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INSIDE: BAH Humbug recap pg. 76 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 78

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS 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.





Appro RX (513) 897-1476 Healthcare Providers & Services: Pharmacies


Scarecrow Foundation, Inc. (865) 250-3313 Associations & Organizations

Brown Bag Catering (865) 228-3283 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues Bridgewater Place (865) 247-6071 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop (865) 330-3694 Restaurants: Sweet Treats & Bakeries

Easy Money - Kingston Pike (865) 686-5730 Financial Services: Commercial Financing

Latitude 35 (865) 566-0721 Restaurants

Tennessee Valley Dental (865) 671-1255 Healthcare Providers & Services: Dentists

Cobblestone Entertainment (865) 693-4223 Broadcast Media: Video Production

Evergreen at the Bluffs - Pegasus Residential (865) 938-8325 Apartments

Manning Windows, LLC (865) 755-4100 Construction & Contractors: Exteriors

The Cup (865) 909-9401 Restaurants: Sweet Treats & Bakeries

Petree’s Flowers, Inc. (865) 525-9447 Florists, Nurseries & Garden Centers

The Standard Knoxville (865) 971-3137 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

PMIPEO (850) 243-5604 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

WindRiver (865) 988-1864 Real Estate: Waterfront Communities

Presidential Cleaning (865) 403-2087 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies

Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter, PLLC - Sevierville (865) 908-8320 Legal Services: Attorneys

Coldwell Banker - Beth Yobe (865) 438-8669 Real Estate: Residential Conley Building owned by Universal Properties, Inc. (865) 637-2683 Real Estate: Commercial Doc’s All American Grill (865) 330-0159 Restaurants

Foothills Bank & Trust (865) 392-4050 Financial Services: Banks Fountain City Jewelers (865) 686-0502 Shopping: Jewelry GameTruck Greater Knoxville (865) 262-8700 Entertainment

















Downtown Infrastructure Improvements Help Boost Business In the past year, downtown Knoxville has seen several infrastructure improvements. A parking structure expansion, a bridge reopening, and better network connectivity are all helping downtown continue to thrive and grow. “The recent improvements to downtown’s infrastructure have made the area more attractive than ever,” said Michele Hummel, director of the Central Business Improvement District. “Businesses and residents are looking for these added amenities when deciding to locate here.”


the garage to a landing outside the Regal Riviera theater that offers elevator service to Gay Street. “This additional parking allows us the ability to retain some of our employers downtown as they expand their businesses and to also allow space for more residents and visitors,” said Rick Emmett, downtown coordinator for the city of Knoxville. “The glass-covered overpass from the State Street Garage to South Gay Street is a wonderful enhancement so folks using the garage can exit straight over to South Gay Street. This is especially helpful for those with accessibility issues.” Emmett said further improvements to downtown parking are on their way.

Recently, the city of Knoxville celebrated the expansion of the State Street parking garage. The $6.1 million project added 240 parking spaces to the garage’s upper level, and about 90 spaces to the lower levels. It also facilitated the construction of a glass-covered pedestrian bridge, which connects

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See “Infrastructure” on pg. 74

“Infrastructure” continued from pg. 73

BOOST IN BROADBAND In the last several years, finding fast, reliable broadband access downtown has been an issue for business owners and residents. The aging fiber network cables that run to many of the buildings downtown simply are not cutting it when it comes to delivering high-speed Internet. Thankfully, AT&T has committed itself to remedying this problem by updating the fiber services downtown. Through its Fiber to the Building program, the company is projecting to reach 1 million additional business customers by 2015. “Under the Fiber to the Building program, downtown Knoxville businesses in these AT&T Fiber Ready Buildings have access to an expanded array of security, network, and cloud-based services, all of which ride on the fiber network,” said Alan Hill, regional director of external affairs for AT&T Tennessee. AT&T has already upgraded multiple buildings in the downtown core to AT&T Fiber Ready Building status in addition to the Conley Building, which was announced as the first to receive this rating on Nov. 14. “We’ve equipped at least 30 multi-tenant buildings,

“The soon-to-be built Walnut Street Garage will also be a great help to those coming downtown in the future and will also help supply the parking we need for businesses downtown,” he said. “This garage will hold over 1,000 cars and will also be free nights and weekends.”

BRIDGE REOPENS Since the closure of the Henley Bridge, traveling between South Knoxville and downtown has become incredibly traffic ridden and congested. The Tennessee Department of Transportation closed the bridge in January 2011 to undergo a $31 million rehabilitation project. While not completely finished yet, in October TDOT opened one lane of traffic in each direction to alleviate the strain on commuters heading to downtown or to South Knoxville. “The opening of the Henley Bridge is great for downtown,” Emmett said. “ It alleviates much of the congestion we have seen on South Gay Street and the Gay Street Bridge and really helps folks get downtown easier from South Knoxville while also allowing folks to visit South Knoxville merchants with an easier, quicker route.” Once fully reopened, the rehabilitated bridge will have a number of new features, including wider sidewalks for pedestrians and bike lanes in each direction. The project is anticipated to be fully complete by June 2014.

covering more than 500 business customer locations in the Knoxville metro area during 2013,” Hill said. Hill said that in addition to its Fiber Ready Building platform for commercial users, AT&T has a program designed to work directly with building owners for apartments and condominiums to provide next-generation communications and entertainment solutions and AT&T U-verse services via a fiber-to-the-premises network.

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Fifth Installment of Annual Social Media Series Slated for January The Knoxville Chamber will kick off its annual Social Media Series on Jan. 8. The four-part series will highlight the best ways to use social media for business. “The value of face-to-face networking has not lost steam, but now we have the power of the media at our fingertips,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Chamber. “We can use our mobile devices to connect with customers or even advertise a show. It’s changed the landscape of marketing.” The weekly workshops will feature speakers from area businesses who are social media experts and will highlight the hidden value social media vehicles can provide growing businesses. By taking an in-depth look at platforms such as Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, professionals can learn to develop content that will promote their business. The first session, “Hangout with Google+ and Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore it” presented by Jeremy Floyd of BPV Capital Management, will focus on the importance of using Google+ as a way to connect and interact with businesses and clients. “It’s no longer a choice of either face-to-face networking or social media

networking, you need to be engaged with both,” Field said. “Social media has played an important role in public relations and marketing, especially for small businesses, and we feel it’s important for us to keep our members educated on how to use it effectively.” On Jan. 15, Josh Loebner and Matt Honkonen from Designsensory will demonstrate how improving the design of a company’s online presence can make a financial difference. Their presentation, “Facebook for Business: Beyond the Basics,” teaches innovative ways to use Facebook’s content and design as a marketing tool to increase profits. Josh Phillips of Pyxl will present “Telling Your Story Visually Using Social Media” on Jan. 22. This discussion will emphasize the importance utilizing pictures and videos to connect with users on social media. The final installation of the series, “APPlicable Apps,” on Jan. 29 will be a panel discussion highlighting some of the most engaging and useful mobile apps for business and personal use. The panel will be moderated by Chuck Morris of Morris Creative Group and panelists will include Dan Thompson of Claris Networks and Matt Kitchens of Cellular Sales. Each session is $25 for members and $35 for non-members and will be held in the Chamber’s Market House Room from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is included. Register at Chamber intern Libby Perry contributed to this story.

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center Hosts Startup Day Business Competition The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, with support from Tech 20/20 and LaunchTN, recently hosted its first Startup Day. The entrepreneurial competition drew more than 350 people to The Standard on Jackson Avenue for an afternoon of high-energy business pitches and live entertainment. “Startup Day is a new and exciting event that showcases the next generation of entrepreneurs from our area,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber and chairwoman of KEC. During the event, 15 companies presented their business ideas in a series of five-minute power pitches. From a rock climbing fitness club to a system that allows cheaper and faster genetic engineering of microorganisms, the pitches offered a diverse array of innovative ideas. “Knoxville has a number of companies that were started here and have grown into incredibly successful companies,” Rice said. “At Startup Day we had a great crowd who witnessed the entrepreneurial presence we have and the unlimited

potential we can grow in our region. The excitement and buzz from both presenters and attendees is what KEC hopes will become the permanent chatter around town.” Between pitching sessions, the audience got to enjoy live music performances from local musicians, including Leah Gardner and Jonathan Sexton, who is also a volunteer mentor for KEC. The event wrapped up with a keynote speech from Michael Strickland, CEO of Bandit Lites, and networking reception with a performance by local cover band The Coveralls.

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Guests Get Into the Holiday Spirit at BAH Humbug The Knoxville Chamber hosted its eighth annual BAH Humbug event at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park on Dec. 5. The holiday networking party, sponsored by the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park and its bar Windows on the Park, brought together approximately 450 businesspeople from around the Knoxville area. Entertainment provided by Chris Canada Jazz Quartet and Jim Ogle of Ogle Entertainment put guests into the holiday spirit while they enjoyed delicious food and drink in both the lobby and Grand Ballroom Pavilion of the hotel. Knoxville Photo Booth Company was present to capture fun moments and provided guests with a keepsake from the event. Two door prizes were given away during the evening. Carla Long of Genesis Real Estate Title won one-night stay with a late checkout at the Holiday Inn, dinner and drinks at Windows on the Park, tickets to a University of Tennessee men’s basketball game, and breakfast for two at the hotel. Jimmy Colquitt of Value Stone won a day meeting at the Holiday Inn for 10 people, including meeting room, continental breakfast, buffet lunch, and an evening break.

Above: Guests sign in at the registration table of BAH Humbug. Approximately 450 guests attended the event on Dec. 5. Top right: David Freeman of Capital Resource Partners Inc., Christa Early of Staffing Solutions, and Rena Amerson of Amerson Group pose for a photo at BAH Humbug. Bottom right: Kristi Reynolds of King University, Lauren Chesney of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Club, and Erin Shellman of Club LeConte pose for a photo in front of one of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park Christmas trees.

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Salon owners from Saah Salon Suites came together to enjoy the BAH Humbug festivities. Left to right: Christopher Saah, Kristina Kelley, Alisa Edmonds, Suzanne Saah, Deonna James, Bradley Lopp, and Alexander Saah.

Guests mingle in the Grand Ballroom Pavilion at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park

Brielle Hoffman of Premier Solutions International, Chad Ridner of Two Roads, Janice Graves of Corporate Quarters, Inc., Sid Baker of the Work From Home Expo, Janet Ray Palombi of JP Digital Publications, Dean Palombi, and Leon Spencer of The Marketing Department, LLC.

Alisa Edmonds of Saah Salon Suites, Gregory Blankenship of Gregory’s Greenhouse Productions, LLC, and Laura Comas of Allied Music Instructors get into the holiday spirit at BAH Humbug.

Sharon Meredith of SM Sales & Marketing Consultants and Henry Fairley of Ferguson Enterprises.

Shayla McDaniel of the University of Tennessee and Dremaine and Freda Johnson of the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration enjoy the festivities.

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(Nov. 2013)

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



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

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13

Oct. 2013

Sept. 2013

Oct. 2012

% Change Sept. ’13Oct. ‘13

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

232,160 365,440 3,103,200 155,536,000

234,665 369,577 3,139,282 155,779,000

-1.7 -1.7 -1.4 -0.4

-2.8 -2.8 -2.6 -0.6

337,800 2,776,300

338,000 2,768,600

334,600 2,743,600

-0.1 0.3

1.0 1.2

16,990 27,710 280,430

17,110 27,850 282,690

15,740 26,010 270,990

-0.7 -0.5 -0.8

7.9 6.5 3.5

6.7 7.0 8.2 7.0

6.6 6.8 8.1 7.0

5.9 6.2 7.5 7.5

0.1 0.2 0.1 0.0

0.8 0.8 0.7 -0.5

Note: May workforce numbers were unavailable at time of printing.

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Oct. 2013 1,049 11,219 $145,500

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. ’11Oct. ‘13 -0.6 -1.2

Oct. ’12-‘13

Sept. ’12-‘13

Oct. ’11-‘12

1.3 1.0

1.4 1.2

1.9 2.2

-0.1 -0.2

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Oct. 2013* 16 16 0

Oct. 2012 19 19 0

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13 -15.8 -15.8 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

110 110 0

87 85 2

26.4 29.4 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

133 133 0

113 111 2

17.7 19.8 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,119 1,247 872

1,559 1,174 385

35.9 6.2 126.5

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Oct. 2013

Sept. 2013

Oct. 2012

% Change Sept. ’13Oct. ‘13

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

46,711,449 65,761,292 590,714,853

45,323,371 63,356,009 575,340,846

-0.7 -1.8 0.2

2.4 1.9 2.9

12,951,136 18,311,085

12,763,312 17,744,272

-0.4 -1.5

1.1 1.6


Passengers Cargo

Aug. 2013 151,029 7,560,296

July 2013 162,233 6,797,296

Aug. 2012 146,995 8,577,151

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2013 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


1,025 14,380 $148,650


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Sept. ’12Oct. ‘13

Oct. 2012

12,901,447 18,036,271

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. 2013

Sept. 2013

421,946 26,987 20,019 7,826 54,573 46,132 8,426 45,571 53,258 24,595 11,145 79,615 37,165

402,927 25,174 18,572 7,698 52,487 44,273 8,367 45,344 50,201 23,137 10,271 75,761 34,698

404,534 25,774 19,119 7,409 52,666 44,206 7,785 48,658 52,507 23,225 10,664 71,857 34,371

% Change Sept. ’13Oct. ‘13 4.7 7.2 7.8 1.7 4.0 4.2 0.7 0.5 6.1 6.3 8.5 5.1 7.1





Oct. 2012

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13 2.3 -22.0 -2.1

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2013 1,156 11,709 $145,900

% Change Sept. ’13Oct. ‘13 -9.3 -4.2 -0.3

% Change Oct. ’12Oct. ‘13 4.3 4.7 4.7 5.6 3.6 4.4 8.2 -6.3 1.4 5.9 4.5 10.8 8.1 5.4

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 | 78

EST. 1869

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13 -6.9 11.2

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13 2.7 -11.9

Chamber Thanks Ambassadors’ Bosses at Annual Breakfast Each year, the Ambassadors of the Knoxville Chamber volunteer more than 2,000 hours to help the organization with events and community outreach. On Dec. 2, the Chamber thanked the employers of its Ambassadors at the annual Breakfast with the Bosses at Copper Cellar on Cumberland Avenue. About 30 Ambassadors brought their boss with them to enjoy the delicious breakfast spread provided by Copper Cellar. “We couldn’t do what we do everyday if it weren’t for the help that our Ambassadors provide,” Leslie Smith, member services manager of the Chamber said. “This is our way of thanking their employers for letting them devote so much time to our organization.” Ambassadors serve a number of roles with the Chamber, helping to welcome new members, providing valuable staff-support at more than 70 events a year, and serving as representatives of the business community. In return, the Ambassadors get a good understanding of the Chamber’s operations and get to network with businesses around the area. The Chamber currently has 60 Ambassadors. Thirty-eight Knoxvillearea businesses have at least one employee serving as an Ambassador.

November a.m. Exchange Hosted by the Conley Building Approximately 80 people filled the ground floor of the Conley Building for the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange on Nov. 14. The morning networking event, sponsored by the Conley Building, showcased the building’s office space, broadband capability, and future Guests enjoy networking and breakfast at the Knoxville Chamremodeling plans. ber’s a.m. Exchange at the Conley Building on Nov. 14. The building, located on the corner of Gay Street and Union Avenue, features 12 floors of office space and retail space on its ground floor. In addition to its prime location, the Conley Building is one of the first buildings downtown to be wired for AT&Ts new fiber network. This will ensure tenants have excellent broadband connections. Guests got to enjoy the building and breakfast provided by catering sponsors All Occasion Catering. The event concluded with the drawing for several door prizes. John Rotty of Office Planning Group took home a Kindle Fire, courtesy of Universal Properties/the Conley Building. And Richard Norris of Design Innovation Architects received a Bluetooth headset from AT&T.

Education Reform Efforts Need to ‘Stay the Course’ Akin to turning a ship, the process of reforming public education has been a slow one, but progress is finally being seen in the state of Tennessee. Because of the impact an unprepared workforce could have on economic vitality of the region, the Knoxville Chamber has been engaged in efforts to improve education outcomes for more than eight years. At long last progress is being made, but Tennessee lawmakers need to “stay the course” and not allow politically inspired pressure to cause them to reverse field on reforms already in place. Prior to the implementation of Tennessee’s education reform, the state’s standards and achievement were some of the lowest in the country. In fact, Tennessee earned an “F” in “Truth in Advertising” from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a rating based on the state’s ability to prepare graduates for post-secondary education and the workforce. Locally, only 21 percent of Knox County students meet college readiness benchmarks on the ACT assessment. The Chamber strongly supports staying the course on education reform in Tennessee for each of these reasons: • Tennessee successfully adopted and implemented more rigorous standards known as the Common Core State Standards. These standards are part of a state-led effort to give all students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. They focus on critical thinking and problem solving and on a deeper understanding of materials, not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. • Tennessee students made significant improvements this year on our four National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test areas. • Tennessee moved from scoring in the bottom 10 in the country on all four NAEP tests in 2011 to scoring within one point of the national average on three out of four tests. • Tennessee showed extremely strong progress for minority students on NAEP tests. • Tennessee has seen three consecutive years of overall growth on state assessments. • Knox County Schools earned straight A’s for achievement on the 2013 Tennessee State Report Card for the first time ever. • Knox County Schools scored a five out of five on the Tennessee ValueAdded Assessment System (TVAAS). The Chamber encourages the business community to contact members of the state senate and house education committees, as well as the Knox County delegation to encourage them to “stay the course” and continue the progress that has been seen in public education reform.

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Sarah Loebner Designsensory Age: 33 Title: Designer Company: Designsensory Education: BFA, University of Akron

Hometown: Ashland, Ohio YP affiliation: I became a member of Young Professionals Knoxville in 2009

Community involvement: I was blessed to be included in the creation and launch of The District in Bearden, which has led to a more vibrant and connected community. I was also recently given the opportunity while working at Designsensory to redesign the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley website. From my design work with the District to spearheading the new www., my creativity and passion is helping to grow small businesses, the community, and region.

Favorite thing to do in Innovation Valley on the weekend: When I get the chance (which is rare right now with a 2-year-old) I’m an explorer. I love to go antiquing in the squares and small towns throughout the area. I actively support small businesses and love the thrill of finding undiscovered treasures. More often though, you’ll find me at home playing with my daughters, or knee-deep in my gardens.

The Knoxville Chamber and Innovation Valley have partnered with six locally-established young professional organizations to recognize outstanding young professionals on a monthly basis. To nominate a YP deserving of recognition, fill out and submit the online form located at:

Innovation Valley Holds Gathering for Area’s Young Professionals On Nov. 21, Innovation Valley hosted more than 50 young professionals from across the region for Innovation Valley Young Professionals Pint Night. The event was part of Innovation Valley’s strategic initiative to retain young, skilled, and ambitious professionals in the area. Representatives from eight of the region’s young professional groups were in attendance to enjoy a night of networking. “Having the local young professional groups come together is something I think should happen more often,” said Korri Jones, member of Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals. “Not only from the networking standpoint, but also to show the younger crowd that Innovation Valley has professional opportunities and a strong social atmosphere for us.” More than 20,000 young professionals graduated with some sort of higher education degree in Innovation Valley during 2012, and according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the young professional workforce accounts for approximately 30 percent of the total professional Shana Love, Thomas Dyke, Jason Moody, Clay Nettles, and Korri Jones enjoy IVYP Pint Night. workforce. “It is important we continuously engage young professionals in order to show them the numerous career opportunities in Innovation Valley and retain their talent,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “They are vital in expanding our local economy, and as our future leaders, it is essential we encourage them to stay here.” Since Blueprint 2.0 launched in July 2013, Innovation Valley has been increasing its focus on talent retention and wants to support young professionals at a regional level, while raising their awareness on the importance of regional economic development. Young professionals, defined as persons aged 22 to 35 who are working in a professional or technical occupation, are critical to the growing professional and technical workforce. Young professionals are graduating from college and graduate school at faster rates, are more likely to work in fast-growing occupations, and are more diverse than previous generations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33 percent of today’s young professional workforce is made up of minorities. For more information or to become involved in Innovation Valley Young Professionals contact Crystal Brooks at Innovation Valley Marketing Coordinator Kayla Witt contributed to this story.

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Green Mountain Coffee Announces $4 Million Expansion in Innovation Valley Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. recently announced a $4 million expansion to its facility in Innovation Valley, which will help the company boost its efficiency in filling customer orders. “The expansion allows GMCR to provide a higher level of service to our customers,” said Dale Pearson, planning, materials & distribution manager for Green Mountain. “By fulfilling customers’ orders direct from our manufacturing site, we can provide quicker delivery and lower fulfillment costs to our customers.” Green Mountain has been part of Innovation Valley since it opened its $50 million production facility at the Forks of the River Industrial Park in 2008. Since that time, the company has made several million-dollar expansions to the plant, which

employs approximately 900 workers. Pearson said the expansion will impact Innovation Valley by strengthening Green Mountain’s commitment in the community and providing overall growth and jobs to local economy. “Green Mountain’s continuing commitment to Innovation Valley is a testament to the area’s excellent resources, infrastructure, and workforce,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “We’re so pleased to see their company grow and thrive in our region.” Pearson added, “The local area provides a great base for a company to develop and grow. There are numerous resources that can be leveraged to provide a company a competitive advantage in the marketplace and position it for success, e.g. strong labor market, efficient highway/transportation network, and the ability to partnership with other companies and organizations to learn and share ideas.”

Randy Boyd Talks ‘Drive to 55’ at Premier Partner Event Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd spoke to a crowd of nearly a hundred business leaders at the Knoxville Chamber’s Premier Partner event hosted by King University on Nov. 22. Boyd, CEO and founder of Radio Systems Corporation, is currently serving as Gov. Bill Haslam’s education adviser. In this role, he is spearheading the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative, which aims to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. The state is currently at 32 percent. “It’s not just a post-secondary mission. It’s not just a workforce development mission or an economic development mission,” Boyd said. “It is the state’s mission, and if we fail to get our citizens these post-secondary certificates and degrees, we fail our state.” When Boyd first took on this role last fall, he said the state’s original mission was to bring the percentage to 42 percent by 2025. However, after examining this goal further, he discovered that would only bring Tennessee to the national average. Working 12 years to become average wasn’t acceptable to Boyd. And based on economic forecasts, Boyd said 55 percent of the population would need certificates or degrees by 2025. “For every percentage we are short (of 55 percent), that is a percentage of our population that will be unemployed or underemployed,” Boyd said. ”This is not a nice-to-have mission, it is a must-have.” Boyd outlined several ways this goal can be achieved. One is an emphasis on certificate programs that will lead to jobs that are in high demand. “It’s not just four-year college degrees; it includes certificates you’d get at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in welding, mechatronics, and a lot of those job-ready skills that we’re in such short supply of,” Boyd said. “That’s a key part of this forecasted growth.” Boyd said there are a number of programs that the state is working on to

achieve the Drive to 55. One of those is the Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support program, or SAILS. This program, which was piloted at Chattanooga State Community College, focuses on high school seniors who score below readiness benchmarks in mathematics by delivering college remediation prior to graduation from high school. “About 70 percent of high school graduates are not ready for college level math and so they have to start their college career in a remedial math course,” he said. “If they have to do this, then there is only a 5 percent chance they will ever graduate. It’s the kiss of death. So, with SAILS, we intercept those students in the fall of their senior year. They take a supplemental course in high school, facilitated by the community colleges, and if they pass that course, they are college ready.” Boyd said, in a test last year, 84 percent of the students that were destined to failure in college passed the course with the help of SAILS. He said if the program can be expanded statewide, Tennessee can go from 70 percent of students that are not college ready to only 11 percent. Boyd said it’s the success of programs like this that will have an impact on the overall mission of the Drive to 55. To learn more about the Drive to 55, visit Sponsored by:

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‘Hats Off’ New, Creative Networking Event Mark your calendar to join the Knoxville Chamber for a new and creative networking event called “Hats Off To K’ville” on Jan. 30 from 5 – 7 p.m. at The Standard. The event, which is sponsored by Storage Pros Self Storage, will allow Chamber members to show their creative side by requesting that everyone bring a hat of their choice to wear during the event. Hats can range from kooky to formal and anything in between. “Storage Pros asked us to come up with an event that had never been done in Knoxville,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Knoxville Chamber. “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. 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.” A contest will be held during the event to recognize winners in three categories: Most Stylish Hat, Most Creative Hat, and Most Outrageous Hat. Of course, if creativity isn’t a strength, Storage Pros baseball hats will be available to purchase for $5 at the door. A hat must be worn for entry into the event. Storage Pros Management LLC and its affiliated companies (Storage Pros) specialize in the acquisition, development, improvement, and management of self-storage facilities in the Eastern US. The company has acquired 11 storage facilities in the Knoxville area in the last year and is now the largest area provider of self storage. The company was founded in early 2007 and currently owns 48 properties, all within the states of Tennessee, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Florida, and Rhode Island. Visit the events calendar on to learn more about this event or to register.

Sponsored by:


JANUARY 8 2014 Social Media Series – Seminar #1

Hangout with Google+ and Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore It! Presented by Jeremy Floyd, BPV Capital Managment 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

JANUARY 15 2014 Social Media Series – Seminar #2 Facebook for Business: Beyond the Basics Presented by Josh Loebner and Matt Honkonen, Designsensory 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

JANUARY 22 Dale Carnegie Employee Engagement Series Seminar #4 How Great Organizations Create a Culture of Engagement 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members

Sponsored by:

JANUARY 22 2014 Social Media Series – Seminar #3 Telling Your Story Visually Using Social Media Presented by Josh Phillips, Pyxl 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

JANUARY 29 2014 Social Media Series – Seminar #4 APPlicable Apps – A Panel Discussion Moderated by Chuck Morris; Panelists include Dan Thompson, Claris Networks; Matt Kitchens, Cellular Sales; and Dino Cartwright, Prestige Cleaners 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch)

JANUARY 30 Hats Off to K’ville – Networking Event 5 – 7 p.m. • The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Ave. Sponsored 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 2014  
Commerce January 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.