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INSIDE: BAH Humbug Recap pg. 88 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 86


Alsco Inc (865) 523-8118 Business & Professional Services: Uniforms American Book Company (865) 966-7454 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics Atmos Productions (615) 482-8794 Audio-Visual Services Bank of Tennessee (865) 999-5124 Financial Services: Banks CTR Coatings (865) 200-8191 Construction & Contractors Joseph Construction Company, Inc. (865) 584-3945 Construction & Contractors Performance Training, Inc. (865) 207-6297 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Tennessee Lighting Sales (865) 242-0082 Electrical Supplies & Services Weigel’s Stores, Inc. (865) 938-2042 Shopping: Convenience Stores & Travel Centers

Avideo Company, Inc. (865) 525-8888 Audio-Visual Services B & B Services, Inc (865) 525-3877 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping Black Fox Lodge (865) 774-4000 Hotels & Lodging Blackhorse Pub & Brewery (865) 249-8511 Restaurants Carrie M. Fashion Consulting (865) 679-9088 Personal Services

Holston Construction (865) 686-8761 Construction & Contractors: General Contractors Homewatch CareGivers (865) 470-4292 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services

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.



Gilbert - Chenot Team - Realty Executives (865) 323-8555 Real Estate



Kelly Services (865) 691-5552 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services LeeHaw Photo Booth (865) 315-7711 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

Potbelly Sandwich Shop (865) 392-1470 Restaurants Reese E-Commerce Optimization (865) 803-5012 Computer & IT Services Stonebridge Title Company (865) 584-0441 Real Estate: Title Companies



Monolith Construction LLC (865) 245-4300 Construction & Contractors: Commercial Orangetheory Fitness (865) 224-6480 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being



Jaco Limousine & Transportation (865) 441-1899 Transportation: Limousine


Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers, Inc. (865) 546-5800 Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers





Denali Construction & Restoration (865) 258-9727 Construction & Contractors



Knoxville and Nashville Chamber Economic Development Teams Share Ideas

The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto (865) 691-2777 Legal Services Workout Anytime - Farragut/Kingston Pike (865) 470-4788 www.workoutanytime/knoxville-farragut Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Workout Anytime - Halls (865) 200-5140 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Workout Anytime - Powell (865) 441-4471 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 80

Last month, the Knoxville Chamber economic development team traveled to Nashville to meet with the Nashville Chamber’s economic development staff. The two groups networked, exchanged best practices, and shared regional economic development initiatives.

Establishing a list of New Year’s business resolutions can be challenging, but it could mean greater successes in 2017. Knoxville Chamber staff members, partners, and board members collaborated on a list of 17 things businesses should do this year to be prosperous and successful.

1. Get Organized Start fresh in 2017 by organizing your desk! Chaos breeds inefficiency and can leave a bad impression on co-workers and clients. If you have a lot of paperwork on your desk, consider how it can be consolidated into files. Options might include clustering by project, purpose (i.e. bills to be paid), or priority. For large projects consider putting everything in a binder (if you are old school like me) or utilizing an app like Evernote to establish an organizational system on your computer or tablet. Finally, look through that stack of business cards you’ve collected. If you don’t recognize the person or company, toss it. Think about using an app like CamCard to keep your contacts organized and in your mobile device where you need them.

4. Define Your Best & Prioritize Use of Your Time In order to be truly successful and fulfilled, every business should take time to step back and define what makes them operate at “their best.” I believe this begins with defining the elements that cause your business and employees to come alive and thrive. These elements include macro and micro details, internal and external. Internally, companies may thrive most when employees are given flexible work hours or shared and open office spaces for staff. Externally, some may realize they operate best when focusing on small target audiences, while others might be more effective having a broader reach across audiences. Once these elements are uncovered, the next step to success is determining which are most important and creating a strategic plan to implement them. In order to function “best,” prioritizing these elements and creating time and space for them is essential. They must be integrated into the day-to-day operations of your company and expressed with importance to staff. These elements will change with time, so it’s important to reevaluate regularly and continue refreshing.

Lori Fuller

Holly Holloway

Vice President of Marketing & Events

Events Manager

2. Set Goals

5. Delegate and Trust Better

The legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said it best – “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will achieve it and stay with that plan.” As 2017 starts, pick three things you want to do better in your business this year. It can be as simple as writing a thank you note to a new customer or revamping your staff meetings. Once you have defined your list of three goals, share that list with a mentor so you are accountable to someone. Ask that mentor to check in with you once a quarter so you can report your progress.

Delegating work first starts with trusting your team members. The next step is providing general guidelines for specific tasks but giving the team members space to actually perform without micromanaging. An explanation of what a successful outcome should look like is also helpful so everyone involved has a clear understanding of the leader’s vision and what needs to be accomplished to achieve a successful outcome. This step is also known as starting with the end in mind and making sure the vision is clear to the team members. Providing team members with deadlines and milestones to assess their progress is important so surprises are minimized and expectations are clear. Last, it’s absolutely crucial to give praise often both in public and in writing. This will inspire loyalty with your team members while also helping them find job satisfaction. If delegation is handled properly, a leader will create bench strength and mentors within their business and organization.

Doug Lawyer Vice President of Economic Development

3. Create a Monthly Calendar Utilizing a monthly calendar allows your team to effectively align your time and resources with actions that best support your organization’s mission. Recognizing the projects, deadlines, and events on the horizon will cause you to think ahead and improve time management. Maintaining an up-to-date monthly calendar will ensure that your daily tasks and work flow are keeping pace with your targeted timelines. Continuously looking forward and working toward goals will maximize efficiency and increase focused efforts. It can be particularly effective for crossfunctional teams coordinating responsibilities to achieve a common end goal.

Tammy White President & CEO, Leadership Knoxville

6. Overhaul Your Business Plan Business owners make lots of decisions every day: driving to work, over coffee, during lunch, and while sitting in the comfort of their home. Business planning has changed, and the traditional business planning process is dead. The concept of

Megan Wright

“17 for 17” continued on pg. 82

Marketing & Events Assistant

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17 for 17 Continued from page 81 lean manufacturing replaced business planning with a much more fluid and active planning methodology. Dr. Saras Sarasvathy from the Darden School of Business has been the leader in Effectuation Business Planning. Effectuation planning is much more in tune with how we function every day. Planning is a continuous process addressing multiple business challenges.

or incorporating better content strategy. Start by having a trusted advisor or mentor outside of your business review your website in its entirety to identify areas of improvement. This provides a fresh perspective and can help you find updates to make that you may not have noticed before.

Laddy Fields Bruce Hayes

Art Director

Director, Tennessee Small Business Development Center – Knoxville

7. Take a Hard Look at All Processes & Refine Them In 2017 business owners should add three things to their monthly process: know your cash, know your product quality, and talk to your mentors. Cash is the financial test of your business success. Knowing net profits and profit margins is critical. Your product quality means your customers are in a constant interactive relationship with you. Getting customer feedback is as important as the sales transaction. Talking to your mentors keeps you accountable and allows you to make changes based on wisdom and not just guessing or emotion.

Doug Minter Director of Small Business Development

8. Conduct Research & Survey Your Target Markets Before beginning a new project, I always like to do research and gather as much helpful information as possible. By doing so it helps to create a clear picture of the problem, outline possible solutions, and identify key target markets. Doing effective research saves time and is a critical component in making good marketing decisions. I am also a big fan of using survey tools like Survature to learn about our key target markets and their specific needs. It helps to collect accurate data you can rely on and assists your company as it develops effective marketing and communication strategies.

Kayla Witt Marketing Coordinator for Economic Development

9. Get Social Social media trends rapidly change and evolve, so it can be hard to stay on top of the latest platforms and strategies for engagement. However, remaining active on social media channels is necessary for any business. With apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat integrated into people’s daily routines, it’s important to take advantage of strategic social media marketing for your brand. This means more than posting on a regular basis. It means planning strategic content, maintaining a social media calendar, and facilitating conversations and engagement. To learn about this year’s trends, be sure to come out to our Digital Marketing Series throughout the month of January! (That’s what we in the marketing world call a ‘shameless plug’).

Jessica Karsten Marketing & Communications Coordinator

10. Review Your Website with an Outsiders’ Perspective A business’s website is often their audience’s first impression of them. Take 2017 to review your website to ensure you’re giving the right impression and getting the results you want. This may include increasing search engine optimization, making it mobile responsive,

11. Consider How Mobile Technology Can Change Your Business Every year since 2011 has been heralded ‘The Year of Mobile’ in marketing circles. Maybe 2017 should be ‘The Year of the Mobile Imperative.’ According to MarketingLand, last year over half of consumer web traffic was accessed on tablets or mobile phones, and TrustLook estimated that 70 percent of consumers would use mobile in their holiday shopping in 2016. Businesses cannot afford to ignore such a large segment of their audience. What does mobile mean for your business? First, don’t worry about having an app. With app downloads down more than 20 percent since last year, it is most important to interact with your clients and customers using native apps, like their email clients, web browsers, or text messaging apps. Second, make sure your emails and website displays properly on mobile devices. A responsive website ensures that your content sizes correctly for each device. Third, think about using text messaging services like Trumpia or SlickText to offer coupons, promote events, or provide general engagement.

Jeremy Floyd President & CEO, Finworx Chamber Board Member

12. Talk to Your Customers, One-On-One Why is it important to talk to your customers one-on-one? It’s important to remember that no two businesses are exactly alike, and it is essential to learn each customer’s needs. Whether you are in sales or strictly customer service - get to know your client and drill down to their unique challenges and their goals as a business owner. Once you gain this knowledge, you may address their needs strategically, giving your product the opportunity to stand out ahead of others. In doing so, you will cultivate a rapport that will establish loyalty translating into a long-term relationship.

Michelle Kiely Vice President of Development

13. Plan a Strategic Retreat Just like an individual makes a New Year’s resolution, organizations should take the time to reflect on the previous year and look ahead to what is next. Being strategic does not mean just having a written strategic plan. Regardless of whether your business has a written plan, is in the middle of creating one, or is not ready for a written plan quite yet, the act of getting stakeholders together to discuss the direction of the organization can be enlightening and propel your business to the next level. The retreat should focus on your goals and inspire action for improvement.

Gwen Rogers Director of Information Systems & Strategies

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14. Look for Success Stories & Tell Them

16. Read, Read, Read

Alex Haley, the author who made Knoxville his home, is credited with the phrase, “Find the good, and praise it.” He expounded on the idea in a later interview: “My thing is simply: let’s not exhaust ourselves dealing with the negatives. Let’s try to find a way to improve things. Let’s try to find a way to make it better. That’s what I mean by ‘find the good and praise it,’’ he said. Consider applying this principle at your workplace by highlighting your co-workers’ successes, whether through a personal note, in your organization’s newsletter, or as a way to begin staff meetings. This positive reinforcement will pay dividends.

Working in a world of constant change, it is important to update our knowledge of business trends, new technology, and growth opportunities. The best way to stay on top of these issues is to read. I suggest reading books about how to effectively run a small business like The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and The Wall Street Journal’s Complete Small Business Guidebook by Colleen Debaise. Marketing gurus like Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin offer great insight into consumer habits and tendencies. You can read magazines and websites like Wired and Mashable to learn about technology trends. There are many periodicals like Success, Forbes, and Inc. that are wellrounded for general business information. Reading is one of the most efficient ways to acquire information and leaders need a lot of information to be successful.

Amy Nolan Vice President of Public Policy

15. Develop a Group of Trusted Advisors

Mark Field

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have or work in; having people with whom you can discuss or bounce ideas off of is very important. Developing a group of trusted advisors is one of the most beneficial things you can do to be successful. These individuals don’t necessarily have to be in the same type of business you are involved in, as a matter of fact, a more diverse group with complementary skill sets is probably better. Pay close attention to the quality of the individuals as you choose your network. You have to believe in one another and know that the conversations you are having or ideas you are getting feedback on are intended to help you be successful. Sometimes that means you hear a different opinion than what you had hoped or thought you would hear. You have to know that person is being honest and trust they have your long-term best interest in mind. After all, isn’t that why you went to them in the first place?

Senior Vice President of Chamber Development

17. Use the Chamber’s Resources Wisely The Chamber provides an array of business resources for our members and there are many ways to get connected and make the most of your membership. Attend ribbon cuttings to build relationships, use your Office Depot Chamber Advantage Card to save big on supplies, and participate on one of our numerous committees. Also, be sure to get targeted sales lists from our research specialist to narrow down who your sales people are calling, and stay informed by reading our weekly newsletter The Loop or monthly newsletter Commerce. Nothing is more beneficial to business owners then staying up-to-date on the latest news, acquisitions, expansions, and legislation.

Rhonda Rice

Ashleigh Christian

Executive Vice President

Membership Development Manager

Superintendent Buzz Thomas Addresses Premier Partners BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Buzz Thomas, interim superintendent of Knox County Schools, spoke to a large crowd of Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners at an exclusive event on Dec. 2. The event provided the opportunity for Thomas to discuss the current state of Knox County Schools and his plans for improvement during an open, casual discussion. “We’re in a campaign right now to create the best school system in the South,” Thomas explained. Thomas described what it takes to be a great school and how Knox County can truly create the best school system in the South. “Teaching is the prime mover of student achievement, and great principals attract, hire, develop, and retain great teachers,” he said. “You will not have a great school without a great principal.” He also shared his top priorities for Knox County Schools over the next year including increasing college and career-readiness, improving reading levels, implementing individualized learning, addressing disparities in educational outcomes, and retaining the best teachers.

Buzz Thomas, superintendent of Knox County Schools, addresses a group of Chamber Premier Partners at an exclusive event on Dec. 2.

To view a video of the discussion in its entirety, visit the Knoxville Chamber’s YouTube channel.

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Seeking Big Ideas for Annual Entrepreneurial Competition

Premier Partners Hear from Successful Restauranteurs BY: JESSICA KARSTEN


Think you have the next big idea for a product or service? “What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch” returns this February with the opportunity for local entrepreneurs to jump start their own businesses during an intense, twoday startup boot camp. The annual program, presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level. This year’s event will also be supported by Magnum Venus Products. “This is The Development Corporation of Knox County’s ninth year to sponsor What’s the Big Idea,” said Todd Napier, president and CEO of TDC. “The program is special because it is open to anyone in the Knoxville region with a great idea or a new product and the passion to turn that into a sustainable, growthbased business.” He continued, “I believe that there is no greater opportunity for a budding entrepreneur to not only compete for the $10,000 in reimbursable expenses and one year’s free rent at Fairview Technology Center prize winnings, but to also receive targeted personal assistance in transforming their concept or product into a viable business model and significant amounts of publicity and promotion.” The weekend-long program will begin Friday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. with each of the six selected participants pitching their ideas to an audience of local specialists and mentors. They will then be assigned a team of people to help them move their ideas from concept to launch-ready over the following 48 hours. During that time, the entrepreneurs will undergo a rigorous period of prototyping, planning, incubating, and launching their startup ideas. “What’s the Big Idea” is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop a new business concept in just 48 hours,” explained Jim Biggs, executive director of KEC. “Working with a team of experienced mentors, participants will have access to a wealth of expert advice throughout the weekend, an endless supply of caffeine, and a community of supporters to cheer them on.” He continued, “In the end, they will have created a business model, possibly even developed a product, crafted and delivered their first pitch, and maybe even won $10,000 to help move the company forward. There may be no better way to launch a business!” “What’s the Big Idea” finale will be held Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at Scruffy City Hall. Each participants will pitch their refined idea to a panel of judges and the winner will be selected. The winner will receive a Big Idea Launch Package, including access to a $10,000 grant applicable to start-up reimbursement costs, office space at the Fairview Technology Center, and complimentary business services. The winner must also participate in KEC’s summer 2017 CO.STARTERS program, a nine-week business development program, in order to take advantage of the cash grant. The deadline to apply for the competition is Feb. 3 by 5 p.m. For more information about the competition and to apply, visit

Mike and Bo Connor of Connor Concepts addressed a large crowd of Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners at an exclusive event sponsored by Cherokee Distributing Company and Sysco on Nov. 22. The Connor brothers shared their respective histories in the restaurant industry and discussed their partnership in the creation of Connor Concepts, parent company of The Chop House and Connors Steak & Seafood. The company includes 16 restaurants in six states. Through humorous anecdotes and playful banter, the Connors detailed what sets their restaurants apart in an industry where 80 percent of startups do not succeed past the first year. “It’s all about culture and building a team that’s happy,” Bo explained. “A lot of people have different philosophies for how to manage people, but you can actually be nice to people and they’ll want to work for you. Our team sells that whole culture.” Mike added, “I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘How do you manage 1,300 people?’ You have to start with a good foundation. We set up foundational beliefs and we live by them. This includes things like [work] environment and perspective.” “A lot of people say, ‘The guest is number one.’ We maintain team members are number one. If you make your team number one, they’ll make sure the guests are number one,” he explained. The duo concluded the event with a casual question-and answer session with attendees. To view a video of the discussion in its entirety, visit the Chamber’s YouTube channel.


MIKE & BO CONNOR NOVEMBER 22 • 7:30 – 8:30 A.M. Knoxville Chamber - 17 Market Square #201 Knoxville, TN 37902 A continental breakfast will be provided

Please join us for a Premier Partner Event featuring Mike & Bo Connor of Connor Concepts, Inc., parent company of The Chop House® and Connors Steak & Seafood™. At this event Mike & Bo will be sharing the history of how they became the owners of a restaurant group and how they stay successful in such a competitive, ever changing industry. This event is exclusive to Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners.

Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Chamber, Bo Connor and Mike Connor of TO REGISTER VISIT OUR EVENTS PAGE AT Connor Concepts, Jeff Knight of Cherokee Distributing Company, and Jeb Neal of WWW.KNOXVILLECHAMBER.COM OR CALL THE Sysco at the Chamber’s Premier Partner event on Nov. PREMIER PARTNER CONCIERGE LINE AT22. 865-246-2658. PRESENTED BY:


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Planet Xchange Wins Brand Overhaul from Project BrandAid BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Local resale fashion shop Planet Xchange was awarded a $50,000 brand overhaul through Project BrandAid at its Big Reveal event on Nov. 30. Project BrandAid is a community-wide contest facilitated by Asen Marketing with a mission to give back to the small businesses in Knoxville. The winner receives all the branding and advertising materials it needs to succeed in today’s market. “One day, an Asen team member saw a business with handwritten cardboard signs in the window advertising their product. That was the day Project BrandAid was started,” said Brookney Morrell, creative director for Asen Marketing. “We know how to help brands succeed and grow, so why not use our skills to help a small business in need within our own community?”

The second annual Project BrandAid contest included a month-long nomination period in which deserving small businesses in Knox County were nominated for the chance to become a finalist. Then, five finalists were selected for online public voting to determine the most deserving candidate. The finalists this year included Planet Xchange, Bar Marley, Bangs and Blush, CrossFit Ktown, and MomSource Network. After a month-long voting period, Planet Xchange was declared the winner. The $50,000 worth of advertising materials is supported by a number of community sponsors including: Knoxville Chamber, Scripps Radio, Firstview Online, Tyler Oxendine, Wunderbar, Printedge, Acree Creative, Knoxville Mercury, Lamar Advertising, and WVLT Local 8. “We were able to award our winner this year with over $50,000 in combined advertising services; however, beyond the grand prize Project BrandAid is really about something much more,” Morrell said. “It’s about celebrating our community, local business, and the people with stories of hard work and dedication behind the businesses we rely on daily. We want to celebrate the desire to help one another and bring back what it means to be a neighbor again.”

JANUARY - MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES Since 1869, the Knoxville Chamber has been the leading voice for business in the region. Each of these businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries as Chamber members during the month of January Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS


SunTrust Bank


25 – 30 YEARS


10 – 14 YEARS


Bank of America, N.A.


Downtown Grill & Brewery


WBIR-TV 1941

Marathon Ashland Petroleum


The McCord Law Firm


PSC Metals, Inc.


Knoxville Opera


Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation


Rentenbach Constructors, Inc.


First Peoples Bank of Tennessee


Camel Custom Canvas Shop


William S. Trimble Co., Inc.


Personal Computer Systems, Inc.


Knoxville News Sentinel


United Way of Greater Knoxville, Inc.

Robert G. Campbell & Associates



Privett Insurance Group Inc



C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.


TAG Resources, LLC



Design Innovations Architects, Inc.


Designsensory 2004

American Technical Associates, Inc.


Norfolk Southern Corporation

Knoxville Endodontics - Drs. Powell, Balaban, Myers & Scott


United Community Bank

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

20 – 24 YEARS



Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee 2005

Clayton Homes, Inc.


15-19 YEARS

ADT Security Services


Baker Realty Company


Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville


J. S. Ridenour Construction, Inc.


TIS Insurance Services, Inc.


Valley Proteins


Gallaher & Associates, Inc.


Leadership Knoxville, Inc.


The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation


Paula Harriss Coaching




Children’s West Surgery Center


workspace interiors, inc.


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(Nov. 2016)

NOTES – Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane & Union Counties.

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Oct. ’15Oct. ‘16

Oct. 2016

Sept. 2016

Oct. 2015

% Change Sept. ’16Oct. ‘16

238,430 422,100 3,175,300 159,783,000

238,500 422,230 3,175,000 159,636,000

229,550 407,780 3,055,600 157,313,000

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1

3.9 3.5 3.9 1.6

400,200 3,007,900

397,700 2,985,700

392,400 2,938,200

0.6 0.7

2.0 2.4



11,230 22,170 182,380



4.1 4.6 4.9 4.7

4.3 4.7 5.0 4.8

4.4 4.9 5.4 4.8

-0.2 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1

-0.3 -0.3 -0.5 -0.1

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Oct. 2016 1,493 8,014 $165,000

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

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


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

% Change Oct. ’14Oct. ‘16 1.8 1.4

Oct. ’15-‘16

Sept. ’15-‘16

Oct. ’14-‘15

1.4 1.6

1.3 1.5

-0.4 0.2

0.1 0.1

% Change Oct. ’15Oct. ‘16

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Oct. 2016* 176 38 138

Oct. 2015 29 29 0

% Change Oct. ’15Oct. ‘16 506.9 31.0 100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

295 157 138

225 225 0

31.1 -30.2 100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

377 239 138

332 307 25

13.6 -22.1 452.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,311 1,691 620

2,476 1,534 942

-6.7 10.2 -34.2

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Oct. 2016

Sept. 2016

Oct. 2015

% Change Sept. ’16Oct. ‘16

54,245,739 84,961,194 715,111,358

54,643,155 83,769,806 692,034,963

53,095,557 82,047,320 684,195,215

-0.7 1.4 3.3

2.2 3.6 4.5

15,021,106 24,118,775

14,857,338 23,412,660

14,595,985 23,039,950

1.1 3.0

2.9 4.7

% Change Oct. ’15Oct. ‘16 2.3 2.9 -0.3 -5.6 2.0 2.7 -1.7 -1.0 -3.2 6.4 7.9 2.6 10.0 -1.0


Passengers Freight

Sept. 2016 159,134 7,381,459

Aug. 2016 159,806 7,597,688

Sept. 2015 147,108 6,364,650

% Change Aug. ’16Sept. ‘16 -0.4 -2.8

% Change Sept. ’15Sept. ‘16 8.2 16.0

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2016 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey

*South – City Size Class B/C


1,371 10,035 $158,500


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘16

Oct. 2015

% Change Oct. ’15Oct. ‘16 8.9 -20.1 4.1

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2016 1,643 8,387 $162,000

% Change Sept. ’16Oct. ‘16 -9.1 -4.4 1.9

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

Oct. 2016

Sept. 2016

454,520 29,370 20,503 7,755 59,240 55,339 8,818 35,582 53,760 28,306 11,491 91,960 45,588

447,774 29,194 19,573 7,973 57,813 54,307 9,312 34,850 50,417 27,915 10,749 93,862 44,585

444,259 28,546 20,563 8,213 58,065 53,887 8,973 35,932 55,544 26,602 10,647 89,659 41,452

% Change Sept. ’16Oct. ‘16 1.5 0.6 4.8 -2.7 2.5 1.9 -5.3 2.1 6.6 1.4 6.9 -2.0 2.2





Oct. 2015

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 | 86

Thanking Chamber Ambassadors and Their Bosses BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Knoxville Chamber held its eighth annual Breakfast with the Bosses event for its Ambassadors and their bosses on Dec. 6. The event gives the Chamber the opportunity to thank not only its Ambassadors for their time and efforts, but also their bosses for allowing them to dedicate so many volunteer hours to support the Chamber’s efforts. “There is no way we could produce more than 80 events a year and provide services to more than 2,200 member businesses without the help of our Ambassadors, and they take time away from their jobs to help us,” said Katie Wells, member services manager at the Chamber. “Breakfast with the Bosses gives our staff the chance to thank all the bosses who allow their employees to volunteer with us throughout the year.” In addition to volunteering at events, Chamber Ambassadors serve as liaisons between the Chamber and its members, assist with member retention, and recruit and mentor new members. They are collectively some of the Chamber’s most engaged members.

Nearly 40 Ambassadors and their bosses attended the Chamber’s eighth annual Breakfast with the Bosses event on Dec. 6.

Where Are They Now: Del Conca USA Just over four years ago, Italian ceramic tile manufacturer Del Conca announced the company’s plans to locate its first U.S. base of operations and headquarters in Innovation Valley. The production facility officially opened on a 30-acre site in the Sugarlimb Industrial Park in Loudon in March 2014. “The Southeastern United States is prevalent in the raw materials used to make our tiles, and the Innovation Valley region had favorable location when deciding where to put our first U.S. facility,” said Paul Boyles, human resources manager for Del Conca USA. “The work ethic of the community was attractive as well. We can teach almost anyone how to make tile, it is the work-ethic and dedication that count, and the region has the workforce to support that. We thought Innovation Valley would be a great place for Del Conca to locate its first facility in the U.S. and it has proven to be.” The company has experienced great success since opening its doors in 2014, and this past April officials announced the company would expand its operations in Loudon County, doubling its tile production capabilities from 32 to 65 million square-feet per year. Del Conca is currently wrapping up its expansion efforts and will have the ability to run four production lines at a time. There are currently 110 people employed at the facility and the company plans to hire a total of 135. “The quality of product produced is extremely important to our company,” said Boyles. “We have multiple quality control measures in place throughout the production process, and that is something that sets our product apart of the competition. Del Conca is also technologically advanced in the production process, as well as in our industry.” Del Conca notes that its Loudon facility uses the best environmental technology available to recycle 100 percent of process water, dusts, and production waste. “Del Conca continues to be a great addition to the Innovation Valley region, strengthening our workforce and providing quality jobs,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “The Innovation Valley team had the opportunity to tour its facility in September 2016, and were all impressed with the quality of the products produced, as well as the cleanliness and technological capabilities of the plant.”

Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Chamber, expresses his gratitude to Ambassadors and their bosses at the Chamber’s annual Breakfast with the Bosses.

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BAH Humbug Draws More than 500 to Downtown Knoxville More than 500 businesspeople gathered for the Knoxville Chamber’s 9th annual holiday networking event BAH Humbug on Dec. 8 at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. The event, sponsored by Comcast Business, is one of the most highly-anticipated networking events of the year. The Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park featured Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer décor courtesy of hotel staff, Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs, and All Occasions Party Rentals. Guests enjoyed music compliments of Ogle Entertainment and photo keepsakes from Leehaw Photobooth Company. The evening also featured two door prizes. Nelson Meadors from Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits won a one-night stay and complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park and Arlene Weinstein of Arlene’s Fun Travel won four tickets to the Chris Young concert at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park staff pose with their furry friend Andy from the East Tennessee Miniature Horse and Donkey Rescue at BAH Humbug.

Chamber Ambassador Carol Kelly of Ullrich Printing welcomes guests to BAH Humbug.

More than 500 attendees packed the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park ballroom for an evening of networking.

The Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park provided a variety of tasty food options to guests at the Chamber’s annual holiday networking event.

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Leehaw Photobooth Company wowed attendees with the latest in photo booth technology.

Tim Hill with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Matthew Koenig of Pree’s Tree Specialists, Inc., Mapsy Powers of Navitat Canopy Adventures, Amanda Dascomb of Knox County Schools, and Amanda Opolski with the City of Knoxville take a break from networking to pose for a photo at BAH Humbug.

Above the Rest Balloon & Event Design provided festive balloon décor for guests of the 2016 BAH Humbug to enjoy.

Curtis Johnston representing presenting sponsor Comcast Business addressed a crowd of more than 500 guests at BAH Humbug at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

Guests of BAH Humbug networked with other professionals in a casual lounge setting provided by All Occasions Party Rentals.

Deidra Harper of Elite Facility Maintenance, Karen Stripling of FSG Bank, Dee Matchett of OsteoStrong of Farragut, Shana Love of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, and Tanika Harper of Elite Facility Maintenance gather at the Chamber’s annual networking event BAH Humbug.

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Panel Offers Tips On Reducing Workers’ Compensation Risks BY: AMY NOLAN

Employers can take measures before and after a workers’ compensation claim is filed to mitigate the risk to their organizations. That was among the messages by a panel of experts at the workers’ compensation seminar “How to Protect Your Workers Without Putting Your Business at Risk” held in December at the Knoxville Chamber. Panelists represented the various stakeholders involved in the state-mandated workers’ compensation program, which dates to the 1920s and saw significant changes in 2013 and smaller changes in 2016. Lynn Peterson, with the Knoxville law office of Lewis Thomason, gave her perspective from representing employers, and Brad Burnette, of the Fox & Farley law firm, shared his experience as an advocate for injured employees. Abbie Hudgens, administrator of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, told employers they shouldn’t be afraid of communicating with an injured employee for fear of litigation. In fact, she said engaging with an employee by communicating concern for their wellbeing – just as you would if the employee had been injured outside the workplace – significantly reduces the chance the employee will pursue litigation. The state’s 2013 reform efforts created a system that is more balanced and consistent, less costly, and resolves conflicts more rapidly, Hudgens said, but it “continues to be a work in progress.” Chamber Offers Workers’ A change that took Compensation Group Program effect this past July allows employees’ atThe Knoxville Chamber has partnered with Accident torneys to petition for Fund Insurance Company of America to bring Chamlegal fees to be paid ber members exclusive access to a workers’ compenby the defense if the sation group program. claim is successful, Workers’ compensation insurance is just one of which will lead to more the many expenses that employers have to consider. employees being able Chamber members can make it a smaller part of their to pursue claims, Burbudget by joining this group program. The program nette said. includes benefits such as the opportunity to receive Peterson and Huddividend payments based on individual loss history, gens encouraged emconvenient billing options, and free access to Accident ployers to consider Fund’s Loss Prevent Toolbox™. enrolling in the TenAccident Fund’s dividend percentages range from nessee Drug-Free 0–5% based on each member’s workers’ compensaWorkplace Program. tion premium costs and results. Dividends are payable The requirements for 15 months after Group expiration and require approval the program – which by Accident Fund’s Board of Directors, and therefore, can earn employers a can never be guaranteed. 5 percent discount on Chamber members can contact one of the Knoxville workers’ compensaChamber member insurance agencies listed below to tion premiums – have learn more about this program and sign up. been simplified as of Inter-Agency Insurance (865) 637-4519 July, as well. Mowery Insurance (865) 584-1115 Those requirements Shafer Insurance Agency (865) 546-0761 and other information John Bailey Company (865) 524-0785 can be found at www. Scott Insurance (865) 588-0111 and Cate Russell Insurance (865) 982-4111 clicking on the “InjuWyatt Insurance Services (865) 470-9654 ries at Work” section.


JAN. 10 - Digital Marketing Workshop – “Maximizing your Marketing on a Shoestring Budget”

Presented by Courtney Herda, Smarter Searchers 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for non-members A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants


JAN. 10 - New Member Orientation 4 – 6 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 Chamber Members Only


JAN. 17 - Digital Marketing Workshop – “Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Growth” Presented by Mike McDowell, Social Joey 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for non-members A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants SPONSORED BY:

JAN. 18 - Power 30 Speed Networking 4 – 6:30 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 Only one person per company per session, only two people per industry, individuals can only attend two Power 30 sessions per calendar year

JAN. 19 - Premier Partner Appreciation Reception 5 – 7 p.m. • The Stables at Hunter Valley Farm – 9133 Hunter Valley Ln This event is exclusive for Premier Partners


FOUR ADDITIONAL EVENTS IN JANUARY Visit www.knoxvillechamberevents/ to see the entire calendar! Go to “Chamber Events” on to learn more or register for any of these events.

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January 2017 Commerce  
January 2017 Commerce