Page 1

INSIDE: Pinnacle Photo Spread pg. 48 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50


Liberty Mutual Insurance (865) 539-0039 Insurance Rembco Geotechnical Contractors, Inc. (865) 671-2925 Construction & Contractors Tom and Debran Hughes - Realty Executives (865) 251-3263 Real Estate WOW! Business (865) 203-9281 Broadcast Media: Television Telecommunications: Internet Providers, Telecommunications: Telephone

BASE TIER MEMBERS Actour & Scripts (706) 996-0778 Business & Professional Services: Marketing Appalachian Claims Service (865) 523-0461 Insurance

Blue Ridge Yoga & Wellness Center (865) 250-7778 Personal Services

Helen Harb, REALTOR (865) 964-2093 Real Estate

Camelot of East Tennessee Behavioral Health (865) 481-3972 Social Services Chota Outdoor Gear (865) 690-1814 Sports & Recreation Cortese Tree Specialists, Inc. (865) 522-0533 Florists, Nurseries & Garden Centers Cruise Planners (865) 382-2620 Personal Services Culvers of Knoxville (865) 216-0230 Restaurants Engraphics (865) 288-7058 Business & Professional Services Express Oil Change/Tire Engineers (865) 577-5250 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service Foreign Language Academy (865) 694-8880 Education & Training: Tutorial Services GEI Consultants (865) 696-8677 Business & Professional Services

Innovative Design, Inc. (865) 966-4402 Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers Movement Mortgage (865) 692-5052 Real Estate: Mortgage Banking Pest Ops (865) 966-0750 Residential Services: Pest Control

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.


Knox County Schools (865) 594-1905 Education & Training

Hancock Tree Service (865) 924-8733 Building & Grounds Maintenance

Samuel B. Tipton, Attorney with Shepherd and Associates, P.C. (865) 982-8060 www.kevinshepherdattoryney. com Legal Services Sitara Electric, LLC (865) 309-4318 Construction & Contractors: Electrical Contractors The Nic Nicaud Team - Realty Executives (865) 742-1312 Real Estate



Ridley Fine Jewelry (919) 223-1343 Shopping: Jewelry


Impact Dental Seminars (865) 333-1611 Healthcare Providers & Services: Dentists

A Valley View Hideaway (813) 240-6104 Hotels & Lodging






Work Now! (423) 581-9850 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services


RIBBON CUTTINGS Knoxville Spine and Sports celebrated its grand opening on March 30. It is located at 8029 Ray Mears Boulevard. Dr. Bert Solomon is pictured with family, staff, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus & Research Park on April 26. Pictured cutting the ribbon is James Tomiczek, Vice President. He is joined by his management team and Chamber Ambassadors.


13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards Gala Celebrates Business Excellence BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

More than 600 people gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center on May 12 to celebrate the finalists and winners of the 13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards, presented by Atlantic Capital. The gala kicked off with a reception and silent auction, sponsored by Radio Systems Corporation. Attendees then transitioned into the convention center’s ballroom to enjoy dinner and the awards program, emceed by WBIR-TV’s Robin Wilhoit. Companies and individuals were recognized in nine award categories, which highlight the range of businesses that make up Knoxville’s thriving, vibrant economy, and honor contributions to the local community.

2017 PINNACLE AWARD WINNERS: The Impact Award, sponsored by Publix Supermarkets, honors a business that displays a commitment to making East Tennessee a better place to live and work through the development and support of community projects or programs. This year’s winner is Shoney’s of Knoxville, Inc. The business has served the Knoxville community for the past 55 years in a quiet but impactful way. The family-friendly restaurant donates food and meal certificates to countless charitable organizations throughout a 10-county area, serves as a major sponsor for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees, raises funds for the Knox Area Rescue Ministry’s “Feed the Need” program as well as Mobile

Meals, contributes to Dine Out for Education and Zoo Knoxville, and donates meals and reward items to Knox County Schools. These recurring contributions, along with their support of community programs that encourage families to be safe, active, healthy, and learning, such as the Shoney’s KidCare Photo ID Program and Tennessee Smokies Reading Program, are a direct investment in the children and families of our community. It is difficult to quantify how Shoney’s 55 years of quiet generosity have helped the residents of our region, however, their enthusiastic support of community causes – both big and small – has undoubtedly made a significant impact on the people of East Tennessee. The Innovator Award, presented by Cirrus Insight, is given to a business that has developed a new technology, innovative product or service, or applied a business system or service in an innovative way. The finalists this year were Protomet Corporation, EventBooking, and PureMagic Carwash. PureMagic Carwash took home this year’s award. In 2005, Jim and Teri Rooney opened East Tennessee’s first low-price, highvalue express car wash under the name 3 Minute Magic. As the first company to bring the express exterior concept to the region, they expertly and efficiently cleaned Knoxville’s cars, expanding to four regional locations by 2015. Their fourth location on Alcoa’s Airport Motor Mile brought the Polish Tunnel to the United States. A revolutionary technology, the tunnel introduced a new way to polish a vehicle while it travels through the carwash on a traditional over-and-under steel conveyor. In 2016, the Rooney’s opened their fifth

location, rebranded as PureMagic Carwash, and once again introduced a progressive new technique to the full-service car wash model – a conveyorized production concept that cleans vehicle interiors on a 12-foot wide moving floor. At PureMagic, they have bridged the gap between innovation, convenience, and customer care, completely revolutionizing how customers think and feel about a traditional full-service carwash.

The Small Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, is presented to a business with 50 or fewer employees that has consistently grown its workforce and revenue and overcome obstacles including access to capital, operational efficiency, control of expenses, customer loyalty, and distribution. Finalists in this category were Axle Logistics, LLC, EventBooking, and Johnson Architecture. This year’s recipient is EventBooking, a Software as a Service company that specializes in online booking and venue management for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. The first of its kind in the industry, the software empowers clients to manage multiple spaces or buildings from one master calendar, share available or reserved event dates with their prospects, eliminate double-bookings through conflict checking, track sales opportunities, generate proposals or contracts, manage the finances of their event, and more. The cloud-based technology is currently utilized by more than 700 venues worldwide, and the company is developing a new, B2B collaboration platform designed to radically transform and improve the way concert tours are routed.

“Pinnacle” continued on pg. 46


“Pinnacle” continued from pg. 45 The Minority-Owned Business Excellence Award, presented by Covenant Health, recognizes a minority-owned business that has produced outstanding business results and growth and overcome the obstacles of race or ethnicity. This year’s finalists were El Charro, Sandra G’s, and MBK Wellness. Sandra G’s received this year’s award. Sandra G’s is an alterations shop that specializes in custom fit and design and offers expertise in wedding and formal attire. Although Sandra began her career in the banking industry where she worked for over 12 years, her love for sewing – passed on to her from her mother – was a hobby that she continued. When she made the switch from the banking profession to the wedding industry, her passion for the hobby flourished while sewing for Knoxville’s premier bridal salons. Since 2004, Sandra has strived to make Sandra G’s the “go-to” destination for specialized and personal fits for each client who walks through the doors. Her reputation has continuously blossomed and now what was once many clients’ secret has become one of the most trusted and referred alterations shops in Knoxville. The Woman-Owned Business Excellence Award, presented by Microbial Insights, Inc., is given to an outstanding woman-owned business that is independently owned, operated, and controlled by a female. The winner demonstrates the ability to compete in a non-diverse field. BGT Recruiting & Consulting, Innovative Design, Inc., and Graphic Creations were finalists for this category. This year’s winner is Innovative Design, Inc. (IDI), an engineering design consulting firm specializing in mechanical, structural, electrical, environmental, and process-related projects. IDI provides services to government and industrial clients including environmental, nuclear, aluminum recycling, water, and automotive. The company offers the full spectrum of engineering and design services and can perform large-scale projects from concept to construction. IDI also performs smaller projects for its customers, including equipment, piping, structural, fall protection, cranes, and facility revisions. The company recently purchased a commercial building in Hardin Valley for its permanent headquarters. By investing in a permanent Knoxville headquarters, IDI is set to keep creating jobs and opportunities in our community. The Business Excellence Award is divided into a mid-size category for businesses with 51-200 total employees, and a large company category for those with 201 or more employees. These awards are presented to businesses headquartered in East Tennessee, or those with a significant presence in East Tennessee, that have shown remarkable profitability, growth, and stability and are recognized regionally, nationally, and/or internationally in their respective business sectors. Finalists for the Mid-Sized Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Rodefer Moss and Company, were SMG Knoxville, House of Thaller, and Michael Brady, Inc. House of Thaller took home this year’s award. House of Thaller, founded in 1964 as a father and son team, is a refrigerated foods manufacturer specializing in copacking and private label dips and deli salads. Steady growth over the past 53 years has expanded their operations from the original three-room facility to a state-of-the-art food plant that houses 200 employees and has capacity to produce more than 70,000 pounds of product daily. A third generation, family-owned and operated business, the company is dedicated to serving its customers through innovation, quality, food safety, and commitment to relationship building. These attributes have positioned House of Thaller as a leader in both the branded and private label segments of the refrigerated foods industry. Finalists for the Large Business Excellence Award, sponsored by LBMC, PC, included TeamHealth, U.S. Cellular, and Connor Concepts. This year’s winner is TeamHealth. Founded in 1979 to staff two hospital emergency departments in Knoxville, Tennessee, TeamHealth expanded to hospitals

throughout the Southeast as its reputation for high quality and service excellence spread. Along the way, TeamHealth expanded its services from a singular focus on emergency medicine, and it is now one of the largest suppliers of outsourced professional staffing and administrative services to hospitals in the U.S. based on revenue, patient visits, and number of clients. The company’s approximately 20,000 affiliated physicians and advanced practice clinicians now provide care to more than 29 million patients per year in more than 3,300 healthcare facilities and physician groups across the nation. The Young Entrepreneur Award, presented by Atlantic Capital, is awarded to a young professional, 40 years of age or younger as of May 12, 2017, who lives and works in East Tennessee and has achieved success while overcoming obstacles, to become one of tomorrow’s top leaders. The winner will have started or is at risk in ownership of his/her business and will have moved the company from early growth to some maturity. This year’s finalists were Alex Oliver of Draft Agency, Courtney Jones of MomSource Network, and Courtney Herda of Smarter Searches. The 2017 recipient is Courtney Herda, CEO of Smarter Searches. Herda founded Smarter Searches in 2012 with no clients, no background in sales or entrepreneurship, a single laptop, a 45-page business plan, and eight years of experience in digital marketing. Now, as a cohesive and united team of five employees, they work together to increase sales, provide the highest quality of work possible, and continue to grow their brand. Smarter Searches is a digital marketing agency that drives online visibility for businesses in a focused way. Its primary services include website design, social media marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising, video production, and graphic design. The company works with a wide range of industries, spanning 39 states, and has worked with businesses from start-up to multi-billion dollar, multi-location offices. The James A. Haslam II Chairman’s Leadership Award, presented by Prestige Cleaners, is given to a longtime business leader who exhibits strength in character, resolve, and a commitment to the community, and has demonstrated exemplary success in the regional business community. This year’s honoree is Pam Fansler, chairman of First Tennessee Bank’s East Tennessee Region. When Fansler took a job as a teller at Knoxville’s Valley Fidelity Bank in her early 20s, she had no plans to begin a career in the banking industry. Forty years later, she retired as First Tennessee Bank’s East Market President. During her time at First Tennessee Bank, Fansler rose in the company ranks, making strides in the male-dominated industry of finance and banking. Beyond her professional achievements, she has also served on the boards of Covenant Health, the Knoxville Symphony, the Knoxville Chamber, Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council, and Friends of Literacy. Fansler also served as campaign chair for the United Way of Greater Knoxville in 2011-12 and was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the YWCA in 2013. The gala concluded with a champagne toast to the winners, sponsored by Regal Entertainment Group. The production of the 2017 Pinnacle Business Awards was made possible by assistance from All Occasions Party Rentals, Bandit Lites, M&M Productions USA, Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs, and Moser Visuals. Media sponsors for the event included the Knoxville News Sentinel, Greater Knoxville Business Journal, and NewsTalk 98.7. BigWheel is the official software provider for the event. To see photos from the 13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards, please visit the Knoxville Chamber’s Facebook page.


Chamber to Host Ninth Annual Shrimp Boil BY: LYDIA BAILEY

The Knoxville Chamber will host the Ninth Annual Peelin’, Eatin’, and Politickin’ Shrimp Boil on June 15 at Jackson Terminal. The casual event gives business and community leaders the chance to relax and enjoy great food, listen to music, and network with local and state elected officials. Last year’s event drew nearly 200 people. “This event is a fun and inforThe Knoxville Chamber’s Annual Shrimp Boil mal way for members to get to provides the chance to network with local and state know elected officials, as well elected officials while enjoying tasty food. as candidates for office in upcoming elections,” said Amy Nolan, vice president of public policy for the Chamber. “It’s also our way of saying ‘thank you’ to elected leaders for their willingness to listen and engage with the business community.” Admission for the event is $35 for Chamber members and $45 for non-members. VIP tables of eight are available to Chamber members for $350 each, including a table sign displaying the company logo, two drink tickets per guest, a bucket of bottled beer, and a family-style shrimp boil spread at your table. To register for the event, please visit the events page on

Evening Networking Event Hosted at Graphic Creations BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Guests enjoyed making connections, eating and drinking, and exploring Graphic Creations’ expansive printing and design options during a Knoxville Chamber Business After Hours hosted at its 4th Avenue location on May 18. Jim Caughorn of Graphic Creations took the opportunity to present a $1,500 check to the Pigeon Forge Fire Department, which the company raised in partnership with Firehouse Subs, in response to the devastating fires this past winter. Three attendees took home the evening’s door prize, which was a custom canvas from Graphic Creations. Angi Cochran of SERVPRO Rocky Hill/ Sequoyah Hills/South Knoxville; Glen Spidell of PremierSolutions International; and George Lucke of Edward Jones were the lucky winners. Jim Caughorn of Graphic Creations presents a check to the Pigeon Forge Fire Department at the Knoxville Chamber’s May 18 Business After Hours.

Most Knox County Lawmakers Vote ‘Yes’ on IMPROVE Act; Members Encouraged to Show Their Appreciation BY: AMY NOLAN

This spring, Gov. Bill Haslam signed the largest tax cut in state history and paved the way for a safer transportation system that will help continue Tennessee’s economic momentum. The Knoxville Chamber was among many business organizations that backed the governor’s legislation, the IMPROVE Act, as did the Knox County legislative delegation with just two exceptions. Supporters included Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Sens. Richard Briggs and Becky Duncan Massey, as well as Reps. Harry Brooks, Martin Daniel, Bill Dunn, Eddie Smith, and Rick Staples. “We hope Knoxville Chamber members will reach out to these lawmakers and thank them for supporting this legislation that continues the tradition of maintaining and building roads with a dedicated revenue stream and without taking on debt,” said Susan Richardson Williams, chair of the Knoxville Chamber’s Government Relations & Public Policy Committee. “At the same time, the legislation acknowledges a current surplus in revenue and reduces taxes on food, provides tax relief to veterans and the elderly, and makes our state more competitive in recruiting manufacturers.”

Mike Edwards, the Knoxville Chamber’s CEO, added, “We should be proud that a clear majority of the Knox County delegation listened and analyzed the facts and then cast their votes for this conservative, forward-thinking legislation. I encourage members to express your appreciation to them.” The legislation’s most controversial feature is a 6 cents increase, to be phased in over three years, on gasoline taxes and a 10 cents increase, also effective gradually, on diesel fuel. The last time fuel taxes were raised was in 1989, and roughly half of that revenue is paid by out-of-state travelers and trucking companies. The bill also increases user fee, for electric vehicle owners. Money generated by transportation-related taxes will be dedicated to 962 projects across all of Tennessee’s 95 counties, addressing a $10.5 billion backlog in repairs and updates. Among improvements slated for Knox County are projects focused on improving safety on Alcoa Highway, Chapman Highway, Kingston Pike at Northshore Drive, and Pellissippi Parkway at Oak Ridge Highway. The legislation also allows local voters, through a referendum, in the state’s largest counties and its four largest cities, including Knoxville, to impose a surcharge on taxes they already collect to be dedicated to transit projects.


The Knoxville Chamber hosted the 13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards, sponsored by Atlantic Capital, on May 12 at the Knoxville Convention Center. More than 600 members of the business community came out to celebrate the award finalists and winners. Photography by Moser Visuals

The 13th Annual Pinnacle Awards Gala was made possible with production assistance from M&M Productions, Bandit Lites, All Occasions Party Rentals, Above the Rest Balloon and Event Designs, LB Floral, Moser Visuals and Southern Creative.

Knoxville Chamber Board Chair Robyn Askew; Mintha Roach, president and CEO of Knoxville Utilities Board; and Pam Fansler, recipient of the 2017 James A. Haslam Chairman’s Leadership Pinnacle Award, at the Pinnacle Business Awards reception.

Guests at the 13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards were entertained by Moonshine Rhythm Club.

The Knoxville Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars were recognized at the Pinnacle Business Awards on May 12 (from left to right: Mark Field, Knoxville Chamber; John D. Cobb, Clayton Bradley Academy; Alexander YarKahn, L&N STEM Academy; and Megan Wright, Knoxville Chamber).

Pam Fansler, chairman of First Tennessee Bank’s East Tennessee Region, is presented the James A. Haslam Chairman’s Leadership Pinnacle Award by Eddie Mannis, founder of Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedo.

Robert Baird, senior vice president and Knoxville market executive for presenting sponsor Atlantic Capital, leads a toast to business excellence, sponsored by Regal Entertainment Group.

Michael Shuemaker, Amber Hardy, Eddie Mannis, Blake Gibson, and Joe Daniel of Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedo at the 2017 Pinnacle Business Awards reception on May 12.

Mike and Bo Connor of Connor Concepts and their wives Carol and Cindy during the 13th Annual Pinnacle Awards reception.

More than 600 members of the Knoxville business community attended the 2017 Pinnacle Business Awards and enjoyed the silent auction and reception sponsored by Radio Systems Corporation.

Robin Wilhoit, anchor for WBIR-TV, hosted the 13th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards awards program.



(April 2017)

NOTES – Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane & Union Counties.

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Mar. ’16Mar. ‘17

Mar. 2017

Feb. 2017

Mar. 2016

% Change Feb. ’17Mar. ‘17

234,000 414,030 3,178,200 159,912,000

234,200 414,750 3,168,000 159,482,000

233,510 413,490 3,114,400 158,854,000

-0.1 -0.2 0.3 0.3

0.2 0.1 2.0 0.7

392,500 3,001,300

392,300 2,976,900

389,600 2,937,800

0.1 0.8

0.7 2.2

9,190 18,360 147,400

9,640 19,340 156,200

7,890 15,920 129,400

-4.7 -5.1 -5.6

16.5 15.3 13.9

3.9 4.4 4.6 4.6

4.1 4.7 4.9 4.9

3.4 3.9 4.2 5.1

-0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3

0.5 0.5 0.4 -0.5

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Apr. 2017 1,566 6,834 $169,900

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 Apr. ’15Apr. ‘17 1.4 1.4

Apr. ’16-‘17

Mar. ’16-‘17

Apr. ’15-‘16

2.1 2.2

2.3 2.4

0.7 1.1

-0.2 -0.2

% Change Mar. ’16Mar. ‘17

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Mar. 2017* 42 28 14

Mar. 2016 42 42 0

% Change Mar. ’16Mar. ‘17 0.0 -33.3 100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

199 185 14

115 115 0

73.0 60.9 100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

319 291 28

231 212 19

38.1 37.3 47.4


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,965 2,099 866

3,191 1,896 1,295

-7.1 10.7 -33.1

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Mar. 2017

Feb. 2017

Mar. 2016

% Change Feb. ’17Mar. ‘17

45,753,581 70,382,220 595,514,375

47,307,970 72,372,430 616,905,381

48,929,529 74,593,155 635,260,285

-3.3 -2.7 -3.5

-6.5 -5.6 -6.3

12,029,389 19,186,397

13,045,931 20,597,033

13,322,165 20,772,906

-7.8 -6.8

-9.7 -7.6


Passengers Freight

Mar. 2016 149,555 7,621,346

Feb. 2016 123,011 6,332,331

Mar. 2015 135,891 6,913,181

% Change Feb. ’16Mar. ‘16 21.6 20.4

% Change Mar. ’15Mar. ‘16 10.1 10.2

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2017 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey

*South – City Size Class B/C


1,570 8,521 $163,000


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Mar. ’16Apr. ‘17

Apr. 2016

% Change Apr. ’16Apr. ‘17 -0.3 -19.8 4.2

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Mar. 2017 1,664 6,793 $167,000

% Change Mar. ’17Apr. ‘17 -5.9 0.6 1.7

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

Apr. 2017

Mar. 2017

466,734 34,198 20,666 6,955 58,411 57,993 8,707 37,858 53,903 26,898 10,119 97,194 47,369

484,144 31,451 21,028 7,704 59,540 59,237 9,772 37,372 55,421 28,464 10,443 105,914 51,017

452,609 32,342 20,311 6,965 56,375 56,726 8,632 33,975 53,481 27,063 10,154 96,610 43,288

% Change Mar. ’17Apr. ‘17 -3.6 8.7 -1.7 -9.7 -1.9 -2.1 -10.9 1.3 -2.7 -5.5 -3.1 -8.2 -7.2





Apr. 2016

% Change Apr. ’16Apr. ‘17 3.1 5.7 1.7 -0.1 3.6 2.2 0.9 11.4 0.8 -0.6 -0.3 0.6 9.4 -3.3

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

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


Women on the Rise to Shine Event Advises on Managing Work/Life Balance



The Knoxville Chamber hosted a Women on the Rise to Shine panel discussion and luncheon at the Hilton Knoxville on May 4. Jill Green of BGT Recruiting & Consulting; Crystal Washington of Scripps Networks Interactive; and Alexa Sponcia of Hard Knox Pizzeria shared their successes and challenges in dealing with work/life balance as busy female professionals. The popular Women on the Rise to Shine series is presented by SunTrust.

Crystal Washington of Scripps Networks Interactive; Rhonda Rice of the Knoxville Chamber; Jill Green of BGT Recruiting & Consulting; Alexa Sponcia of Hard Knox Pizzeria; and Sidney Neate with SunTrust at the May 4 Women on the Rise to Shine luncheon.

Knoxville Celebrates World Trade Week With Formal Proclamation BY: KAYLA SMITH

On May 16, community members gathered at the Knoxville Chamber for a seminar on Latin American business communications. This event was part of Tennessee World Trade Week, which is a celebration of world trade and its positive impact on economic development in the state of Tennessee. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero issued a formal proclamation declaring the third full week in May as Tennessee World Trade Week. More than 12,000 jobs in the Knoxville region are supported by exports and the city exported almost $2.4 billion to world markets in 2015, representing about 7.6 percent of all the state’s exports.

Home to Knoxville’s largest inventory of event rental products, All Occasions Party Rentals has rental products for every occasion. Originally founded in 1969 as a tool and equipment rental company, the company evolved over the years into the event industry. All Occasions Party Rentals as it is known today was established in 2003. Today, All Occasions is a full-service event rental company employing a team of 60. The company began with six employees and annual sales of $950,000. Sales have grown to over $6 million in 2017. Terry Turner, president and owner, said the company averages about 4,500 events per year, ranging from the smallest orders that customers pick up from their 40,000 square-foot warehouse and showroom on Middlebrook Pike, to large-scale events such as UT Medical Center’s Evening in Orange and L’amour du Vin at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The company prides itself in delivering experiences that will keep the guests talking for years to come. “We work really hard to exceed our customer’s expectations,” said Turner. “Whether you are having a special celebration for 20 friends at your home, a wedding for family and friends, a corporate event for 500 staff, or a festival for 100,000, we treat them all the same.” Turner said what sets his company apart from its competition is its staff. “We have some of the most highly trained staff in the industry, and they collaborate to make each event unique and successful. Their creativity and experience has shifted our business to more custom events. We focus on the intricacies as well as the personalization of each event,” he said. In order to keep on top of the latest event trends and new products for their clients, Turner said the All Occasions staff consults trade publications, attends trade shows, and networks with its peers in the industry. Turner served as President of the the American Rental Association (ARA) in 2016 and is currently Chairman. In 2012, Turner purchased ToeZay Decorating and renamed it All Convention & Expo Services. All Occasions’ sister company specializes in trade show services, providing pipe and drape, carpeting, design and layout services, and material handling. Turner said, “We can pull all the elements together under one umbrella for ease of interaction and billing. We can arrange almost everything to do with events from executive restroom trailers to ice to security.” Turner launched Tailgate Tennessee, a division of AOPR, in 2012 through a partnership with University of Tennessee Athletics. The operation has more than doubled each year since kickoff, providing over 400 turnkey tailgates in 2016 for football fans on the Knoxville campus. Turner said All Occasions tries to be actively engaged in the Knoxville community by supporting many local schools and non-profits. “I have always felt an obligation to give back. I think that the programs and services that these organizations provide are essential as they serve the diverse needs of the people living in East Tennessee,” he said. “We try to balance how we can help them and still maintain a profitable business.” All Occasions Party Rentals received the Small Business Excellence Award at the 2012 Knoxville Chamber Pinnacle Awards and was a 2016 U.S. Chamber Small Business of the Year Blue Ribbon Award Winner.


Recode Knoxville Kicks Off at Chamber; Effort Aims to Streamline Zoning Process BY: AMY NOLAN

When the city of Knoxville’s zoning ordinance is rewritten in its entirety, the process for obtaining and permitting new projects should be more predictable, consistent, and timely. That was one of the messages delivered by Gerald Green, executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, at a Knoxville Chamber presentation that kicked off Recode Knoxville, the effort to create a new city zoning code that will govern the use and development of private property; addresses all aspects of site development, including accessory structures, temporary uses, and landscaping; and establishes the administrative process for zoning approvals. Aristra Strungys, a consultant hired to assist MPC in the effort, said her firm has found

in its preliminary work that the current code requires too much interpretation, makes mixed-use development difficult, is missing key elements, and creates roadblocks to sustainable development. “Our approach is to find out what your issues and problems are and to identify solutions,” said Strungys, who leads the zoning practice at Camiros Ltd., a Chicago-based planning, zoning, and urban design firm. The kick-off at the Knoxville Chamber is the first of numerous ways members can stay engaged in the process and provide feedback to planners. A website,, contains more information on the project and will continue to be updated. Additional workshops will also be scheduled after the completion of a technical report and several drafts over the next 18 months.

JUNE - MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES Since 1869, the Knoxville Chamber has been the leading voice for business in the region. Each of these businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries as Chamber members during the month of June. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS


20 – 24 YEARS


Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation


Vulcan Materials Company


S&ME, Inc.


TekLinks 2004

Kramer Rayson LLP


The Wakefield Corporation


Otis Elevator Company


Bacon & Company, Inc.


Second Harvest Food Bank


Pratt Computing Technologies, Inc.


RBM Company, Inc.


Protection 1 Security Solutions


Jim Nichols, Broker/Owner, Red Door Brokers


Coulter & Justus, P.C.


South Central A/V


Pipkin & Associates, LLC



Bridges Funeral Home


Apking Printing and Converting, Inc.


BenefitsAssist, inc.


USI Consulting Group

Pilot Flying J


The University of Tennessee


Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon, Inc.


15-19 YEARS

The Ferguson Company, Inc.


First Century Bank


EnergySolutions 2005

Maryville College


IMG, College Sports Group


Fisher Tire Company Inc. - West


AT&T 1980

Frazier Welding & Steel Co., Inc.


Glass Bazaar


Farmers Mutual of Tennessee


Alzheimer’s Tennessee


Halls Vision Clinic


Knoxville Symphony Society


Luedeka Neely Group, PC


Pioneer Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

2005 2005


Royal Brass and Hose


Days Inn West


Allan Associates Architects, PLLC

Turley & Company


Dr. Christopher O’Rourke


Inova Payroll, Inc.


Ross the Boss & Co.


George C. Paris Co., Inc.


Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association


S & S Wholesale Tire of Knoxville, Inc.


Norco Metal Finishing, Inc.


Airgas USA, LLC


Southeastern Communications Services, Inc.


Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar


Bijou Theatre Center


Security Walls, LLC


Southeastern Dermatology


10 – 14 YEARS


Parker Business Consulting & Accounting, PC

2006 2007 2007

25 – 30 YEARS


National Association Credit Management - East TN 1989 Merit Construction, Inc.


Denark Construction, Inc.


Hickory Construction, Inc.


Pyxl, Inc.

Broadway Carpets, Inc.


Pepsi Beverages Company


Mountain Commerce Bank

LDA Engineering


Dura-Line 2007

WEBTEC Converting


Buchanan Paint Company



Propel Mentor Protégé Program: Reflection and Recruiting New Class Q&A with Doug Minter, Director Small Business Development for the Knoxville Chamber As you reflect on the Propel mentor/protégé program this past year, what stands out? First and foremost, we are proud of the entrepreneurs who are graduating from the program, completing two years of mentorship, instruction, and guidance. Their commitment shows their desire to be successful. In 2015, we received a grant from the state of Tennessee to expand the program into the rural areas surrounding Knoxville. We felt that practicing economic inclusion was more than just the “right thing to do,” but would also benefit participant growth. Hearing the perspectives of a wide range of entrepreneurs allows the business owners to think outside their comfort zone and understand that having a diverse client base is key to growth. In reflection, this inclusion is one of the hallmarks of Propel. We are also pleased that this cohort of graduates has far exceeded our growth expectations, all averaging more than 10 percent growth with the class average being upwards of 18 percent annual growth.

What is the role of the mentors in the program? The role of the mentor is to guide the protégé, not with directives but with vision and example. The mentor/protégé relationship should be driven by the protégé. The mentor is in place to show them how they managed success and growth so the protégé can apply those philosophies to their business. We also have technical mentors that back up each protégé. We are proud to have the Knoxville Small Business Support Network to supplement support to our protégés. A key partner in that group is the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), which provides one-on-one technical mentoring to our protégés.

What makes for a good protégé in the program? There are three things that separate successful, young firms: passion, innovation, and completion. Protégés that are passionate about how their product or service can help their customers stand out. Protégé Sandra G’s alterations takes a service

and makes it an experience. Protégé Eden’s Florist maintain recurring clients by demonstrating their passion. Innovation is critical in the digital age. Protégé Prime Medical Training is constantly developing great programs for its clients such as its active shooter training, and protégé Hyperion Networks is innovating new ways that large firms should finance and think about software-as-a-service. Completion is key to small business success. Protégés like Outlier’s Advantage are successful because they focus and follow through on details. Protégé World of Wireless follows through completely with each of their clients, and this makes their customers loyal.

What improvements and advancements have been made to Propel? In January, I became a certified GrowthWheel Business Advisor. We were introduced to GrowthWheel by TSBDC, and we cannot thank them enough for this partnership. GrowthWheel allows us to help protégés find areas they should focus on to grow their business. The software portion of the training is invaluable and allows us to be highly efficient in providing quality coaching.

What firms are best suited to participate? The best firms for Propel are those already producing revenue who have been in business for one to three years. This is a two-year program, so the owners must be in a position and willing to devote time to growing their business. Scholarships are available for both urban and rural firms.

Now Accepting Applications through June 23! Visitégé-application to apply! For more information about the program, contact Doug Minter at

Magnum Venus Products Celebrates Groundbreaking Alan Liby with Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Knox County Commissioner Brad Anders; Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; Knox County Commissioner Dave Wright; Peter Hedger, Senior, MVP; Joe Hedger, MVP; City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; and Knox County Commissioner Carson Dailey commemorate the ground breaking of MVP’s new facility in Hardin Business Park. The composite application equipment manufacturers will create 70 new jobs representing an investment of $12 million.


Morning Networking Event Draws Crowd to West Knoxville Business


JUNE 8 a.m. Exchange

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM • The Villas on Wallace Road - 1211 Gray Birch Way CATERING PROVIDED BY:


More than 80 business people gathered at Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. in West Knoxville on May 16 for the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange. Guests enjoyed a morning of networking with other local professionals, exploring the location’s training facility, and eating breakfast provided by All Occasion Catering. Two lucky guests took home the morning’s door prizes, a leak gopher installation unit that can automatically detect water leaks in buildings. The winners were Tony Binkley of BBB of Greater East Tennessee and Jeannine Husky of TransAmerica Agency Network.

JUNE 9 “The Psychology behind the Sale” Workshop by Sandler Training, Herzog & Assoc. 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 SPONSORED BY:

JUNE 13 Bright Ideas Workshop – “The Unlimited Currency of Service” by Keith Galloway, Keith Galloway Success Coaching 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 SPONSORED BY:

JUNE 15 Shrimp Boil: Peelin’, Eatin’ & Politickn’




Attendees of the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange on May 16 enjoyed networking and exploring the training facility at Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc.










5:00 PM – 7:00 PM • Jackson Terminal – 213 West Jackson Ave

Interested in scheduling a ribbon cutting for your business? Contact your account executive for more information. 54

June Commerce 2017  
June Commerce 2017