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INSIDE: Pinnacle Photos pg. 56 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 58



Mountain Commerce Bank broke ground on its new location at the corner of Kingston Pike and Northshore in April. Pictured from left to right: Bruce Bosse, president of Merit Construction; Tom Weems of Thomas Weems Architect; Tim Topham, executive vice president & area president for MCB Knoxville; Bill Edwards, MCB president & CEO; Kevin W. Horne, MCB executive vice president and CCO & COO; Sam Widener, MCB director; Tom Jensen, senior vice president & city executive for MCB Knoxville; Dwight B. Ferguson Jr., chairman of the board; and Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber. The target date for the completion of the financial center is early 2015.




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.





NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS SILVER PREMIER PARTNERS Priority Ambulance (865) 688-4999 Healthcare Providers & Services; Residential Services

All American Mattress Gallery (865) 288-4283 Shopping: Furniture (865) 453-9035 Legal Services

Gyrene Burger Company (865) 281-5426 Restaurants

La Quinta Inn and Suites (865) 321-1840 Hotels & Lodging

Music In Motion (865) 237-9814 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

The Total Works Salon & Spa, LLC. (865) 690-5654 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Heritage Advisory Group-Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (865) 531-9185 Financial Services

Liberty National-Ketron Agency (865) 673-3335 Insurance: Employee Benefits

Outdoor Oasis (865) 621-9138 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping

Thomas Riordan Jr. (847) 770-3076 Business & Professional Services

Heritage Investors (865) 690-1155 Financial Services: Investments

Local Motors Inc. Transportation

Honestly Clean (865) 771-9707 Residential Services: Cleaning Services Knoxville Coca-Cola (865) 546-6020 Food & Beverage: Beverages

Epic Nine (865) 240-0297 Business & Professional Services



Main Event Catering/Coast to Coast Food Truck (865) 898-6246 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues: Catering MSA Inc. (865) 470-4846 Office Equipment, Supplies, & Services: Digital Copy/Print/Fax/Scan Equip. & Ser

R & S Logistics (865) 988-7557 x2 Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics Rowland China Advisory LLC (865) 387-7012 Business & Professional Services:Business Advisors & Consultants Stress the Seams (404) 408-2715 Shopping: Specialty













TLC Moments, LLC (865) 230-2129 Business & Professional Services Twin Peaks Restaurant (865) 622-5730 Restaurants

Roundtable Discussion


he Knoxville Chamber hosted the winners of this year’s Pinnacle Business Awards to participate in a roundtable discussion on May 9. Mark Field, the chamber’s senior vice president of membership, led the conversation, which included Tim Williams, president of 21st Mortgage; Ron Justus, principal of Coulter & Justus; Bart Fricks, COO of Copper Cellar Restaurants; Parker Frost, founder and president of Gigmark; Patricia Bible, CEO of KaTom Restaurant Supply; John Sharpe, president of StaffSource LLC. FIELD: More than 220 companies were nominated for eight Pinnacle Awards, so it is quite an honor for you folks to be chosen as winners of the awards. Congratulations. My first question is for the entire group – what is the best business advice you were ever given?

JUSTUS: Well, having started out with Ernst & Young, we always talked about quality. Provide a quality product to your clients. And if you provide a quality product to your clients, those clients will talk to other people and that’s a way to grow your business – word-of-mouth advertising. WILLIAMS: Surround yourself with good people. If you’re going to build a business of any size, you’ve got to have really bright people around you and it makes the job so much easier. Also, you can get a job done cheap or you can get it done right. FRICKS: Be nice to people. It’s real simple. Whether they work with you or

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“Roundtable” continued from pg. 53

for you, whether they’re a customer, guest, or client, be nice to people and you get a little bit more with honey than you do with vinegar.

SHARPE: One of mine has been change; where we keep changing, keep evolving, and keep learning. I agree with what Tim said about surrounding yourself with people that elevate the whole organization. That’s what has enabled our growth, but the other side of that is continuing to change. FROST: My dad always said that a business is a living, breathing organism, so if you take care it and nurture it, it will take care of you. At our office there’s three rules of business, take care of the customer, take care of the customer, and take care of the customer. FIELD: Bart, you guys won the Impact Award. Give us a sense of what makes the Copper Cellar culture want to contribute to the community from a civic perspective, and what kind of things you guys talk about. How do your employees feel about it? FRICKS: Well, for us it’s really the right thing to do. When we look to be involved in something we want it to be impactful. I always say we don’t like to hit singles or strike out. We want doubles, triples, or home runs. With our work with the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for More Birthdays and its focus on breast cancer, the bulk of our people that work with us are female. So they bought into that real quickly and in about three years the fundraising efforts went from $5,000 to almost $35,000, and we’re shooting for $50,000 this year. We came up with the Veteran’s Day thing about three or four years ago. We’re not just giving them some kid hamburger or something like that. I mean, you can go and get a steak, you can get a half rack of ribs, etc. Over the years we’ve made our stumbles, but we really want to find things to be involved with that we don’t have to sell to our people. FIELD: John, you won the Young Entrepreneur Award. That’s quite a prestigious award for a young person in our community. Why is Knoxville a great place to grow a business? You’ve had exponential growth. Why Knoxville? SHARPE: I think there are a lot of reasons. It doesn’t boom and bust, one. I like predictability and so I think some of that is a good thing in terms of how it enables predictability so we don’t dramatically die. Obviously, 2009 was challenging but it’s still more controllable than if you’re in Atlanta. There seems to be a sense of community and among the business people, there’s a lot of good business people. Jim Clayton had given me his book and in fact I said “thank you for the signed copy, I’ll take it, but I already read it.” I loved it because I love the entrepreneurs, the guys that have gone in front, there’s some really good ones here, some home grown businesses that have done really well, and they’ve been great to us. You know, they bought into us being an independent business with community roots, and I think that’s been helpful. We’re making efforts as a community to continue to try to drive economic development at every opportunity. We’re completely a symptom of what’s happening economically. Without a good economy, we can’t exist. So I think it’s a collaboration of things.

FIELD: Parker, tell us a little bit about being the Innovator Award winner this year. Tell us a little bit about how you manage change and innovation; how you encourage innovation in your organization and how do you manage that change? FROST: You know it was kind of a strange award for us to win because we don’t consider ourselves innovators. We just came up with a product that we thought needed to be there, found out it was available, found out it was patentable, and then got very fortunate with a lot of large companies outside of Knoxville buying into what we’re doing. With that being said, when we started the business in 2007, everything was being delivered on USB drives. The company, Gigmark, needed another delivery platform. So the only logical thing was to do it all via digital and all via mobile. So we had to adapt our platform not to just be on the desktop, but to be where people could access it on all their devices all the time. And so by doing that, it’s helped us continue to grow. The biggest thing is we’ve been able to take all of what we’ve learned and lower our price point. So now we can offer it to more businesses because before it was pretty expensive to do business with us. Now someone can come in and spend $1,000 with us where it used to cost $50,000. So just kind of adapting with what the market needed as well. FIELD: So, Ron, your company kind of grew out of the Ernst & Young brand. What caused Coulter & Justus to stay in Knoxville and why did you make the commitment to this area and decide not to follow the Ernst & Young brand to a new market? JUSTUS: Well, Ernst & Young said they were leaving Knoxville and we could buy the practice and they would negotiate the practice with us. The options I had to stay with Ernst was to either go to Russia, Bolivia, or some other foreign country as a partner, and none of those sounded attractive to my wife or me. My partner, Sam, and I talked and we had recruited almost all of the clients. We had recruited almost all the employees. So we kind of felt responsible for developing what we developed in Knoxville. We had developed a culture and the culture seemed to be working. And it just seemed a lot more logical to go ahead and buy the practice from Ernst, stay here, and continue to work in the Knoxville community, which both of us really enjoyed. Knoxville is just a great place to work, great place to grow a family, great place to go to church, great place for everything. And so to be able to grow a practice in Knoxville with that same culture and that same mindset of providing quality service seemed to be the way to go. FIELD: Tim, 21st Mortgage, talk about recruiting talent in the area. Discuss the importance of it and talk about the culture a little bit and what that’s like for you guys. WILLIAMS: We started the company in 1995 and there were four of us. So it was a tight market in 1995, it was hard to recruit people. Now, we mostly hire graduates right out of college and put them to work in servicing loans, and then we promote from within the company. So when you look at our 650 team members, almost everybody started out servicing loans for

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their customers, and almost everybody in our company has a college degree. We’re the largest employer out of University of Tennessee. Knoxville’s a great place to build a business because we have a great university here. There are a heavy number of bright young people coming out of University of Tennessee, and they know Knoxville is a great place to live and they want to stay here.

FIELD: So you’ve made a huge commitment to downtown. We all have obviously seen an incredible renaissance of our downtown. Talk about your commitment to downtown and what that means to your employers. WILLIAMS: We settled on downtown because there was plenty of office space and it was cheap. When I started 21st Mortgage in 1995, you could have fired a shotgun on Gay Street or Market Street and you wouldn’t hit anybody. There was just nobody down here. Today, our people don’t want to be anywhere else because they can walk out of the office and be at 20 different restaurants and there’s something going on down here every day after work. So when you have a young workforce, they love the environment. We’re crazy about downtown and we’re committed to being here. FIELD: Patricia, you won the Woman-Owned Business Award. KaTom has seen a lot of terrific milestones in the last couple of years. But you made a huge commitment to carry the company on after the death of your husband. So talk a little bit about what it’s been like to be a woman-owned business and what are some of the unique challenges in our marketplace in that area. BIBLE: It’s been very challenging because when I came on board as the CEO, my husband, Tim, was the strong front guy, so to speak. He made all the deals. I was in the office every day, I knew what he was doing, but I wasn’t really talking with those end users. I wasn’t involved in the actual deal-making activity that was really the lifeline of our company. So at Tim’s demise, there was a huge choice that had to be made. And at the time, I didn’t know that I could make KaTom work because Tim had been such a powerhouse in our industry. I remember when I would meet with those reps in the first several months after his death, I would be so nervous. Any time I walked out with a better deal it was like, “Oh yes, I did it!” It caused me to look within myself for strength that I never knew I had because I’d always had that cushion. There have been lots of challenges but coupled with so many rewards – especially watching my children grow in the industry, seeing the second generation come on board. And let me tell you, that sounds peachy keen, but it’s hard work to work in a family business because you have got all of those feelings going on that you’re with them at work and if something doesn’t go right at work, then you’re going to have some kind of function over the weekend, sometimes that can be a little terse. So we’ve had to be very committed to our family over every other choice. And so we’re also very determined to make KaTom a world-class company. Read the entire roundtable discussion transcript by visiting or by scanning the QR code below.

Sword & Shield In the Digital Age, privacy and security are a top priority. That is why Sword and Shield Enterprise Security Inc. has dedicated itself to being a leading provider of information security around the globe. Since 1997, the company has offered a wide range of security services, including penetration testing, managed security services, wireless and database security, and security hardware, software, and maintenance solutions, as well as services that test for Payment Card Industry (PCI) and HIPAA compliance. “We provide holistic IT security and ensure our clients are both compliant and secure,” said Raymond Kahre, director of marketing and programs for Sword and Shield. “What this means is that we approach our clients’ needs from a ‘whole-security’ perspective, not just assisting their organization with the most pressing IT security need, but looking across the spectrum of their security posture and offering ways to reduce any potential future exposure.” The company has approximately 42 staff members and has been recognized nationally for its growth and success. Inc. magazine named Sword & Shield on its list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the U.S. eight years in a row. The company was the 2011 recipient of the Small Business Excellence Award at the Knoxville Chamber’s Pinnacle Business Awards. “One of our proudest moments (was winning the Small Business Excellence Award),” Kahre said. “Being recognized for excellence by your own community is certainly very special.” While the company works with clients around the world, it is highly invested in the Knoxville Community. In addition to supporting the Helen Ross McNabb Foundation, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the company recently began its support of the Dogwood Arts Festival and sponsored this year’s featured trail at Sequoyah Hills. Sword & Shield employees also participate in the Knox Area Rescue Ministries Annual Dragon Boat Festival.

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All of the winners of the 2014 Pinnacle Business Awards gather on the stage for the Toast to Excellence, sponsored by Caris Healthcare.

The 10th annual Pinnacle Business Awards gala drew more than 550 people to the Knoxville Convention Center to celebrate business excellence.

Andreia Domingos, Wilma Hobby, and Kelly Bacon of ARG Financial Staffing pose for a photo at the Pinnacle Business Awards reception.

Knoxville Chamber Chairman Patrick Birmingham gives the opening remarks at the Pinnacle Business Awards gala, presented by BB&T.

Copper Cellar Restaurant executives enjoy the reception at the Pinnacle Business Awards. Left to right: Rick Eldridge and his wife, Angie; Bart Fricks and his wife, Marti; Bobby Fricks and girlfriend, Morgan Foy.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero chats with Roscoe Mack of Security Walls at the Pinnacle Business Awards reception.

Mike Edwards, Knoxville Chamber CEO and president, presents Joe Johnson, president emeritus of the University of Tennessee, with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th annual Pinnacle Business Awards.

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American Paper & Twine Breaks Ground on New Distribution, Office Facility American Paper & Twine Co. broke ground on a new office and warehouse distribution facility in Knox County on April 17. The company is a leading distributor in janitorial, packaging, disposable food service, and office products and has been located in Knoxville since 2006. The new facility will be approximately 30,000 square feet including office and warehouse space. “We are excited to be moving our operations to a new facility,” said Brian Leitch, American Paper & Twine Co.’s general manager in Knoxville. “A larger distribution center and new office space will allow us to better serve our existing customers, along with new customers as our business continues to grow.” In addition to its Knoxville facility, American Paper & Twine operates five other full-service distribution centers throughout the Southeast – Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Little Rock, and Atlanta – and has nearly 300 employees. “We’re very pleased American Paper & Twine has invested in a new location for their Knoxville operations,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “The new facility is a testament to the success the company has had and the continued commitment AP&T has to our region. We look forward to their continued success.”

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (center) is flanked to the left by Robert Doochin, American Paper & Twine president and CEO; and to the right by Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber; and is joined by other APT executives to break ground on the company’s new office and distribution center.

ETMAC Report: Regional Military Spending Impact Up By $80 Million The economic impact of military spending in our region increased in 2013, according to a report released by the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council (ETMAC), in cooperation with the Knoxville Chamber. The total economic impact from military facilities, personnel, Department of Defense contracts, veteran’s benefits and military retirees was calculated at $943.3 million in 2013. This represents an $80 million increase from the last analysis covering 2011. The purpose of the report is to demonstrate the economic impact area military units, personnel salaries, and other related military activities have locally. It provides business and civic leaders and the public at large with a complete picture of the significant contribution that the military and defense programs and personnel have on the economy of East Tennessee. “ETMAC and the Knoxville Chamber have a terrific partnership that is benefi-

cial to both organizations,” said Patrice Collins, economic development assistant for the Chamber. “The Chamber realizes it is its duty and honor to support the military and veterans in the Knoxville area, especially with an economic impact of nearly $944 million that’s going into our local economy.” The Knoxville Chamber has been a proud sponsor of ETMAC and its efforts for local military unit and veteran activities for the last 15 years. The Chamber supports ETMAC by providing monthly meeting facilities, administrative assistance support throughout the year, and a tremendous amount of personnel resources to assist ETMAC with its annual Veterans Day luncheon and awards program. For more information about ETMAC and to view the report in its entirety, visit or scan the QR code below:

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(April 2014)

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

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Apr. ’13Apr. ‘14

Apr. 2014

Mar. 2014

Apr. 2013

% Change Mar. ’14Apr. ‘14

225,390 353,780 3,004,000 154,845,000

226,430 355,730 3,031,200 155,627,000

233,890 368,350 3,110,700 154,739,000

-0.5 -0.5 -0.9 -0.5

-3.6 -4.0 -3.4 0.1

338,100 2,799,400

336,400 2,776,400

331,600 2,747,700

0.5 0.8

2.0 1.9

12,040 19,570 199,520

13,910 22,840 236,650

16,590 27,200 274,820

-13.4 -14.3 -15.7

-27.4 -28.1 -27.4

4.7 4.9 5.9 5.9

5.6 5.8 7.0 6.8

6.4 6.7 8.0 7.1

-0.9 -0.9 -1.1 -0.9

-1.7 -1.8 -2.1 -1.2

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Apr. 2014 1,137 10,933 $143,200

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. ’12Apr. ‘14 1.4 0.9

Apr. ’13-‘14

Mar. ’13-‘14

Apr. ’12-‘13

2.3 2.0

1.4 1.5

0.9 1.1

0.9 0.5

% Change Apr. ’13Apr. ‘14

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Mar. 2014* 10 10 0

Mar. 2013 30 30 0

% Change Mar. ’13Mar. ‘14 -66.7 -66.7 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

130 130 0

122 122 0

6.6 6.6 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

165 165 0

155 155 0

6.5 6.5 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,976 1,480 496

1,834 1,343 491

7.7 10.2 1.0

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Apr. 2014

Mar. 2014

Apr. 2013

% Change Mar. ’14Apr. ‘14

48,322,132 68,381,521 638,403,300

42,676,482 59,998,231 568,198,995

47,711,895 66,186,549 613,603,724

13.2 14.0 12.4

1.3 3.3 4.0

11,699,093 16,704,409

13,290,858 18,594,158

14.6 15.4

0.9 3.6


Passengers Cargo

Feb. 2014 109,718 5,995,517

Jan. 2014 115,846 6,180,428

Feb. 2013 111,725 6,735,625

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

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

*South – City Size Class B/C


1,118 14,728 $143,000


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

Apr. 2013

13,411,738 19,271,354

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. 2014

Mar. 2014

434,458 30,915 20,444 7,339 54,322 46,947 7,678 46,066 52,697 24,464 9,248 90,687 37,366

439,455 25,149 20,243 8,593 54,456 49,056 8,274 45,610 54,678 24,661 9,348 93,686 39,208

414,388 30,098 19,428 7,473 51,012 45,663 7,412 46,500 50,056 22,947 9,315 82,837 35,324

% Change Mar. ’14Apr. ‘14 -1.1 22.9 1.0 -14.6 -0.2 -4.3 -7.2 1.0 -3.6 -0.8 -1.1 -3.2 -4.6





Apr. 2013

% Change Apr. ’13Apr. ‘14 1.7 -25.8 0.1

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Mar. 2014 1,061 10,304 $143,500

% Change Mar. ’14Apr. ‘14 7.2 6.1 -0.2

% Change Apr. ’13Apr. ‘14 4.8 2.7 5.2 -1.8 6.5 2.8 3.6 -0.9 5.3 6.6 -0.7 9.5 5.8 -0.6

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

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EST. 1869

% Change Jan. ’14Feb. ‘14 -5.3 -3.0

% Change Feb. ’13Feb. ‘14 -1.8 -11.0

Knox County Primaries Produce Clear Winners, Runoff Races Knox County residents took to the polls on May 6 to cast their ballot in multiple races, including trustee, county commission, and board of education. While this was a primary race, many of these races determined a winner due to lack of opponent from the opposite party, while others led to a run-off when the winner did not receive at least 50 percent plus 1 of the votes. The state primary is set for Aug. 7.


Cherokee Country Club

KNOX COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION Candidate District 1 Marshall Walker Gloria Deathridge


Election Votes Percentage


No Yes

27.7 46.43


District 4 Lynne Fugate




District 6 Terry Hill Sandra Rowcliff

No No

42.91 22.84


District 7 Patti Lou Bounds




District 9 Amber Rountree




KNOX COUNTY COMMISSION Candidate District 3 Randy Smith


Election Votes Percentage





District 7 Charles Busler




At-Large Seat 10 Bob Thomas




At-Large Seat 11 Ed Brantley




Election Votes Percentage 100

Results Winner

Election Votes Percentage 54.11

Results Winner

Election Votes Percentage 36.10 48.9

Results Runoff

For more than 100 years, Cherokee Country Club has been a premier location for Knoxville residents to relax and recreate. Located along the Tennessee River, Cherokee is one of the oldest country clubs in the state. The club boasts amenities like an 18-hole Donald Ross golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, and an extensive Clubhouse to cater to its nearly 800 members. “Our dynamic membership with its rich tradition is very diverse and family centric,” said Mark Moon, chief operating officer and general manager of the club. “We offer the best of amenities for the many multi-generational needs. We are a very inclusive club in a private club environment.” In addition to sporting activities, members can also enjoy a variety of social clubs within Cherokee that focus on a wide range of topics, like wine, beer, bridge, fitness. Moon said Cherokee and its members have always made it a priority to give back to the community. The club has hosted countless charitable galas and golf tournaments. Pat Summitt-Helen Ross McNabb Center Golf Tournament, Evening in Orange, Heart Gala, and Friends of the Smokies are just a few of the events Cherokee hosts.

KNOX COUNTY MAYOR Candidate Tim Burchett

Incumbent Yes

KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF Candidate Jimmy “J.J.” Jones

Incumbent Yes

KNOX COUNTY TRUSTEE Candidate Craig Leuthold Ed Shouse

Incumbent Yes No

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Coaches Select Teams for What’s the Big Idea?! Business Plan Competition The What’s the Big Idea?! business plan competition, presented by the Development Corporation, the Knoxville Chamber, and Tech 2020, has narrowed its contestant pool down from 12 to nine following Team Selection Night on May 6. During Team Selection Night, this year’s coaches – Misty Mayes, president of Management Solutions; Guille Cruze, founder and board chairman of The White Stone Group Inc.; and John Sharpe, founder and president of StaffSource LLC – had the opportunity to hear five-minute pitches from 12 contestants. After the pitches, each chose three contestants to be on their teams. This is the second year the competition has engaged successful, local entrepreneurs to help the contestants refine and prepare their startup ideas. “I love the idea of this competition,” Mayes said. “What a great way to ignite people’s interest in starting businesses in our community and helping others take their ideas and turning them into viable businesses.” Now, the coaches will have a month to prepare their teams for the next round of competition – the Knock Out Rounds, which will produce three finalists who will move on to the Finale on June 24. Sharpe, who recently won the Young Entrepreneur Award at the 2014 Pinnacle Business Awards, said he selected his team based on the ideas he thought had the most potential. “I believe I can teach them how to promote, market, and sell the concept or idea,” Sharpe said. “I can also help in understanding the strategic needs for their product or service and how to position that concept in the marketplace.” Mayes, who is also a past Pinnacle award winner, said she’ll be using what she’s learned as a project manager to teach her team basics like scope, schedule, and budget. “For each entrepreneur to succeed, it is vitally important to define their scope of services,” Mayes said. “They must be really focused on what they deliver – including how they deliver it, what sets them apart from the competition and what value they bring – and stick to that.” Cruze said the competition teaches valuable lessons to hopeful entrepreneurs. “Anyone can have an idea for a business, but it’s the ones who can refine, focus, and materialize the idea who will be successful,” Cruze said. “This competition is a great growth opportunity for local entrepreneurs looking to get their ideas off the ground.”


Team Cruze Theresa Maples, ElderTech - Dedicated, patience technical experts assisting the elderly and technically challenged with computers and mobile devices. Christopher Saah, MyPTShop - Web application that allows personal trainers to effortlessly create an ecommerce website where they can sell and suggest fitness products. Andrew Randazzo, Prime Medical Training - Offers continuing education courses pertinent to the medical field, such as CPR, first aid, lifeguarding, etc.

Team Mayes John W. Cook, International House Works – Construction company building and distributing simple homes, medical clinics, and Internet technology to developing countries and disaster relief areas. Daniel Schuh, Compark – System of data collection and marketing designed to facilitate small business growth through a new method of targeted advertising. Casey Ash, Retailius – Point-of-sale software that allows small businesses to reach consumers more efficiently and effectively through the integration of selling channels.

Team Sharpe Martin Wade, FlowSink – Multi-use, portable sink continuously changes out dirty water with fresh and can be used in tasks like cleaning painting tools, mopping floors, camping, etc. Michael Crain, Vuture – User-friendly iOS application that captures and preserves user’s memories to be viewed in today or in the future. Brack Owens, AmpTrader – Website dedicated to facilitate peer-to-peer, item-foritem trading for guitar-related music equipment.

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Medal of Honor Convention Coming to Knoxville This Fall

Johnston & Galyon Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The 2014 Medal of Honor Convention is coming to Knoxville Sept. 9-13. The convention is projected to draw large crowds and bring together dozens of Medal of Honor recipients, which is the nation’s highest decoration for military valor. The Knoxville Chamber has been involved with the recruitment, planning, and execution of the convention, with staff member Patrice Collins serving on the executive host committee since its inception. “Military and veteran affairs are not only very important to me, but to the Chamber as well,” said Collins. “I am thrilled to represent the Knoxville Chamber and business community as I serve on the conventions executive committee, and am excited to make Knoxville the best Medal of Honor convention yet.” The theme of this year’s convention is “A Taste of Tennessee,” and will focus on Tennessee’s rich culinary and entertainment history. Committee members have been working hard to bring the convention to Knoxville since 2012 and co-chairman Joe Thompson is excited to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its recipients through this one-in-a lifetime opportunity for Knoxville. “What we want is when the Medal of Honor recipients look back 10 years from now, 20 years from now, the Knoxville convention will be remembered as the greatest one they ever had,” said Thompson. “It is our goal to put Knoxville on the map as an ideal location for military-related conventions and reunions in the process.” The Chamber encourages the business community to become involved with this historic event. The committee is still looking for convention sponsors. If you are interested in sponsorship or would like more information please contact Joe Thompson at or 865-777-5849. For additional information on the convention and to sign up as a volunteer, visit the official website at

Since 1914, Johnson & Galyon has been a premier name in East Tennessee construction. From building landmarks and hospitals to education facilities and parking structures, the company has had a tremendous impact on the Knoxville area. This year, Johnson & Galyon celebrates its 100th anniversary and reflects on the projects and relationships it has built over the years. “Our rich tradition of meeting the construction needs of the Knoxville region is important to us, but even more special is the large number of relationships we have been able to make and maintain throughout the community,” said Doug Kennedy, CEO of Johnson & Galyon. Over the last century, the company has built some of Knoxville’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, Whittle Communications Building, East Tennessee History Center, and Knoxville Transit Center. Johnson & Galyon has also established close relationships with Covenant Health, Carson-Newman University, the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, the city of Knoxville, and Knox County, among others. Currently, the company is working on more than a half dozen construction projects, including Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s expansion at Forks of the River Industrial Park and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital NICU and surgery addition. “Almost without exception, Johnson & Galyon has been the construction experts we have looked to when we’ve needed to build or renovate our facilities,” said Keith D. Goodwin, CEO of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “Their understanding of our business, their ability to find efficient solutions to challenging facility needs, their historic understanding of how we got to where we are, and their sensitivity to our pediatric patients and their families make them our partner of choice. It’s no surprise that they are continuing to thrive after 100 years in business.” That track record of success is a point of pride for Kennedy and his company. “We’re proud of the fact that our buildings have touched so many lives over the years, and we’re excited about contributing to and being a critical part of East Tennessee’s growth into the future,” Kennedy said.

Chamber Staffer Contributes to National Dialogue on Inclusion The spring issue of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Chamber Executive magazine featured an article on diversity and inclusion by Doug Minter, the Knoxville Chamber’s business development manager. In the article, “Inclusion Makes Economic Sense: Why Your Chamber Needs a Diversity Strategy”, Minter stresses the importance of chambers embracing diverse groups. He said this is not limited to race or ethnic groups, but also includes reaching

out to younger generations, veterans, the LGBT community, and the disabled. “It would be ridiculous for an organization built on growth to exclude the fastest growing segments of population. But some chambers that operate without a diversity and inclusion strategy are doing exactly that,” Minter said in the article. Minter has a lot of experience with diversity and inclusion issues. At the Chamber, Minter heads the Diversity Champions Resource Group, which is a group of 60 Knoxville-area business leaders focused on communicating the importance of a diverse workforce. In 2012 the group released its first report, which detailed workplace and marketplace inclusion in East Tennessee. Minter also serves as vice chair of ACCE’s Diversity and Inclusion Division. For more information on Diversity Champions, visit diversity-champions.

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2014 ‘Green Achievers’ Recognized at Business After Hours More than 120 people attended the Knoxville Chamber’s Business After Hours, sponsored by Thermocopy, at the University of Tennessee’s Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus on May 13. The zero-waste, green-themed event showcased UT’s research campus and announced the 2014 Green Achievers, an award that recognizes businesses with exceptional green practices. This year’s top Green Achievers were Knoxville Locomotive Works, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Gerdau, and the Knoxville Zoo. is a partnership of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Utilities Board, and Thermocopy.


JUNE 3 Innovation Valley Young Professionals BBQ

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Outdoor Knoxville Patio (located on Volunteer Landing next to Ruth’s Chris)

JUNE 5 Business After Hours at Caris Healthcare 5 – 7 p.m. | 10651 Coward Mill Rd., 37931 Sponsored by:

JUNE 17 Power 30 Speed Networking 4 – 7 p.m. | Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

JUNE 19 Peelin’ Eatin’ & Politickin’ Shrimp Boil 5 – 7:30 p.m. | Amphitheater at World’s FairFound Park from website Recreate PMS (Parking available in UT’s 11th Street Garage, one block west of World’s Fair Park) Entertainment Co-Sponsor: Supporting Sponsor:

The 2014 Green Achievers were announced at the Knoxville Chamber’s May 13 Business After Hours event. (Left to right): Mark DeNicola of Thermocopy stands with this year’s recipients - Lisa New of the Knoxville Zoo, Kris Wysong of Knoxville Locomotive Works, Jill Von Hagel of Gerdau, and Tom Wantland and Rac Cox of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

JUNE 24 What’s the Big Idea?! Finale 5 – 8 p.m. | Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central Ave.

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 - June 2014  
Commerce - June 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.