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INSIDE: BAH Humbug! Recap pg. 80 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 82






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.

B2B CFO (865) 777-4444 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Blue River Partners (865) 470-4095 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants DME Leadership Development Consulting (865) 964-0743 Business & Professional Services

Accurate Excavating & Contracting Services, Inc. (865) 406-6908 Construction & Contractors Air Products & Chemicals (423) 246-1168 Industrial Supplies & Services



Asen Marketing (865) 769-0006 Advertising Agencies Balanced You Studios (865) 207-9588 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Banks & Jones (865) 546-2141 Legal Services: Attorneys Breezeway Yoga (865) 951-6024 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being BrightStar Care (865) 690-6282 Healthcare Providers & Services: Home Health Services Clarus Merchant Services - Natalie Donahue (865) 674-0507 Business & Professional Services: Credit Card Equipment & Processing

Clean Appearance Building Services (352) 219-7580 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies Crown Packaging Corporation (937) 424-2429 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics Edward Jones - Lee Vaughan (865) 253-1604 Financial Services Expeditors International (865) 673-6639 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics: Import/ Export Assistance





Hunter’s Coin Laundry (804) 731-5631 Personal Services ames Freeman Interiors & Gifts (865) 522-3230 Shopping: Specialty KSV Group (865) 599-9822 Environmental Services & Equipment: Consultants Massage Envy Spa Emory Road (865) 947-3689 Healthcare Providers & Services

GEFCO - Loudon (865) 408-2100 Manufacturing

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

The Henley Apartments (865) 573-8884 Apartments

Ricoh USA (865) 293-0267 Office Equipment, Supplies, & Services














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

Ripley PR, Inc. (865) 977-1973 Business & Professional Services: Public Relations Agencies Svelte Body Contouring (865) 312-5696 Personal Services The Stables at Hunter Valley Farm (865) 607-4984 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues Valet Gourmet (828) 252-1221 Restaurants WorldWide Staffing (888) 501-5897 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services WUOT Public Radio (865) 974-5375 Broadcast Media Your Ticket To Travel (865) 804-4522 Personal Services: Travel

Home to the Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Innovation Valley has long been a hub for the power and energy industry. Companies like EnerNex, AMS Corporation, and Proton Power, along with the University of Tennessee, are helping change and improve the nation’s energy technology, production, and consumption. Because of its prominence in the region, the energy industry has been included in Innovation Valley’s strategic plan as a target recruitment cluster. The plan, or Blueprint 2.0, outlines five target recruitment clusters that are perfectly suited to take maximum advantage of the area’s strengths, especially its concentration of scientific and technological assets, central location, well-developed infrastructure, and low cost of living. “You would be hard-pressed to find a location anywhere else on the planet that has more leading research and development in the energy sector,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Innovation Valley’s goal is to get more high-paying jobs in this sector to locate here.”

SMART-GRID TECHNOLOGY As the nation’s power grid ages, the country becomes more susceptible to devastating power outages from either a natural or manmade disaster. Electric power research firm EnerNex and UT are both working on smart-grid technologies to bring U.S. electrical infrastructure into the 21st century.

“Smart-grid technologies are critical to ensuring that we can support those other infrastructures and the devices we depend on in our everyday lives with high reliability, security, and efficiency,” said Erich Gunther, chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder of EnerNex. Gunther said the development of smart-grid technology will help rising energy costs. “The cost of traditional energy sources continues to rise as does the equipment necessary for transporting it to the consumer,” Gunther said. “The only way to keep those rising costs under control is to use technology to improve energy efficiency, leverage renewable resources more, and support new techniques to enhance energy supply resilience in the face of a disaster.” EnerNex has partnered with several utility companies to determine what new technologies, products, and services are needed to support more widespread deployment of distributed generation, including renewable energy sources such as solar systems. UT’s Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks, or CURENT, is also researching ways to improve the grid. In 2011, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy awarded UT an $18.5 million grant to form CURENT. The center is a collaborative of academia, industry, and national laboratories. Locally, CURENT works closely with ORNL, TVA, and the Electric Power Research Institute to carry out its research.

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See “Power” on pg. 78

“Power” continued from pg. 77 “We hope CURENT can develop the technologies that will allow the power system to operate economically and reliably not just today but 20 or 30 years in the future,” said Director Kevin Tomsovic. “While no one can be sure what the future generation mix will look like (wind, rooftop solar, nuclear, gas, or something new), not to mention where that generation will be located, we want the grid to be flexible enough to work well no matter how the future unfolds.” Tomsovic said the center has made great progress in getting its labs and testbeds set up for evaluating new technologies, and he hopes its presence at the university will help make Innovation Valley even more appealing to the energy industry. “Knoxville and East Tennessee are already home to many power and energy companies. Hopefully, our center makes it an even more attractive location,” Tomsovic said. “We want to form startup companies in the area and encourage other companies to move here.”

NUCLEAR In 1977, AMS Corporation was formed as a spinoff company from research performed at UT and ORNL by H.M. “Hash” Hashemian. The nuclear technology firm is a leading supplier of equipment, training, and services to virtually all 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S., as well as many in Europe and Asia. “We test instrumentation and controls of nuclear power plants,” Hashemian said. “This involves testing the sensors that measure the temperature, pressure level, and flow in a nuclear power plant and making sure they are accurate and respond fast. We also test the systems that shut down nuclear reactors.” AMS performs high-level technology research and development projects for a number of national and international organizations and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Navy, and the Electric Power Research Institute. Hashemian said being in Innovation Valley allows AMS to partner with ORNL

and UT, as well as have access to an excellent workforce. The company recruits heavily from UT’s College of Engineering, in particular the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “We have the most wonderful, honest, loyal, hardworking, and courteous workforce in East Tennessee, and this is by far one of our most precious assets,” Hashemian said.

RENEWABLE ENERGY Since 2005, Proton Power has been dedicated to developing innovative renewable energy systems designed for producing inexpensive hydrogen on demand from biomass and waste sources. “All of our products are renewable and sustainable,” said Sam Weaver, president and co-founder of Proton Power. “We like to say we have the only technology that meets all of the green goals: scalable, on-demand, clean, carbon negative, economical, and renewable.” Proton Power’s system is based on a gasifier called Cellulose to Hydrogen Power (CHyP). The system uses biomass feedstock to make inexpensive hydrogen, which is converted to energy as synthetic fuels, electricity, and heat. Proton Power currently serves entities like UT, Wamplers Farm Sausage, and AC Global Energy. “The co-products from the system are biochar and water,” Weaver said. “The biochar recovers all the minerals the plant took out of the ground, plus contains 80-90 percent carbon. The biochar has many uses; the most obvious is as a soil supplement that is amazingly effective. Because we sequester the carbon in the form of biochar the process is carbon negative, meaning that the process removes CO2 from the air.” Weaver, who has owned several companies, said that when establishing Proton Power, there was no question Innovation Valley was the place to be. “All of our companies have been located in the region because of the excellent technical expertise in this area, particularly in energy, which has been a prime focus in all of our companies,” Weaver said. “So when it came to setting up Proton Power, there is no place in the country that is better suited than Innovation Valley.”

Local Startup and Entrepreneurial Community Showcased Knoxville’s second annual Startup Day took place on Nov. 20 at The Standard in downtown Knoxville. The event served as a celebration of the city’s flourishing startup and entrepreneurial community. Startup Day 2014 brought together entrepreneurs looking for the next big business idea, investors searching for new opportunities, and businesses offering assistance to startups and small businesses. The event emphasized the success of Knoxville’s startup community and resources available to East Tennessee entrepreneurs. “Startup Day is a celebration of entrepreneurship in our community and there is a rich legacy of successful companies being born and raised right in our backyard. The names are engraved on buildings, etched on road signs, and woven into the fabric of East Tennessee life,” said Jim Biggs, executive director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. “Startup Day is a celebration of those successes and an opportunity to glimpse ever so slightly into the future for a chance to see who might be next.” This year’s event featured fireside chats with eight prominent entrepreneurs and investors, including Ben Brown, CEO of SwiftWing Ventures, which invested nearly $690,000 in local online survey startup Survature. Discussion groups were held to engage attendees on topics including what it takes to succeed as a

startup and how to effectively raise capital. Ten local startups delivered concise, quick-fire pitches, including experienced entrepreneur Vig Sherrill who pitched his seventh company, General Graphene, at the event. Another pitch was for Vuture, an app that allows users to send personalized video messages via email or cell phone at a specified date and time in the future. Startup Day 2014 brought together more than 570 people and was presented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Launch Tennessee, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and Tech 2020. Innovation Valley was also a sponsor. This year’s event was a collaborative effort among a variety of partners and stakeholders. “Startup Day was a truly collaborative effort. There are a lot of resources available to support entrepreneurs in our region, and each of them played a big role in this year’s Startup Day planning,” Biggs said. “Everyone from those organizations gladly contributed his or her time and energy because we know that entrepreneurs succeed when we work together, and just as importantly, that Startup Day isn’t about any one organization or even our collective group. It’s about entrepreneurs, and the economic and social value they add to our community” Chamber intern Jessica Karsten contributed this article.

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Chamber Celebrates 10 Years on Market Square This month, the Knoxville Chamber celebrates its 10th anniversary on Market Square. Prior to establishing roots on Market Square, the Chamber had been housed on Gay Street, Church Avenue, and most recently historic Old City Hall on Summit Hill Drive. When considering a new location to move to in 2004, we felt by locating in the heart of Market Square the Chamber would be part of an exciting renaissance for Knoxville. So the decision was made to buy the upper floor of the Watson’s Building, named after the former department store tenant. Like any redevelopment project, particularly one involving an older building, the project had more than its share of challenges, but working with a number of professionals we were able to develop a space the offers our staff a phenomenal work environment and our members a great place to gather. Downtown has changed greatly over the last 10 years. When we first moved to Market Square, only a few viable businesses were in existence – the Tomato Head, Subway, Bliss, Preservation Pub, and Earth to Old City. Larger businesses like Knoxville Utilities Board and 21st Mortgage had a presence on Gay Street, but a majority of the downtown office spaces remained unoccupied, however, the buzz of redevelopment was beginning. During the early stages of Market Square’s renaissance the volume of downtown workers and visitors was still too low to sustain many new businesses. That all began to change when the City of Knoxville, the Central Business Improvement District, the City Industrial Board, and several risk-taking developers came together and invested in downtown residential units and office space. Downtown housing grew at a record pace – even showing growth during the recession when residential building permits were flat in other parts of the city and the county. Mast General Store and the Regal Rivera movie theater, both unfathomable just a few years earlier, became anchors for downtown and brought more people to the area than had been here in decades. New parking garages were built at both Locust Street and Market Square to accommodate the rising downtown population, and construction is currently underway for yet another structure just west of the Market Square garage. Downtown has evolved both eclectically and organically. All the ingredients for a great downtown are here: living, working, entertainment, leisure, dining, and a great sense of place. Now that development has spread from the heart of downtown into other areas like the Old City, Jackson Avenue, Cumberland Avenue, North Central Avenue, Happy Holler, and across the river to the south waterfront. Indeed, the Chamber’s decision to move to Market Square in downtown Knoxville has proven to be a great one. Being a part of this process and having had a ringside seat to watch Knoxville’s continuing revival has been both exciting and a privilege. We are even more excited to see what the next 10 years brings.

Discount Program Expands to OfficeMax Turkey Creek OfficeMax in Turkey Creek hosted the Knoxville Chamber on Nov. 20 for a breakfast, which celebrated the expansion of the Office Depot Chamber Advantage program to that location. Office Depot and OfficeMax received FTC approval for a merger just over a year ago and the OfficeMax in Turkey Creek is the first OfficeMax John and Sue Urbach of LDS Employment store in the area Resource Center at the Office Depot/OfficeMax a.m. Exchange. to participate in the Office Depot Chamber Advantage Program. “We are excited that the Office Depot Chamber Advantage Program is expanding its footprint and available to our member businesses in West Knoxville and Farragut,” said Melissa Spangler, vice president of member services for the Chamber. “Members are constantly sharing stories with us about how surprised they are with the savings they receive on various services and products through the Chamber Advantage Program, and making it more convenient by offering it at more stores only enhances its impact.” More than 70 members gathered for the breakfast to network and learn more about how they can save by participating in the program. Several attendees walked away with door prizes: Garry Tener of Broadway Flooring, John Temple of Patriot Investment Management, Leslie Godfrey of Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Dan Baker of Worldwide Staffing, all received goody bags, courtesy of Office Depot. Other winners included Andrew Holt of RICOH USA won a wireless mouse, and Mike Ross with the State of Tennessee won a label maker, also courtesy of Office Depot. Members who are not participating in the Office Depot Chamber Advantage Program can contact the member services team to learn more or sign-up, (865) 246-2635.

Michael Edwards President & CEO Knoxville Chamber

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Record Crowd Enjoys BAH Humbug More than 500 business people and community leaders attended the Chamber’s eighth annual BAH Humbug holiday event on Dec. 4. The Knoxville event was sponsored by Comcast Business and hosted by the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. Supporting sponsors included All Occasions Party Rentals, Sysco, and Special Notes Entertainment. Guests were greeted in the lobby of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park by carolers singing holiday favorites, a signature drink, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a cheese display. The main event took place downstairs in the Tennessee Ballroom where the theme of “Christmas Around the World” prevailed in both décor and food selection. Comcast Business provided a green screen photographer to take photos of guests as they entered the ballroom. Following brief remarks from the event sponsors, Senta White of First Century Bank won a one-night stay at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park including breakfast for two and a late check-out.

Doug Minter, Sarah Johnson, Jonathan Williams, Rena Amerson, Kristina Killebrew, and Lori Sexton pose for a picture at BAH Humbug.

Arhonda Cason, Tammy Ivey, and Pearl Dorsey of Visit Knoxville, pose with Robin Holbrook of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

Jessica Emmert and Bridget Mounger, both of ORNL Federal Credit Union, catch up at BAH Humbug.

Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards poses with the owner of Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, Nick Cazana, and Clem Renfro of Commercial Bank.

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BAH Humbug provided plenty of time for guests to network and enjoy fabulous food and beverages.

Matt Wygal, senior sales manager of Comcast Business Knoxville, addressed attendees at BAH Humbug on behalf of the sponsor.

Marc Bauer, general manager of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park and The Tennessean Hotel, welcomed attendees to the property which has hosted BAH Humbug the last three years.

The catering staff at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park treated attendees to themed stations representing foods from around the world.

Knoxville News Sentinel staffers Kathryn Piers, Caitlin Mitchell and Sydney Armstrong along with Cheryl Smith of CPR Choice, enjoying BAH Humbug.

Taylor Branson, Caty Davis, and Natalee Elkins take time out for a fun photo opportunity.

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(October 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 Oct. ’13Oct. ‘14

Oct. 2014

Sept. 2014

Oct. 2013

% Change Sept. ’14Oct. ‘14

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

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

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

0.5 0.6 0.7 0.5

-0.2 -0.5 -1.2 1.1

346,000 2,842,200

344,700 2,831,900

335,300 2,782,700

0.4 0.4

3.2 2.1

12,800 21,000 212,080

13,360 21,680 218,850

16,990 27,710 280,430

-4.2 -3.1 -3.1

-24.7 -24.2 -24.4

5.1 5.3 6.3 5.5

5.4 5.6 6.6 5.7

6.7 7.0 8.2 7.0

-0.3 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2

-1.6 -1.7 -1.9 -1.5

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Oct. 2014 1,214 10,863 $146,000

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. ’12Oct. ‘14 0.1 0.7

Oct. ’13-‘14

Sept. ’13-‘14

Oct. ’12-‘13

1.4 1.7

1.5 1.7

1.3 1.0

-0.1 0.0

% Change Oct. ’13Oct. ‘14

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Aug. 2014* 16 16 0

Aug. 2013 22 22 0

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

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

109 109 0

125 123 2

-12.8 -11.4 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

159 159 0

150 148 2

6.0 7.4 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,472 1,372 100

1,636 1,257 379

-10.0 9.1 -73.6

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Oct. 2014

Sept. 2014

Oct. 2013

% Change Sept. ’14Oct. ‘14

49,264,039 70,775,429 635,126,352

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

46,394,733 64,578,639 592,089,008

0.5 3.0 2.1

6.2 9.6 7.3

13,496,108 19,296,656

12,901,447 18,036,271

1.6 4.7

6.2 12.0

% Change Oct. ’13Oct. ‘14 4.6 5.4 1.3 2.8 4.1 7.8 2.0 -3.5 3.2 7.1 1.3 7.4 8.7 3.6


Passengers Cargo

July 2014 168,680 6,046,162

June 2014 164,397 5,466,645

July 2013 162,233 6,797,296

% Change June ’14July ‘14 2.6 10.6

% Change July ’13July ‘14 4.0 -11.1

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2014 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey

*South – City Size Class B/C


1,049 11,219 $145,500


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

Oct. 2013

% Change Oct. ’13Oct. ‘14 15.7 -3.2 0.3

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

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

% Change Sept. ’14Oct. ‘14 5.7 -4.0 -2.7

13,706,761 20,200,260

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. 2014

Sept. 2014

440,562 28,556 20,375 8,500 56,566 49,131 8,436 44,342 54,490 25,950 10,801 86,560 40,214

440,562 27,239 18,838 8,694 54,085 46,570 8,495 44,745 50,626 24,714 10,079 86,346 37,730

421,358 27,097 20,120 8,271 54,329 45,589 8,273 45,964 52,821 24,220 10,666 80,611 36,985

% Change Sept. ’14Oct. ‘14 3.6 4.8 8.2 -2.2 4.6 5.5 -0.7 -0.9 7.6 5.0 7.2 0.2 6.6





Oct. 2013

EST. 1869 For more information on research, contact Joe Riley,

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

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MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE PROTÉGÉ: MEL EVANS Title: President Business: InsureFit Risk Management Industry: Insurance Website:

Describe your firm briefly and what are your three main markets or services? We are a local, independent insurance and risk management agency. The three classes of business we primarily serve are the real estate industry (consisting of mortgage lenders and realtors), restaurants, and construction. What are the three main things you learned from your mentor? First, go beyond expectations. Second, be great at planning and systems. Third, learn from the mistakes of others. How has your business changed because of your mentor? I’m at least a year ahead of the plan of where I thought I’d be right now. The networking, guidance, and positivity provided by Doug have been invaluable. How has your mentor’s advice affected your revenues? Revenues have been strong in 2014. And we’ve seen quite a bit of success being in business for less than two years. It’s hard to pinpoint a certain number but I wholeheartedly believe that as an organization, we wouldn’t be where we are now without mentorship.

MENTOR: DOUG MINTER Title: Business Development Manager Business: Knoxville Chamber Industry: Non-profit; Business Consultant Website:


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 January. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community!



25 – 30 YEARS


SunTrust Bank 1926 WBIR-TV 1941 PSC Metals, Inc. 1952 Rentenbach Engineering 1955 William S. Trimble Co., Inc. 1955 Coldwell Banker Commercial Wallace & Wallace 1958 KNS Media Group 1958 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC 1966 United Way of Greater Knoxville, Inc. 1977 Knoxville Endodontics - Drs. Powell, Balaban, Myers & Scott 1978 Alliance Press, Inc. 1980 Clayton Homes, Inc. 1980 Baker Realty Company 1984 TIS Insurance Services, Inc. 1984 Leadership Knoxville, Inc. 1985

Bank of America, N.A. 1989 Marathon Ashland Petroleum 1989 Knoxville Opera 1989

20 – 24 YEARS


First Peoples Bank of Tennessee United Community Bank C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. Design Innovations Architects, Inc.

1992 1993 1993 1994

What benefit has being a mentor offered you? First, it allows me to give back to the community. One of the themes we teach is the notion of the “Giver’s Gain” philosophy. This becomes the foundation of the mentor/protégé relationship. Second, being a mentor helps keep me energized. Seeing someone grow because of the advice you give is rewarding beyond belief and helps keep the fight alive in my spirit.

15-19 YEARS


Why do you think being a mentor is important? There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast…go alone. If you want to go far…go together.” Any successful business owner will remark about the many people who helped them. One of my business mentors, Dr. Robert Finelli, gave me so much great advice, and now as a mentor I am able to take the lessons I learned from great people like him and pass it along.

10 – 14 YEARS


What are your thoughts on the future success of your protégé? He has a positive attitude and amazing work ethic. Bruce Hayes, counselor with the Small Business Development Center, and I were both concerned he was working so hard he would burn out. Fortunately, he listened to our advice and hired a full-time staff member and is looking to hire an additional part-time person. To see a young millennial go from zero revenue to now having employees is exciting, and I see him becoming one of the top agents in the state.

Advanced Mailing Systems, Inc. 1996 American Technical Associates, Inc. 1997 Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville 1998 BRANDETOUR, LLC 2000 Valley Proteins 2000 SafeT Systems, Inc. 2000

The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation 2001 UT-BATTELLE, LLC/ORNL 2001 Downtown Grill & Brewery 2003 The McCord Law Firm 2003 Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation 2003 Camel Custom Canvas Shop 2003 Personal Computer Systems, Inc. 2003 Robert G. Campbell & Associates 2003 Privett Insurance Group Inc 2003 TAG Resources, LLC 2003 Designsensory 2004 Grace Construction 2005 SouthComm Publishing Company, Inc. 2005 Norfolk Southern Corporation 2005 ES&H, Inc. 2005

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Resolve to Get More Social Attend the Chamber’s 2015 Social Media Seminar Series The Knoxville Chamber will host its 2015 Social Media Series, presented by BGT Recruiting & Consulting, throughout the month of January. Each Wednesday of the month, businesspeople can learn tips and tricks of successful social media tactics from experts in related fields. The seminars will give insight into the growing world of social media, and teach businesses how to successfully integrate it into the marketing plan for their organizations. On Jan. 7, Chris Martin, digital media and account manager of local public relations firm Fletcher PR, will present “8 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media.” Martin will give tips on how to effectively use social media without committing a social faux pas. Attendees will learn how to put the “social” in social media, engage followers, and add some flair to their social media presence. “Social media has been a big part of most people’s lives for nearly a decade now, yet despite all this, companies still make mistakes on social networks all the time. While those mistakes are easy to point out, a lot of companies are overlooking some small changes they could make to improve their social media presence,” said Martin. “This seminar will highlight some of the mistakes you might be making right now, and provide you with some simple tips that will improve your social networking.” Corey Cleek, co-founder and CEO of Uloop Inc. and professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, will give a crash course on the essentials of Internet marketing during an expanded half-day seminar entitled “Internet Marketing 101” on Jan. 14. He will place an emphasis on search engine marketing, search engine optimization, social media and content marketing, and Google Analytics. The seminar will be a condensed version of the internet marketing course Cleek teaches at Vanderbilt. “This will be a very practical seminar for business owners and marketing leaders where you will be able to take what you learn and begin to apply it immediately to your organization’s marketing practices,” Cleek said.” It will be very interactive, and we’ll have a lot of fun as well.” A panel discussion on Jan. 21 will detail “15 Cool Social Tools for ‘15” according to panelists Jeremy Floyd of BVP Capital Management, Dan Thompson of Claris Networks, and John McCulley of Moxley Carmichael. Dino Cartwright of WVLT Volunteer TV will moderate the fun and lively discussion. Each panelist will present five social media tools that benefit businesses to share with attendees including apps and new social networks. “Businesses that are growing are growing socially. Consumers will switch you off if they don’t like your message; they have become accustomed to choosing their own social world and getting the content they want when they want it,” said McCulley. “If you want them to choose your brand, you must be heard. Our goal is to present tools to help tailor and manage communication that gets you heard.” Chuck Morris, principal of Morris Creative Group will wrap up the series with his

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

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. $25 for members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

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

8:30 a.m. - Noon $90 for members/$115 for non-members

JAN. 21 15 Cool Social Tools for ‘15 – A Panel Discussion Moderated by Dino Cartwright, WVLT-TV Panelists: Jeremy Floyd, BPV Capital; John McCulley, Moxley Carmichael; Dan Thompson, Claris Networks

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. $25 for members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

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

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

presentation “Rocking the Ages: Using Social Media to Connect with Generations of Customers” on Jan. 28. There are significant differences between baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennials concerning their preferred communication styles. In this seminar, Morris will explain how businesses can use social media to connect with customers regardless of age. All of these events are beneficial for businesses looking to utilize social media as a strategic tool to reach customers. For more information or to register for any of these events, please visit or call the events line at 865-246-2622. Chamber intern Jessica Karsten contributed this story.

Presented By:

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A Unique Networking Event – Hats Required The sales staff from the Crowne Plaza of Knoxville sported lobster hats at last year’s event, promoting lobster night at the hotel’s Mahogany’s Restaurant.

Grab a hat and join the Knoxville Chamber for the second annual Hats Off Networking Soirée on Jan. 22 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Attendees are encouraged to wear hats that show off their personality, creativity, or loyalties. “I had attended a ‘Hats Off’ themed event about 10 years ago in another market and had a great time – so I thought it would be a good concept for Knoxville,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Chamber. “The hats provide great ice-breakers for meeting new people and enable you to show a little personality that you might not be able to convey at a traditional networking event.” The inaugural event drew nearly 200 attendees and attracted a large number of first-time Chamber-event attendees. Chamber staff expects the 2015 version to draw even more people based on the venue and the momentum coming out of last year’s event. “We received great feedback from many attendees last year and they are looking forward to coming back and bringing colleagues this year,” said Fuller. “We are also excited to expose the business community to the recently remodeled Knoxville Art Museum. It is such a fantastic asset for our city and provides a phenomenal location for an event.” A contest will be held during the event to recognize winners in three categories: Most Stylish Hat, Most Creative Hat, and Most Outrageous Hat. Visit the events calendar on to learn more about, or register for, this event.

Leisure Pools Dives in to Knoxville Market A little more than a year after Leisure Pools announced its corporate headquarters would be moving to Knox County, the company is settling into its location at Forks of the River Industrial Park, while continuing to expand its North American operations. In October 2013, the fiberglass pool manufacturing company stated they would be hiring 240 new employees and investing $6.2 million in Innovation Valley. Company President David Pain said the decision was based upon the region’s highly skilled composite workforce and its ideal geographical location. Today, Leisure Pools has hired 70 new employees at its Knoxville location and is currently looking for additional composites staff, administrative staff, and logistics staff to grow operations in 2015. “We have found the quality and skill set of the staff that we have employed in Knoxville to be excellent,” Pain said. “We have been pleasantly surprised by the depth of skills particularly in respect of composite manufacturing. This has made our move to Knoxville so much easier by being able to employ professional and highly competent staff.” Currently, all Leisure Pools equipment has been shipped from its former location in Texas, and it continues to move materials from operations in Australia to Knoxville. Last year the company manufactured 1,000 fiberglass pools in Innovation Valley and plans to build 2,200 in 2015. Leisure Pools shows no signs of slowing down, and has big things planned for the year ahead. “We will continue to expand our manufacturing in 2015,” Pain said. “In addition to our composite pool manufacturing business we are expanding into other composite manufacturing businesses with a number of new and exciting projects that we will be undertaking in 2015.” Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Chamber, contributed this story.

Innovation Valley Evaluates Indirect Impact of Record Year During the 2013-14 fiscal year, Innovation Valley reported record growth in announced jobs and capital investments from new recruits and existing industries throughout the region. In an effort to see the broader impact of these projects, Innovation Valley retained market researchers Younger Associates to perform an impact analysis on all new and expanded industrial development projects from the year. “We knew we had a great year for growth in our region, but we wanted to analyze the indirect markets that were affected as well,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Each announcement creates a ripple effect on the economy. This comes in the form of indirect jobs, wages, and tax revenues. We were really interested to see what that impact was.” The analysis uses multipliers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis specific to the Innovation Valley region. Younger Associates has applied this modeling system to hundreds of projects over the past 20 years. When compared to actual economic activity the economic impact projections produced by this model have

been found to be reliable, yet tend to be conservative. The total of eight new recruits and 93 expanded industrial projects in the period studied accounted for the creation of 3,273 jobs directly and resulted in another 4,035 jobs indirectly within the region for a total of 7,308 new jobs in Innovation Valley. Wages and benefits paid to these new jobs had an economic impact of $318.5 million. Local tax revenues of $11.7 million were generated in this same period as a result of the economic impact. New capital investments of $515 million related to these projects have a one-time economic impact of $931.8 million generating $15.6 million in new local tax revenues during the construction and set-up period. “It’s astonishing to see the true impact that new business recruits and existing industry expansions bring to our community,” said Lawyer. “This is why day in and day out we focus on creating new jobs with high paying wages and robust capital expenditures in Innovation Valley.” To view the document in its entirety visit Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Chamber, contributed this story.

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Thanking Chamber Ambassadors and Their Bosses



New Member Orientation 4 – 6 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored By:

JANUARY 22 Hats Off Networking Soire

Chamber Ambassadors Lea Bradley of Contract Business Interiors and Lorena Hubbard of Lawhorn CPA Group Inc. enjoy breakfast with their bosses Dean Vance and Jason Lawhorn.

The Knoxville Chamber recently held its sixth annual Breakfast with the Bosses event, which was hosted and presented by Club LeConte. The annual breakfast recognizes Chamber Ambassadors and their bosses with a morning of networking and celebration. Ambassadors use the opportunity to thank their bosses for allowing them to participate in the Ambassador Program and showcase what they have been doing with the Chamber. “We would not be able to produce 60 events a year for the business community if we didn’t have the help of our Ambassadors, and they take time away from their jobs to help us,” said Holly Helton, events manager at the Chamber. “Breakfast with the Bosses provides our Chamber staff with an opportunity to thank all the bosses who allow their employees to volunteer with us throughout the year.” In addition to assisting with events, Chamber Ambassadors serve as liaisons between the Chamber and its members, assist with member retention, and recruit and mentor new members. They are some of the Chamber’s most recognizable members. “The Chamber has more than 2,200 member businesses and the Ambassadors play an integral role in our customer service and member outreach programs,” said Lauren Longmire, member services manager and staff liaison to the Ambassador Program. “We take every chance we can get to thank them for their service and we hope celebrating them in the presence of their bosses makes the recognition even more meaningful.”

5 – 7:30 p.m. Knoxville Museum of Art, 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive Free for members

Hosted by:

JANUARY 23-25 What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, 17 Market Square

Presented by:

Go to “Chamber Events” on to learn more or register for any of these events. You may also call the events line, (865) 246-2622

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Commerce - January 2015  
Commerce - January 2015  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.