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INSIDE: Governor’s Breakfast Recap pg. 48 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50


ABC Supply Co. (865) 558-8087 Building Materials

Laura Goff Designs - Custom Stained Glass (865) 310-7311 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services

Lifetime Products (800) 225-3865 Manufacturing: Plastics

Marian Epps - Realty Executives (865) 368-6953 Real Estate


McGill Associates, P.A. (865) 540-0801 Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers

Bedros Bozdogan - Keller Williams Realty (865) 388-6223 Real Estate Bellevue University (865) 440-6981 Education & Training: Colleges Bullman’s Kickboxing and Krav Maga (865) 281-3622 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being CAMPCAST Group (865) 544-8643 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Carpet Solutions, Inc. (865) 474-9347 Residential Services: Flooring Custom Concrete & Design, LLC (865) 773-2749 Building Materials: Concrete, Cement, & Asphalt DA Aviation (317) 339-1554 Transportation East Tennessee Personal Care Service (865) 692-2200 Social Services: Senior Services Energy Services Management (865) 964-0150 Environmental Services & Equipment: Consultants Gavino’s Restaurant & Pizzeria - Parkside Drive (865) 218-0000 Restaurants Gavino’s Restaurant & Pizzeria - Kingston Pike (865) 200-5711 Restaurants

Perfect Serve (865) 212-8616 Computer & IT Services: Software

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.



LandTech Engineering & Surveying (865) 978-6510 Architectural & Engineering Services: Engineers


Ravine Software (865) 730-0756 Computer & IT Services Richard Fabozzi “Presents” (865) 399-7185 Entertainment Sleep Number (865) 297-5030 Shopping




Y-12 Federal Credit Union (865) 482-1043 Financial Services: Credit Unions Manufacturing

Gibson Edwards Tax & Accounting (865) 512-9941 Business & Professional Services:Accounting, Auditing, & Bookkeeping








Stone & Hinds, PC (865) 546-6321 Legal Services The Empty Cup Coffeehouse (865) 801-9425 Restaurants: Coffee & Tea The Health Factory/CrossFit Rhema (865) 579-7606 Personal Services: Fitness & Well-being Thrive Chiropractic (865) 315-7479 Healthcare Providers & Services: Chiropractors Vintage at Emory Road (865) 512-6430 Apartments Walmart Neighborhood Market 3959 (865) 340-4509 Shopping: Discount Stores

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A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Businesses across the country are struggling to find the talent they need to grow and compete in today’s economy, with nearly six million unfilled jobs nationwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) has developed a new way to address the nation’s widening skills gap, or lack of qualified candidates for available jobs, by focusing on demand-driven education and workforce systems. This model, called Talent Pipeline Management, positions employers in a more central role as end-users in the delivery of a vital resource: talent. Benefits from using talent pipeline management practices are numerous: a reduced skills gap and a better-prepared workforce for employers, improved partnerships and job placement outcomes for education and workforce partners, and increased transparency and opportunity for students and workers. The Knoxville Chamber has adopted this national model to help ensure Tennessee employers have access to a skilled workforce and students are able to attain meaningful employment following post-secondary education. “Employers across America are being held back by the skills gap, which is impacting their ability to grow and compete in today’s economy,” said Jason Tyszko, executive director for USCCF’s Center for Education and Workforce. “At the same time, students and workers are struggling with connecting to the opportunities

available to them in the job market.” “To solve this problem the business community must play a larger leadership role when partnering with education and workforce programs to produce the kind of skilled workforce that will drive tomorrow’s growth,” Tyszko said. “To that end, the Knoxville Chamber has joined a national network of business associations that are changing how employers organize themselves to better manage their talent pipeline needs.”

Building & Managing the Talent Pipeline Most businesses are familiar with supply chain management, which includes oversight of the flow of materials from suppliers, to manufacturers, to distributors, to retailers, to consumers. By applying similar principles to workforce development, businesses can more effectively manage their talent pipeline. With employers serving as end-customers in the talent supply chain, education providers add value to the “raw material” of students and workers to provide employers with the talent they demand. Businesses can begin this process by connecting their talent strategy with their business strategy to increase competitiveness and develop employer collaboratives. An important strategy for the talent pipeline management model, collaboratives

“Pipeline” continued on pg. 46

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“Pipeline” Continued from page 45

the skills needed in their employees to local education providers.”

Bringing TPM to Tennessee

are organized by employers to collectively address shared workforce needs. This allows businesses to discuss common pain points and begin to engage in demand planning, enabling them to better determine and communicate their needs with preferred provider networks. These collaboratives provide stronger brand recognition when recruiting talent, improved leverage when engaging education providers and public-sector partners, and clear communication around talent needs and requirements. Once a talent pipeline network and demand planning system is in place, performance is measured by ability to meet the needs of the end-customers. When networks prove themselves over time, employers can identify and promote their preferred provider networks and communicate what career pathways reach them.

Talent Pipeline Management Academy In October 2016, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the first cohort of 19 participants in the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy, including Sharon Shanks, workforce development manager for the Knoxville Chamber. The TPM Academy, supported by a $2.5 million grant from USA Funds, consists of workshops to receive instruction on talent pipeline strategies and guidance for implementation. In addition to a curriculum, technical assistance, and a peer-to-peer learning network, the Academy provides access to the next generation of software tools and applications to help automate parts of the talent pipeline management model. The first Academy concluded in January of this year, and the second cohort of participants is currently engaged in the program. “The Talent Pipeline Management Academy provided me with the training, tools, and resources necessary to bring this workforce development model to East Tennessee,” Shanks said. “With access to these new software tools, I’ll be able to provide local businesses with the data they need to understand the market and help them communicate

Under Gov. Bill Haslam’s leadership, the state of Tennessee is working toward equipping 55 percent of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025 - coined the “Drive to 55” initiative. The state has invested significant resources to make post-secondary education accessible to high school students and adult learners, and as a result more Tennesseans than ever before are attending college and technical schools. However, there is still work to be done. Bringing the talent pipeline manageSharon Shanks, workforce development manager for the Knoxville Chamber, at the ment model to Tennessee will ensure U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the first students are being educated for meanTPM Academy in October 2016. ingful employment following post-secondary education, based on an employer-led, demand-driven process that identifies the competencies needed for jobs now and in the future. “The Knoxville Chamber is the first in the state of Tennessee to adopt the national TPM model, and it will enhance what our community is already doing,” Shanks explained. “Some of our employers and education providers already have great partnerships, and now the Chamber can play a larger role in facilitating these relationships and continue to ensure they’re mutually beneficial for both parties.” She continued, “We hope to engage with chambers throughout Tennessee to create a collaborative effort to address workforce needs through Talent Pipeline Management principles and strategies on a statewide level.” For more information about the Talent Pipeline Management initiative, visit The or contact Sharon Shanks at

Innovation Valley Hosts Local Officials for Economic Development Training BY: KAYLA WITT

Last month, the Innovation Valley team welcomed 40 elected officials from across the region for a Tennessee Valley Authority economic development seminar hosted at Knoville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. “This seminar proved valuable by bringing together local elected officials to help them understand the complex process of economic development and the importance of a regional approach in growing an economy.” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber.

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Stephanie Hamby, economic development consultant with Tennessee Valley Authority. Photo credit: Knoxville News Sentinel

Women on the Rise to Shine Luncheon Explores Conflict Management BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Knoxville Chamber held the sixth installment of its popular Women on the Rise to Shine series, presented by SunTrust, at the Knoxville Marriott on Feb. 15. More than 170 business professionals attended the lunch and learn featuring Shannon Schultz, leadership consultant and owner of Schultz Consulting Group. Her interactive presentation, “Conflict in the Age of Wisdom,” explored conflict with a new lens and provided tips for identifying emotional triggers and managing them. “It isn’t conflict until we personalize it. When we change the way we look at conflict, the nature of it changes and we become much more creative and capable,” Schultz said. “The common view of conflict is that it’s a problem, but if we can look at it differently, it shifts from a source of stress to a source of vital information and opportunity. We can’t do that if we’re emotionally triggered.” Schultz explained how women have a natural tendency to focus on relationships and foster the growth of others, meaning they inherently have some of the strengths it takes to manage conflict. She detailed a method for managing emotional triggers in conflict situations called “seeing the horsemen.” The Four Horsemen in relationships, coined by psychology professor and relationship analyst Dr. John Gottman, include blame/criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. Schulz explained how the first step to managing conflict is to recognize these “horsemen” in discussions and manage them. “If we can get underneath these and see them coming at us or through us, then we get really good at managing being emotionally triggered,” she said. Schultz took time in her presentation to facilitate table discussions in which attendees explored each of the Horsemen by talking about the situations they arise in, what they sound like, and how the body expresses them. She then explained how the next step to managing emotional triggers is to unhook personally from the situation. She closed her presentation by detailing the signs that someone is personalizing conflict including: defending themselves, proving the other party is wrong, and assigning negative intent. “Shannon’s discussion about the Four Horsemen and emotional triggers at our Women on the Rise to Shine luncheon was truly eye-opening and provided a new way to think about conflict in our lives,” said Holly Holloway, events manager for the Knoxville Chamber. “Her interactive presentation allowed our attendees to explore these concepts together and provided relevant insight and practical tools for conflict management.” The Knoxville Chamber’s Women on the Rise to Shine series, presented by SunTrust, offers quarterly events designed for female professional development. Programming has included numerous lunch and learns, a panel discussion featuring local female business leaders, and a “Wine and Shes” reception.

Rhonda Rice of the Knoxville Chamber; Megan Scanlon-Roach of SunTrust; Shannon Schultz of Schultz Consulting Group; and Sidney Neate of SunTrust at the Women on the Rise to Shine luncheon on Feb. 15.

Nearly 200 business professionals attended the Knoxville Chamber’s Women on the Rise to Shine event on Feb. 15 at the Knoxville Marriott.

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Left: Gov. Bill Haslam addresses a sold-out crowd of nearly 700 people at the Knoxville Chamber’s annual Governor’s Breakfast on Feb. 17. Bottom: Wes Stowers, president of presenting sponsor Stowers Machinery Corporation, introduces Gov. Bill Haslam at the Knoxville Chamber’s annual Governor’s Breakfast at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Knoxville Business Community Hears from Gov. Bill Haslam BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Nearly 700 members of the business community attended the Knoxville Chamber’s annual breakfast with Gov. Bill Haslam at the Knoxville Convention Center on Feb. 17. The annual event, sponsored by Stowers Machinery Corporation and supported by Kramer Rayson and Regions Bank, gives local businesspeople and elected officials the chance to hear the governor’s priorities for the state of Tennessee. This year, Gov. Haslam discussed key topics from his annual State of the State address including transportation funding and education. He talked about the need for broader educational opportunities, and his plan for expanding the Tennessee Reconnect program to allow adults the chance to attend community college tuition-free. “In Tennessee, regardless of who you are, your age, or economic background, you should have access to education after high school,” Gov. Haslam explained.

In regard to transportation and infrastructure funding, the governor touched on his proposed IMPROVE ACT (Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy), which would increase the road user fee by 7 cents a gallon and 12 cents for a gallon of diesel fuel. The plan also cuts the sales tax on groceries and the Hall Income Tax. “We have a $10 billion backlog of infrastructure projects in Tennessee,” he said. “The budget surplus is just a short-term solution. It hasn’t always been there, and it won’t always be there. So, we need a long-term solution.” Gov. Haslam also detailed a number of the state’s achievements including having the lowest debt per person in the country, being No. 2 in the nation in median household income gain, and leading the nation in small business growth. To see a photo album from the event, visit the Knoxville Chamber’s Facebook page.

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Campaign 101 Draws Crowd to Learn Fundamentals BY: AMY NOLAN

About 40 would-be candidates, campaign managers, and volunteers gathered on Saturday, Feb. 18 to learn about the fundamentals of operating a bid for elected office. Speakers at “Campaign 101,” presented by Leadership Knoxville, included Cliff Rodgers, administrator of Knox County Elections and Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, who spoke on the myriad of financial disclosures that candidates must provide and deadlines they must meet. Susan Richardson Williams, owner of SRW & Associates and chairwoman of the Knoxville Chamber’s Government Relations & Public Policy Committee, encouraged candidates to do some fundraising, even as they consider self-financing campaigns. Donors translate to voters, she noted, because they become “invested” in the candidate. She detailed a number of ways for campaigns to encourage small and large donations. Co-sponsors of the workshop included the Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Knoxville Area Urban League, Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals, United Way Young Leaders Society, Young Professionals of Knoxville and the League of Women Voters.

Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, speaks at the “Campaign 101” workshop in Knoxville on Feb. 18.

MARCH - 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 March. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS MWC Media Pugh CPAs Armstrong Relocation/United Van Lines Bertelkamp Automation, Inc. Pellissippi State Community College Brown, Brown & West Rouse Construction Company First Utility District of Knox County Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Volunteer Lumber Sales, Inc. CH2M HILL U.S. Cellular Monday Properties Waste Management, Inc. of Tennessee

25 – 30 YEARS Knoxville Track Club Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Cellular Sales of Knoxville, Inc. Stonecraft, Inc.

MEMBER SINCE 1960 1965 1972 1975 1976 1978 1978 1982 1982 1982 1983 1985 1987 1987

MEMBER SINCE 1988 1988 1991 1991

YMCA of East Tennessee, Inc. The Salvation Army Edfinancial Services

20 – 24 YEARS Robert Half Finance & Accounting Delta Dental of Tennessee High Resolutions Land Development Solutions Tennessee Associated Electric

15-19 YEARS Beaty Chevrolet Company Orkin Pest Control I. C. Thomasson Associates, Inc. Faith Promise Church New Balance Knoxville TJ Development & Management, LLC

10 – 14 YEARS Hiscall Incorporated

1992 1992 1992

MEMBER SINCE 1993 1995 1995 1997 1997

MEMBER SINCE 1999 2000 2000 2001 2001 2001


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East Tennessee PBS Visit Knoxville Steiner & Ellis, PLLC All Occasions Party Rentals Geosyntec Consultants Utilities Management Federation, Inc. Alsco Inc North American Merchant Services, Inc. Knowledge Launch Dollar & Ewers Architecture, Inc. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Management Solutions, LLC Caris Healthcare, LP Pathway Lending Slamdot, Inc. Information International Associates, Inc. (IIA) Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum Graduate & Executive Education Accounting Principals Answer Quick

2003 2003 2003 2003 2003 2003 2004 2004 2005 2005 2006 2006 2006 2006 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007


(Jan. 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 Dec. ’15Dec. ‘16

Dec. 2016

Nov. 2016

Dec. 2015

% Change Nov. ’16Dec. ‘16

235,590 417,410 3,156,400 158,968,000

237,670 420,630 3,171,500 159,451,000

231,840 412,320 3,078,300 157,245,000

-0.9 -0.8 -0.5 -0.3

1.6 1.2 2.5 1.1

400,900 3,020,600

401,200 3,018,200

395,700 2,976,200

-0.1 0.1

1.3 1.5

9,710 19,300 155,100

9,360 18,340 145,600

9,920 20,190 163,700

3.7 5.2 6.5

-2.1 -4.4 -5.3

4.1 4.6 4.9 4.5

3.9 4.4 4.6 4.4

4.3 4.9 5.3 4.8

0.2 0.2 0.3 0.1

-0.2 -0.3 -0.4 -0.3

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Jan. 2017 1,106 6,730 $160,000

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 Jan. ’15Jan. ‘17 1.8 1.1

Jan. ’16-‘17

Dec. ’15-‘16

Jan. ’15-‘16

2.8 2.5

2.0 2.1

1.0 1.4

0.8 0.4

% Change Dec. ’15Dec. ‘16

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Dec. 2016* 11 11 0

Dec. 2015 16 16 0

% Change Dec. ’15Dec. ‘16 -31.3 -31.3 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

110 110 0

107 107 0

2.8 2.8 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

215 198 17

188 162 26

14.4 22.2 -34.6


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,194 1,445 749

2,148 1,415 733

2.1 2.1 2.2

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2016

Nov. 2016

Dec. 2015

% Change Nov. ’16Dec. ‘16

52,480,346 78,940,758 671,592,137

52,833,811 81,076,038 688,893,234

51,439,763 74,787,896 649,485,006

-0.7 -2.6 -2.5

2.0 5.6 3.4

14,482,405 22,707,506

14,652,595 23,138,859

14,491,482 21,691,442

-1.2 -1.9

-0.1 4.7


Passengers Freight

Nov. 2016 159,115 7,085,258

Oct. 2016 185,153 6,749,074

Nov. 2015 148,111 5,609,117

% Change Oct. ’16Nov. ‘16 -14.1 5.0

% Change Nov. ’15Nov. ‘16 7.4 26.3

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2016 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


977 8,265 $153,000


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Dec. ’15Jan. ‘17

Jan. 2016

% Change Jan. ’16Jan. ‘17 13.2 -18.6 4.6

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2016 1,370 6,775 $162,000

% Change Dec. ’16Jan. ‘17 -19.3 -0.7 -1.2

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

Jan. 2017

Dec. 2016

420,638 23,563 15,620 7,580 57,588 51,900 8,017 33,143 48,348 28,377 9,039 83,817 46,999

541,774 27,522 34,333 12,426 65,048 57,096 10,908 34,274 75,135 32,173 12,327 99,573 68,683

400,928 22,100 15,564 7,710 57,362 50,186 8,039 29,094 49,050 25,930 8,748 79,201 41,041

% Change Dec. ’16Jan. ‘17 -22.4 -14.4 -54.5 -39.0 -11.5 -9.1 -26.5 -3.3 -35.7 -11.8 -26.7 -15.8 -31.6





Jan. 2016

% Change Jan. ’16Jan. ‘17 4.9 6.6 0.4 -1.7 0.4 3.4 -0.3 13.9 -1.4 9.4 3.3 5.8 14.5 -3.7

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

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

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Propel Adopts GrowthWheel to Facilitate Small Business Development BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Doug Minter, director of small business development for the Knoxville Chamber, recently became a GrowthWheel certified business advisor, allowing for integration of the visual toolbox into the Chamber’s Propel mentor/protégé program. This small business development tool helps firms take the right actions for growth by focusing on the key areas of need in their business. “We were introduced to GrowthWheel by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center last year and have now adopted it as our sole tool to help grow small business,” Minter said. “One of the key advantages of GrowthWheel is that it is more than a curriculum, it also includes software to train, track, and measure results.” The GrowthWheel toolbox is simple, visual, and practical. It helps small businesses make decisions and develop action plans in a convenient and interactive way. The toolbox was designed with the idea that all businesses are faced with four challenges: creating a business concept, building a strong organization, developing lasting client relations, and maintaining profitable operations. Each of these are broken into several focus areas including funding, financials, employees, and branding. The subsections have specific “decision sheets” that allow business owners to formulate a plan made up of questions they need to ask themselves in order to determine next steps. “One of the most difficult things to do as a business owner is to focus. GrowthWheel allows us to cut through the chaos of owning a business and hone in on what is most important,” Minter explained. “The value of GrowthWheel is the efficiency it provides in the counseling process. I love it when firms leave the office totally focused on their agenda.” Small businesses can undergo a GrowthWheel 360° screening to help identify which specific focus areas need to be addressed. Advisors like Minter use this information to create a visual profile of the business’ current situation and express future growth opportunities and obstacles. GrowthWheel was developed by Danish entrepreneur David Madié in 2005, and it now has over 2,400 certified advisors across the country and internationally. He developed the tool to help small businesses look at their firm from a 360-degree perspective. Minter said, “A positive outcome of utilizing GrowthWheel is that the Tennessee Small Business Development Center and Propel program can share mutual clients. The efficiency not only serves the needs of small businesses, but also streamlines the advising process.”

Finalists Selected for Paradigm Challenge: East Knoxville Edition BY: KAYLA WITT

Ten finalists have been selected to compete in the Paradigm Challenge: East Knoxville Edition competition. The Paradigm Challenge is a community-wide business competition hosted by the CO.STARTERS and Propel mentor/protégé programs in conjunction with the Knoxville Area Urban League, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Small Business Development Center, and SCORE of Greater Knoxville. “The Paradigm Challenge is all about spurring new business and economic growth in East Knoxville business corridors that have experienced significant business decline,” said Terrence Carter, director of economic and business development for the Knoxville Area Urban League. “The 10 entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas and the five organizations supporting them through the Knoxville business support network will benefit by being the catalyst that stimulates economic growth in this community.” The Paradigm Challenge is a place-based, industry-specific ideation pitch competition that asks entrepreneurs to solve business and economic growth challenges facing the East Knoxville business community. Applicants must be located in East Knoxville and be industryspecific in the fields of health care, retail/light manufacturing, or technology. Most of the companies selected are startups, and each participant will receive assistance with market research, fine tuning their business model, and projections from the Small Business Development Center and SCORE. Video production company Brown Bag Productions is one of the 10 finalists, and owner Jervis Brown plans to use any winnings from the competition on new technology and helping the East Knoxville community. “In addition to being a full-service film studio, the new Brown Bag Productions studio will serve and have classes for children within the community, so they can learn all about the television production process, from using the cameras to editing their content,” said Brown. “For kids, the sky is the limit. Imagine what they can do when they get their hands on the right software and are taught the correct way. I did not have a lot of options when I grew up, so this is my way to give back to my community.” Owner of A Spot of Tea, LaKesha Jones, chose to participate in the program for more than the possibility of additional funding. “It’s a good way for me to sharpen my business plans and my pitch, and to help me develop more as an entrepreneur,” said Jones. “As entrepreneurs, we have to be life-long learners. It is important for us to continue to sharpen ourselves so we are able to grow as business owners, and hopefully in the future teach others.” Iridescent Imaging/MED Talk brings the doctor to you through life-size tele-collaborative systems. Still in its development stages, the company allows doctors to consult with their patients remotely, allowing them to perform exams, obtain vitals, and make assessments through satellite offices. “Iridescent Imaging/MED Talk can solve a problem that is needed in our community. Many people are not able to get consultations or appointments with physicians due to travel constraints, and our product resolves that issue,” said Mitch Downy, CEO of Iridescent Imaging/MED Talk. Other finalist are World O’ Wireless, Drive Thru Dry Cleaning and Alterations, Walking With Joy, Harper’s Naturals, True Patient Assistance, Rush Brush, and Joyce Development.

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Small businesses drive the success of the U.S. economy, so when small business owners have the tools they need to build their dreams, everyone wins! Small businesses employ more than 130 million Americans, they create 60-80% of all net new jobs annually and they bring in the largest amount of revenue to our economy. At Business Owners Benefits Association (BOBA), we have the privilege of providing the tools small business owners need, allowing them to focus on what matters most operating their business. In 2017, BOBA’s member benefits and strategies have evolved to stay on track with its mission yet better serve its members. Four key BOBA Service areas include: • 360° Insurance Solutions – Life & Health, General Liability, Worker’s Comp, Commercial Property & Commercial Auto, Colonial Life and Accident Insurance. BOBA collaborates with Colonial Life for Life & Health benefits for members, employees and their families and has expert advisors on staff. Members are also eligible for additional complementary services and discounts. • Merchant Services – Point of Sale (POS) Systems and Services, Mobile Smart Phone and Tablet Payment Processing, Fraud Prevention, I-Check Services, Email Invoicing, QuickBooks Integration and more. • Risk Management & Compliance Solutions – HR and Payroll Services, which include Time and Attendance Tracking, Payroll and Tax Compliance, HR and Benefits Administration, Recruiting, Hiring and Onboarding Services, Reporting and Analytics and ACA Solutions. Additionally, through BOBA’s automated benefits enrollment process, we can assist in making sure corporate documents are regularly reviewed and signed, so employee files are kept up to date. • Education Opportunities – BOBA holds monthly member meetings which include networking and information sharing opportunities. Members can also attend professional development and customized training seminars which cover a variety of industry topics. BOBA members also obtain access to BOBA’s Preferred Partners and receive energy saving solutions, parcel delivery rebates, fuel savings and much more. Small business ownership should be a long, extraordinary journey. BOBA provides the tools needed to be successful along the way! For more information, visit or call 844-949-2622. Join today and experience for yourself…


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Young Entrepreneurs Academy Students Secure Local Investments



Students in the Knoxville Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) participated in an investor panel on Feb. 21, where they pitched their business concepts to a panel of five local investors. • Bewachen, $500.00 The event was presented by Pilot Flying J • Corporate Keystone. $235.00 and supported by Arconic Foundation and • Hands & Paws, $100.00 Clayton Bank. • Heart to Heart, $450.00 • Iconsole, $750.00 The investor panel was made up of • InHouse Greenhouse, $500.00 Christy Newman, community relations • Living HisStory, $390.00 manager with Arconic Foundation; Jan• My Cut Counts, $535.00 ice Branch, coordinator of diversity initia• Onwards Electronics, $100.00 tives for the Haslam College of Business; • Puppy Hut, $500.00 Brent Ball, chief loan officer at Clayton • RefugeeLikeMe, $700.00 Bank; Josh Smith, owner of Master Ser• Sleep Gear, $140.00 vice Companies; and Jonathan Sexton, • Stay Rosy, $500.00 entrepreneur in residence at the Knoxville • Team Huddle, $1000.00 Entrepreneur Center. • Zer0 Power, $100.00 Beginning in October 2016, 18 YEA! students worked to develop 15 unique businesses from the ground up. Each business had three minutes to pitch their ideas to the panel, who later deliberated and allocated a combined pool of $6,500 to the businesses of their choice. Students receiving funds are able to use these investments for various start-up costs. “The investor panel was an exciting culmination to months of research, development, mentorship, and growth for the students. They have been working diligently since October to identify and refine their business ideas into the perfect pitch,” said Haseeb Qureshi, YEA! instructor. “The students did an incredible job of showcasing their unique skills and passions for entrepreneurship, and are now seeing the rewards of startup investments for their businesses and social movements.” John D. Cobb from Clayton Bradley Academy and Alexander YarKhan from L&N STEM Academy, with their nonprofit organization RefugeeLikeMe, were selected to represent Knoxville in the Saunders Scholars Competition this May in Rochester, N.Y.

YEA! 2017 Investor Panel Awards

Centriworks Delivers “Best in Class” IT Services Centriworks, a Thermocopy company, gives consumers the most cost effective and comprehensive fixed-price IT services available. The provided Managed IT Services are based on a unified product, service and framework that standardizes on best practices, resources, characteristics and metrics. Centriworks delivers managed IT services that help East Tennessee businesses adopt new technologies faster, as well as reduce the ongoing costs of managing their IT infrastructure. “In today’s current economic environment, we are always looking for ways to grow our business and differentiate our service offerings.” said J. Mark DeNicola, Chief Financial Officer of Thermocopy. “We offer East Tennessee businesses a service that is of very high value to them – support for the breadth and depth of today’s IT support challenges.” “System downtime, viruses, spam, spyware, unreliable backups, and loss of productivity are distractions that are unnecessary, time consuming and expensive. We have the tools to keep your IT systems operational, available and secure with a predictive budgeted cost so you can focus on the daily demands of your business. We are able to give East Tennessee businesses the assurances they need when selecting a managed service provider.” The level of support provided is unparalleled in the industry. Listed below are some questions that you should ask when evaluating your current IT environment and our respective support levels: • Does your IT support tech answer his phone when you call? o We answer your call live by the second ring • How long do you typically wait for your IT issues to be resolved? o Our average time from your request to resolution is 35 minutes • Does your IT technician seem to need an on-site office? o We resolve 90% of the trouble tickets submitted with just a phone call or email • How happy are you with your current IT support? o Our average customer satisfaction is 4.8 on a scale of 0-5 Visit for more information.

YEA! students Alexander YarKhan and John D. Cobb (pictured center) with Mark Field, senior vice president of chamber development for the Knoxville Chamber (far left) and YEA! instructor Haseeb Qureshi (far right) at the YEA! investor panel on Feb. 21

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Panel Discussion with Lawmakers Scheduled for March 24 BY: AMY NOLAN


March 9 Premier Partner Event featuring Commissioner Kevin Triplett

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

Transportation and other topics will be discussed with local legislators during “Capitol Connections” at 8 a.m. Friday, March 24. Lawmakers scheduled to attend are Sens. Becky Duncan Massey and Richard Briggs, as well as Rep. Eddie Smith. The Knoxville Chamber has endorsed the IMPROVE Act, “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy,” proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam. The bill would increase the road user fees on vehicles using gasoline and diesel fuel, as well as electric vehicles and vehicles using alternative fuels, while reducing the sales tax on groceries and some business taxes. The bill – and competing alternatives – must clear the Senate and House Transportation Committees. Sens. Massey and Briggs and Rep. Smith serve on those committees. The final of three Capitol Connections events is scheduled for April 21. Sponsors are AT&T and Western Governors University.

This is event is exclusive to Premier Partners

March 21 Bright Ideas Workshop: Effective TeamBuilding 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 A boxed lunch will be included for all registrants SPONSORED BY:

Knoxville Chamber Hosts Second CEO Summits

March 22 New Member Orientation


4:00 PM – 6:00 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201

On Jan. 31, executives from around the region gathered at the Knoxville Chamber for the second round of CEO Summits. CEO Summits is a program of the Diversity Champions Resource Group. An initiative of the Knoxville Chamber, Diversity Champions promotes inclusion of all people and businesses into the fabric of economic and social life within the greater Knoxville area. Executives from First Tennessee Bank, SunTrust Bank, UT Medical Center, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Leadership Knoxville, Bridge Refugee Services Inc., UUNIK Academy, Levi Strauss, East Tennessee Quality Growth, and DesignSensory attended the session.

March 24 Capitol Connections: Transportation Panel 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201


Go to “Chamber Events” on to learn more or register for any of these events.

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March 2017 Commerce  
March 2017 Commerce