Page 1

INSIDE: Breakfast with the Governor Recap pg. 56 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 54


Life Care Center of Blount County (865) 984-3146 Healthcare Providers & Services; Insurance Social Services:Senior Services; Healthcare Providers & Services: Rehabilitation

Knox Upholstery (865) 566-7977 Residential Services Litespeed Construction, Inc. (865) 297-3286 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

BoydTech Design (865) 824-3362 Computer & IT Services: Web Design & Hosting

Neighborhood Nerds (865) 622-2422 Business & Professional Services: Technical Services

C3 Industrial Blasting & Coatings, Inc. (865) 288-4514 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Painting

Not Watson’s Kitchen + Bar (865) 766-4848 Restaurants

Chuck Carringer Executive Coaching (865) 567-1090 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Oliver Royale (865) 622-6434 Restaurants

Culpepper CPA, PLLC (865) 691-8509 Business & Professional Services: Certified Public Accountants Delco - Knoxville (an FNA Group Inc. Co.) (865) 938-4486 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Equipment Doppler Group LLC (865) 245-0430 Financial Services: Investments Downtown Wine & Spirits (865) 525-7575 Shopping: Liquor & Wine Drake’s Knoxville (865) 474-1188 Restaurants Dunkin’ Donuts (865) 444-2962 Restaurants Financial Cents (901) 338-8123 Business & Professional Services Floor and Decor (865) 360-7532 Shopping: Flooring Jacobs Insurance Associates (865) 622-4576 Insurance


Dunkin’ Donuts (865) 690-4670 Restaurants

J&J Water, Inc (706) 625-4100 www.JJ-WATER.COM Distribution/Warehousing/Logistics

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.

The Lunchbox (865) 409-4211 Restaurants The Phoenix Pharmacy (865) 692-1603 Healthcare Providers & Services: Pharmacies






Profit Won CPA Firm (865) 333-2050 Business & Professional Services: Certified Public Accountants Special Spaces (865) 249-6079 Social Services













Titan Business Brokers (865) 202-9649 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Title Professionals (865) 694-6115 Real Estate: Title Companies TN Members 1st Federal Credit Union (865) 539-4344 Financial Services: Credit Unions Toddy’s Liquor & Wine (865) 584-0577 Shopping: Liquor & Wine Top Tier Admin (865) 240-2263 Business & Professional Services

Image 360 celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 6700 Baum Drive in Knoxville in February. Shawn and Bethany Belice, owners, are pictured cutting the ribbon and are joined by fellow employees and Chamber Ambassadors.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48

Businesses are attracted to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley for a variety of reasons, including unparalleled technological assets and its skilled workforce. However, the area’s growing population demonstrates how strongly people are also drawn to the region’s excellent quality of life. People not only enjoy the low cost of living, affordable housing, and comfortable climate, but they also they choose to call Knoxville home because of the wide range of cultural and recreational activities available in the area. While downtown Knoxville boasts a vibrant energy and nightlife, many are also drawn to the area’s beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation. “Having a high quality of place, like we do in Knoxville, can certainly help in the highly competitive business recruitment landscape,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Company decision-makers are often times going to relocate employees, and even family members, to a new community, and having high-quality outdoor recreation assets is an important part of the

decision-making equation. Knoxville is well positioned to sell that story along with location, infrastructure, and workforce.”

LAKESHORE PARK: A park for everyone Lakeshore Park, an outdoor gem in the heart of Knoxville on the Tennessee River, is a popular location for outdoor recreation with a long history of conservation and beautification efforts and a future with unlimited possibilities. More than 20 years ago, the state of Tennessee initiated a conservation agreement with the city of Knoxville, allowing the city to create a walking trail on unused portions of the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute property. The city then entered into a management agreement with Knox Youth Sports, Inc., which began construction of a 2.2 mile walking trail around

the perimeter of the property. This trail was dedicated in March 1995, and Lakeshore quickly became one of the most used parks in the city. The state later leased an additional 60 acres to the city, and Knox Youth Sports began construction on baseball and soccer fields, as well as other park improvements. In 1996, Lakeshore Park was formed as a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve, protect, and maintain the park for public use. In 2013, the entire 185 acres became available to the city when the hospital closed, giving Lakeshore Park the unique opportunity to expand and improve the park’s facilities. It now operates as a public/private partnership between the city of Knoxville and the Lakeshore Park board of directors. Today, the park includes miles of paved walking trails, six baseball fields, three soccer fields, a farmers’ market, pavilions, and plenty of open space for various activities. It has become a popular location for walking, playing sports and games, attending special events, and enjoying the scenic view of the Great Smoky

“Outdoor” continued on pg. 50

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 49

“Outdoor” continued from pg. 49 Mountains. Moreover, with plenty of land to work with, Lakeshore Park has started a campaign to raise funds for numerous park improvements and additions. The organization hopes to create a park that can be enjoyed for generations and that can serve as a regional destination for outdoor lovers. “The Campaign for Lakeshore Park marks the start of something really exciting for our community,” said Cardin Bradley, director of development for Lakeshore Park. “It is already one of the most beautiful sites in the city, with rolling hills, river, creek, and mountain views, and historic overlooks. The opportunity we have as a community to transform this beautiful space into a recreation mecca for our region is unparalleled, as is the opportunity to develop a park based on what the public wants to see.” After numerous public meetings and surveys, Lakeshore Park has developed a master plan that incorporates what the public wants, which includes preserving the scenic beauty of the site, opening access to the waterfront, and providing additional recreational facilities. Bradley said, “The master plan preserves green space and enhances the water and mountain views, as well as provides for new playgrounds, piers, pavilions, restrooms, gardens, walking trails, overlooks and much, much more.” The fundraising goal for the first phase of development is $25 million, which will help preserve green spaces and open the waterfront areas on the Tennessee River and Fourth Creek for public enjoyment. The waterfront development will include the addition of a canoe and kayak launch, pier, and a River Plaza with seating and overlooks. Phase one also includes the addition of picnic pavilions, restrooms, open fields, gardens, two additional miles of walking trails, and accessible playgrounds. Various event spaces will also be made available, like the Lakeshore Chapel and a Hilltop Pavilion. “For this massive undertaking to succeed, the park needs all of its visitors, partners, friends, and neighbors to join the Lakeshore Park board in raising $25 million for the first phase of improvements, and over the longer term, an additional $25 million will be needed to complete all of the master plan improvements,” Bradley explained. “We are already well on our way with over $16.2 million in gifts and pledges.” The first phase of construction will continue through summer 2017, and projects will continue on a rolling basis as funds are raised for the Lakeshore Park Campaign. “One of the wonderful benefits of living in Knoxville is our fantastic quality of life,” said Bradley. “The new Lakeshore Park will be an exceptional asset to the business community when recruiting new employees to Knoxville.

Also, having an iconic ‘Central Park’ of Knoxville with something for everyone will make our city even more attractive to new business.” Anyone can become a Friend of Lakeshore Park by contributing online at or via mail at PO Box 10244, Knoxville TN 37939.

KNOXVILLE’S GREENWAYS The Knoxville metropolitan area’s 150 miles of paved greenways and natural trails provide citizens with access to the area’s beautiful scenery and the opportunity to get actively involved in nature, playing to the local outdoor lifestyle culture. “Greenways are appealing for people of all ages, like young families, retiring baby boomers, and everyone in

area more attractive to relocating businesses and families. Businesses enjoy greenways as forms of alternative transportation, as employees have a safe way to bicycle or walk to work. These additional commuting opportunities reduce automobile pollution and improve air quality. Many companies recognize these benefits and tend to relocate closer to greenways, which greatly affects the economic impact of these trails. “Our Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway plan estimates that the trail will generate $6.5 million in economic benefits each year, which is $2.66 for every $1 invested,” Zavisca said. Given the economic, social, and health impacts greenways have on communities, these trails serve as a significant tool in recruiting businesses to Innovation Valley.


between,” said Ellen Zavisca, senior transportation planner for Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization. “It seems like everyone’s looking for a safe place to walk that’s close to home.” Knoxville’s greenways promote health and recreation by offering a scenic place for citizens to be active outdoors. They also inspire races and other similar events that attract tourists to the city. “One of the things I value most about greenways is the connection to other people,” Zavisca said. “I catch up with neighbors and meet new people when I’m out walking.” Greenways have also been proven to increase real estate value of nearby properties, as they positively impact the quality of life in the area. They also provide significant opportunities to encourage sustainable development, ensuring that communities maintain green space and recreation areas as they grow. They serve as a redevelopment tool to help “green” brownfields in urban areas, which ultimately makes the

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50 50

Many local organizations recognize the significance of the outdoor resources in Innovation Valley as tools to recruit relocating businesses and families to the area. One such organization is Outdoor Knoxville, which is an initiative led by the Legacy Parks Foundation to make Knoxville’s natural and recreation assets an economic driver for the region. The three main elements of the Outdoor Knoxville initiative include: providing comprehensive information about Knoxville’s outdoors and activities via outdoorknoxville. com, offering a place to gather to get out and play at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center on the Tennessee River, and hosting an event to experience various ways to get out and play called Outdoor KnoxFest. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, is another initiative championed by Legacy Parks Foundation, is dedicated to the preservation of 1,000 forested acres along downtown Knoxville’s south waterfront and South Knoxville. It serves as a unique urban playground for hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners. The South Loop Trails on the east side of the Urban Wilderness boasts an impressive 42 miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks, neighborhoods, schools, and other natural areas. The Battlefield Loop in the western section of the land offers both a recreational and historic experience with three Civil War forts and a city park. Legacy Parks Foundation recently acquired 100 acres which will provide additional connections between existing parks and trails. The organization also plans to introduce a number of new trails and features, including a one-mile introductory mountain bike trail, a play area, and 3.5 miles of mixed-use trails featuring two overlooks and bridges.

Economic Development Plan Surpasses Goals At Halfway Mark BY: KAYLA WITT

On July 1, 2013 Innovation Valley began implementing Blueprint 2.0, its strategic plan designed to build upon the successes of the original Blueprint, which provides direction for economic development efforts through 2018. Innovation Valley is now halfway through the plan and continues to see success from its execution. From July 1, 2013 to present, more than 9,400 new jobs have been announced and $2.4 billion in capital investments have been secured. The top three recruits, based upon jobs created, include the March 2014 announcement of Fresenius Medical Care, which will bring 665 new jobs to the region when it is fully operational; the October 2015 announcement of Advanced Munitions International, which will create 605 jobs; and the November 2015 announcement of Lifetime Products, which will bring an additional 500 jobs to Innovation Valley. “Innovation Valley has seen considerable growth within the past two and a half years, and I believe it is because we have a specific plan of action in Blueprint 2.0 and we have worked hard to execute it,” said Rhonda Rice, executive administrator of Innovation Valley. “The Innovation Valley team aggressively pursues businesses within our five target recruitment clusters while also working hard to implement Blueprint 2.0’s strategic priorities. We did a lot of research before we launched Blueprint 2.0, and the proof is in the metrics that it is working.”

Since July 1, 2013 the Innovation Valley region has grown in employment by 2.6 percent, well above Chattanooga’s 0.2 percent and Memphis’ 1.1 percent increase. Blueprint 2.0 outlines specific metrics to define the region’s economic development success. These include three performance goals: to create 2,300 new jobs annually, secure $300 million in capital investments each year, and to see an annual wage growth of two percent. The strategic plan also unveils five strategic priorities which create the framework for Innovation Valley’s efforts, as well as identifies five target recruitment clusters that encompass the industries that are well suited to benefit from the resources available in Innovation Valley. “Our efforts have attracted world-renowned companies such as Cirrus Aircraft, 3M, and Leisure Pools to locate in Innovation Valley and have also supported the expansion of existing companies such as SL Tennessee, Denso Manufacturing Tennessee, and TeamHealth,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “We are consistently recognized in national publications such as Forbes and the Brookings Institute as an exceptional place to live and work.” While the first two and a half years have proven successful, the Innovation Valley team has no plans to slow down. The economic development staff continues to pursue a strong pipeline of projects, while continuing to focus on workforce development, talent retention, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. To learn more about Innovation Valley or Blueprint 2.0 visit www.knoxvilleoakridge. com

Expert Says Knoxville Understands “Assets Work Together” BY: KAYLA WITT

Last month members of the Knoxville Chamber’s Economic Development Committee met to hear Ron Starner discuss the recently released Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley Economic Publication. Starner is the executive vice president of Conway, Inc., which produced the Innovation Valley publication and also publishes Site Selection magazine, a bi-monthly international corporate real estate publication based in Atlanta. Ron served as lead editor and writer for the economic publication and spent three days traveling the Innovation Valley region to interview some of the area’s most innovative company executives and community leaders for the magazine. Ron has traveled the nation creating similar pieces for other communities and visited numerous economic development organizations. While the Innovation Valley region was on Starner’s radar due to the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Starner learned the area and its leaders had much more to offer prospective

businesses. “During my visit to the Knoxville area I was most impressed that businesses and communities clearly understood and articulated the value proposition of the region,” said Starner. “Some of the primary assets of that are the college and university systems, workforce support, infrastructure, and cultural and lifestyle communities. Everyone with whom I met understood that all of the assets work together to provide an environment inducive to attracting new economic growth.” During his presentation, Starner noted that Knoxville is a top-performing metro and that the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley organization is a top-performing economic development agency. He also provided advice to continue the region’s economic development momentum. “I would certainly advise the community to continue to invest into product assets like business parks, infrastructure upgrades, and certified properties which are highly conducive and attractive to new businesses,” said Starner.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 51

Knoxville Chamber Partners with Business Owners Benefits Association BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Knoxville Chamber is excited to announce the launch of a sponsorship with Maryville-based Business Owners Benefits Association (BOBA). BOBA will now serve as the Chamber’s Official Small Business Services Sponsor. “We are excited about the partnership and opportunity to expand our relationship with the Chamber and Knoxville’s business community,” says Eric W. Barton, owner & CEO of BOBA. “Both BOBA and the Knoxville Chamber have proven success when it comes to business growth initiatives and economic achievements for area businesses, so a partnership seemed natural.” Veteran-founded and operated since 2007, BOBA is a national membership-based organization committed to returning financial balance to those contributing the most new jobs, services, and revenue to the U.S. economy – small businesses. BOBA unites small businesses and non-profit organizations, giving them the same leverage large corporations receive. “BOBA is focused on the success of small businesses, which have such an important role in fueling the U.S. economy,” says Barton, “We tackle the critical issues and costly services which impede business success and sustainable growth. By delivering cost savings, risk control, and compliance solutions, we drive support and success to our members and BOBA gains leverage and buying power with each new member that joins.” The association’s advisors address critical small business issues and become a single solution and resource for business owners, while providing cost savings, risk control, and compliance solutions. Each membership includes an annual comprehensive business evaluation that addresses specific pain points and allows for a customized implementation of value-added services. BOBA provides business owners and non-profits the tools they need to operate and enhance their business or organization. It serves as a one-stop shop by providing solutions for credit card processing, energy savings, payroll and HR compliance, legal services, funding, and more. Membership is increasing every day and as membership grows, so does the aggregated buying power and leverage needed to return financial balance to small businesses. “BOBA member cost-savings and risk and compliance advising services have exceeded

Jim Stratton, John Ballinger, Mark Field, Michelle Kiely, and Eric Barton pose for a photo on Jan. 25.

even the association’s expectations with most of our members seeing the value of membership immediately and cost savings within the first month” states Jim Stratton, BOBA’s vice president of sales and marketing. Through this partnership, Chamber members can receive 10 percent off the first year of BOBA’s annual membership and begin taking advantage of all the association has to offer. “The Chamber is looking forward to strengthening our relationship with BOBA and creating more awareness about the benefits they can provide our small business members,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber. For more information, or to join BOBA, visit which includes descriptions of all services, member testimonials, success stories, and news. Chamber members can use the promo code KNOXCHAMBER10 when joining online to utilize the discount.

Four Local Businesses Win U.S. Chamber’s Blue Ribbon Award BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Four Knoxville Chamber member companies have been selected as 2016 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners. This program recognizes companies for their success, innovation, and contributions to economic growth and free enterprise. The winners — All Occasion Catering, All Occasions Party Rentals, Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation, and Proton Power, Inc.— were chosen from a record number of nationwide applicants and will be honored in June at the 2016 America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. “Once again, we are incredibly proud of our member companies that have received this national recognition,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “They are excellent examples of the small businesses in operation across Innovation Valley, and we are honored to have them represent our region.”

The four winners are now eligible for the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. On March 9, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will announce seven regional finalists chosen from this year’s 100 Blue Ribbon Award winners and will present the winner with a $10,000 cash prize during the 2016 summit. The winners are also eligible for the U.S Chamber of Commerce Community Excellence Award, which recognizes a business that has demonstrated considerable commitment supporting its local community. The winner will be decided through online public voting from Feb. 17 through March 4 and will also be announced during this year’s summit. The Knoxville Chamber nominates past Pinnacle Business Award winners for the awards based on eligibility requirements. There were 11 applicants from the Knoxville area for the award this year.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 52


MENTOR: CANNON & CANNON, INC. Owner: Angie Cannon Website: Industry Type: Engineering Consulting Who has been one of your important mentors and why? What were the key lessons learned?

Owners: Susanne Dalton Dupes, Deb Schmitz, and Wendy Pitts Reeves Website: Industry Type: Training and Consulting Describe your firm briefly, and what are your main markets or services? We are “women leaders building women leaders.” We provide training, coaching, and consulting designed to increase the number of women leaders at all levels of organizations. When an organization has at least 30 percent women in leadership, sales, return on equity, and return on invested capital increase dramatically. Our training is targeted at three levels of women: emerging leaders (rising stars who are about to become leaders, new leaders, and young leaders ready to move up); emerging directors; and emerging C-Suite executives. Our charter training this April targets those level 1 emerging leaders.

What are three lessons you have learned from your mentor? 1. Always be flexible working with your team, give them grace, and don’t think of things as being written in stone. 2. Partnerships are never 50/50 (or in our case 33/33/33). To succeed, every partner has to bring 100% all the time, so 100/100/100. 3. It is critical to get direct feedback from your target audience before launching marketing materials to ensure that you are talking in their language.

My father-in-law, Bill Cannon. He ran an engineering company much larger than ours for many years and his knowledge and relationship-based approach to clients and employees were the model that Cannon & Cannon was based on. He taught us that it is important to be “bottom-line aware,” but not “bottom-line driven.”

What are the benefits of being a mentor? One of the benefits is getting to learn about a new business that you did not even know about, and to bask in the enthusiasm that goes with starting a new business. Another advantage is getting to realize some of the lessons that you have learned that you were unaware of.

Do you think successful firms should mentor a small firm? If so, why? Yes. There are a lot of little lessons that we learn along the way that we are not always even aware of but that would be very valuable to a new company just trying to get off the ground.

What are the three key priorities small firm owners should consider every day? 1. Don’t put unvoiced expectations on to others. 2. Be aware of the bottom line, but don’t let it be what drives every decision. There is more to the whole picture. 3. Know your clients and employees, not just for what you can get from them, but really know who they are.

How has your business or management thinking changed because of your mentor? Our mentor models for us how important it is to make time to support new businesses, to be open to others, and to give back to the community around us.

Why should every business have a mentor? We are all evolving and need help to see what we can’t see for ourselves or about ourselves. Mentors also hold us to a higher standard to ensure we are successful. They teach us things they have learned through their experience; things we haven’t had the opportunity to learn yet.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 53


(Jan. 2016)

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. ’14Dec. ‘15

Dec. 2015

Nov. 2015

Dec. 2014

% Change Nov. ’15Dec. ‘15

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

229,520 407,810 3,057,100 157,340,000

224,600 394,740 2,985,300 155,521,000

1.0 1.1 0.7 -0.1

3.2 4.5 3.1 1.1

397,500 2,944,800

394,900 2,930,400

384,800 2,878,400

0.7 0.5

3.3 2.3

11,010 22,380 181,750

11,160 22,220 182,290

12,580 25,810 213,760

-1.3 0.7 -0.3

-12.5 -13.3 -15.0

4.3 4.9 5.3 4.8

4.4 5.0 5.4 4.8

5.0 5.6 6.4 5.4

-0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.0

-0.7 -0.7 -1.1 -0.6

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Jan. 2016 977 8,265 $153,000

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. ’14Jan. ‘16 1.6 1.5

Jan. ’15-‘16

Dec. ’14-‘15

Jan. ’14-‘15

1.0 1.4

0.3 0.7

-0.6 -0.1

0.7 0.7

% Change Jan. ’15Jan. ‘16

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Dec. 2015* 16 16 0

Dec. 2014 247 10 237

% Change Dec. ’14Dec. ‘15 -93.5 60.0 -100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

107 107 0

330 93 237

-67.6 15.1 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

188 162 26

363 126 237

-48.2 28.6 -89.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,148 1,415 733

1,936 1,219 717

11.0 16.1 2.2

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Jan. 2016

Dec. 2015

Jan. 2015

% Change Dec. ’15Jan. ‘16

64,559,832 96,569,875 869,837,506

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

60,036,866 88,486,904 801,042,830

25.5 29.1 33.9

7.5 9.1 8.6

18,101,668 27,809,022

14,491,482 21,691,442

17,180,714 26,008,621

24.9 28.2

5.4 6.9


Passengers Cargo

Oct. 2015 173,400 6,555,724

Sept. 2015 148,845 NA

Oct. 2014 165,247 6,797,596

% Change Sept. ’15Oct. ‘15 16.5 NA

% Change Oct. ’14Oct.‘15 4.9 -3.6

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2015 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


793 9,280 $145,000


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Dec. ’15Jan. ‘16

Jan. 2015

% Change Jan. ’15Jan. ‘16 23.2 -10.9 5.5

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2015 1,318 8,499 $152,500

% Change Dec. ’15Jan. ‘16 -25.9 -2.8 0.3

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. 2016

Dec. 2015

402,209 21,575 15,586 7,760 56,497 50,691 7,883 28,963 49,965 26,261 8,634 82,040 39,506

514,928 26,191 33,026 13,009 61,793 54,624 10,624 31,481 75,473 30,501 11,703 94,138 59,289

396,495 21,222 15,589 8,206 55,954 47,920 7,759 32,002 49,475 25,865 8,635 79,462 38,041

% Change Dec. ’15Jan. ‘16 -21.9 -17.6 -52.8 -40.3 -8.6 -7.2 -25.8 -8.0 -33.8 -13.9 -26.2 -12.9 -33.4





Jan. 2015

% Change Jan. ’15Jan. ‘16 1.4 1.7 0.0 -5.4 1.0 5.8 1.6 -9.5 1.0 1.5 0.0 3.2 3.9 7.6

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

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 | 54

Roundtable Engages Students with Prominent, Local BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

Students from the Knoxville Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) met with local CEOs for a roundtable discussion on Jan. 21. YEA is a 30-week extra-curricular program for middle and high schoolers that teaches them how to take a business idea from concept to creation. It is presented by Pilot Flying J and supported by Clayton Bank and the Alcoa Foundation. Jim Rooney of 3-Minute Magic Carwash, Mel Evans of Insurefit RM, Mahasti Vafaie of The Tomato Head, Michael Strickland of Bandit Lites, and Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment participated in the roundtable. They provided the students with personal stories, advice about starting businesses, and fundamentals of entrepreneurship. “The CEO Roundtable allowed the YEA students to receive direct advice from successful Knoxville entrepreneurs that have overcome the challenges that start-up businesses face,” said Mackenzie Fox, YEA program manager. “Each student left the roundtable re-energized and with knowledge they could apply to their own entrepreneurial journey.”

Mark Field, senior vice president of Chamber development, moderates the YEA CEO roundtable with Jim Rooney of 3-Minute Magic Carwash, Mel Evans of Insurefit RM, Mahasti Vafaie of The Tomato Head, Michael Strickland of Bandit Lites, and Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment.

YEA! students pose with Knoxville CEOs Jim Rooney, Mel Evans, Mahasti Vafaie, Michael Strickland, and Ashley Capps at the CEO Roundtable on Jan. 21.

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


20 – 24 YEARS


10 – 14 YEARS


Pugh CPAs


YMCA of East Tennessee, Inc.


Hiscall Incorporated


Armstrong Relocation/United Van Lines


The Salvation Army


East Tennessee PBS


Bertelkamp Automation, Inc.


Edfinancial Services


Visit Knoxville


Pellissippi State Community College


Robert Half Finance & Accounting


Steiner & Ellis, PLLC


Brown, Brown & West


Delta Dental of Tennessee


All Occasions Party Rentals


Rouse Construction Company


High Resolutions


Geosyntec Consultants


First Utility District of Knox County


Utilities Management Federation, Inc.


Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority


15-19 YEARS

Alsco Inc


Volunteer Lumber Sales, Inc.


Land Development Solutions


North American Merchant Services, Inc.




Tennessee Associated Electric


Guardsmark, LLC


U.S. Cellular


SITE, Inc.


SSC Service Solutions


Beaty Chevrolet Company


Knowledge Launch


Orkin Pest Control


Dollar & Ewers Architecture, Inc.



25 – 30 YEARS


Monday Properties


I. C. Thomasson Associates, Inc.


Wyndham Vacation Resorts


Waste Management, Inc. of Tennessee


Faith Promise Church


Management Solutions, LLC


Knoxville Track Club


New Balance Knoxville


Caris Healthcare, LP


Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union


TJ Development & Management, LLC


Pathway Lending


Cellular Sales of Knoxville, Inc.


Stonecraft, Inc.


K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 55

Annual Breakfast with Gov. Bill Haslam Brings in Record Crowd BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

More than 660 members of the business community attended the Knoxville Chamber’s annual breakfast with Gov. Bill Haslam at the Knoxville Convention Center on Feb. 5. The annual event, presented by Stowers Machinery Corporation and supported by Kramer Rayson LLP, Alcoa, and Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc., gives businesspeople and elected officials the chance to hear the governor discuss his priorities for the state of Tennessee. This year, Gov. Haslam discussed the state’s condition, his plans for the budget this session, and possibilities for improvement in the state. “We have a unique opportunity in Tennessee,” said Gov. Haslam. “We have a budget surplus, and this doesn’t just happen. Our economy is better, and organizations like the Chamber have been working hard to build up economic infrastructure and create job demand.” “More people in Tennessee have a job than any other time in our history,” he continued Gov. Haslam also discussed his plan to invest $261 million of new dollars into public education, the most ever without a tax increase. “I personally think education is the most important investment we can make,” said Haslam. “There is nothing more important to the quality of our communities than the quality of our school systems.” Haslam also discussed the importance of thoughtful budgeting and not spending money simply because it’s there. It’s precisely this philosophy from the Haslam administration that has helped Tennessee secure a strong economic condition and its significant budget surplus.

Gov. Bill Haslam poses with Wes Stowers of Stowers Machinery (left) and Ed Rottman (right). Stowers Machinery was the presenting sponsor of the Governor’s Breakfast.

Chamber Committee Assists with Regional Transportation Planning BY: JESSICA KARSTEN

The Knoxville Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has the unique opportunity to provide significant input on local transportation projects with its recent involvement in the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization. TPO is a federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Knoxville Urban Area, which includes areas of Knox, Blount, Loudon, and Sevier counties. It serves as a planning agency that works to ensure a comprehensive transportation planning process to develop programs and projects that consider all modes of transportation and the goals of the community at large. The organization is required by federal law to develop a multi-modal transportation plan with at least a 20-year scope. The plan must include strategies for congestion management, financial analyses, and a list of all public involvement in the planning process. TPO developed the Long Range Regional Mobility Plan, called Mobility Plan 2040, for the Knoxville region, which lays out the vision for transportation in the area for the next 24 years. The plan’s vision is to ensure that the region is connected by a transportation system that is efficient, reliable, affordable, and environmentally-friendly. It was adopted in April 2013. This plan must be updated every four years to remain consistent with existing conditions and fiscal capacity, which includes reevaluating proposed projects. In order to effectively evaluate the existing transportation projects, the organization receives public input from a variety of sources including a Technical Committee of local experts. “Our region is projected to grow by 300,000 people and 240,000 new jobs in the next 25 years,” said Jeff Welch, director of TPO. “As we plan for this growth it is critical that the business community participate early and often as we address our transportation infrastructure needs.” The Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has been selected to serve as

one of TPO’s advisory committees for this round of evaluation. Many of the committee members also serve on the TPO Mobility Advisory Committee, which allows for numerous opportunities for input on what the region’s needs are and how projects can benefit the business community. The committee first met in January to begin the year-long process of reviewing and providing feedback on existing transportation projects. “It is greatly important for us to receive input from the Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on what our region’s transportation priorities are,” Welch said. “There will not be enough funding available to address all of our transportation needs over the next 20 years. Having Chamber representatives participate in discussing our infrastructure needs and how we will pay for these needs will be a very important conversation to have over the next 12 months,” he continued. Over the next year, committee members will review projects, provide input about the direction of the plan, and complete surveys to express which selection criteria is most important to the reviewing process. They will also analyze the conditions the region will be in the next few years and identify what the infrastructure needs are based on that analysis. “All Knoxville Chamber members benefit from having an active, engaged cross section of businesses taking time to devote to committee meetings and sharing common areas of importance to the TPO,” said Alan Hill, Chairman of the Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. To learn more about TPO and its Mobility Plan 2040, please visit

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 56

Chamber Hosts Legislative Panel Discussion on Transportation, Infrastructure BY: MACKENZIE FOX

The Knoxville Chamber hosted its first Legislative Briefing of the 2016 session on Feb. 19. The Legislative Briefing series is sponsored by AT&T. A panel discussion featuring Steve Borden, Tennessee Department of Transportation Region 1 director; Jeff Welch, Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization director; Reps. Jimmy Matlock and Eddie Smith from the Tennessee General Assembly; and moderated by Susan Richardson Williams, chair of the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee, highlighted the many transportation and infrastructure issues facing our region and state. The panelists discussed the current problems, viable solutions, and the future of transportation in Knoxville and the state of Tennessee. Welch, the director of the Knoxville area TPO, is worried that we are running out of time to catch up with projects that need to be completed. Over the last 10 years, the population in the Knoxville area has grown 35 percent and it is expected to grow by another 240,000 residents in the coming years. Investments need to be made in order to keep those residents safe and our roadways efficient. “If we don’t invest in our transportation infrastructure, we are going to be so far behind,” commented Welch. Tennessee has been one of the top states in the nation with its highway system, but the main issue is obtaining funding for the projects on the books. The Knoxville community is facing unique challenges because of the population growth and the topography of the region. “The cost to maintain, the cost to construct, and the number of bridges we have - our expense per lane mile is much higher than the rest of the state,” commented Borden, the regional director for TDOT. The surplus in this year’s budget has stimulated discussion on the possible impact it could have on the highway fund. Rep. Smith introduced a bill that takes $130 million of the surplus money and puts it back in the highway fund. “What that amounts to for TDOT, is an immediate cash infusion they will have to start doing these projects,” said Rep. Smith. While every little bit helps, the $130 million will not have a huge impact on the projects currently on the books. Rep. Smith explained that TDOT’s annual budget is $1.84 billion and the backlog of projects total $11.4 billion. “At that rate, it would be 2060 when [TDOT] would finish that list of projects at the current

Robyn Askew, Rep. Eddie Smith, Susan Richardson Williams, Rep. Jimmy Matlock, Jeff Welch, Steve Borden, Amy Nolan and Alan Hill pose for a photo at the Feb. 19 Legislative Briefing.

funding,” he said. In order to combat the funding problem, the panel expressed the need for longterm solutions. “We’re trying to think outside the box,” said Rep. Matlock. He discussed ideas and proposals from the House Transportation Committee that range from public transportation units using the emergency lanes to ease congestion problems, to utilizing excess land between highways to build railways to connect big cities, such as Knoxville and Atlanta, as potential solutions. With Tennessee’s high national ranking in transportation infrastructure, the panelists discussed also the importance of continuing to improve the infrastructure to move forward. To watch a video of the discussion in its entirety, please visit the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

RIBBON CUTTING Consign to Design celebrated the grand opening of their new location at 9329 Kingston Pike in the Market Place Shopping Center in February. Owners David and Kristi Hickey (center) are pictured. They are joined by family, employees, and Chamber Ambassadors.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 57

Holiday Inn Knoxville West at Cedar Bluff Hosts Business After Hours More than 275 guests packed the Holiday Inn Knoxville West at Cedar Bluff for its Carnevale-themed Business After Hours on Jan. 19. Attendees enjoyed delicious food and networking while admiring the location’s recent renovations and festive décor. The event’s door prizes gave three lucky guests hotel stays and various amenities. Allie Crain of the Tennessee Smokies took home an all-inclusive romance package, Adam Freitag of Liberty Mutual Insurance won an overnight stay and certificates for a deluxe dinner cruise, and Zach Walton of Capital Financial Group was awarded an overnight stay in Gatlinburg with an entertainment dinner package.


MARCH 8 Schmoozapalooza

4 – 7 p.m. Knoxville Expo Center, 5441 Clinton Highway, 37912 $10 (Chamber members can save $5 by pre-registering prior to March 6) PRESENTED BY:

MARCH 11 Legislative Briefing Panel discussion on issues surrounding education with Reps. Harry Brooks, Roger Kane, and Bill Dunn 8 – 9 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square PRESENTED BY:

MARCH 22 Exclusive Premier Partner Event featuring Jay Rogers, CEO and Co-Founder of Local Motors Attendees gathered in the Holiday Inn’s ballroom for food and networking during the Business After Hours on Jan. 19.

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square

APRIL 1 Legislative Briefing Session recap featuring panelists Sen. Richard Briggs, Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, and Rep. Jason Zachary 8 – 9 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square PRESENTED BY:

Holiday Inn staff and guests Amy Atchley, Tiffany Barrett, Gwen Parisi, Babs Richardson, Robin Biggs, and Fred Bullard pose for a photo during the Chamber’s Business After Hours at the Holiday Inn Knoxville West at Cedar Bluff.

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

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 58

2016 March Commerce  
2016 March Commerce