Page 1

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


TOP ACHIEVERS 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.












Innovative Consulting Group (ICG) celebrated the grand opening of its new offices in November. Jeff Bronson, CEO, is pictured center and is joined by ICG associates and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.



NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS SILVER PREMIER PARTNERS Cheryl Hatfield - Realty Executives (865) 386-8563 Real Estate: Residential Real Estate: Corporate Relocation

BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs (865) 719-8110 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues: Event Decor Image360 West Knoxville (406) 945-2438 Business & Professional Services: Signs



Benefield Richters Company (865) 637-7009 Architectural & Engineering Services: Architects Black Oak Renovations (865) 805-7544 Construction & Contractors: Remodeling

Fortier Substance Abuse Testing, Inc. (615) 883-6962 Healthcare Providers & Services: Occupational Health

Insight Home Inspection Services, LLC (865) 274-0808 www.insighthomeinspectionoftn. com Real Estate

Goodman Center, LLC (865) 888-4100 Social Services: Alcohol & Drug Treatment

JP Jennings, Inc (865) 850-7322 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Corporate Clothing USA, LLC (865) 212-5511 Business & Professional Services: Promotional Products

Great Schools Partnership (865) 215-4501 Education & Training

Fieldhouse Social (865) 525-4481 Restaurants

Hard Rock Cafe Pigeon Forge (865) 430-7625 Restaurants

First Community Mortgage (865) 323-5781 Real Estate: Mortgage Banking

IMI Global Trade, Inc (423) 836-6545 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics: Import/ Export Assistance

Knoxville Executive Suites (865) 694-0840 Business & Professional Services

TopShelf, LLC (865) 300-6246 Restaurants: Bars

Revolution Concrete (865) 693-7052 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services








Tennessee Lighting Sales (865) 242-0082 Electrical Supplies & Services

LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria (888) 527-6727 www.LAROSAS.COM Restaurants



Tate Insurance Group, Inc. (865) 862-8233 Insurance


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


Resolving to Make the Workplace Healthier


any Knoxville businesses are investing more in their employees by providing health and wellness programs or facilities in the workplace. As health care costs and the prevalence of chronic diseases in the working-age population continues to increase, employers are implementing a variety of health promotion and disease prevention strategies through employee health and wellness programs. These employers consistently see a return on the investment they make in their employees through reduced healthcare costs, increased workplace productivity, and decreased absenteeism. Amy Howell, wellbeing consultant for CBIZ Employee Services, believes employers see a wide range of benefits from company wellness initiatives, especially when they expand beyond

traditional programs. “Traditional programs focus on shifting and managing health risks along with cost avoidance and prevention of new disease,” Howell said. “However, employers are increasingly recognizing the value of more comprehensive programs that focus on total wellbeing. In addition to standard health cost savings, these programs increase overall employee engagement, which results in better company performance across the board.” A number of businesses in the Knoxville area have committed themselves to improving their employees’ health by providing comprehensive wellness programs and insurance plans, as well as offering resources like on-site facilities and clinics.

products, promotes a culture of wellness that encourages its associates and partners with them to improve their health. The Knoxville headquarters offers an on-site fitness center, which will be upgraded in February, and reimburses remote associates the cost of a gym membership. Employees also have the opportunity to enjoy a weekly, on-site massage therapist, yoga classes -- as well as lunch and learns about health. “Wellness for RSC starts at the first point of contact - the recruitment phase. We want potential employees to understand our culture and to know that wellness is a part of it, said Becka Wilson, wellness and engagement manager for Radio Systems. “We believe our associates are

RADIO SYSTEMS CORPORATION Radio Systems, a leading manufacturer of pet

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“Workplace” continued on pg. 78

“Workplace” continued from pg. 77 our most valuable asset, so it makes sense we would have a culture that encourages their wellbeing.” The wellness program, called “Built to Last,” plays to one of Radio Systems’ core values of building the company to last for many generations through its culture and practices. The program ranges from simple messaging about washing hands and sanitizing work areas to prevent illness, to an on-site medical clinic offering wellness coaching and preventative care. “Our wellness program works because our associates can have ownership in it, as they are a big part of creating a culture of wellness. They want to try new classes, ask for healthy food choices, and encourage and support one another,” said Wilson. “It’s even a normal thing to have ‘walking meetings’ here, so you will see two or three people choose to walk outside around our campus versus sitting in a meeting room.” CLAYTON HOMES, INC. Clayton Homes, an innovator in modular home building and manufacturing, offers a robust wellness program for each sector of the company including the manufacturing, corporate, and retail sectors. The company offers a custom approach to better serve its team members with a six-part model dedicated to physical, emotional, social, financial, occupational, and spiritual wellness of its employees. This model targets a wide range of employee health elements, giving them the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives. “We invested a lot of energy into designing more inclusive programs in 2015, including a mindfulness and meditation program called ‘Breathe,’ a program called ‘Connect’ that encourages team members to get outside every day for 30 days, as well as traditional nutrition and exercise programs,” said Anne-Marie Nocton, director of wellness and strategic health initiatives for Clayton Homes. “Team Members have embraced these new offerings with remarkable participation, all on a voluntary basis, no strings attached. This is true engagement, which is critical for positive health outcomes, and it is starting to impact the culture of the company in very beneficial ways.” The company also provides an on-site fitness facility with standard workout machinery and group fitness classes like yoga, kick-boxing, spinning, and Zumba. The facility is currently undergoing an expansion to upgrade the locker rooms and increase the size of the space to provide more machines and offer new formats for group fitness classes. ELAVON, INC. Elavon is a leader in payment processing, backed by the strength and stability of its parent company U.S. Bank. It has a long-standing dedication to its employees, with

its Knoxville location serving as the pilot location for an on-site health center. The center provides basic services for its employees including flu shots and diagnosis of illnesses. These services are free for all employees. “This investment has worked really well, and our parent company U.S. Bank has three more sites at other locations up and running based on the success of the pilot here in Knoxville,” said Shanon Carpenter, vice president of human resources for Elavon. “The center has really helped to minimize employees’ time out of work for things like doctor appointments. It has also been positive for employees from an engagement standpoint and this benefit is really an added perk to our workers in Knoxville.” The company has also transitioned out of a traditional insurance plan, opting for a more cost-efficient approach in which employees pay only for what they use. With the rising costs in healthcare, many companies have taken this new approach, allowing them to save money while also providing employees with the health benefits they need. Elavon also provides a wellness program that offers fitness discounts at local gyms, nutrition tools, and a coaching and exercise tool for its employees. YMCA WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE PROGRAM Knoxville-area businesses without internal health and wellness resources can benefit from the YMCA’s Wellness in the Workplace program, providing businesses with an alternative to expensive on-site facilities. This program allows companies to subsidize a portion of their employees’ YMCA membership, and the YMCA then matches 50 cents on each dollar up to $10 each month. This means that an adult membership, which typically costs $51 a month, would cost $21 through this program, leading to considerable savings throughout the year. “The YMCA’s Wellness in the Workplace program is a great option for any Knoxville business that may not be able to provide on-site workout facilities for its employees,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber and chair for the YMCA of East Tennessee’s board of directors. “It gives these businesses the opportunity to invest in their employees’ health, which helps increase overall workplace satisfaction and morale.” The program also provides employee utilization reports, group exercise opportunities, and bi-annual lunch and learns. Currently 93 Knoxville-area businesses take advantage of this program, providing their employees the chance to improve their total wellbeing and increase overall health. “Wellness in the Workplace is a true partnership between the Y, the employee, and the employer building health and wellness at the company,” said Sara Prinzi, corporate membership director for the YMCA of East Tennessee.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50 78

HUMANA FITTEST COMPANY CHALLENGE Local businesses have the unique opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles while competing with each other in the Fittest Company Challenge, presented by Humana. As part of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon in April, this friendly competition among area businesses takes place during all marathon events. For each employee who finishes a race, the company gets one point per mile finished. The challenge offers categories for small, medium, and large businesses, as determined by number of employees listed in the Knoxville Chamber’s directory of area employers. Participating businesses will compete with other companies of similar size, and those with the most points will be declared the winners. This program serves as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle, which in turn creates healthier employees who then rely less on company health insurance. The challenge is also an active way to boost company spirit and facilitate employee interaction outside of the office. EAST TENNESSEE WELLNESS ROUNDTABLE Another way local businesses can get involved in promoting health and wellness in the workplace is through the East Tennessee Wellness Roundtable, a free, bi-monthly meeting of businesses and wellness professionals. Currently, more than 100 roundtable members made up of Knoxville businesses take advantage of the roundtable and the resources it offers. Sara Prinzi of the YMCA of East Tennessee is also a board member for the ETWR and feels it is an important resource for the Knoxville business community. “The East Tennessee Wellness Roundtable is an organization that is dedicated to bringing together wellness professionals and aid in making a wellness program at their worksite, grow their program, and provide resources for their program,” said Prinzi. The roundtable offers the opportunity to learn the best practices in wellness, network with other wellness practitioners, and stay up-to-date in the health and wellness field. Presenters speak on a wide range of health and wellness topics including their organization’s worksite wellness program, health risk assessments, and fitness initiatives. Knoxville businesses have a number of unique, local opportunities to invest in their employees’ health and wellness, and with New Year resolutions still at the forefront of everyone’s mind, there is no better time for businesses to take the next steps into promoting a better quality of life for their employees. From on-site workout facilities to gym membership programs, there are a variety of options for local businesses of any size.

Lifetime CEO Pens Letter to Knoxville Last month Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, and the Knoxville Chamber announced that Lifetime Products would be establishing a manufacturing and distribution facility in Knox County. The leader in blow-molded plastic products that range from kayaks, to playground sets, to tables and chairs, will invest $115 million and create 500 jobs in Knox County. Lifetime’s President and CEO Richard Hendrickson wrote a letter to the people of Knoxville explaining why the company selected Knox County for its new facility.

Knoxville Chamber Recognized for Community Impact On Nov. 20, the Knoxville Chamber was awarded Most Impactful Nonprofit Organization at the 2015 Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK) Impact Awards. More than 200 of Knoxville’s top young professionals and community leaders gathered for the event held at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. “We feel extremely honored to be recognized as the most impactful nonprofit by YPK,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “At the Chamber we strive to make Knoxville America’s Best Business Address and we are excited that our organizational efforts are making an impact on the community.” The third annual Impact Awards recognized both companies and individuals who are making an impact on the Knoxville community. Bill Regas was awarded Mentor of the Year, while Claris Networks was recognized as the Most Impactful Large Business, and Pyxl, Inc. as the Most Impactful Small Business. Five young professionals were also honored for both work and dedication to the community. “The purpose of the Impact Awards is to encourage and celebrate when young people lead in the community professionally and philanthropically, and also to thank and acknowledge local organizations that empower young professionals to develop,” said Jim LaPinska, president of YPK. “This is why we wanted to recognize the Knoxville Chamber this year. In addition to their fulfillment to Knoxville’s economic viability, they make it a priority that our future leaders are being groomed as well.” Founded in 2007, YPK provides leadership, professional development, and community service opportunities to young professionals in the region. They aim to strengthen the awareness of the talented young leaders in Knoxville, while also enhancing Knoxville’s image as an exciting and compelling city where young professionals can thrive. This article was written by Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator.

Members of the Knoxville Chamber staff celebrated the organization’s recognition as the most impactful non-profit at the Young Professionals of Knoxville’s annual awards gala. (L-R) Doug Minter, Lauren Longmire, Lori Fuller, Mary McCall, Josh Buchanan, Rhonda Rice, Kayla Witt, and Sarah King.

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Annual Networking Event Draws Nearly 500 Nearly 500 businesspeople gathered for the Chamber’s 8th annual BAH Humbug holiday-themed networking event on Dec. 3 at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. The event, which was sponsored by Comcast Business, is one of the most highly-anticipated networking events of the year. The ballroom of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park was transformed into “Whoville” with Grinch inspired décor and food selections such as “Roast Beast.” In addition to the great food and décor, guests enjoyed music compliments of Ogle Entertainment and the opportunity for a photo keepsake, courtesy of Knoxville Photo Booth.

Members of the Crown College Choir entertained guests with traditional Christmas carols as they arrived at the 8th annual BAH Humbug holiday-themed networking event.

Callie Archer of Junior Achievement of East Tennessee took home the grand door prize – a New Year’s Eve Package, courtesy of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

Cheyenne Perry, Courtney Herda, Christopher Pelant, and Nada Alkadi of Smarter Searches enjoying BAH Humbug.

Nearly 500 businesspeople gathered for the holiday-themed networking event at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

Curtis Johnson of Comcast Business addressed attendees on behalf of the sponsoring company. This was the second consecutive year Comcast Business has sponsored BAH Humbug.

Jimi Judicak of Kred, Greg Love of Kred, and Adam Winter of take a moment to pose for a picture at BAH Humbug.

Guests arriving at the 8th annual BAH Humbug event at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

Dawn Nichol, owner of Knoxville Photo Booth, and Cheryl Ryerkerk with Flying Pigs Screen Printing at BAH Humbug.

Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker, Knoxville Chamber Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice, and Knox County Trustee Ed Shouse at the 8th annual BAH Humbug networking event.

Robin Holbrook, director of sales for the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, greeted guests on behalf of the host venue. She is joined on stage by Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber.


(Nov. 2015)

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. ’14Oct. ‘15

Oct. 2015

Sept. 2015

Oct. 2014

% Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘15

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

228,590 405,890 3,037,500 156,607,000

227,710 398,536 3,020,100 156,616,000

0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5

0.8 2.3 1.2 0.4

391,900 2,907,900

390,400 2,890,100

383,800 2,842,200

0.4 0.6

2.1 2.3

11,230 22,170 182,380

11,990 23,550 193,090

12,800 25,760 212,080

-6.3 -5.9 -5.5

-12.3 -13.9 -14.0

4.4 4.9 5.4 4.8

4.8 5.3 5.7 4.9

5.1 5.8 6.3 5.5

-0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.1

-0.7 -0.9 -0.9 -0.7

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Oct. 2015 1,371 10,035 $158,500

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. ’13Oct. ‘15 -1.8 -1.5

Oct. ’14-‘15

Sept. ’14-‘15

Oct. ’13-‘14

-0.4 0.2

-0.6 0.0

1.4 1.7

0.2 0.2

% Change Oct. ’14Oct. ‘15

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Sept. 2015* 28 28 0

Sept. 2014 15 15 0

% Change Sept. ’14Sept. ‘15 86.7 86.7 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

126 126 0

105 105 0

20.0 20.0 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

211 189 22

142 142 0

48.6 33.1 100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,742 1,507 235

1,790 1,421 369

-2.7 6.1 -36.3

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Oct. 2015

Sept. 2015

Oct. 2014

% Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘15

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

52,746,036 80,866,636 662,239,049

49,264,039 75,876,758 635,126,352

0.7 1.5 3.3

7.8 8.1 7.7

14,595,985 23,039,950

14,317,119 22,421,796

13,706,761 21,788,380

1.9 2.8

6.5 5.7

% Change Oct. ’14Oct. ‘15 1.8 2.7 4.0 -3.2 2.2 7.0 5.3 -20.0 2.6 3.9 4.0 6.0 5.3 6.2


Passengers Cargo

Aug. 2015 167,517 NA

Jul. 2015 172,131 6,938,790

Aug. 2014 155,422 6,024,089

% Change Jul. ’15Aug. ‘15 -2.7 NA

% Change Aug. ’14Aug.‘15 7.8 NA

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2015 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


1,214 10,863 $146,000


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Sept. ’14Oct. ‘15

Oct. 2014

% Change Oct. ’14Oct. ‘15 12.9 -7.6 8.6

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2015 1,495 10,293 $155,000

% Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘15 -8.3 -2.5 2.3

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. 2015

Sept. 2015

445,189 28,563 20,923 8,131 57,370 53,681 8,695 35,962 56,063 26,972 10,990 90,836 40,188

430,150 27,422 19,199 8,231 55,451 50,310 8,721 35,677 52,316 25,935 9,969 91,586 38,198

437,277 27,808 20,117 8,400 56,122 50,161 8,254 44,942 54,645 25,971 10,572 85,699 38,170

% Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘15 3.5 4.2 9.0 -1.2 3.5 6.7 -0.3 0.8 7.2 4.0 10.2 -0.8 5.2





Oct. 2014

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

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

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Entrepreneurial Competition Seeking Big Ideas Think you have the next big idea for a product or business? What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch returns in January with the opportunity for participants to kick start their own businesses during an intense, two-day startup boot camp. The program, presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, the Knoxville Entrepreneurial Center, and Tech 2020 is designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level. “The Development Corporation of Knox County is very proud and excited to be going into its eighth year of sponsoring what has become known as the “What’s the Big Idea” (WTBI) business competition for startup companies,” said Todd Napier, president and CEO for The Development Corporation of Knox County. “Supporting and promoting the role that entrepreneurs and small businesses play in growth of our local economy is definitely aligned with The Development Corporation’s mission of facilitating job growth and incentivizing capital investment.” The weekend-long program will begin Friday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. with each of the six selected participants pitching their ideas to an audience of specialists and mentors. They will then be assigned a team of people to help them move their idea from concept to launchready over the following two days. During that time, the entrepreneurs will go through a rigorous period of prototyping, planning, incubating, and launching their startup ideas.

“What’s the Big Idea is much more than just a pitch competition. It’s about getting the best mentors in Knoxville to help you grow your business to the point of launching, all in 48 hours,” said Emily Skaar, director of entrepreneurship for KEC. The event finale will be held Sunday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. Each of the participants will pitch their refined ideas to a panel of judges and an overall winner will be selected. The winner will receive a Big Idea Launch Package, which includes access to a $10,000 grant applicable to start-up reimbursement costs, office space, and complimentary business services. “I certainly understand how difficult it might be for someone to take that first big leap of faith of pursuing their dream of starting their own business, but we’re hoping that the $10,000 in prize money might make it a little easier and temping to do so,” said Napier. “Who knows, maybe this will be the year that the next multimillion dollar company gets its start in Knoxville, Tennessee.” In order to take advantage of the cash grant, the winner must also complete the KEC’s CO.STARTERS program, a nine-week business development program that will help further their path to startup success. “If you’ve ever had an idea and thought that it really had potential, this is your chance to give it a try with nothing to lose, only $10,000 to gain,” said Skaar. The deadline to apply for the competition is Jan. 6 by 5 p.m. For more information on the competition and to apply, visit


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! MEMBER SINCE

Personal Computer Systems, Inc.


First Peoples Bank of Tennessee


Robert G. Campbell & Associates


WBIR-TV 1941

United Community Bank


Privett Insurance Group Inc


PSC Metals, Inc.


C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.


TAG Resources, LLC


Rentenbach Engineering Company


Design Innovations Architects, Inc.


Designsensory 2004

William S. Trimble Co., Inc.


Knoxville News Sentinel


31+ YEARS SunTrust Bank


20 – 24 YEARS

15-19 YEARS


Norfolk Southern Corporation


ES&H, Inc.


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

American Technical Associates, Inc.


Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee 2005

United Way of Greater Knoxville, Inc.

Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville


ADT Security Services

2006 2006 2006


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



J. S. Ridenour Construction, Inc.


Gallaher & Associates, Inc.

Valley Proteins


Clayton Homes, Inc.


SafeT Systems, Inc.


Baker Realty Company


The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation


TIS Insurance Services, Inc.




Leadership Knoxville, Inc.


10 – 14 YEARS 25 – 30 YEARS



Downtown Grill & Brewery


Bank of America, N.A.


The McCord Law Firm


Marathon Ashland Petroleum


Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation


Knoxville Opera


Camel Custom Canvas Shop


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



Owner: Dennis Hough



Industry Type: Health and Safety Education

Industry Type: Business Services – Business Consulting Catering to Small and Mid-sized Companies

Describe your firm briefly, and what are your main markets or services? Our firm provides continuing education to the medical field and workplace communities. Not only do we teach classes, but we also train and manage about 200 instructors who are part of our affiliate network. Some of our classes include CPR, ACLS, Wilderness Medicine, and OSHA courses. We also sell and manage AEDs (defibrillators).

What are three lessons you have learned from your mentor? • Honing in on what the right fit for our company looks like as we recruit is vital to our brand. • Understanding and learning how to handle cash flow was a game changer for us. • Learning what my time is worth helped me discern what I really needed to be doing, what I should delegate, and what needed to stop altogether.

Who has been one of your important mentors and why? What were the key lessons learned? Mr. Ron Williams (deceased) was a United States Marine and Vietnam Veteran, who during a summer engineering internship mentored me as a young developing engineer. Mr. Williams was the production manager of the facility I reported to during this particular summer. He singlehandedly taught me organizational dynamics, as well as the principles of developing a winning team and utilizing the skills of every person on any given team. These are skills that I still use to this day in my business and in life.

What are the benefits to being a mentor?

How has your business or management thinking changed because of your mentor?

Business in general is a classroom and there’s always something you can learn. Seeing the world from a young business owner’s (my protégé’s) perspective provides a different perspective to my business and our clients.

My mentor has instilled more confidence in my decision making. There is more clarity in the direction I’m going, which allows me to move forward that much faster. In essence, I have a renewed purpose and drive.

Do you think successful firms should mentor a small firm? If so, why?

What makes an effective mentor/protégé pairing? Mentors are not a one-size-fits-all. Not only do they have to bring experience and wisdom to the table, but they need to mesh well with the business owner’s personality. That also means believing in and being excited about the business they are working with. I’m blessed to have found that in Dennis Hough, and we make a dynamic power team.

Absolutely. I would hope personally and professionally that a successful firm feels morally obligated to give back to the communities with which it conducts business or resides. Let these new businesses or small firms stand on the shoulders of giants, increasing their chances of success by building from the wisdom and lessons learned of those before them.

What are the three keys priorities small firm owners should consider every day? The critical 3 C’s of a small business start-up owner are: • Customer Service – As a startup, every customer is worth their weight in gold, so treat them as such. • Clients – Steadfast efforts to secure more and more clients. Marketing is important, but sales reign. • Cashflow – Money does not manage itself. Small business owners tend to overlook this until it’s too late

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Thanking Chamber Ambassadors and Their Bosses The Knoxville Chamber recently held its seventh annual Breakfast with the Bosses event for its Ambassadors and their bosses. The event gives the Chamber an opportunity to thank not only its Ambassadors for their time and efforts, but also their bosses for allowing them to spend time away from the office to volunteer for the Chamber. “We would not be able to produce more than 60 events a year and provide service to more than 2,200 member businesses if we didn’t have the help of our Ambassadors, and they take time away from their jobs to help us,” said Lauren Longmire, member services manager at the Chamber. “Breakfast with the Bosses provides our staff with an opportunity to thank all the bosses who allow their employees to volunteer with us throughout the year,” said Longmire. 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 engaged members.

(L-R) Express Employment Professionals’ Kara Pinkerton and Natalie Meadows pose for a picture at the Breakfast with the Bosses event. Meadows is a Dignitary in the Chamber’s Ambassador Program.

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE: As America’s leading enhanced fiber optic network for Internet, phone, and TV, Comcast Business is responsible for powering the businesses that power our community. Comcast Business provides advanced communication solutions to help companies of all sizes meet their business objectives. Through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast delivers Business Internet at 10-gigabit speeds, Metro Ethernet services, advanced video, and a full portfolio of telephony services for cost-effective, simplified communications management. “Comcast Business’ comprehensive suite of services supports hundreds of local organizations and serves as critical technology infrastructure to help attract new ones,” said Cleve Lewis, regional vice president for Comcast Business. Comcast Business serves schools, businesses, hospitals, and other organizations that require large amounts of bandwidth, are looking to link multiple locations, or that plan to connect their offices to a third-party. Services offered include: • Ethernet Private Line: point-to-point connectivity between two customer sites for bandwidth-intensive applications. • Ethernet Virtual Private Line: point-to-multipoint connection to enable customers to tailor bandwidth, performance characteristics and cost. • Ethernet Network Service: multipoint-to-multipoint connectivity to connect organizations with high-bandwidth requirements and multiple locations across Comcast’s network. • Ethernet Dedicated Internet: continuous, high-bandwidth connectivity between customers’ LANs and the public Internet. Winner of the PCMag’s Fastest Business ISPs award three years in a row, Comcast Business Internet has download speeds up to 100Mbps and upload speeds up to 10Mbps. Companies can work with very large files, operate applications in the cloud, or simply move faster. Comcast Business’ ethernet services are delivered over an advanced network that spans 140,000 miles across 39 states and the District of Columbia. In 2014, Comcast Business expanded its 10 gigabit fiber-based Ethernet network throughout its Knoxville market giving thousands of local businesses the benefit of highly scalable and fast Internet connectivity and cloud-based voice solutions. “Knoxville has become a destination of choice for a variety of premier organizations” said Sara Jo Walker, director of public relations for Comcast. “We are proud to support the growing success of Knoxville’s business climate.”

More than 35 Ambassadors and their bosses attended the Chamber’s seventh annual Breakfast with the Bosses event on Dec. 1.

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


JAN. 6 2016 Digital Marketing Series

What, How, and Why: Digital Marketing Tips for 2016 Presented by John McCulley, Moxley Carmichael 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members; $35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) Presented by:

JAN. 12 2016 Digital Marketing Series Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media: Simple Marketing Strategy for Small Business and Nonprofits. Presented by Demming Bass, Constant Contact 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members; $35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) Presented by:

JAN. 19 2016 Digital Marketing Series Digital Advertising: Where to Start? Presented by Jimmy Delaney, University of Tennessee Athletics 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members; $35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) Presented by:

JAN. 22-24 What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch Knoxville Entrepreneur Center/Knoxville Chamber

JAN. 24 What’s the Big Idea Finale 6 – 8 p.m. • Scruffy City Hall, 32 Market Square

JAN. 26 2016 Digital Marketing Series Digital Storytelling: How to Create Compelling Online Branded Content. Presented by Laura Spica, Spica Communications 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members; $35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) 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 2016  
Commerce January 2016