INSIDE: Knox County Education Survey pg. 48 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50
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Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0 Provides Region with Economic Development Strategy Since 2008, the Innovation Valley region has consistently earned national recognition as one of the best areas for job growth and quality of living. Identified in 2012 by the Brookings Institution as one of three U.S. metros experiencing the best economic recovery, in the past five years, the region has netted over 10,000 new jobs, acquired over $1 billion in capital investments, and seen a ten-percent increase in annual average wages. Designed to build upon these successes the region’s economic development initiative has launched Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0, a strategic plan providing direction for economic development efforts over the coming five years. The strategic priorities outlined by the plan focus on leveraging the region’s assets which include world class resources in science, technology, and business to create and retain jobs through the expansion of existing industry and recruitment of new business to the region. “We have all seen the success of the Innovation Valley initiative and now want to take it to the next level with IV 2.0,” said State of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. “One of the lessons I learned from being mayor when Innovation Valley was in its earliest forms is the successfulness of the regional concept. Quite frankly I was so impressed I copied that strategy when I became governor and formed nine different regions of the state because I saw how effectively it capitalized on the strengths of the greater Knoxville area, and for those reasons I think the 2.0 approach uses another strategy that we’ve seen be very effective statewide and that’s focusing on your existing strengths.” Dr. Thom Mason, chairman of the Innovation Valley board and director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory echoes the governor’s sentiments regarding a regional approach to economic development. “In the global economy of today, probably no single strategy has become more important than thinking and acting regionally,” he said. “The implementation of these priorities, along with the associated set of strategies and tactics, will impact the region’s ability to be successful in the attraction and retention of business and jobs to the Innovation Valley.” While still maintaining the successful strategies implemented from the previous strategic plan, the following five priorities will be the Innovation Valley team’s primary focus over the coming five years.
OVERVIEW OF STRATEGIC PRIORITIES 1. Implement New Aggressive Business Recruitment and Retention Programs Taking into account regional strengths and overall industry viability, Blueprint 2.0 identifies five targeted recruitment clusters that Innovation Valley is uniquely equipped to support. Economic development opportunities in advanced technology and manufacturing, corporate services, creative media services, energy, and transportation will be paramount over the next five years and the primary focus of lead generation and marketing campaigns. “These industry clusters represent the region’s greatest probability for success,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “While opportunities beyond these areas will still be explored and welcomed, we will actively pursue these targeted clusters via the continuation and enhancement of our technology-led economic development efforts which have some of the best potential to create jobs and investment opportunities for the region.” Along with the active pursuit of these key industries, the plan seeks to support the retention of existing industry through increased efforts to secure affordable, more frequent commercial flights at McGhee Tyson Airport and assessment of available sites suitable for corporate investment. “Facilitating an environment conducive to both job growth and additional capital investment is vital to the retention of the region’s existing industries,” said Rice. “It is imperative that we provide space for expansion through the utilization of our existing buildings and shovel-ready acres; otherwise, successful companies, along with prospects, may be forced to explore locations outside the Innovation Valley.”
2. Build the Innovation Valley Brand Continued enhancement of the organizational brand is crucial to solidifying Innovation Valley’s role as the region’s leading economic development initiative. Centered on cohesive, strategic messaging, Blueprint 2.0 recommends the development of communication promoting assets of specific interest to each of
See “Blueprint 2.0” on pg. 46
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“Blueprint 2.0” continued from pg. 45 the targeted clusters. “It’s important we develop marketing tools to increase awareness of the Innovation Valley among site location consultants and leaders in these areas of focus,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “Strategically highlighting assets, such as existing clusters or key research and development activities occurring in the Innovation Valley that benefit these key sectors, will help establish the region as the leading location for business.” The plan also suggests additional enhancements to the organization’s communication strategy including mobile optimization for the website and expanded use of social media particularly among key audiences such as target sector companies, young professionals, and entrepreneurs.
3. Enhance Entrepreneurship and Innovation Opportunities Acknowledging the number of high-quality entrepreneurial programs already present in the region, Blueprint 2.0 recommends Innovation Valley’s continued support of a primary resource center such as the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center currently under construction in Downtown Knoxville’s Market Square. Designed to act as a clearinghouse for individuals unsure of what programs and resources would be most valuable to their particular venture, the center will provide entrepreneurs with access to opportunities existing across the region as well as connect them with one another. The effort has been spearheaded by Mayor Madeline Rogero and the City of Knoxville, and will provide collaborative meeting space and resources for these entrepreneurs. Other proposed avenues for furthering entrepreneurship and innovation in the region include the continued growth of the Knoxville Chamber’s Mentor Protégé program, identifying other available means of support for entrepreneurs and technology companies, and continued support of the Technology Mining and Matching program.
4. Increase Focus on Talent Retention and Development Recognizing the importance of an educated workforce, Blueprint 2.0 encourages Innovation Valley to build upon the success of existing regional initiatives such as Educators in the Workplace and STEMspark, thereby continuing the integration of educational progress and economic development efforts. “Providing a high quality education impacts the creation of jobs in our region and ultimately the success of our community,” said Rice. “The ability to provide an educated workforce not only makes Innovation Valley more attractive to prospective businesses but also gives existing companies confidence in our ability to sustain their future growth.” In addition to supporting efforts aimed at equipping the region’s future workforce, the strategic plan also encourages actively pursuing the involvement of
young professionals across Innovation Valley. “It is important that we engage our young professional groups,” said Rice. “The facilitation of networking, professional development, mentoring, and service opportunities will keep this valuable audience informed, invested, and rooted in Innovation Valley.”
5. Promote Sustainability Efforts Recent studies show that site location decision-makers are placing greater significance on a community’s sustainability efforts. Acknowledging the wide variety of sustainability practices already implemented across the Innovation Valley region including energy conservation, air quality, land use, recycling, and waste reduction, Blueprint 2.0, recommends the organization take steps to ensure that these efforts are understood at both a local and national level. “Nine out of ten companies indicate sustainability is a primary consideration when making location decisions,” said Lawyer. “In 2011, the Knoxville metro area was named #1 for green job growth by the Brookings Institution, and it’s crucial we leverage and convey the story of the region’s sustainability achievements in our economic development efforts.” In addition, the plan advises the organization to consult with existing industry and determine what programs they identify as most beneficial in assisting their efforts toward achieving sustainability. Many companies are making a larger commitment to sustainable practices and are seeking assistance in their pursuit of these initiatives As these programs continue to gain ground across Innovation Valley, it is also important that the region track relevant data for utilization in future recruitment efforts. Through the implementation of the strategies outlined in Blueprint 2.0 projected performance goals for the next five years include the creation of 11,500 new jobs and $1.5 billion in additional capital investment for the region. However, a key factor in achieving these goals is the continued collaboration of the region’s economic development partners. “Innovation Valley and its regional partners have successfully worked together for the past five years,” said Mason. “We realize that economic development does not result from the efforts or actions of any single person, organization, or institution, but rather is due to the collective efforts of multiple entities working towards the same objectives.” At the February 6 breakfast launching Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0, Chairman Emeritus and Founder of Pilot Travel Centers James Haslam echoed Mason’s call for collaboration as a necessary component for economic success. “Let’s all work together and make sure we achieve our full economic potential because given our tremendous assets nothing else but the full economic potential is satisfactory,” he said. “If we work together as a region, there’s nothing we cannot achieve.”
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Knox County Voters Cite Education as Key Factor in Improving Economy, Support Critical Investments Recognizing the fundamental role education plays in the community, a recent poll showed an overwhelming number of Knox County voters pointed to education as the number one factor in improving the local economy, ranking it even more highly than company recruitment, infrastructure, and reduced taxes. “Ninety percent of respondents characterized education as very important to improving the economy in Knox County,” said Evans. “However, just acknowledging its importance is not enough. The community must be prepared to take action and advocate for targeted investments to move our schools and our children forward.” The study, conducted by Bryant Research, collected information regarding public opinion of the local school system and its impact on the quality of life in Knox County. “As we make the case for improvements in outcomes and resources for the schools, it is important for us to understand the public’s perception of public education,” said Jennifer Evans, vice president for public policy at the Knoxville Chamber. “We will use this information to identify trends over time but in the short term, it will help us focus our messaging efforts.” The poll revealed nine out of ten voters support funding for increased access to technology, 80 percent believe additional funding should go towards increased academic support and career and technical education, 75 percent believed Knox County Schools should receive more funding, and 57 percent would support a property tax increase if it all went directly to public education. Along with recognizing the importance of making technology available in the classroom, two out of three voters also pointed to teacher effectiveness and parental involvement as key factors in overall educational effectiveness. Further reinforcing the importance of teachers, 80 percent of those polled favored an increase in teacher pay and support. Forty-five percent of voters believe the Knox County Schools provide a good return on investment, with 27 percent expressing they were unsure. “This particular data point demonstrates to us that there is some work to be done in making the case that the school system is providing value for the taxpayer’s investment ,” said Evans. “We need to continue to communicate the successes of the schools but also point out what is not working and what the remedies are.” While those polled were split on the overall effectiveness of Knox County Schools with 47.5 percent ranking them as excellent or good, 66 percent district-wide felt their neighborhood school was really effective, with some communities rating their neighborhood schools as high as 78 percent. However, 48 percent indicated they felt academic standards in Knox County Schools were too low. “The school system’s chief objective is for all 56,000 students in Knox County to receive a high quality education that prepares them for their postsecondary education and career goals,” said Evans. “We’re beginning to see significant returns on the investments of the past few years, and it’s important that we continue to support these reforms for both the future of our children and the future of our community.” The survey, conducted in November 2012, was administered through phone interviews to 900 registered voters across the 9 Knox County commission districts.
EDUCATION POLL INFOGRAPHIC:
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First Legislative Briefing Focuses on Education The 108th session of the Tennessee State Legislature began on January 8 and several education-focused bills have already been introduced. The Chamber and its members have a high interest in bills effecting public education, recognizing that today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. The February Legislative briefing, sponsored by AT&T, was a panel discussion on education featuring Representative Harry Brooks, Representative Bill Dunn, Representative Roger Kane, and Senator Stacey Campfield, and was moderated by Chair of the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee, Susan Richardson Williams. Senator Campfield was not able to make it to the event. A major topic of recurring discussion both in Nashville and at the Legislative Briefing was regarding allowing local governments to determine whether local public school superintendents should be appointed or elected. The Chamber firmly supports the current state law requiring for superintendents to be appointed by local school boards. Proponents of the current law believe that a superintendent should be a professional and not a politician spending a high-percentage of their time campaigning and making decisions based on re-election, not what is best for the students. Each of the three legislators in attendance were asked both about their feelings about elected superintendents, and whether they felt it would pass or not. Representative Dunn, who sits on the House Education Committee, does not think the bill will pass the Senate. “What you find is that East Tennesseans like to vote for people. Middle and West Tennesseans don’t care as much,” he said. “Anyone who is good at math knows that two-thirds, beats one-third, so I don’t think it will go.” However, if it did make it to the House floor, he will most likely support it, “…because I am from East Tennessee,” he continued. Regardless of where he stands on the issue, Rep. Dunn did recognize that Knox County’s current Superintendent, who was appointed, is doing a good job. “I might get in trouble with a lot of people who are mad at him, but I think Dr. McIntyre does an absolute wonderful job. I think he analyzes things and isn’t afraid to do things differently whenever it is going to benefit the children,” he commented. Rep. Brooks, who chairs the House Education Committee pointed out that the strategic key to getting the elected superintendent’s bill to pass is getting it through the Senate. “The last several years the bill has died in the Senate,” he said. “If it doesn’t survive there, then it is dead. That is the key. …If the Senate passes it, it might have legs and pass on through.” In response to whether he
Rep. Harry Brooks, Education Advocate and Radio Systems Corporation President/ CEO Randy Boyd, and Alan Hill from AT&T at the February Legislative Briefing.
supports the bill or not, Brooks commented “My district is 90-percent in support of this concept. I have supported it in the past, and that is a commitment I have made to support it in the future if it ever comes to a vote in the House. “ Rep. Kane, a freshman in the House who represents the newly formed 89th district rounded out the comments on this topic by saying that he is currently still pondering his position on the bill, but that he feels the bill is really just giving back local control for communities to decide what they prefer. The panel also briefly discussed the topic of partisan school board elections and a “opportunity scholarship” bill proposing vouchers for low-income students who attend a school that performs in the bottom five-percent in the state. At the conclusion of the panel discussion, Randy Boyd, local businessman and special advisor on education to Governor Bill Haslam, presented findings from a public education poll taken this past fall in Knox County. See Education Poll story on page 48 to learn more.
Economic Development Staff Promotes Innovation Valley to Global Audience Seizing an opportunity to promote the Innovation Valley region to a global audience, members of the Knoxville Chamber’s economic development staff attended the 2013 NAI Global Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The three day event attracted hundreds of real estate professionals from across the globe, providing the organization access and exposure to a valuable audience. “The conference was a great opportunity to network with and market our region’s assets to an audience that may not be incredibly familiar with all the resources Innovation Valley has to offer,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of
economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “Participation in the trade show and educational opportunities allowed us to gain insight into current development trends as well as connect with industrial and office real estate brokers whose clients could potentially benefit from locating their business in Innovation Valley.” NAI Global is a network of independent commercial real estate firms comprised of 5,000 real estate professionals in 55 countries. Their 350 worldwide offices complete over $45 billion in annual transactions and manage over 300 million square feet of commercial space. NAI Knoxville is a chamber member and supporter of Innovation Valley.
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MONTHLY ECONOMIC INDICATORS
NOTE - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties
WORKFORCE Resident Labor Force Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.
HOUSING MARKET % Change Dec. ’11Dec. ‘12
% Change Nov. ’12Dec. ‘12
240,900 380,100 3,129,800 154,904,000
239,480 377,410 3,104,000 154,953,000
238,030 373,860 3,099,800 153,373,000
0.6 0.7 0.8 0.0
1.2 1.7 1.0 1.0
Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price
Dec. 2012 905 12,941 $140,275
Nov. 2012 918 13,760 $145,975
Dec. 2011 705 12,939 $142,500
% Change Nov. ’12Dec. ‘12 -1.4 -6.0 -3.9
% Change Dec. ’11Dec. ‘12 28.4 0.0 -1.6
Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors
Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
Dec. 2012* 251 2 249
Dec. 2011 8 8 0
% Change Dec. ’11Dec. ‘12 3037.5 -75.0 100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
303 54 249
47 47 0
544.7 14.9 100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
316 67 249
65 65 0
386.2 3.1 100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
1,776 853 923
1,194 792 402
48.7 7.7 129.6
Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee
15,470 25,730 269,960
13,970 22,910 242,910
15,590 26,340 280,640
10.7 12.3 11.1
-0.8 -2.3 -3.8
5.7 6.0 7.6 7.6
5.2 5.4 6.9 7.4
5.9 6.4 8.1 8.3
0.5 0.6 0.7 0.2
-0.2 -0.4 -0.5 -0.7
Unemployment Rates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.
Sources: Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
INFLATION RATES - CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- ALL ITEMS
% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘12
% Change Dec. ’10Dec. ‘12
*South – City Size Class B/C
*All 2012 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey
SALES TAX REVENUE - STATE & LOCAL ($) State Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee
56,865,344 76,897,825 708,092,044
45,863,576 62,676,326 563,391,827
58,431,702 79,315,769 710,227,711
24.0 22.7 25.7
-2.7 -3.0 -0.3
Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA
% Change Jan. ’12Jan. ‘13
% Change Dec. ’12Jan ‘13
AIR SERVICE (MCGHEE-TYSON AIRPORT)
Dec. 2012 130,232 7,168,838
Nov. 2012 140,184 7,179,073
Dec. 2011 144,043 7,565,269
Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority
Source: Tennessee Dept. of Revenue
RETAIL SALES - NATIONAL (IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) Category
Jan. 2013382,917 Total Retail Sales 19,790 Building Materials 15,119 Clothing Stores 7,737 Electronics & Appliances 52,440 Food & Beverage Stores 42,470 Food Svcs & Drinking Places 7,493 Furniture & Home Furnishings 41,293 Gasoline Stations 46,350 General Merchandise Stores 22,936 Health & Personal Care Stores 8,793 Miscellaneous Stores 70,322 Motor Vehicle & Parts Sales 40,845 Non-store Retailers Sporting Goods/Books/ 7,329 Hobby/Music
469,067 22,031 31,871 12,831 57,572 45,765 9,569 42,136 71,871 25,122 11,829 74,444 51,691
360,415 18,728 14,283 7,535 50,173 39,875 9,267 40,742 46,363 22,772 8,586 62,757 34,749
% Change Dec. ’12Jan. ‘13 -18.4 -10.2 -52.6 -39.7 -8.9 -7.2 -21.7 -2.0 -35.5 -8.7 -25.7 -5.5 -21.0
% Change Jan. ’12Jan. ‘13 6.2 5.7 5.9 2.7 4.5 6.5 -19.1 1.4 0.0 0.7 2.4 12.1 17.5 8.3
Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50
% Change Nov. ’12Dec. ‘12 -7.1 -0.1
% Change Dec. ’11Dec. ‘12 -9.6 -5.2
Superintendent delivers second annual State of the Schools address In his second annual State of the Schools address, Knox County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James McIntyre was proud to report significant gains in virtually every measurable area of student learning. He then challenged attendees to stay the course. “The work of educating children is not a sprint but rather a long term undertaking,” he said. “Our improvement efforts must be built to last. As a school system, we must work hard to balance a deep sense of urgency with regard to instructional improvement with a need to ensure the sustainability of a highquality education into the future.” For the second consecutive year, the State-of-Tennessee-issued school report card scored Knox County Schools either higher or on par with state averages in every category. “We’re beginning to see significant dividends from the educational investments of the past few years,” said McIntyre. “The initiatives and strategies laid out in our strategic plan are increasingly producing strong academic results, and this strong academic progress is effectively preparing our students for college and career.” The class of 2012 not only achieved a 90.3 percent graduation rate but also slightly improved upon their composite ACT score, showing increased scores on each tested subject and exceeding the state average. Citing national unemployment statistics, McIntyre noted the unemployment rate for individuals with a high school degree and at least some post-secondary education was approximately 4 percent, while unemployment figures for those without a high school diploma jump to 13.9 percent. “One of the best ways to ensure our children have access to great jobs in the future is to ensure they have access to a great education today,” he said. “With all the talk of economic development strategies, it turns out one of the best possible job programs, and boosts to our local economy, is simply having an outstanding public school system.” In order to further these gains, McIntyre identified four resource priorities the school system will focus on in the coming year. Stressing the significance of enhanced educator compensation and student safety, he noted that investments would also be made for enhanced instructional improvement initiatives and personalized learning with the support of instructional technology.
“We’re investing wisely in strategies and initiatives that support student success,” he said. “It’s in our community’s best interest to ensure a universally outstanding educational experience for each and every one of our 56,000 Dr. James McIntyre delivering the 2013 State of the Schools students.” Address Pointing to technology deficits as one of the major challenges currently facing the school system, McIntyre not only noted that in the 2014-2015 school year state assessments would be exclusively administered electronically, but also the prevalence of technology in the workplace. “Our children are expected to function productively and effectively in a digital world and we must educate them in one,” he said. The State of Tennessee’s newly appointed special advisor on higher education and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation Randy Boyd echoed McIntyre’s comments pointing once again to the importance of technology in the workplace. “If we fail to provide technology skills to our children, we fail to get them jobs in the future,” said Boyd. “It is essential to their careers.” As McIntyre and Knox County Schools prepare to develop Excellence for all Children 2.0, the system’s next five-year strategic plan, he assured the dollars invested would be utilized for the success of the students and ultimately the success of the community. “I work hard everyday to make sure the money we’re entrusted with is used wisely, efficiently, and effectively,” he said. “I truly believe we need to be willing to commit the appropriate resources in order to get real results and ensure a bright future for our kids and our community. Knox County Schools is a great investment. Our kids are a great investment.”
Second Edition of KNOW Knoxville Relocation Magazine Now Available Providing valuable information on everything from local government to navigating downtown Knoxville, the 2013 Know Knoxville relocation magazine is a must have for anyone who has recently relocated to the area or is considering relocation. “KNOW Knoxville allows us to tout the many great assets our region has to offer residents,” commented Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Knoxville Chamber. “The
magazine’s outstanding photography and feature articles highlighting the quality of life, healthcare, real estate, education, and the arts and cultural resources available in our region provides valuable information for new residents and potential residents,” she continued. Know Knoxville complements the Chamber’s online business directory, iKnowKnoxville.com, providing residents with a real-time list of local businesses and upcoming events. The relocation magazine is produced by the Chamber and is available for free to individuals and companies. To receive a copy, contact the Chamber at (865) 637-4550.
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PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE
Provision Health Alliance Proton Therapy Center to Open in 2014 One of only 14 advanced treatment centers of its kind in the nation, the Provision Center for Proton Therapy is slated to open January 2014 in the Dowell Springs business park. Originating from technology developed during World War II, proton therapy treats cancer by extracting protons from a water droplet, accelerating them to approximately two-thirds the speed of light, and beaming them into the tumor. Giving physicians the ability to better direct the beam, this advanced treatment causes less damage to surrounding tissue than traditional radiation treatments and is ultimately less invasive for the patient. “In layman’s terms, proton therapy is the ability for the proton to go in and just destroy the cancer cells without hurting any other tissue in the body,” said Bill Hansen, vice president of business and strategic development at Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “The most compassionate option, proton therapy allows physicians to adhere to their Hippocratic Oath, to do good and do no harm, with regards to cancer treatment.” Administered on a fractionated schedule, patients receive treatments over the course of six to eight weeks depending on the size of the tumor. Understanding the challenges presented by the temporary relocation necessary for treatment, a priority of Provision will be the integration of patients into the local community, a priority in which Hansen considers the Knoxville location an ally. “There are a couple of reasons Knoxville is an attractive location for the treatment center,” he said. “Not only is it situated in a spot where there is a lack of proton therapy options, but it’s also a destination where patients and their families can enjoy the town, the mountains, and the attractions while they’re here receiving treatment.” A $119 million capital investment in the community, Hansen and his team are using the center’s construction phase as an opportunity to educate and create awareness about the treatment. “The more the community knows about the treatment center, the more they can find ways to contribute, participate, and if necessary take advantage of it,” he said. “We think we can change the paradigm of how cancer patients are treated and part of that is the hospitality that stems from the community really embracing our patients and helping them get better.” Hansen hopes that through this heightened awareness the medical community and the general public will begin viewing the treatment as an affordable, viable option for those suffering from cancer. “The idea is to lower the cost of medicine and lower the cost of care using technologies that are much more compassionate on the patient,” he said. “This is a technology capable of something that’s never been done before, and we’re lucky to have it in Knoxville.” For more information on the Provision Center for Proton Therapy and proton therapy treatment, visit www.provisionproton.com.
Local Entrepreneur Shares Experience with Premier Partners Remembering that his father once suggested he take an order then figure out how to fill it, entrepreneur Parker Frost shared with the Chamber’s Premier Partners how willingness to follow his father’s advice and take a risk has resulted in the creation of several successful business ventures. During a recent breakfast, Frost discussed the beginnings of one particular venture - Gigmark Interactive Media. A custom software solutions company, Gigmark’s primary innovation is its patented Interactive Flash Drive Technology that provides clients access to a content management system and user analytics for branded, physical media devices. Faced with skepticism from the music industry, the technology’s originally intended market, Frost regrouped and is now able to count Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and NASCAR among Gigmark’s clients. “It’s important that startup companies be nimble,” said Frost. “Things may not follow your original plan, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for your product somewhere else in the marketplace.” Also advising aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on finding ways they can assist leaders in their target industries instead of just attempting to push their product or service, the Michigan native pointed to resources available in the Knoxville region as an asset for entrepreneurs. “This is a smart town with a lot of experienced, successful entrepreneurs and local talent,” he said. “Knoxville is a great place to own a business as well as a great place to live and raise a family.” Along with Gigmark, Frost is also involved in the launch or operation of five other local companies including CMOCo, TPS3, and Digital Media Graphix.
Featured speaker Parker Frost is flanked by Chamber CEO Mike Edwards and Chamber Board Chair Mitch Steenrod.
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Mentor/Protégé Program Congratulates 2013 Graduates On February 1, seven small businesses celebrated their graduation from the Knoxville Chamber’s Mentor Protégé program. Rich Construction, Clark Brown Waters, Arctel, Stephens Construction, Brown & Russell, Stalltalk, and Smartec were honored for both their successful completion of the program as well as for their contributions to the regional economy. “I am extremely proud of this year’s graduating class,” said Doug Minter, business development manager at the Knoxville Chamber. “I have been privileged to witness not only their growth as individuals but their growth as businesses, and I am eager to see what the future holds for each of them.” The mentor/protégé program pairs an established community business leader with a relatively new business owner, providing a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to receive personalized advice from experienced executives. In fewer than three years, the program has helped start several new businesses and drawn an economic impact of nearly $50 million to the community.
Graduates of the Mentor/Protégé Program display their certificates of completion following the February 1 ceremony. From L-R: Matthew Tunstall, Stalltalk; Keena Stephens, Stephens Construction; Rick Russell; Brown, Pearman & Russell; Tisha Collins, Arctel, Barbara Clark, Clark, Brown, Waters; Tony Arnold, Smartec.
Six Local Companies Garner National Attention Six local businesses were named 2013 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Recognized for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to the regional economy, Always Moore Janitorial Service, Analysis Measurement Services Corporation, Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center, Partners Development, Prestige Cleaners, Inc., and The Trust Company of Knoxville were selected from a record number of nationwide applicants. “We are thrilled these companies have received national recognition,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “They are excellent examples of the quality small businesses in operation across Innovation Valley, and we are proud to have them represent our region.” Eleven past Pinnacle Business Award winners submitted applications in response to their nomination by the Knoxville Chamber. The six winners will be honored during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Summit held April 29 – May 1 in Washington D.C.
PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE
ORNL Federal Credit Union Serving Members Through Innovation, Stability Serving anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in 16 East Tennessee counties, ORNL Federal Credit Union’s primary goal is to provide unparalleled value to its members. Founded in 1948 with an initial deposit base of $50 given by employees of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, today’s members represent over $1.4 billion in assets. According to the Credit Union National Association, savings at credit unions grew during the recent recession as more people sought to put their money in a stable source offering good rates. “Historically, credit unions have been more stable than banks and this fact has been consistent even throughout the course of the economic downturn.” Recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a leading lender in small business loans, ORNL Federal Credit Union believes in small businesses and the impact they have on communities. “They are the fabric of local communities,” said Johnson. “Together, small businesses and credit unions are critical to the nation’s economic well-being.” With specific focus on providing its members with the products and services they want and need, ORNL Federal Credit Union continues to invest in technology, such as online banking and mobile app programs; innovation they expect to maintain over the coming years. “As the largest credit union in the Central East Tennessee community, we are focused on delivering a superior member experience by providing the best products, services, and employees the industry has to offer,” said Chris Johnson, president and CEO of the credit union. ORNL Federal Credit Union is proud of its roots and the organization it has grown into over the last 65 years. With 32 branches and a full suite of products and services available to meet member needs, including auto loans, mortgages, and investment solutions, ORNL FCU delivers value through initiatives that are financially strong, service driven, and operationally efficient. “Our goal is to continue our dedication to become the preferred financial institution in East Tennessee,” said Johnson. “We are committed to providing the products and services our members need to achieve their financial goals.” For more information on ORNL Federal Credit Union or to find your local branch visit www.ornlfcu.com.
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MARCH 5 a.m. Exchange
8 – 9 a.m. • All Occasion Catering, 922 North Central Street Sponsored by:
MARCH 5 Power 30 Speed Networking 4 – 7 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square
MARCH 7 Bright Ideas Technology Series: Bringing Your Company’s Technology into the 21st Century - Presented by Dan Thompson, Claris Networks 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Cost: $25 for members/$35 for non-members (lunch provided) Sponsored by:
MARCH 14 Bright Ideas Technology Series: Utilizing Mobile Technology - Presented by AT&T 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Cost: $25 for members/$35 for non-members (lunch provided) Sponsored by:
Schmoozapalooza VIII 4 – 7 p.m. • Holiday Inn - World’s Fair Park, 525 Henley Street ͘ Exhibitor Cost: $200 for members / $300 for non-members Attendee Cost: $10 (Members can save $5 by pre-registering by March 15) ^ŽŵĞƚŝŵĞƐĂůůǇŽƵƌďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐŶĞĞĚƐŝƐĂůŝƚƚůĞŶƵĚŐĞ
,ĞƌĞ͛ƐŚŽǁǁĞƐĂǀĞǇŽƵƌĐŽŵƉĂŶǇƚŝŵĞĂŶĚŵŽŶĞǇ͘ ΎEŽŵŽƌĞǁŽƌŬĞƌƐĐŽŵƉĚŽǁŶƉĂǇŵĞŶƚƐ͕ĂƵĚŝƚƐŽƌŽƵƚŽĨ ƉŽĐŬĞƚƉƌĞŵŝƵŵƐ͘ΎtĞƉƌŽĐĞƐƐǇŽƵƌƉĂǇƌŽůů͕ĂĚŵŝŶŝƐƚĞƌ ƚĂǆƉĂǇŵĞŶƚƐĂŶĚĂůůŐŽǀĞƌŶŵĞŶƚĐŽŵƉůŝĂŶĐĞ͘ΎtĞ ĂĚŵŝŶŝƐƚĞƌƚŝŵĞĐŽŶƐƵŵŝŶŐ,ZĨŽƌǇŽƵƌŐƌŽǁŝŶŐďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ͘ ŽŶƚĂĐƚƵƐƚŽĚĂǇĨŽƌĂĨƌĞĞďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐĂŶĂůǇƐŝƐƋƵŽƚĞĂŶĚĨŝŶĚ ŽƵƚŚŽǁŵƵĐŚǇŽƵƌďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐĐĂŶďĞŐŝŶƐĂǀŝŶŐƌŝŐŚƚŶŽǁ͘
MARCH 21 Bright Ideas Technology Series: A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics Presented by Shane Rhyne 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Cost: $25 for members/$35 for non-members (lunch provided) Sponsored by:
MARCH 22 Legislative Briefing on Healthcare Reform Featuring Senator Becky Duncan Massey and Rep. Gloria Johnson 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:
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Published on Mar 11, 2013