produces advanced composite material –– served as the backdrop of Obama’s

announcement that the University of Tennessee will lead the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. The institute is a $259 million private-public partnership, with a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy and $189 million from IACMI’s partners. The institute will focus on advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites that combine strong fibers with tough plastics to yield materials that are lighter and stronger than steel. IACMI is one of four institutes the Obama administration has commissioned to accelerate advanced manufacturing. “This project places the university and its partners in a unique position to strengthen Tennessee’s economy,” UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a press release. “We are very honored to have been selected for this role in shaping the future of composites manufacturing through IACMI. This will build upon our deep collaborations with our consortium partners and spark innovation and growth within our nation’s industries.”

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

Innovation Valley Attends 2014 Composites World’s Carbon Fiber Conference On Dec. 9 team members from Innovation Valley traveled to La Jolla, Calif., for the CompositesWorld’s Carbon Fiber conference. While there, the Innovation Valley team had the opportunity to foster relationships with more than 200 carbon fiber experts from around the world, and learn about emerging technology in the composites industry. “Advanced technology and manufacturing, and more specifically carbon fiber and composites, are one of Innovation Valley’s target recruitment clusters, so we are always doing anything we can to recruit the companies that attend this conference to our region,” said Lindsay Hammill, economic development project manager at the Knoxville Chamber. “This opportunity allows us to begin the dialogue about what our region can offer world-leading carbon fiber companies, which will hopefully translate to new jobs and capital investments down the road for Innovation Valley.” 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. Most recently, President Barack Obama announced a $259 manufacturing hub that will focus on advanced composites manufacturing innovation and will be led by the University of Tennessee. “The announcement by the president further proves that Innovation Valley is the place to be for carbon fiber and composites,” said Hammill. “With assets like Oak Ridge National Lab and University of Tennessee in our backyard, our region has what it takes to revolutionize the landscape of the entire carbon fiber and composites industry.” Innovation Valley will be at the forefront of next year’s CompositesWorld’s Carbon Fiber 2015 conference, as Knoxville is set to be the host. Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.


Anderson County Economic Development Association The Anderson County Economic Development Association has been promoting the location of new businesses and fostering the expansion of existing businesses for the past 50 years in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Rocky Top, Norris, and Oliver Springs, making it an integral partner in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley initiative. “The partnership with Innovation Valley is important because it gives us another avenue to market Clinton and Anderson County to potential new industrial prospects,” said Tim Thompson, president of the Anderson County Economic Development Association. “In addition, it offers us an opportunity to work more closely with our economic development professionals in the region and benefit from their different levels of talent and experience.” Located on Interstate 75 just minutes north of Knoxville, Anderson County is known for its successes in job creation and capital investment, especially in the automotive supplier/ manufacturing cluster. Most recently, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Clinton to announce a $259 million manufacturing hub aimed at creating more innovative, high-skilled, and high-wage jobs throughout the region. “Traditionally, Anderson County ranks in the top percentile of new job creation or new capital investment in the state,” said Thompson. “We are also known for keeping the Appalachian history alive throughout the region at the Museum of Appalachian in Norris.” From December 2013 to December 2014, Anderson County Economic Development Agency announced more than $280 million in capital investments and 1,200 new jobs for Innovation Valley. Some of the largest announcements came from Aisin Automotive Castings with 81 jobs and $53.8 million in investments, SL Tennessee with 1,000 new jobs and $80.5 million, and 3M Company announcing 100 jobs and $135 million in capital investments. A key asset and selling point of Anderson County is its excellent transportation infrastructure. This makes it a great location for logistics as well as providing access to employees commuting into the county. Norris Dam and the Bull Run Steam Plant provide the electrical infrastructure necessary to locate major manufacturing projects. Additionally, labor force in the county is 100 percent non-union, which is a tremendous asset in recruiting manufacturing projects. In addition to its infrastructure and manufacturing resources, Anderson County has one of the premier speculative building programs in the state. The Hollingsworth Companies based in Clinton is the largest ex-urban industrial developer in the southeastern United States and has built several speculative buildings in Clinton and Anderson County. To learn more about Innovation Valley and its regional partners, visit its website at Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 47

‘Hats Off’ Networking Event Brings Out Creative Side of Business Community Approximately 200 businesspeople filled the Knoxville Museum of Art on Jan. 22 to attend the Knoxville Chamber’s 2015 Hats Off Networking Soiree. Guests were encouraged to wear a hat to the event and take part in the festivities. From fedoras to fascinators, the hats served as fun icebreakers and created a relaxed networking environment. During the event, guests enjoyed music provided by Ogle Entertainment and a tasty spread by Bradford Catered Events. Attendees also got to take home a memento from the evening by getting their photos snapped by the Knoxville Photobooth Company. All Occasions Party Rentals provided tables and linens that perfectly complemented the Richard Jolley Sky installation in the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall. Prizes were given out for the most stylish, creative, and outrageous hats of the evening. Most Stylish winner Bridget Mounger of ORNL Federal Credit Union took home one laser treatment from Elite Skin for her chic broad-brimmed peach hat. Most Creative winner Christi Wigle of Vested Business Brokers received a two-night stay at RiverStone Resort with a manicure and pedicure treatment for her decorated lampshade lid. Most Outrageous winner Leonard Cox of Bandit Lites, Inc. won a corporate membership to the KMA, in addition to other museum goodies, for his Jimmy Buffett-inspired hat. Ellen Hubrig of Innovasan and Brett Ousley of Keller Williams Realty both took home a door prize – a goodie bag full of office supplies, courtesy of Costco.

The Chamber’s Michelle Kiely, Yvette Fragile of AccuForce, and Travis Tillman of Tillman Companies LLC pose for a photo at Hats Off.

Rebecca Mazzei of Dick’s Last Resort, Rachel Bouck of Dick’s Last Resort, Gregory Blankenship of Gregory’s Greenhouse Productions LLC, Erica Coffey of the Knoxville Zoological Gardens, and Kimberly Long of Knoxville TVA employees Credit Union pose for a photo at Hats Off.

The Crown Plaza staff flocked to the Hats Off networking event with coordinating bird hats and shirts. Left to right: Linda Ortman, Jeff Shrewsbury, Tammy Knight, Mary Weaver, and Erin High.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48

Jorge Martinez and Raul Rangel of Work Now! get into the spirit of the event with their fun hats.

Approximately 200 people attended the 2015 Hats Off Networking Soiree at the Knoxville Museum of Art on Jan. 22.

Teresa Trusler of Fountainhead College, Bridget Mounger of ORNL Federal Credit Union, and spiritual advisor Anjana Love Dixon were all candidates for the Most Stylish Hat Award. The crowd crowned Mounger’s chic peach hat the winner.

Hats Off guests enjoyed a delicious spread of savory horsd’oeuvre and sweet treats by Bradford’s Catered Events.

Lorena Hubbard of Lawhorn CPA and husband, Chris, chatted with Jessica Zulkie of Saah Salon Suites at the Chamber’s Hats Off Networking Soiree.

The Chamber’s Mark Field kicked off the hat judging festivities at the Chamber’s 2015 Hats Off Networking Soiree.


Tim Wilson of Pellissippi State Community College, Lyle Harris of Cellular Sales, and Louis Cortina of Michael Brady Inc. pose for a photo at the 2015 Hats Off Networking Soiree.

Malinda Wood of ORNL Federal Credit Union visited with Leonard Cox of Bandit Lites Inc. and wife, Tommi, at the Chamber’s Hats Off Networking Soiree.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 49


(December 2014)

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

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

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

Nov. 2014

Oct. 2014

Nov. 2013

% Change Oct. ’14Nov. ‘14

227,210 356,850 3,011,300 156,297,000

227,710 357,570 3,020,100 156,616,000

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

-0.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.2

-0.5 -0.7 -1.8 0.8

347,900 2,860,600

346,200 2,845,300

338,400 2,805,300

0.5 0.5

2.8 2.0

12,730 20,900 212,560

12,800 21,000 212,080

14,900 24,430 253,530

-0.5 -0.5 0.2

-14.6 -14.4 -16.2

5.1 5.3 6.4 5.5

5.1 5.3 6.3 5.5

5.9 6.1 7.4 6.6

0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0

-0.8 -0.8 -1.0 -1.1

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Dec. 2014 1,107 9,294 $155,000

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

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



Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Nov. 2014* 13 13 0

Nov. 2013 82 23 59

% Change Nov. ’13Nov. ‘14 -84.1 -43.5 -100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

90 90 0

135 76 59

-33.3 18.4 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

112 112 0

163 104 59

-31.3 7.7 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,739 1,025 714

1,379 1,033 346

26.1 -0.8 106.4

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

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

% Change Dec. ’12Dec. ‘14 -1.3 -0.7

Dec. ’13-‘14

Nov. ’13-‘14

Dec. ’12-‘13

0.4 0.8

1.1 1.3

1.7 1.5

-0.7 -0.5

% Change Dec. ’13Dec. ‘14

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2014

Nov. 2014

Dec. 2013

% Change Nov. ’14Dec. ‘14

49,167,431 67,741,722 611,538,756

47,807,009 65,303,279 621,619,604

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

2.8 3.7 -1.6

5.9 5.9 5.9

13,525,700 18,885,932

13,197,366 18,328,939

2.8 3.9

5.4 7.1

% Change Dec. ’13Dec. ‘14 4.6 7.3 4.4 7.0 3.6 8.1 8.1 -13.9 0.9 8.2 1.8 11.5 7.7 7.2


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


889 9,746 $142,900

% Change Dec. ’13Dec. ‘14 24.5 -4.6 8.5

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2013

Nov. 2014 943 10,170 $145,000

% Change Nov. ’14Dec. ‘14 17.4 -8.6 6.9

13,905,893 19,622,283

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. 2014

Nov. 2014

505,251 24,848 33,722 13,659 60,788 49,810 10,344 36,584 74,345 28,942 11,212 89,839 58,279

442,348 26,077 23,739 11,105 56,655 47,213 9,074 39,422 61,554 24,219 9,669 81,722 43,702

483,162 23,158 32,311 12,768 58,665 46,075 9,571 42,503 73,647 26,747 11,016 80,568 54,114

% Change Nov. ’14Dec. ‘14 14.2 -4.7 42.1 23.0 7.3 5.5 14.0 -7.2 20.8 19.5 16.0 9.9 33.4





Dec. 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 | 50

MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE PROTÉGÉ: CHRISTI MCILWAIN Company: iNNOVATE Branding & Design Title: Owner Website: Describe your firm briefly, and what are your three main markets or services? iNNOVATE is an independent, creatively driven agency that creates strong and impactful relationships between high quality companies and their customers. At iNNOVATE, we work with our clients and not just for our clients. We put ourselves in the audience’s perspective first. We will work our magic to make the final product stand out above the rest. iNNOVATE does not believe in “cookie cutter” design. Everything is custom designed to fit our clients’ needs! iNNOVATE believes in making a project look top dollar without breaking the bank. Right now we have clients throughout the United States, currently our three main markets are creative firm contract work, HR full service firms, and dentistry. What are the three main things you learned from your mentor? My mentor, Parker Frost, has given me the encouragement and confidence I needed with my company. He guides me in my decisions when I need advice and is always there for me when I need a pep talk, which is invaluable. We discuss everything and lay it out on the table so to speak. Why should every business have a mentor? Having a mentor is a vital part of owning a business. Whether you can admit it outright or not, everyone makes mistakes and has questions with a new business. Your mentor has usually already gone through the same thing that you may encounter, and has valuable advice and knowledge to get you through those times.

MENTOR: PARKER FROST Company: Gigmark Title: President Website: What benefit has being a mentor offered you? Giving back is gratifying. It reminds you of where you have come from (meaning a start-up) and the outlook of new business in town. It helps me keep a pulse on the new businesses and talent in town. You never know where the next rising star is going to come from. Personally, the benefit is paying it forward. This program was not around when I was starting out and it would have been great resource to access. Why do you think being a mentor is important? Hopefully, some of the protégés will be the future businesses and leaders of Knoxville. With the help of mentors and the Chamber, we can guide these folks. Most of us forget the struggles of being a small business. The experience we take for granted now, was a mystery when we started. Being there to answer the most basic questions and to lift the protégé up is very fulfilling. What are your thoughts on the future success of your protégé? Christi is in great shape to have a successful career. When you combine talent with being a really nice person on top of it, she is in a really good spot. We have worked through some situations with longstanding customers and helped get her to a point where she is charging a fare rate with clients she wants to work with. It’s tough to pass up business when you are small, but by doing that, she now has clients that love to work with her and sing her praises.


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 February Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community!



Dealers Warehouse Corporation Shafer Insurance Agency, Inc. Morningside Gardens Affordable Housing Corp. The Junior League of Knoxville, Inc. League of Women Voters of Knoxville and Knox County

1949 1964 1978 1979

25 – 30 YEARS


20 – 24 YEARS


15-19 YEARS


10 – 14 YEARS



First Commercial Real Estate, Inc. 1987 NHC Healthcare 1989 Emerson Process Management – Reliability Solutions-MHM 1989 Parker Shiflett & Company, Inc. 1989 Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC 1991 Athletic Printers 1992 Graphic Creations, Inc. 1993 Deerfield Resort/Mt. Cloud 1993 Sleep Inn 1995 Elavon 1996 BB&T 1996 Berry Funeral Home - Lynnhurst-Greenwood Chapel 1996 Mortgage Investors Group 1996 New Horizons Computer Learning Center 1998 Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers, LLP 1999 Information Technology Resources (ITR) 1999 Dayton’s Pest Control Services, Inc. 1999 Tennessee Minority Supplier Development Council 2000 Long, Ragsdale & Waters 2000 Knoxville Pediatric Associates, P.C. - Clinch Location 2000 Rebecca Bell Jenkins, Attorney At Law 2000 Panera Bread 2000 Security Central Storage 2000 Amputee Coalition of America 2001 Crowe Horwath LLP 2001 Residence Inn by Marriott 2001 Tennova Cardiac Rehabilitation Services East Towne 2002 Hunter Development Company, Inc. 2003 Clayton Volvo 2003 House of Thaller, Inc. 2003 Lenoir City Utilities Board 2003 Steeplechase Apartments 2003 Celeris Networks Consulting Group, LLC 2003 PYA Waltman Capital, LLC 2003 The Joy of Music School 2003 Radio Systems Corporation 2004 Volunteer Realty 2004 Legacy Supply Chain Services 2005 Bristol Motor Speedway 2005 Miss Lily’s Café 2005 Four Points by Sheraton Knoxville 2005 Wyndham Vacation Rentals 2005

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

Chamber Welcomes Three New Staff Members The Knoxville Chamber recently welcomed three new faces to its staff.

Insure Tennessee Plan Will Boost State’s Health, Economy

Josh Buchanan, Public Policy Analyst A Knoxville native, Josh Buchanan joined the Chamber as the organization’s public policy analyst. In this role, Buchanan is responsible for analyzing and reporting public policy; assisting in the development of advocacy strategy; communicating with local delegates, councilmen, commissioners, planners, and executive officers from local government; administrating the Chamber’s government relations committee; and assisting administration of the Chamber’s transportation and infrastructure committee. Buchanan holds an associate degree in history from Pellissippi State Community College, and a bachelor of business administration from East Tennessee State University.

Mary McCall, Account Executive Mary McCall is the Chamber’s newest account executive. McCall’s role involves consulting with new and existing business owners to identify ways they can utilize the Chamber and other business resources in the area to strengthen, improve, and grow their business. She also helps to promote all the programs, benefits, and services the Chamber offers. Prior to joining the Chamber, McCall was a senior project manager at ADT, and a key account executive at Two Roads bookkeeping.

Sharon Shanks, Workforce Development Manager Born in Detroit, Sharon Shanks spent the past 18 years living in the Jefferson County and Strawberry Plains area. As the Chamber’s workforce development manager, Shanks will be identifying workforce needs and leading efforts to meet with existing industries to raise awareness of resources and programs which support job growth. Shanks hold’s a bachelor’s in organizational management from Tusculum College, as well as a master of arts in education from Tusculum. Before joining the Chamber, Shanks worked for various public and higher education entities, including Pellissippi State Community College, Tusulum College and Jefferson County Schools.

On Dec. 16, Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled his Insure Tennessee plan, which is a two-year pilot program that will provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who currently don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options. The program rewards healthy behaviors, prepares members to transition to private coverage, promotes personal responsibility, and incentivizes choosing preventative and routine care instead of unnecessary use of emergency rooms. “Insure Tennessee is the right step towards making Tennessee a healthier state,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “It addresses the state’s healthcare needs and will make care options more affordable to the underemployed.” Edwards said the plan does an excellent job expanding healthcare access for the working poor, which is defined as individuals ages 21-64 living below 138 percent of the poverty line. “These are people who go to work every day at a job but earn too much to qualify for TennCare and not enough to afford private insurance or lack access to coverage through an employer,” Edwards said. “But by having access to a doctor, they will remain healthier and avoid expensive illnesses that cause workplace absenteeism and burden the healthcare system.” In addition to helping lower income patients, Edwards said the plan is also good for the economy, particularly the health of hospitals and other providers in both rural and urban areas. In most major markets, health care providers account for about four of the top 10 employers. The plan also keeps Medicaid tax money in Tennessee. “It will keep the billions of dollars that Tennesseans will pay in Medicaid taxes in Tennessee to take care of our own residents, rather than going to pay the coverage costs of residents in other states, which is the case today,” Edwards said. Edwards noted another pro to Insure Tennessee is that the plan has a built-in safety net. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government only guarantees funding to the states for two years. If funding is pulled after that trial period, Insure Tennessee will automatically shut down without any need of legislative approval so that the state doesn’t have to shoulder the extra financial burden. To learn more about Insure Tennessee, visit www.insuretennesseenow. com.

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

TSBDC Annual Report Celebrates Center’s Successes The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Pellissippi State Community College recently released its 2014 annual report, and was ranked the top center for clients obtaining capital in the state. “We’re thrilled to once again be recognized as one of the top Small Business Development Centers in Tennessee,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville center. “We look forward to continuing to provide top-quality service and training to small businesses in our area.” TSBDC operates 13 offices in Tennessee, with a mission of enhancing economic development in the state. The Pellissippi State office, located at the Knoxville Chamber, serves Knox, Union, Claiborne, Blount, Jefferson, Sevier, and Cocke counties. In 2014, the center spent 2,340 hours counseling 474 clients. Those clients created $13 million in capital formations. The center also boasted $9.3 million in export sales in 2014 – up $7 million from the previous year. The main emphasis of the TSBDC is to provide training and education to small businesses. TSBDC produces several training classes on its own, and partners with the Knoxville Chamber to sponsor programing like the Bright Ideas seminars and the annual Social Media Series. Last year, nearly 1,530 people attended the center’s training sessions. Last year, the center implemented a new program, GrowthWheel, which helps businesses gain focus, set agendas, make decisions, and take action. The program held 15 classes and had more than 330 attend. “GrowthWheel it’s an innovative and revolutionary toolbox for small businesses to learn how to proactively and efficiently manage their companies,” said Bruce Hayes, the center’s senior business specialist and certified GrowthWheel instructor. To learn more about TSBDC and to browse a list of available training classes, visit


Servpro – Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills, South Knoxville celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 2444 Sutherland Avenue in December. Owners Kristina & John Greenway are pictured cutting the ribbon and are joined by their employees, friends, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE Since 1985, U.S. Cellular has been providing quality wireless products and services to East Tennessee. When the company first located in Knoxville, there were fewer than 500 wireless customers in East Tennessee. Now, U.S. Cellular provides 4G LTE access to nearly 93 percent of customers nationwide and offers a robust portfolio of cutting-edge wireless products and services that help simplify and enhance customers’ lives, including smartphones, tablets, connected devices, Wi-Fi hotspots, and accessories. Sharon Stewart, director of the U.S. Cellular Customer Care Center in Knoxville, said the availability of land, the support of local government, and the access to an energetic, customer-focused workforce were all important factors in deciding to build U.S. Cellular’s first Customer Care Center in Knox County in 1997. In 1999, U.S. Cellular opened a 97,830-square-foot Customer Care Center/National Data Center in Knoxville. In 2006, it expanded its service area to 14 additional counties between Knoxville and Cookeville. U.S. Cellular has expanded and enhanced its wireless network and has grown its retail presence to 50 locations throughout the region. 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. The Customer Care Center/National Data Center currently employs more than 400 associates, and is one of four of U.S. Cellular’s call centers nationwide. The associates at the Knoxville office include a dedicated sales force; company leaders in numerous professional roles such as human resources, accounting, recruiting, and management; and a team of engineers who build, update, and maintain the U.S. Cellular network. 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. U.S. Cellular prides itself on being an active supporter and giving back through various programs and endeavors. The company has been the presenting sponsor of the Knox County Schools Coupon Book program for the past six years, as well as the presenting sponsor of the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Academic Achievers program from 2011-14. U.S. Cellular is the presenting sponsor of the Bijou Theatre, and has sponsored or supported many wide-ranging community events and nonprofit organizations in the more than 25 years the company has been in Knoxville. In 1999, U.S. Cellular covered the cost of over $250,000 to open the U.S. Cellular Soccer Complex in West Knoxville and provides the facility to Knox County for the use of the community. Since then, hundreds of thousands of young athletes, vendors, and spectators have visited the fields, generating millions of dollars in revenue from outside the Knox County area.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 53


FEBRUARY 11 2015 Social Media Series: 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) Sponsored by:

FEBRUARY 24 2015 Marketing Conference – Change is the Only Constant Presented in partnership with the Knoxville Chapter of the American Marketing Association Noon – 5 p.m. • The Foundry at World’s Fair Park, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive $75 - $100 ($25 for students) Sponsored by:

FEBRUARY 27 Legislative Briefing 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:

MARCH 3 Schmoozapalooza 4 – 7 p.m. • Knoxville Expo Center - Hall B, 5441 Clinton Highway

Tabletop Expo: $200 for members and $300 for non-members General Admission: $10 (members can save $5 by pre-registering online prior to Feb. 26) Sponsored by: Media Sponsor: 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

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 54

Commerce - February 2015  
Commerce - February 2015  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.