Page 1

INSIDE: BAH Humbug Recap pg. 82 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 81



Norris Commercial Capital, LLC (865) 585-0304 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Gelato Brothers (865) 630-0107 Restaurants

Patton4 Design & Graphics (865) 377-3294 Business & Professional Services: Graphic Designers

GSV Acquisitions (865) 851-0551 Business & Professional Services

People2Places Transportation, Inc. (314) 568-5423 Transportation

K9 Center of East Tennessee, Inc. (865) 310-2800 Pet Care & Supplies

Post Trailer Repairs, Inc. (865) 523-4067 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Repair & Service

Obregon Painting (865) 679-7973 Construction & Contractors: Dry Wall & Painting Schuchardt Law Firm (865) 304-4374 Legal Services: Attorneys Aerus of Knoxville (865) 687-1742 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services Aflac - Clarence Beaman (865) 556-5912 Insurance All Pro Supply (865) 320-9232 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies Cafe Vicolo (865) 249-6314 Restaurants Harper’s Naturals (865) 208-5254 Jimmy John’s (865) 637-1414 Restaurants Knox Trailers, Inc. (865) 523-1115 Transportation: Truck/ Trailor Sales & Equipment

Sesco Management Consultants (423) 764-4127 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Spire Creative Solutions (770) 278-1772 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

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.


Post Leasing and Sales, Inc. (865) 524-5678 Transportation: Truck/Trailor Sales & Equipment

Marketing Bullpen, LLC (865) 251-5527 Business & Professional Services: Marketing



Vienna Coffee at The Regas Building (865) 415-2022 Restaurants



TapRooT/System Improvements, Inc. (865) 816-2756 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants uBreakiFix Powell (865) 859-0518 Telecommunications: Wireless




Madison Insurance Group and Payroll Service (865) 425-7400 Insurance

LKQ Keystone Automotive (865) 238-3017 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service








VIP Knoxville, Dabora, Inc. (931) 684-8123 Publishing/Publications What To Do In Knoxville (912) 660-7382 Business & Professional Services: Advertising Media Zips Carwash (865) 560-2773 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service

Legal Shield - Ellen Rochelle, Independent Associate (865) 254-0409 Legal Services: Attorneys

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 76


As we enter a new year, it’s time for businesses to reflect on past successes, evaluate current processes and prepare for future growth. Knoxville Chamber staff, board members and partners collaborated on a list of 18 resolutions for businesses to succeed and prosper this year and beyond.

1. Declutter Your Work Space Cluttered desks, cluttered calendars and cluttered email inboxes decrease productivity, cause confusion and produce frustration. In 2018, make a resolution to cleanse the clutter from your work life. Start with a clean slate. Clear off your desk by creating a filing system to include “In Process,” “Need More Information” and “Completed” sections. Make time each day to gather the information needed and file completed tasks. Next, take a look at your calendars. Are there any reoccurring calendar appointments that need to be deleted or appointments/tasks that can be delegated? Address the unnecessary appointments on your calendar to free your time for more important revenue-generating tasks. Lastly, declutter your email inbox by deleting old emails you no longer need, creating folders for things you need to keep and find quickly, and responding to emails that need attention.

Julie Massie Member Services Manager, Knoxville Chamber

2. Set Realistic Goals Proper goal-setting starts with knowing what you want to accomplish. Borrowing from the experts, a good, quick approach is trying to write your goals using the SMART format: Specific - state the goal precisely. Measurable - good measures allow you know when a goal is completed. Attainable - resources needed to complete the goal are within your reach. Relevant - the goal is applicable to your business. Time Bound - the goal has a completion date or timeframe for being achieved. Identify, test and fine-tune your written goals using the SMART format for a successful new year!

3. Expand Your Network People are eager to do business with familiar faces and companies they trust. One of the most effective ways to build this trust is through networking. The more visible your face, company logo and brand, the more activity comes your way. When you attend networking events, try to bring a tangible item to hand out, one that people want to take home and use. The Chamber has a number of events throughout the year to help you plug in - whether you’re a brand-new business or have been established for years. A helpful way to make sure you attend your top-prioritized events is to set a calendar reminder at the beginning of each month. There are also a variety of networking groups in the area to explore.

Mary McCall Account Executive, Knoxville Chamber

4. Find Your Target Customers Businesses are as unique as people! The process for growing your customer base should also be unique. The Chamber has several resources that can help you find your target customers. There are two types of general customers – commercial customers (other businesses) and individual consumers. If the majority of your customers are other businesses, we can generate customized business lists based on various criteria such as specific industries, employment size, sales volume and geographic location. If your customers are individual consumers, the chamber has a fee-based service called Consumer iD that can take a list of your existing base of loyal customers and generate a “Look Alike Profile” that can help you identify more people with similar traits and purchasing habits. Finding your target customers does not need to be an overwhelming process. Take advantage of all the Chamber’s resources to grow your customer base and your bottom-line sales!

Joe Riley Research Specialist, Knoxville Chamber

“18 for 18” continued on pg. 78

Laura Overstreet Senior Small Business Specialist, Tennessee Small Business Development Center – Knoxville

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 77

8. Train Employees on Cyber Security

18 for 18 Continued from page 77

5. Review Your Personnel Policies Time magazine recently honored five women and another obscured person as the “Time’s Person of the Year” cover photo. It called them “The Silence Breakers,” the men and women who spoke up in 2017 to expose sexual harassment in the workplace. Their co-workers, bosses or owners of the businesses where they worked had used their power to sexually intimidate, harass or abuse because they could. In 2018, owners need to become very aware of their personnel policies as it relates to harassment. Prevention is by far the best policy to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers should establish a process for complaints to be heard and appropriate action to be taken and taken immediately. The employees should feel free to voice their concerns without fear of reprisal. If you don’t have a policy in place, get one immediately and be sure to set up training by a professional to prevent these problems.

Susan Richardson Williams Founder, SRW & Associates Chair, Knoxville Chamber Government Relations Committee

6. Make Volunteering an Organizational Priority Community involvement for any business is a situation where everybody wins. It sets businesses apart from their competitors and leads to more loyal customers, increased brand awareness, happier, more productive employees and a stronger community. Community service boosts brand visibility, and volunteer opportunities that weave the mission and values of a company into the fabric of the community help them become more than just their product. Multiple studies show that employee morale and retention increases when a company is engaged with volunteer opportunities. If every company did some form of community service, could you imagine the impact on the community as a whole?

Sandi Swilley

The user (employee) is the number one cyber security threat to a business. It only takes one employee to click on a seemingly harmless link to infect the entire network. Businesses should conduct regular trainings on how to spot phishing or social engineering attacks in emails, how to tell if a website is legitimate and other cyber security best practices. A business should also develop a culture of communicating recent threats, so employees know what to look out for. Proper training and communication of cyber security issues is the biggest defense a company has to protect their network.

Kyle Beanblossom Technical Support Representative, Knoxville Chamber

9. Take Steps to Build Financial Confidence This year, companies in the Knoxville area should take a stand to build financial confidence to empower employees and drive growth. Studies show the number one cause of stress is finances. Whether you’re a business owner or employee, financial stress can have a real impact on your bottom-line. For business owners, financial stress can impact your ability to invest or expand your business. For employees, financial stress can be a distraction at the workplace and harm personal health. In 2016, SunTrust launched a movement called onUp to build financial skills and knowledge among Americans, and nearly 3 million people have already participated. SunTrust also recently launched a leading workplace financial wellness solution called Momentum onUp, offering the program at-cost to help build financial confidence at companies. Currently more than 60 companies, large and small, are participating. You can join the movement at

Harry Gross, Knoxville City President, SunTrust Bank Chair, Knoxville Chamber Economic & Community Development Committee

10. Utilize Existing Industry Services

Vice President, Leadership Knoxville

7. Encourage Healthy Practices in the Workplace and Beyond Employers are finally beginning to realize the positive impact of wellness in the workplace. Fostering well-being not only makes employees feel valued and engaged, improving the overall morale, but it also increases productivity. Providing resources that improve employee health can also boost the bottom line by decreasing absenteeism and lowering healthcare costs. Address all aspects of wellness. Many people forget to focus on mental and financial health as elements of wellness. Provide resources such as an employee assistance program, career development options and financial education to improve the overall stress level of your employees. Lead by example, make sure that your management team is not only talking the talk, but walking the walk (literally).

Business support and retention is essential to the region’s economic health. The Chamber partners with various entities to help businesses thrive. Many companies are not aware of the incredible free- and low-cost programs and services available through these partners, offering resources such as workforce development, utility efficiencies and gaining access to capital and incentives. Scheduling an existing industry visit is free and one of the best things you can to ensure your organization is taking advantage of all available opportunities.

Alex Kleto Manager of Existing Industry, Knoxville Chamber

Leslie Smith Director of Human Resources and Operations, Knoxville Chamber

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 78

18 for 18 Continued from page 78

14. Engage in Community Collaboration

11. Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor The most powerful force in the world when you are stuck on a problem, business or personal, is the experience and guidance of someone who has “been there, done that.” In my personal experience, a good mentor is the ultimate business hack. They say there is nothing new under the sun, and I agree. Rarely is one faced with some problem or situation that is truly unique. So, whether you are up-and-coming, or you’re experienced and stuck, mentoring is a great way to unlock the next step. On the other side of the coin, if you’ve been successful at anything you probably have the scar-tissue that goes with it, and nothing can be as rewarding as paying it forward and helping the next person along. There are tons of opportunities to mentor in the community, one of which is the KEC mentor program, so if you want to share your experience and wisdom with the next person in line, generally the rewards are tenfold. Feel free to join us at KEC anytime!

Jonathan Sexton, Chief Operating Officer, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

12. Build Meaningful Relationships Building business relationships, while also gaining the trust of those you are working with, starts with an open line of communication. Since we all spend a majority of our time each week at work, having meaningful connections with people both inside and outside our office leads to a rewarding and enjoyable professional environment. To be successful in this endeavor, accepting and celebrating differences is key in creating rapport with others, since we all feel more comfortable with people who “get” us. Listening effectively, while a seemingly obvious goal, is not something that everyone does well, but is always greatly appreciated by others. By focusing on honest and transparent conversation, and by doing our best to connect with others, we can create more impactful relationships in 2018.

Jill Green, Professional Recruiter/Shareholder, BGT Recruiting & Consulting Chair, Knoxville Chamber Membership Committee

13. Audit Your Digital Presence Almost every organization has a digital presence, and in today’s market, that presence has a direct impact on profit. Over 96 percent of Americans are expected to shop online this year, and 74 percent of shoppers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by social media. With the majority of consumers interacting with your brand online, are you confident your digital presence accurately represents your organization? In 2018, take time to thoroughly review all of your digital assets. Review content for accuracy, ensure website links are still active, compare your presence to competitors and be honest about what you find. Almost all online strategies have weaknesses. Identifying areas of improvement is the first step towards building brand trust – a key component in converting followers into customers.

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team, including being part of a winning community. Locals have long realized that Knoxville is a great place to live, work and play. Over the past several years, these qualities that we love about our community are starting to draw national attention. As we build on our momentum into the new year, it is essential that we work together as individuals and organizations to build on our collective culture, diversity and experience. Being involved and collaborating is the secret sauce to success not only for our community, but for our businesses as well. This includes being receptive to ideas from “outsiders” that bring fresh perspectives. We are much better when we work together.

Ed Medford Manager of Economic Development & Government Relations, Knoxville Utilities Board; Chair, Knoxville Chamber Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

15. Make a Commitment to Continual Improvement Processes have a way of growing stagnant and becoming less efficient over time. Being willing to look at how your business functions with fresh eyes can allow you to find innovative ways to address problems or simply eliminate wasted time and even inaccuracies. Using simple continual improvement strategies and shifting your company culture to one of constant progress allows you to make the most of your available time, budget and skills. Meaningful change and added value can happen with incremental evaluation. Don’t be afraid to review and adapt a process even if you have “always done it that way.” Great things can happen!

Gwen Rogers Director of IT Systems & Strategies, Knoxville Chamber

16. Evaluate & Develop Your Employees For the first time since 2011, business owners have indicated growth is their single most important priority and nearly three-quarters are investing in staff as a means to support that growth. It’s easy for staffing assessment to take a backseat in light of a business owner’s ever-increasing to-do list, but it’s a priority that shouldn’t be ignored. Regular evaluation of employee capability and responsibility optimizes personnel usage – ensuring you are examining process efficiencies, addressing gaps and identifying training needs. Making this evaluation routine also diminishes the likelihood any weaknesses become a threat to future profitability or growth. Development opportunities are also considered a benefit by most employees, providing a competitive advantage during the hiring process and creating an internal pool of promotable workers. Continued education programs build loyalty, keep employees engaged and increase company reputation, all of which can positively impact a business’s bottom line.

Terry Turner President, All Occasions Party Rentals Chair, Knoxville Chamber Board of Directors

Lynsey Wilson Director of Marketing & Events, Knoxville Chamber “18 for 18” continued on pg. 80

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 79

18. Learn Something New

18 for 18 Continued from page 79

17. Be Your Own Advocate It’s a new year - time to get out there and believe in yourself! In 2018, be confident and be your own advocate. Challenge yourself to take on a new initiative and get outside your comfort zone. In today’s fast-paced, social media-frenzied world, one has to learn to negotiate for themselves. Reach for opportunities that can help you learn a new skill or increase your market value. Pick up a new (good) habit. Don’t underestimate your own abilities, and own your success - you earned it!

Rhonda Rice Clayton

In an increasingly competitive and ever-changing market, one of the primary ways a potential or current employee can differentiate themselves is a commitment to lifelong learning. Studies have shown a correlation between an appetite for education and earning potential, finding this common thread of continual study among leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and world leaders. One of the primary objections to lifelong learning is lack of time. However, at the beginning of 2017, analytics showed the average U.S. consumers spends five hours per day on a mobile device. If a fraction of these hours were dedicated to learning a new skill – even to reading new information on a mobile device, the impact on personal, professional and ultimately societal progress could be exponential.

Mike Edwards

Executive Vice President, Knoxville Chamber

President & CEO, Knoxville Chamber

Composites Coalition Capitalizes on University’s Research Facilities BY: KAYLA SMITH

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley announced in November 2017 the statewide Composites Coalition initiative alongside founding partners the Knoxville Chamber, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Tennessee Economic and Community Development department (TNECD), the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Each of the partners has a vested interest in economic development and technological advancements across the state. Composites Coalition aims to capitalize on Tennessee’s unique composites assets and leading composites research facilities. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville has spent the last several years building its composite profile and now has several composite facilities on its campus including the Center for Renewable Carbon, the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility and Engineering Annex, and the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM). JIAM comprises a multidisciplinary team of scientists from the university and ORNL, and at 140,000 square feet, it represents one of the world’s premier centers for advanced materials research. The Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility and Engineering Annex, features cutting-edge machines devoted to advanced manufacturing of composites typically containing carbon fiber and plastic resins. The University’s Center for Renewable Carbon is an internationally-recognized

leader in the development of new and/or improved bioenergy sources, biorefinery processes, bioproducts and biomaterials that coordinates the science, knowledge transfer and trains the workforce required to develop a sustainable and economically viable bioeconomy. Hicham Ghossein is a Ph.D. candidate and senior graduate student under a GRA contract at the University of Tennessee in the Mechanical Biospace Biomedical Engineering Department. Ghossein credits Dr. Uday Vaidya, chief technology officer at IACMI and Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing Professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for recruiting him to the university. “At the University of Tennessee, I am gaining applicable, real world, experience in my concentration,” said Ghossein. “Many students that graduate with a Ph.D. are highly intelligent, but do not have the industry experience needed. Working with Dr. Vaidya has helped me network with existing industry, and he’s helped me build up my experience early on. I’m now more fit to meet industry requirements, standards and work ethics.” Ghossein has 14 graduate students and 20 undergrad assistants in his team and department, but says there are over 100 students working on carbon fiber and composites projects between all departments and buildings. Each team works under non-disclosure agreements with existing industries to build prototypes and solve real-world problems. They are currently working on 20 projects in cooperation with the University of Tennessee and IACMI with 20 additional projects on the books. There is full collaboration with facilities between the university and ORNL with seamless access for students between the two. The university covers the entire spectrum of composites manufacturing, and its students can easily work at ORNL or the university. For more information on Innovation Valley’s technological advantages and the Composites Coalition, visit

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


(Nov. 2017)

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. ’16Oct. ‘17

Oct. 2017

Sept. 2017

Oct. 2016

% Change Sept. ’17Oct. ‘17

236,960 418,320 3,214,000 160,465,000

238,250 420,620 3,223,400 161,049,000

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

-0.5 -0.5 -0.3 -0.4

-0.6 -0.9 1.2 0.4

398,500 3,047,500

398,500 3,036,400

400,700 3,012,200

0.0 0.4

-0.5 1.2

6,130 11,940 97,900

5,950 11,530 93,400

9,850 19,330 154,200

3.0 3.6 4.8

-37.8 -38.2 -36.5

2.6 2.9 3.0 3.9

2.5 2.7 2.9 4.1

4.1 4.6 4.9 4.7

0.1 0.2 0.1 -0.2

-1.5 -1.7 -1.9 -0.8

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Oct. 2017 1,644 6,806 $171,336

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. ’15Oct. ‘17 0.5 0.4

Oct. ’16-‘17

Sept. ’16-‘17

Oct. ’15-‘16

1.9 2.0

2.3 2.2

1.4 1.6

-0.4 -0.2

% Change Oct. ’16Oct. ‘17

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Oct. 2017* 128 27 101

Oct. 2016 176 38 138

% Change Oct. ’16Oct. ‘17 -27.3 -28.9 -26.8

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

241 140 101

315 177 138

-23.5 -20.9 -26.8

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

380 262 118

398 260 138

-4.5 0.8 -14.5


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,674 1,697 977

2,330 1,705 625

14.8 -0.5 56.3

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Oct. 2017

Sept. 2017

Oct. 2016

% Change Sept. ’17Oct. ‘17

54,392,418 84,462,112 733,842,073

54,551,981 83,606,365 725,172,577

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

-0.3 1.0 1.2

0.3 -0.6 2.6

15,449,034 24,685,121

15,240,266 24,125,753

15,021,106 24,118,775

1.4 2.3

2.8 2.3

% Change Oct. ’16Oct. ‘17 4.6 11.0 0.4 2.1 2.3 2.2 4.8 7.4 1.4 4.8 2.5 5.4 9.6 -2.4


Passengers Freight

Sept. 2017 160,128 6,702,496

Aug. 2017 177,311 7,559,145

Sept. 2016 159,134 7,381,459

% Change Aug. ’17Sept. ‘17 -9.7 -11.3

% Change Sept. ’16Sept. ‘17 0.6 -9.2

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2017 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


1,493 8,014 $165,000



% Change Sept. ’16Oct. ‘17

Oct. 2016

% Change Oct. ’16Oct. ‘17 10.1 -15.1 3.8

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2017 1,642 6,971 $174,500

% Change Sept. ’17Oct. ‘17 0.1 -2.4 -1.8

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. 2017

Sept. 2017

475,339 32,006 20,473 7,539 59,913 57,046 9,467 40,034 55,803 27,887 11,470 97,125 50,268

470,402 31,542 19,870 7,662 59,299 55,709 9,690 39,994 53,946 27,075 10,901 100,191 47,807

454,601 28,834 20,385 7,387 58,550 55,793 9,031 37,284 55,038 26,607 11,185 92,180 45,867

% Change Sept. ’17Oct. ‘17 1.0 1.5 3.0 -1.6 1.0 2.4 -2.3 0.1 3.4 3.0 5.2 -3.1 5.1





Oct. 2016

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 | 81

BAH Humbug Draws Large Crowd to Downtown Knoxville The Knoxville Chamber hosted its 10th Annual BAH Humbug holiday networking event at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park on Dec. 5. The event, presented by Comcast Business, is one of the most highly-anticipated networking events of the year. Nearly 500 business professionals gathered in the hotel ballroom for mixing and mingling over delicious food, festive music and holiday movies. Guests also enjoyed taking photos

in a traditional photo booth and in front of a green screen provided by Knoxville Photo Booth Company. Four lucky guests took home the evening’s door prizes - gift cards to Chamber Member businesses including: Tailgate Clothing, Mast General Store, Belk Department Store and Stock & Barrel. The winners were: Noelle Whyte, anti-bullying advocate; Robin Ann Aggers, Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace Realtors; Rochelle Cordova, WoodmenLife; and Michael C. Murphy, attorney.





K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 82







1. Nearly 500 people gathered at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park for an evening of holiday networking. 2. Gene Collins, Ryan Brooks and Sandra Kent with presenting sponsor Comcast Business pose with Gigfoot, the company’s mascot, to celebrate the roll-out of the nation’s largest gig-speed network. 3. BAH Humbug guests had a great time posing in front of the Knoxville Photo Booth Company’s green screen for festive photos. 4. Kenneth Herring with Cirrus Insight and City Council Member Seema Singh Perez at the Chamber’s holiday event. 5. Daniel Head, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC; Monica Sheppard-Viator, Kelly Services; Interfield Colebrooke, Farmer’s Insurance; Scott Corless, Business Advacement Systems Experts; Teri Brahams, Pellissippi State Community College; and Macey Cheatham, Tennessee Smokies enjoy delicious food provided by US Foods.

6. Baylor Nicole Love, Tennessee Smokies; Heather Brown, Staybridge Suites Knoxville Oak Ridge; Monica Austin Carroll, Keller Williams Realty; and Erin Cooper, Keller Williams Realty at BAH Humbug. 7. Drew Wassenaar, Accounting Principals; Mindy Wassenaar, Virtuous Products; Katie Bare, Virtuous Products; and Carissa Wassenaar, Virtuous Products at the Knoxville Chamber’s 10th Annual BAH Humbug. 8. BAH Humbug guests enjoy dancing to the festive music provided by Ogle Entertainment. 9. Curtis Johnston with presenting sponsor Comcast Business addresses the crowd of nearly 500 people at Bah Humbug. 10. Adam McGee, Lauren Braunegg and Kelly Pratt with the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park welcome guests to BAH Humbug.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 83


Propel Protégé Profile • Women’s safety without a gun • Active shooter training for small businesses

The Knoxville Chamber’s Propel mentor/protégé program pairs an established community business leader with a protégé who is relatively new to business.

Firm: Diligence Security & Training Owner: Denise Howell Email: Phone: 865-809-5180 What is your professional background? I got into security thanks to my background in social work and human services. I always felt this was important work, but a very reactive profession. I wanted to do something that allowed people to be proactive. My husband has experience as a policeman and in security work. I decided that between the two of us we could create a firm that provided services from an authentic set of core values with our combined experience. What does your firm offer its clients? We are one of a handful of woman-owned firms that teaches armed guard and handgun carry certification classes. We are state and NRA certified. In addition to handgun classes, we provide a host of other safety courses such as: • “Refuse to be a victim” course • Children’s gun safety

What makes your firm unique? Diligence Security is unique in that both of us are licensed armed guards. We are small and nimble, which allows us to do customized programming for our clients. Our clients appreciate the fact that the owners are providing the bulk of the services. We were selected to do security for the television show “Undercover Bosses” due to our flexibility and expertise. The producers of the show were filming and residing in a place they had no previous knowledge of, and we made sure they were safe and well-protected. Additionally, our ability to be flexible has made us a go-to in the region for protecting ATM repair technicians. We are supporters of the Second Amendment, but we are more passionate about responsible gun ownership. Who are your perfect clients? Great clients for us are weddings and private events that would like to have security. We are able to provide security with a bold presence or a more subdued appearance, all with the same level of protection. On the corporate side of the house, we are experts in providing security for medical and health firms and family-owned businesses such as convenience stores, gas stations and establishments that want added protection during the holidays. We also do a lot of work with other security firms to help them with guard training and recertifications. Lastly, we do work with the entertainment sector with actor protection, filming sites, etc.

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! Knoxville Opera


Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation


First Peoples Bank of Tennessee


Camel Custom Canvas Shop


WBIR-TV 1941

United Community Bank


Personal Computer Systems, Inc.


PSC Metals, Inc.


C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.


Robert G. Campbell & Associates


The Christman Company


Privett Insurance Group Inc


William S. Trimble Co., Inc.


20 – 24 YEARS

TAG Resources, LLC



Design Innovation Architects, Inc.


Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 1966

American Technical Associates, Inc.


10 – 14 YEARS

United Way of Greater Knoxville, Inc.


Design Innovation Architects, Inc.


Designsensory 2004

Clayton Homes, Inc.


American Technical Associates, Inc.


Norfolk Southern Corporation



SunTrust Bank


Knoxville News Sentinel

Baker Realty Company


TIS Insurance Services, Inc.


Leadership Knoxville, Inc.




Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee 2005

15-19 YEARS


ADT Security Services


J. S. Ridenour Construction, Inc.


Valley Proteins


Gallaher & Associates, Inc.


The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation


Paula Harriss Coaching



Children’s West Surgery Center


workspace interiors, inc.




Bank of America, N.A.


Downtown Grill & Brewery


Marathon Ashland Petroleum


The McCord Law Firm


25 – 30 YEARS


K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 84

Statewide Partnership Markets Innovation Valley BY: KAYLA SMITH

The Knoxville Chamber’s economic development team works heavily with local, regional and statewide partners to ensure the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley brand is top of mind for site selectors and companies looking to relocate or expand (From left to right) Jamari Brown, Tennessee Economic and operations. One Community Development; Doug Lawyer, the Knoxville Chamber; Jenna Keller, Site Selection Group; Brian Merrion, Site Selection of its statewide Group; and Wade Creswell of the Roane Alliance gather in Dalpartners is the las for a TEP key market visit in November. Tennessee Economic Partnership (TEP), a public-private, non profit organization with members including the state of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Tennessee’s business and economic development community. Through strategically-planned networking events, TEP generates leads and business relationships with key prospects and consultants in an effort to attract jobs and investment to Tennessee. “TEP is a way for economic development agencies across the state to band together and sell Tennessee as the place to do business,” said Jena Locke Thomas, association manager for TEP. “We do this under the assumption we can accomplish more together than individually.” TEP hosts six to eight events each year including outbound, key-market visits and regional red carpet tours. Key-market visits allow for in-office meetings with top consulting firms and companies in the area, giving members face time with consultants and an opportunity to provide an overview of the state’s assets. Last month, the Knoxville Chamber visited Dallas for a key-market visit with TEP. Other cities have included Chicago, New York, Detroit and Atlanta. “TEP builds our working relationships and demonstrates the high level of cooperation and trust statewide economic developers have for one another to potential clients, while also allowing us to have the expertise on hand to discuss our entire state and paint a more complete picture of who we are to our audiences,” said Clay Walker, chairman of the TEP board and CEO of Networks Sullivan Partnership. “TEP has also provided me the opportunity to work with, learn from and build relationships with some really incredible professional economic developers, which has made me a much more valuable leader in my community and region.”

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE Bright Event Productions is Tennessee’s premier production services company, providing a comprehensive array of state-of-the-art lighting, audio, projection and power options, customized to suit any event—large, small and in-between. With a combined 25 years working in the production and lighting business, Clint Pilkinton and Abi Hellmich had the “bright” idea to start a production company focusing on corporate and social events while keeping customer service and design at the forefront. With Abi’s eye for design and Clint’s know-how, they began to build pieces that would make Bright stand out among events firms. “We recognized the opportunity for customized lighting design and for more personalized customer service and now work on some of the largest events and with some of the biggest celebrities in Nashville,” said Vice President Abi Hellmich. “We wanted to provide our clients with all the lighting ideas they have been pinning on Pinterest. We started with 3-foot marquee letters spelling LOVE, and that quickly turned into customers’ ‘love’ as they saw the results and our care and skill on job sites. “Custom-designed lighting also proved to be a hit, and now we are continuously designing and building chandeliers and lighting elements to create unique large-scale focal pieces.” Within six months of opening in 2012, Bright was able to set up shop in a 4,000 square-foot warehouse and office space, which within a year expanded into 7,000 square feet. Now the company supports a full inventory of audio, projection, lighting and power, making it a one-stop shop for event production needs. By 2017, Bright’s expansion was averaging over 800 events a year, and its gross sales had grown to $1.8 million, with 13 full-time employees, a fleet of trucks, and a 12,000 square-foot warehouse. Since October 2017, Clint and Abi have been slowly entering the Knoxville market, aiming to make Bright’s services and products fully accessible in January 2018. “We are excited about this new endeavor, and joining the Knoxville Chamber has made our early connections and networking a success. We have been welcomed into this market with open arms and are excited to offer Knoxville our high-quality services and products,” says President Clint Pilkinton. Bright Event Productions’ uniquely-qualified and experienced team of designers and event professionals are ready to listen to your ideas, answer your questions, and incorporate your vision into the perfect lighting and audio-visual solution. With Bright Event Productions, you’re guaranteed a safe, streamlined production from start to finish. Around there, it’s simply called the “Bright Way.” Please feel free to call them at 865-320-2404, check out their website at, or email them at to book your next event.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 85




Sponsored by:

JANUARY 10 Half-Day Workshop 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for Non-Members A breakfast and snacks will be provided for all registrants

JANUARY 17 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 Firestone Complete Auto Care celebrated the grand opening of its Halls/Knoxville location on Dec. 8. They specialize in providing the complete package for auto care with over 87 years of service experience. The new location is at 6809 Maynardville Pike.

$25 for Chamber Members; $35 for Non-Members A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants

JANUARY 24 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for Non-Members A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants

JANUARY 31 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members; $35 for Non-Members A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants

JANUARY 23 New Member Orientation 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM




NAI Koella | RM Moore celebrated the grand opening of a new Knoxville headquarters on Nov. 16. The former NAI Knoxville and Sperry Van Ness/RM Moore combined businesses earlier this year and formed the largest commercial real estate and property management group in East Tennessee. The newly-combined Knoxville office is at 255 N. Peters Rd., Suite 101.










Interested in scheduling a ribbon cutting for your business? Contact Julie Massie at (865) 246-2606 for more information.

Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

JANUARY 26 Regional Legislative Agenda Breakfast 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM Embassy Suites Knoxville West - 9621 Parkside Drive Presented by:


K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 86

January 2018 Commerce  
January 2018 Commerce