Page 1

INSIDE: Shrimp Boil recap pg. 52 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 54





Bryan College celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville campus at 170 North Seven Oaks Drive in May. Dr. Stephen Livesay is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by colleagues, friends, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.


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.


visit and search for Knoxville Chamber RENA AMERSON Tillman Companies, LLC CHAMBER STAFF Doug Lawyer @knoxoakridgeIV Jennifer Evans @knoxevans Justin Kropff @jkropff Kyle Touchstone @knoxecondevguy Mark Field @field101 Michelle Kiely @mkiely1



Champion Roofing & Siding (865) 686-8292 Construction & Contractors:Roofing


BPV Wealth Management (865) 243-8000 Financial Services Stoller (865) 272-3392 Construction & Contractors: Equipment/Supplies Triton Stone Group of Knoxville (865) 688-9550 Construction & Contractors: Remodeling

American Alternative Fuel (865) 245-9699 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service

Commerce Bank (615) 503-2603 Financial Services:Banks

Healthcare Consumers Group, LLC (865) 978-6595 Associations & Organizations

Appogy Inc. (865) 622-6919 Computer & IT Services: Hardware/Software Developers

Eagle Bend (865) 693-3356 Real Estate

Intuitive Technologies, Inc (865) 250-0821 Computer & IT Services

Family Promise of Knoxville (865) 584-2822 Associations & Organizations

Lifeguard Ambulance Service (865) 637-1800 Healthcare Providers & Services

Bond, Botes & Lawson, P.C. (865) 938-0733 Legal Services:Attorneys

Fireside Chalet and Cabin Rentals (877) 774-4121 Hotels & Lodging

Purely Products (865) 934-1425 Shopping: Specialty

Classy Gift Creations (865) 771-0571 Shopping: Specialty

Green Diversified Systems (865) 945-5800 Environmental Services & Equipment

Radiant Title (865) 622-2210 Insurance

Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders (865) 558-9190 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

Scoop’d (865) 250-4508 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

Transworld Business Advisors (865) 924-2203 Business & Professional Services:Business Brokers

Skanska USA Building, Inc (615) 665-5500 Construction & Contractors

Universal Builders of America (865) 622-7663 Construction & Contractors:Roofing

The Veracity Corporation: My Points Vault (865) 318-8436 Restaurant Equipment, Supplies & Services Tim Ferraris, Attorney at Law (865) 245-9455 Legal Services: Attorneys

















CORRECTION Factory Connection was mistakenly listed with two categories in the June listing of New Members. The correct category is Shopping: Specialty. Please visit them at


ights! Camera! Action! Whether they’re illuminating the world’s headlining artists, highlighting the best do-it-yourself home projects, or hosting big screen world premiers, global entertainment companies locate their headquarters in the Innovation Valley because of its advantageous business climate. Area entertainment-industry businesses take advantage of the region’s top-notch technology resources, high quality of life, and much more. Local companies and entrepreneurs within the Innovation Valley have access and can work closely with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, The University of Tennessee, and Pellissippi State Community College, while benefiting from a strong, capable workforce, and low cost of doing business. East Tennessee is home to many prominent entertainment-related companies such as Scripps Networks Interactive, RIVR Media, Jewelry Television, Bandit Lites, Regal Entertainment Group, AC Entertainment, and James Thomas Engineering just to name a few. Today, Knoxville is often described as the fourth largest cable television production market in the nation after Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. There may be no walk-of-fame, Times Square or towering skyline here, but you won’t hear any complaints. The high-profile entertainment companies operating in and around Knoxville are quick to reveal there’s no business like show business right here in the Innovation Valley! Some of the brightest entertainment stars featured on billboards, awards shows, and big screens are adored because of their acting, musical, or athletic talents. Here in East Tennessee, the many talented members of the workforce score starring roles. Nearly 35 members of this talent pool help to produce over 750 events a year throughout the country for Knoxville-based AC Entertainment. The company is internationally recognized as an innovative leader in creating, producing, booking, and marketing first-class live entertainment experiences – from festivals and concerts to various special events. It produces Knoxville’s Sundown in the City and Big Ears Festival. It also is founder and producer of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and Moogfest. What’s more, the company manages Knoxville’s historic Tennessee and Bijou Theatres. “Having our headquarters here in East Tennessee allows us to pull our employees from a fantastic regional talent pool,” said AC Entertainment director of connectivity Jeff Cuellar. “There are young, eager, and well-educated members of the workforce that don’t want to necessarily relocate to a large city. We offer them the opportunity to hit the ground running in an industry that suites their skill set.” In addition to available and talented workers, another large reason AC Entertainment continues to see greater economic prosperity is because we have something that’s hard to bottle.

“There is a yearning from people out there who want to experience something that isn’t pre-packaged,” Cuellar adds. “Well, the fact is you can’t pre-package Southern hospitality, the culture, and the scenery that is East Tennessee. We’re finding that people are looking for that unique experience, which is why people want to call this area home. This is allowing our company to thrive.” Scripps Networks Interactive, Jewelry Television, and Bandit Lites pull from this rich talent pool, too. Combined, these three industry leaders employ more than 2,000 local workers. Scripps Networks Interactive recently renewed its investment in East Tennessee to the tune of $30 million. The company’s 150,000-square-foot Knoxville headquarters expansion is proof that the leading developer of lifestyleoriented content for television and the Internet believes in this region’s assets. Scripps operates HGTV, DIYNetwork, Food Network, Travel Channel, Great American Country, and the Cooking Channel. A good deal of programming for Scripps’ networks is produced by Knoxvillebased RIVR Media, an Emmy Award-winning television production company that produces or has produced series such as Whale Wars, Trading Spaces, and DIY to the Rescue. RIVR provides programming for cable networks such as Animal Planet, Food Network, DIY, HGTV, GAC, MTV, Fine Living, Discovery Channel, TLC, Court TV, TNN, History Channel, Travel Channel, and Game Show Network, among others. The company’s successes can be traced to a well-rounded and highly skilled workforce. “Knoxville’s known around the country as a production hub,” said RIVR Media CEO Dee Haslam. “Video photographers, editors, and producers want to come here. We have college interns that come to us from universities all over the country and even a few international students.” According to Haslam, the advantages of operating a national entertainment company in Knoxville are plenty. Modern industry upgrades could allow her to base operations in a number of locations. However, the company thrives in Knoxville because the entertainment industry in the region has the support it needs. “Knoxville is one of the best places to do business for us because the mayors, Chamber, newspapers, and business community value our industry,” Haslam said. Haslam is featured as this month’s Commerce Q&A. To read more about what she feels separates East Tennessee from its competition, turn to page 51. Similar to Scripps Networks Interactive, Jewelry Television is another enter-


See “ENTERTAINING” on pg. 50

“ENTERTAINING” continued from pg. 49 tainment company that’s recently reinvested in Knoxville. Its $3.5 million Parkside Drive renovation includes state-of-the-art high definition studios, four times larger than its old studios. Jewelry TV is the largest retailer of loose gemstones and one of the top four electronic jewelry retailers in the U.S. Sparkling on the international stage is Knoxville’s Bandit Lites. As the world’s second-leading lighting company, it’s responsible for helping its clients shine bright from Los Angeles to Luxemburg. The company has capitalized from the many available Innovation Valley technology resources by gaining a competitive edge via GRNLite. Bandit’s full-range of rugged, bright, and affordable LED fixtures reduce onstage heat, use 90-percent less electricity, and reduce truck space which in turn cuts down on related fuel and emissions. Bandit Lites is also bringing lightweight carbon fiber stage rigging systems to market. “The progress we’re making with LEDs and carbon fiber materials ties directly into advances at the Oak Ridge National Lab and The University of Tennessee,” Bandit Lites founder Michael Strickland said. The major supplier of Bandit’s aluminum trusses is James Thomas Engineering, a company that has been headquartered in Knoxville since 1984. Company president Mike Garl was one of Strickland’s professors at UT. The relationship grew from there. “There is unique camaraderie in East Tennessee,” Garl said. “I am familiar with Michael’s company and have grown relationships with it and other staging companies in the region. Further, there is a foundation of good labor here so why would we want to be anywhere else?” Another benefit to manufacturing the company’s trusses in Knoxville is its location inside of Westbridge Business Park. The 30,000-square-foot operations facility is a half mile from a four-lane highway that connects it to the rest of the country.

JTE’s aluminum trusses help illuminate many red carpet events around the country such as presidential inaugurations, the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Award Show. No stranger to red-carpet events, Regal Entertainment Group has hosted many silver screen world premiers here in Knoxville. Regal is the nation’s largest and most geographically diverse theater chain in the United States, consisting of 6,657 screens, in 535 theaters, in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The chain includes theaters in 43 of the top 50 U.S. designated market areas. Regal’s November 2009 red-carpet benefit premier of the wildly popular New Moon, the second movie in the Twilight series, featured cast members who helped raise over $440,000 for Variety of East Tennessee, a Regal founded children’s charity. The event was held at Regal Cinema’s Pinnacle Stadium 18 at Turkey Creek. Regal’s many benefit screenings have featured other Hollywood stars such as Brendan Fraser, Will Ferrell, and Jessica Simpson. Why is the Innovation Valley the best place for any business in the entertainment industry? Because this region features cutting-edge technology and the resources to help companies out-shine the competition. This area’s rich entertainment industry tradition also affords partnerships not found in other parts of the country. Further, the Innovation Valley is the best area to base operations because there are many skilled, talented, educated, and available workforce members. “These companies have grown up here. Their corporate headquarters could be anywhere else” said Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice. ”But when you combine the quality of life, low cost of living, educational and cultural amenities and our geographic location, the companies thrive. Why would they want to be anywhere else?” There’s no business like show business in the Innovation Valley.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s CAP Act Would Limit Government Spending U.S. Senator Bob Corker spoke about the nation’s fiscal challenges and his Commitment to American Prosperity Act, or CAP Act during a luncheon hosted by the Chamber, and sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners’ Founder and Chairman Rob Pinnacle Financial, at McCabe and President Nathan Hunter, Senator Bob Corker, Chamber Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice The Foundry on The and Chamber Board Chair Michael Strickland Fair Site on June 3. The act includes legislation that would set an across-the-board, binding cap on all federal spending. Over a 10-year period, this “fiscal straitjacket” would reduce spending by over $7.5 trillion. Further it is designed to incentivize economic development since business growth would be the primary way to increase federal revenue dollars. “What’s so attractive about this bill is that it imposes fiscal discipline and smaller government,” Sen. Corker said. “Cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget won’t be easy and will require discipline on the part of lawmakers.” Specifically, the CAP Act would:

(1) Put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the 40-year historical level of 20.6 percent, (2) If Congress fails to meet the annual cap, require the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override the binding cap, (3) For the first time, eliminate the deceptive “off-budget” distinction for Social Security – providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending. Currently the U.S. government is spending $3.7 trillion a year while taking in $2.2 trillion in revenues. Corker said bipartisan support and the potential backing of President Barack Obama could mean some version of the legislation will get passed. For more information about the proposed CAP Act and a link to read the entire bill, visit senator’s official website at






RIVR Media, LLC CEO RIVR Media, LLC chief executive officer Dee Haslam leads an Emmy Awardwinning production company that has produced television hits such as Whale Wars, Trading Spaces, and DIY to the Rescue, among others. The company produces and provides programming for cable networks including HGTV, DIY Network, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, A&E, GAC, MTV, Fine Living, History Channel, TLC, ESPN, Game Show Network, Nickelodeon, Food Network, Travel Channel, Court TV, and TNN. RIVR continues to excel in the reality, howto, home improvement, lifestyle, and documentary genres. Haslam also oversees RIVR Media Interactive, which offers a broad range of Internet-related services designed to help companies maximize the strength of their online presence and create online training solutions. The scope of RIVR Media’s entertainment reach is typical of a Hollywood studio, but Haslam’s company is headquartered right here in Knoxville. So why does this 2011 Junior Achievement of East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame inductee find East Tennessee to be the best place to run a company that entertains so many? Commerce recently had the chance to ask her about that and more. Q: Why is Knoxville a good fit for RIVR Media? A: Knoxville is just a great place! It is very business friendly, it has a relatively low cost of living, and it is a good place for very talented people to raise a family. We travel literally around the world to produce, so having a hometown that is so beautiful and quiet is a plus! Q: In what ways does RIVR Media benefit from the area’s thriving entertainment business? A: Knoxville has very talented people that work in the entertainment industry. We need producers, shooters, editors, writers, graphic design, and technical support. There is a good pool of people in the Knoxville area that work in these fields. We also have a great client base here in town. Not only is it wonderful to have Scripps Networks here, it’s also great to be able to produce a tremendous amount of video production and commercials for corporate clients. Q: You and your family have been involved in film/video/TV production for decades. How has the local industry changed during this time period? A: My father, Ross Bagwell, Sr., left Knoxville in the late 50’s to attend NYU and to work for NBC. Luckily, my mother really wanted to move back to Knoxville. In the late 70’s, with the advent of cable, my parents launched Cinetel Productions. Cinetel grew to be one of the largest independent production companies in the country before we sold to Scripps Howard in 1994. In 1998, Rob Lundgren and I formed RIVR Media. It is amazing to watch the incredible growth of Scripps. How fortunate Knoxville is to have a company that supports so many of the production resources in this community. Knoxville is considered 4th or 5th in terms of production markets in the US. This is quite an accomplishment! Q: How do you recruit creative employees to Knoxville? A: Knoxville is known around the country as a production hub. Shooters, edi-

tors, and producers want to come here! We have college interns from universities from across the country and even a few international students. We are able to recruit successfully for most positions, but we still have to rely on the best people no matter where they live. Since our business is electronic, we don’t always need our employees to live here. Q: Is the area doing a good job of cultivating a relevant and productive workforce? A: If we could create the ideal situation, we would like for the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State to work together to create a world-class program. UT would focus on the business part of production (content creation), accounting, legal, and creative writing. Pellissippi State would focus on the technical aspect: production, camera operators, editors, and graphic design. We helped with starting the Bagwell Center at Pellissippi because we believed that there is a great opportunity to do this. Q: What advantages are there to operating a national entertainment company in Knoxville? A: With the advancement of technology we can really be located anywhere. But Knoxville is one of the best places because the mayors, Chamber, newspapers, and business community value our industry. The support of the area makes it a great place to do business. Q: What advice do you give start-up companies? Can these companies find success in East Tennessee? A: Start small, manage your cash, and hire the best people. And be patient. Anyone in the business here will help you. It is really a very small industry and everyone knows everyone. So just ask for help. Q: What do you share with the entertainment businesses that are looking to expand or potentially relocate about the advantages of East Tennessee? Are there examples? A: The industry is growing! The people are great and it is relatively inexpensive to live here. If you want to work in TV but don’t want to live in a big city, this is the ONE place to live! An editor from St. Louis that works in Los Angeles is thinking about relocating here this summer, why? Because she wants to raise her daughter in a smaller, safer, more economical place to live! Q: RIVR has excelled in film, video, TV, and now Moving Picture Books. What additional concepts and or platforms will RIVR Media feature in the future? A: We will continue to focus on content development to be delivered on whatever format that is available in the future. Adding animation was a natural extension of our business. We use full motion graphics in most of our video projects so animation has been a good investment. We have been producing a lot of marketing videos and commercials lately. We never intended to get into that part of content development, but as advertisers look for ways to enhance their brand message they have turned to us.




Monthly Economic Indicators

(May 2011)

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


Resident Labor Force

May 2011

Apr. 2011

May 2010

% Change Apr. ’11- May ‘11

Knox Co. 240,220 239,360 231,320 Knoxville MSA 376,560 375,210 363,190 Tennessee 3,133,900 3,113,600 3,023,600 U.S. 153,449,000 152,898,000 153,866,000

Non-Ag Employment

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.

7.4 7.7 9.5 8.7

3.8 3.7 3.6 -0.3

325,000 2,634,500

0.3 0.3

1.2 0.2

19,700 32,000 332,120

-4.5 -4.5 -1.7

-1.8 -1.9 -2.2

7.7 8.0 0.9 9.3

-0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0

-0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.6

Knox Co. 19,360 20,230 Knoxville MSA 31,410 32,820 Tennessee 325,030 330,710

Unemployment Rates

0.4 0.4 0.7 0.4

7.7 7.9 9.6 8.7

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

Inflation Rates - Consumer Price Index (CPI) – All Items

May ‘10-‘11

*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg.

Apr. ‘10-’11

4.0 3.6

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

May ‘09-‘10

3.4 3.2

% Change Apr. ’10- May ‘11

2.1 2.0

0.6 0.4

1.9 1.6

May 2011

Apr. 2011

May 2010

% Change Apr. ’11- May ‘11

% Change May ’10May ‘11

Knox Co. $41,923,133 $43,672,403 $41,509,799 Knoxville MSA $59,054,788 $61,517,376 $58,890,180 Tennessee $538,780,075 $568,080,077 $512,281,160

Local Sales Tax

% Change May ’09May ‘11

*South – City Size Class B/C

Sales Tax Revenue – State & Local $ State Sales Tax

Knox Co. $11,971,421 Knoxville MSA $16,815,255

Housing Market

May 2011

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

828 15,774 $140,350

Apr. 2011

May 2010

776 15,180 $148,625

% Change Apr. ’11- May ‘11

1,142 17,148 $147,600

6.7 3.9 -5.9

% Change May ’10May ‘11 -37.9 -8.7 -5.2

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Knoxville MSA 328,800 327,900 Tennessee 2,640,200 2,632,600

Available Labor

% Change May ’10May ‘11

-4.2 -4.2 -5.4

1.0 0.3 5.2

$12,095,630 $11,583,192 $17,061,642 $16,401,590

-1.0 -1.5

3.4 2.5

(in millions of dollars)

% Change May ’10May ‘11

Residential Building Permits

Apr. 2011*

Knoxville (City) Total Single-Family Multi-Family

8 8 0

% Change Apr. ‘10Apr. 2010 Apr. ‘11 22 22 0

-175.0 -175.0 0.0

Knox Co. Total 64 120 Single-Family 62 116 Multi-Family 2 4 Knoxville MSA Total 86 144 Single-Family 84 140 Multi-Family 2 4 Tennessee Total 970 1,218 Single-Family 855 1,090 Multi-Family 115 128

-87.5 -87.1 -100.0 -67.4 -66.7 -100.0 -25.6 -27.5 -11.3

*All 2011 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

Air Service (McGhee-Tyson Airport)

Apr. 2011

Passengers 133,417 Cargo 7,820,439

Mar. 2011

Apr. 2010

143,459 8,593,171

% Change Mar. ’11- Apr. ’11

134,773 8,002,110

-7.5 -9.9

% Change Apr. ’10Apr. ’11 -1.0 -2.3

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Source: Tennessee Dept. of Revenue

Retail Sales – National Category

May 2011

Apr. 2011

Total Retail Sales 400,649 Building Materials 32,076 Clothing Stores 18,611 Electronics & Appliances 7,649 Food & Beverage Stores 51,875 Food Svcs & Drinking Places 42,613 Furniture & Home Furnishings 7,235 Gasoline Stations 48,055 General Merchandise Stores 52,308 Health & Personal Care Stores 22,750 Miscellaneous Stores 10,740 Motor Vehicle & Parts Sales 69,000 Non-store Retailers 31,113 Sporting Goods/Books/ Hobby/Music 6,624

May 2010

% Change Apr. ’11- May ‘11

389,352 27,627 18,447 7,367 51,079 41,574 7,065 46,030 50,925 22,458 9,545 70,277 30,251

371,518 28,815 17,787 7,704 49,833 40,792 7,194 39,453 50,997 21,551 9,685 65,376 25,997

2.9 16.1 0.9 3.8 1.6 2.5 2.4 4.4 2.7 1.3 12.5 -1.9 2.8

7.8 11.3 4.6 -0.7 4.1 4.5 0.6 21.8 2.6 5.6 10.9 5.5 19.7





Census 2010 Data Releases - Households County Anderson Blount Knox Loudon Union MSA

Census 2010 Total Population Households 75,129 123,010 432,226 48,556 19,109 698,030

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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


31,253 49,265 177,249 19,826 7,391 284,984

Family Households

Nonfamily Households

Average Household Size

Average Family Size

20,824 34,764 110,757 14,483 5,397 186,225

10,429 14,501 66,492 5,343 1,994 98,759

2.37 2.46 2.37 2.42 2.56 2.93

2.89 2.91 2.95 2.82 2.99 2.93

PROPEL MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE Protégé: Mike Mixon, Owner, Any Lab Test Now Mentor: Melanie Monroe, Area Manager, Employbridge/StaffingSolutions Any Lab Test Now is a healthcare lab testing facility that provides thousands of medical lab tests to consumers and employers in a professional, convenient, and cost effective way. Through drug and alcohol screening, applicant tracking, seasonal flu shots, background checks, wellness programs, and environmental testing, Any Lab Test Now helps its clients keep a close eye on their company’s most valuable assets today and in the future. Any Lab Test Now owner Mike Mixon and mentor Melanie Monroe, Employbridge/StaffingSolutions area vice president, are paired as a PROPEL mentor/ protégé team. As a new business owner, the relationship is helping Mixon get his company off to a good start. “Melanie is helping me avoid the mistakes that could lead to failure,” Mixon said. “What’s more, she has established relationships within the community that could be very beneficial in helping me introduce Any Lab Test Now services to new clients.” The time investment involved with mentoring businesspeople who possess a passion and dedication for achieving professional success can pay huge dividends not only for the protégés, but also for the mentors and their respective companies. This is why Monroe enjoys volunteering for the PROPEL Mentor/ Protégé Program. “As a mentor you can benefit by staying current with leaders of tomorrow

whether it be in business or in the community at large,” said Monroe. “Mentors and protégés can learn new ways to assess market and business opportunities, identify new trends in technology, and explore mediums in which to reach a particular audience. By combining past successes and tribulations with current business methods, a great opportunity exists for both mentor and protégé to uncover best Employbridge/StaffingSolutions’ practices, leverage relationships, springMelanie Monroe and Any Lab board ideas for future business practices, Test Now’s Mike Mixon and develop personal and professional growth plans.” Employbridge/StaffingSolutions is one of the nation’s leaders in industry-specific staffing. Whether a company is in search of the most productive employees available, or an individual is seeking the best place to build their career, Employbridge/StaffingSolutions can help by concentrating on four important success factors: focus, expertise, productivity, and culture. It has 143 locations throughout the U.S. and is the fastest growing national provider of staffing and workforce solutions. For more about PROPEL’s Mentor/Protégé Program, call program director Doug Minter at (865) 246-2662 or email him at

TSBDC Receives $5,000 First Tennessee Grant The Knoxville-area Tennessee Small Business Development Center recently received a $5,000 grant from the First Tennessee Foundation. The money will be used to enhance First Tennessee Bank Small Business Resource Center technology and equipment. The resource center is located inside the Chamber on Market Square in downtown Knoxville. “Giving back to the communities that support our business has long been a hallmark of First Tennessee’s approach to community investment and support, and it’s a privilege that we approach with both enthusiasm and prudence,” said First Tennessee-Knoxville president Pam Fansler. “A stronger small business community means more jobs, more capital investment, and a stronger economy. I applaud the work that TSBDC centers are doing statewide and consider First Tennessee’s support of them to be a great investment in our community.” First Tennessee often refers small business clients to the TSBDC for the free counseling services it offers on a variety of topics, from accounting and finance to employee relations and even advertising. The bank notes frequent significant improvement in the management skills of the business owners who participate. By providing quality consultation and support services to the existing and potential small business community, TSBDC helped its clients make a significant impact on the local economy. During 2010, TSBDC assisted with 56 new business-startups, helping create 317 new jobs. TSBDC clients also had total sales exceeding $335 million and new capital investments of more than $12.4 million during 2010.

Top: TSBDC-Knoxville receives $5,000 grant from First Tennessee Foundation Right: TSBDC-Knoxville Director Larry Rossini looks on as center Internet Training Specialist Mercedes Campbell details TSBDC’s internet business class to First Tennessee’s Pam Fansler

First Tennessee is the bank brand of First Horizon National Corp. (NYSE:FHN). First Tennessee has the largest consumer and business market share in Tennessee and one of the highest customer retention rates of any bank in the country. For more information about First Tennessee, visit the bank’s website at


BioTech Company Wins Fairview Technology Center Start-Up Business Competition The Fairview Technology Center business incubator recently recognized its Start-up Business Plan Competition winner, following a contest designed to highlight the best and brightest technology-based business plans in the Innovation Valley. 490 BioTech will utilize its first place prize package to help it develop cell lines for direct sale to pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and university and government If thislabs. wereWinning just a networking get-together, be a the humdinger’ it’s research the competition will alsoit’d enable companybut to work much more. Join us for awho backslapping, no other when alongside businesspeople understandshake-n-howdy what it takes tolike successfully get a the Chamber hosts 3rd annual shrimp boil sponsored by Comcast, Thursstart-up technology business off the ground. day from 5:00 – 7:30 Farm. “WeJune know23the technology and p.m. how at to Hunter make itValley better,” said Dan Close, shrimpofficer boil will great food, music, and top business chiefThe scientific for feature 490 BioTech. “What we need is exactly whatand we’ve community shrimp and other the good eats, the affair will received fromleaders. winning Including this competition. We need business support that will feature music hand-shakin’ andso politickin’. State help us make theand nextgobs stepofinto the real world that people canlegislators, really take membersofofit.” the U.S. congressional delegation, local elected officials, and advantage local candidates beenpackages invited tovalued $23,000 and $8,000, First and secondhave placeallprize Peelin’, Eatin’, be heldbusiness at The Pavilion at Hunter Valley respectively, includeand freePolitickin’ rent at thewill Fairview incubator, cash grant Farm, 9111 Hunter Valley costs, Lane invarious West Knox County. This fantastic setreimbursements for start-up complimentary business consulting ting willfrom once again add to the event’sTechnology unique flair.2020, Casual strongly services local providers including andattire one is year Chamberencouraged! membership. In year’s 2011, runner-up candidateswas for MYU city council, mayor, other offices will befor This Daily, acity news and and entertainment website on the ballot. The Shrimp Boil will be an excellent opportunity to meet other university communities. businesspeople and to jaw with politicians andbycandidates for theseCoroffices. The Fairview Technology Center is managed The Development Costoffor attending the event is $25 per Chamber member and $35 the for poration Knox County. TDC is committed to promoting and nurturing non-Chamber and food, and a limited long-term, qualitymember growth of theincludes region’sadmission, business environment. As thenumber property of beverages. To register please call thelocated Chamber’s events Knox hotlineCounty, at (865) owner and manager of six business parks throughout 246-2622 or visit the online events calendar at TDC is focused on maintaining a sufficient inventory and diversity of business park properties to meet the needs of new and expanding businesses. Through its staff services to the City and County Industrial Boards, TDC facilitates tax incentives in order to promote job creation and community development that would not or could not otherwise happen. For more information about TDC, visit the organization’s website at

SAVE THE DATE! Make Plans to Attend The Second Innovation Valley Technology & Resource Showcase Your chance to get your business connected with the technologies and expertise of the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and other area resources that can help you increase your bottom line will take place August 3 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at The University of Tennessee’s James A. Haslam, II Business Building, 1000 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville. The Second Annual Innovation Valley Technology and Resource Showcase will provide companies in the Innovation Valley with the opportunity to see technologies, talk face to face with experts, and make the contacts to turn ideas into profits. For more information about the showcase, call Chamber Economic Development Project Manager Kyle Touchstone at (865) 637-4550.

Chamber’s Patrice Collins Presented Lester Speeks Award The American Legion recently presented Knoxville Chamber Economic Development Assistant and East Tennessee Military Affairs Council Administrative Assistant Patrice Collins the Lester Speeks Award, which is given to someone who has demonstrated concern for and dedication to the support of veterans. “Ms. Collins has spent hundreds of hours each year coordinating the efforts of all the major veterans groups in this area,” said American Legion Post 2 Commander Ken Irvine. “She brings an energy and enthusiasm to her efforts that have greatly increased the effectiveness of the local veteran community.” American Legion Post 2 annually recognizes an East Tennessean that has been especially supportive of veterans and the area’s active duty military. The award is named after a past Commander of Post 2, Lester Speeks, who exemplified the highest standards of the American Legion. For more information about Knoxville’s American Legion Post 2, visit the organization’s website at


RIVR Media’s Moving Picture Books Are Bringing Storybooks to Life! Moving Picture Books, LLC has successfully developed technology that’s capturing the imagination and attention of children worldwide, while at the same time helping their vocabulary development. The unique storytelling platform magically brings storybooks to life with animation, narration, music, and sound effects. Moving Picture Books allows an educational digital reading experience to infants to 7 year-olds. The company offers nearly 40 titles ranging from classic stories to new favorites, each available in English, Spanish, and English Read-Along-Text versions. Books can be purchased as digital downloads or DVDs. These creatively animated storybooks utilize the original illustrations and fill the experience with visual surprises, fun sound effects, and various genres of music. “We love the reaction we get not only from our kids, but also from the parents and kids we meet who have experienced the magic of Moving Picture Books,” said Moving Picture Books, LLC and RIVR Media Interactive Senior Vice President Meg Lonon. “The truth is, we love what we do. Many of us involved in creating Moving Picture Books are parents of young children.” Moving Picture Books are designed to educate and inspire reading in young children. Education professionals consider Read-Along-Text versions great early reading tools. “The whole introduction of animated digital books to the educational environment, namely schools and homes where these books and materials will be used, will have a significant influence and impact over a child’s ability to read during earlier stages of life,” said Dr. Robert Rider, The University of Tennessee College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Dean and Professor. “Using digital media including animated picture books helps attract the attention of kids and helps them focus on fluency, literacy, and vocabulary in a way that can only advance them to a much higher level of literacy going forward.” The findings from a recent study conducted by The University of Tennessee College of Education, Health and Human Sciences suggest the possibility that electronic books such as Moving Picture Books have the potential to effectively reinforce student vocabulary learning and supplement teachers’ literacy related instruction. The study, administered by Dr. Amy Broemmel, Ph.D., Dr. Mary Jane Moran and Dr. Deborah A. Wooten notes, “What became evident was that the electronic books themselves mediated the children’s interactions with the text in a way that adults typically facilitate with traditional books. Thus, this media itself brought to life the books children may have seen on the bookshelves or tabletops in the reading centers, yet hesitated to pick up.” Another advantageous feature about these animated books is they support busy parents in the digital age. Digital download copies of the books allow children to easily engage in learning wherever they may be, on the school bus, at the doctor’s office, at the airport, etc. For more information or to purchase Moving Picture Books on DVD or iPod, visit the company’s website at


Nathan Hunter Pinnacle Financial Partners Knoxville President

When Pinnacle Financial Partners expanded to Knoxville four years ago, president and CEO Terry Turner thought Nathan Hunter would be a perfect fit to lead the financial services firm’s presence in East Tennessee. For Hunter, having the opportunity to build a financial services business from the ground up is the best part of serving as Pinnacle Knoxville’s president. “I could have had a long, satisfying career at another bank, but I wouldn’t have built anything special,” Hunter said. “Here I can pursue my passion for creating something different from our competitors.” Since Hunter began leading Pinnacle’s efforts in Knoxville in 2007, the firm has increasingly taken market share. It now holds the No. 7 spot in the MSA (and No. 6 in Knox County). Pinnacle Knoxville is also about to reach another milestone – $500 million in assets. The firm originally projected Knoxville would reach $500 million in assets by 2012, so it’s a year ahead of schedule. “Building a half-a-billion dollar bank with only three offices is very rewarding,” said Hunter. “It demonstrates that we have the right team and business model.” Pinnacle Knoxville started with an office on Northshore Drive and added two more offices in Farragut and Fountain City. Pinnacle plans to add two additional offices in the area by 2013. Another one of Hunter’s priorities is staying true to Pinnacle’s model of hiring only veteran financial services professionals. The average experience for the firm’s financial advisors in Knoxville is close to 25 years. “Seasoned people don’t need a micro-manager,” he said. “As long as the mission, vision, and goals are clear, they can accomplish anything.” Hunter graduated with a degree in banking from the University of Tennessee after being inspired by the bankers in his small hometown. “The bankers in my hometown were well respected corporate citizens who cared about the community,” he said. “I wanted a professional career that would allow me to participate in the community.” Hunter serves on the board and executive committee of Mercy Health Partners, the board and finance committee for the Knoxville Chamber and the board and finance committee for Ijams Nature Center. He’s also a member of the Knoxville Downtown Rotary Club and Leadership Knoxville. Hunter and wife, Jane, are co-chairing the 2012 American Heart Association Heart Gala.


Old City Entertainment Venue Hosts June’s Business After Hours

Chamber Ambassadors Recognized for Dedication

Sponsored by Cricket Wireless June’s Business After Hours was sponsored by Cricket Wireless and hosted by Old City Entertainment Venue, 118 S. Central Street, Knoxville. The event allowed area businesspeople excellent networking opportunities at one of the historic Old City District’s newest full-service entertainment venues. Guests were able to experience Cricket’s Muve Music service that enables its users to access millions of songs and unlimited music downloads directly from their cell phones.

Top: Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards, Slamdot, Inc.’s Daniel Monday, Chamber Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice and Chamber Senior Vice President of Membership Mark Field Bottom: Incoming Chamber Ambassador chairs Cameron Puckett and Danny Hastaba with outgoing chairs Brooke Thurman and Kim Davis

The Knoxville Chamber Ambassador Appreciation Luncheon was held in early June at The Square Room in downtown Knoxville. The annual event provides the Chamber an opportunity to recognize and thank all the volunteers involved with the program. Chamber Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice recognized outgoing ambassador chairs Brooke Thurman and Kim Davis for their service leading the program. “Over the last 24 months, Brooke and Kim made a great program even better,” Rice said. “When they began to guide the program, they reached out to the ambassadors in an attempt to gauge the current state of the program. Most importantly they listened to the responses. They took what they heard, identified necessary goals, and rolled up their sleeves to begin working on meeting those goals. Good leaders know how to listen. Brook and Kim are unquestionably excellent examples of great leaders.” Chamber Vice President of Membership Mark Field thanked ambassadors for their willingness to guide the program. “The thing I’m most impressed with is that ambassadors lead this program,” he said. “There is added value to the program because each member helps develop and maintain initiatives. This is very important to the Chamber.” Ambassadors selected Slamdot, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Daniel Monday as Ambassador of The Year. All of the Ambassadors received certificates of participation during the event as well. The Knoxville Chamber ambassador program consists of nearly 50 volunteer members of the Knoxville business community. The program’s mission is to ensure member satisfaction and retention. Ambassadors also help at events and act as mentors for new members. For more information about the Chamber’s ambassador program, contact Lisa Coulter at (865) 246-2615.

Old City Entertainment Venue hosted June’s BAH at 118 S. Central St. in the Old City

Connell Properties, Inc.’s Drew Clemmons and SERVPRO of West Knoxville’s Will Brock

The event’s door prize winner was Paychex’s Ashley Hankins (Samsung Suede Cell phone and three months complimentary MUVE Music service, courtesy of Cricket Wireless).

Sponsored by:



Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square


Chamber Member MD Lab

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square


Knoxville Mayoral Debate

7:30 - 9 p.m.

Knoxville Civic Auditorium


New Member Reception

4 - 6 p.m.

July 2011 Commerce  

The Knoxville Chamber's monthly newsletter.

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