Page 1

INSIDE: Mayoral Debate Recap pg. 51 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 55


BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Atomic City Partners (865) 621-5510 Business & Professional Services: Advertising Media Busmax Rent-A-Bus (865) 317-8007 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service

Innovative Pursuits, Inc. (865) 223-1622 Business & Professional Services

Jennifer Justice Interiors (865) 384-3469 Residential Services: Interior Design Kilwins Knoxville (865) 219-1233 Restaurants: Sweet Treats & Bakeries

Advent Electric (865) 588-0631 Electrical Supplies & Services Alzheimer’s Association - Mid South Chapter (865) 200-6668 Associations & Organizations

Nexus Homebuyers (877) 234-8486 Real Estate

Berkshire Hathaway - Michelle Bingham (865) 607-1981 Real Estate: Residential

Reliable Resources (865) 922-2621 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Calhoun’s Maryville (865) 984-9340 Restaurants Chesapeake’s West (865) 851-9088 Restaurants Corner 16 (865) 801-9101 Restaurants DAF Properties Hotels & Lodging: Rentals Ecco Ride of Tennessee, LLC (865) 540-6570 Transportation

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.


Launch Tennessee (615) 673-4419 Associations & Organizations Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer (865) 507-2667 Restaurants

Brightway Insurance, The Serio Agency (865) 409-0819 Insurance



InfoSystems (423) 624-6551 Computer & IT Services


Ryan’s Plumbing Services (865) 742-5355 Construction & Contractors: Plumbing Southern Comfort Limousine (865) 621-5510 Transportation: Limousine TeamLogic IT of West Knoxville (865) 342-7839 Computer & IT Services



First Century Bank (865) 947-5485 Financial Services: Banks

Farmers Insurance - The Brenda Evans Agency (865) 357-0678 Insurance









The Painted Room (865) 414-9219 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Painting Today’s Dentistry, LLC. (865) 246-0745 Healthcare Providers & Services: Dentists Volhomes, LLC (865) 321-8999 Business & Professional Services

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





n today’s digital age, there is no shortage of data collected from consumers and businesses. With technological advances and the rise of computers and the Internet, mass amounts of data are generated while shopping online, carrying a GPS-equipped smartphone or communicating on social media channels. The concept of Big Data is not a new one; however, businesses are now capitalizing on this information at an exponential rate. According to Wikibon, total revenue from the Big Data market is expected in increase from $18.3 billion in 2014 to $92.2 billion by 2026. Businesses of all sizes and across all industries are seeing the value in these significant consumer insights and are using them to drive sales and boost growth.

WHAT IS BIG DATA? Big Data is the large volume of data - both structured and unstructured that can be used to generate actionable insights and drive business growth. Internally, this information comes from businesses’ archives, CRM software

and data storage; externally, businesses derive data from social media, the Internet, sensor data, machine log data and more. Research giant Gartner’s three V’s of Big Data are volume, velocity and variety, meaning “data that contains greater variety arriving in increasing volumes and with ever-higher velocity.” There is so much more to having access to unlimited amounts of information, businesses need high-quality information in a timely manner that is specific to their industry and customers.

LEVERAGING THE POWER OF BIG DATA The significance of Big Data does not revolve around the large amount of information available, but rather how companies use it. Businesses can take data from any source and analyze it to find actionable answers that enable cost reductions, time reductions, new product development and smarter decision making. The primary way businesses can utilize Big Data is to better understand who their customers are - learning who buys their products or services and how they are used by customers. With this information, businesses can more successfully target similar consumers and improve or create better products to meet their customers’ needs.


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

Continued from page 49 This detailed, demographic information allows businesses to create more impactful marketing campaigns that drive sales. Big Data can be used to predict which groups of people will respond better to different marketing strategies and understand what impacts customers’ buying decisions. In addition to gaining insights into target consumers, businesses are able to predict future trends and improve operational efficiencies with the help of Big Data analytics. Companies like Netflix and Procter & Gamble use Big Data to anticipate consumer demand by building predictive models for new products or services. They accomplish this by classifying key traits of past and current products or services and modeling the relationship between those traits and the commercial success of the offerings. UPS houses a large amount of data, most of which comes from sensors in its vehicles. This data monitors daily performance and prompted a major redesign of its drivers’ routes by relying on online map data to reconfigure the drivers’ pickups and drop-offs in real time. The data-driven initiative, called ORION (On-Road Integration Optimization and Navigation) saved UPS more than 8.4 million gallons of fuel by

cutting 85 million miles off daily routes. Large, worldwide brands are not the only companies benefiting from Big Data insights. Businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, insurance and banking see major returns on investing in Big Data. By analyzing the vast amounts of medical records, treatment plans and prescription information, health care providers can now uncover patterns to spot disease early and improve patient care. Similarly, banks and financial institutions are inundated with information from a variety of sources. They not only use this data to understand customers and boost satisfaction, but also to minimize risk and fraud. With the help of Big Data, manufacturers are working in a more analytics-based culture, allowing them to boost productivity and outputs while minimizing waste. Retailers use Big Data analytics to improve marketing, build relationships with customers and discover the best transaction methods for them. Tools for Big Data have never been better, and the possibilities for business growth and innovation are endless. The information derived from Big Data analytics helps uncover insights that allow businesses to solve problems and make smarter decisions, increasing sales, productivity and growth.

Chamber Provides Big Data Solutions The Knoxville Chamber recognizes the power of data, and has options for member businesses to access information to help them grow their business. The Knoxville Chamber’s research specialist, Joe Riley, can provide member businesses Knoxville-area demographic research and reports at low or no cost, including: Consumer Expenditure Reports, Detailed Demographic Reports, Business Lists and Income Summary Reports.

The Chamber also partners with USADATA to provide members with access to powerful “intelligent data” to connect them with more consumers. Consumer iD is a fee-based service offered to Chamber members at a fraction of the cost of non-affiliated data solutions. It provides consumer-based businesses with Look Alike Profiles that identify the common traits of existing loyal customers and find more people that have similar traits.

“On a fairly regular basis, I contact Joe Riley with requests for demo-

“The Knoxville Chamber’s Consumer iD program proved to be an excel-

graphic and industry information and reports. He provides me the informa-

lent tool in helping my client, Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling,

tion by geographic location, zip code, or business classifications. I have

Inc., identify consumers who had the demographic characteristics to be po-

used this information internally when needing to contact business owners

tential clients of Pipe Wrench. Plus, the Chamber’s market research showed

or to share with business organizations, existing businesses or start-ups

us that our best customer to target is not exactly who we thought.

that have requested the information. Joe is very responsive and I’m always grateful for his quick response to my requests.”

In conjunction with other marketing strategies, Pipe Wrench now does regular marketing campaigns using the Chamber’s data, and

- Patricia Robledo, Business Liaison for the City of Knoxville “Due to the unique nature of each request for information (RFI) we receive from prospective companies or their site selection consultants, we lean heavily on Joe Riley to dig into the data to help answer those specific questions. He’s able to pull cost of living and wage rate comparisons, as well as community growth rate information to help us show companies why they should choose Knoxville for their relocation or expansion.” - Doug Lawyer, Vice President of Economic Development for the Knoxville Chamber

in 2017, new customer growth was 40 percent, the staff doubled in size, and annual revenue increased by 90.4 percent.” - Aleex Conner, President of Marketing Dimensions

To learn more about Consumer iD, schedule an appointment with Michelle Kiely, vice president of development for the Chamber, by calling 865-2462635.

Contact Joe Riley at to learn more.

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

Knox County Mayoral Debate Hosted by Chamber with Knoxville Area Association of Realtors, Jewelry Television and WBIR Profiles of the candidates are at the Chamber’s, and the debate can be found at


The only televised Knox County Mayoral debate and the only forum to feature all five candidates for the post was hosted in April at an event created by the Knoxville Chamber. WBIR-TV, Channel 10 televised the hour-long debate live, and Jewelry Television donated its state-of-the-art studio, as well as numerous staff, for the April 5 debate that aired from 7-8 p.m. The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors served as sponsor. The Knoxville Chamber’s promotion of the event and candidate profiles on garnered nearly 1,500-page views in the two weeks prior to the event. The studio audience included 250 people while tens of thousands more watched live on WBIR. Roughly 35,000 views were recorded on WBIR’s Facebook Live. WBIR anchor John Becker moderated the discussion, posing questions to the candidates about education, economic development, priorities, spending and taxing. All five candidates vying for their party’s nomination participated: Republicans Brad Anders, Glenn Jacobs and Bob Thomas, as well as Democrats Rhonda Gallman and Linda Haney. Winners of each party’s primary in May, along with independent candidates, advance to the Aug. 2 election.


Commissioner Brad Anders, Glenn Jacobs, Commissioner Bob Thomas, Rhonda Gallman and Linda Haney take part in the Knox County Mayoral Debate.

Gen-Z Marketing Solutions Company ‘SWARM’ Wins What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

After 48 intense hours of refining and developing their “big ideas” for the business start-up competition, a winner of What’s the Big Idea (WTBI) 48-Hour Launch was crowned from a group of six finalists. On April 15, the finalists took the stage at Scruffy City Hall to present their final ideas to a panel of judges in a Shark Tank-style pitch event. This year included an impressive array of business concepts, but it was Michael Newton’s SWARM that took home the grand prize – up to $10,000 in startup reimbursement costs, office space, a spot in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s CO.STARTERS program and other complimentary business services. SWARM is a Gen-Z-focused marketing solutions company helping brands generate attention and exposure through leveraging the social status of micro-influencers to create largescale word-of-mouth-campaigns. “This year’s group of finalists were really great,” said Jonathan Sexton, COO at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. “As a whole, the ideas represented a unique cross-section of industry sectors, and even more importantly showcased a variety of companies that make our city great.” Leading up to the finale, the finalists worked around the clock to make their ideas pitch-ready with the help of mentors and coaches from the community. “The WTBI event has been the most educational business event I have ever attended,” said Michael Newton, founder of SWARM. “We had incredibly successful entrepreneurs, consultants, programmers and designers to help us develop our business

and shed some light on the path ahead. I have a far better vision for my company than I did going into the weekend.” He added, “This is only the beginning for me and my team. We are working on exponentially growing our business this year. WTBI has given us clarity on our goals and the necessary steps we must take to achieve them. I couldn’t be more excited to work on my business.” This year’s event was presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Harper Auto Square.

The five other “big ideas” competing against SWARM were: • Electro-Active Technologies - A system that enables companies to convert their own waste into low-cost, renewable hydrogen • Gear Up - Gives sports fans a chance to win tickets, autographs and apparel while giving back to the game they love • Skylight - Like CarFax for your home, Skylight actively manages your most important investment, so you can enjoy living in it • Note-ster - A user-friendly, engaging learning platform that middle and high school teachers and students use to view, share and store helpful tips, links and videos they find online by using the power of crowdsourcing and social networking to connect the global learning community • Inky Boys Soap Company - Makes hand-crafted bar soap using recycled fats and all-natural essential oils that clean and nourish skin

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

Governor: Keep High Expectations for Students, Teachers, Schools sides of the political spectrum should acknowledge is a probGov. Bill Haslam challenged business lem. He believes education is and community leaders to not lower the the answer, and noted his adbar on their expectations and not let up ministration added $1.5 billion on reforms that have made Tennessee to K-12 public education, the one of the fastest improving states in largest increase in any eightpublic education. year period in the state. “It is an incredibly rapidly changing Haslam also heaped praise world,” Haslam said, “and what we on Knoxville, where the former used to be able to provide in a trained mayor and his wife, Crissy, will workforce doesn’t come near to meetreturn to live after their tenure ing the standard that it needs to today.” ends in Nashville. The governor ticked off a list of mileHe recalled that 15 years stones the state has made in education, ago Knoxville residents would including providing free tuition to comsay they wished the city was munity colleges and technical schools; more like Chattanooga, Atlanthe highest high school graduate rate ta, Asheville or “pick your city.” in state history; and rapid increases in “Since that time, due to a lot Gov. Bill Haslam addresses a room of more than 300 business and community leaders. graduation rates from four-year universiof great leadership…there is ties. this sense that we have learned But he cautioned the more than 450 people at the March 19 luncheon not to forget to be our own city, and to take pride in what we have,” Haslam said, highlightthe “hard decisions” by political leaders that made that progress possible. ing the redevelopment of downtown. “We haven’t just improved education in Tennessee because we got lucky,” he said. The Governor’s Luncheon was sponsored by Stowers Machinery Corp., “There were some hard, but specific steps that people took long before I got here that with support from Kramer Rayson and Edfinancial Services. To view a video made a huge difference.” from the event, visit the Knoxville Chamber’s YouTube channel. Those steps included raising standards for when students are considered proficient in subject matters; annual assessments tied to those standards; and teachers’ (from left to right) Wes Stowers, president at presenting sponevaluations that include student outcomes. sor Stowers Machinery Corp., “I worry about people not realizing that those things got us here, and that people Rachel Kinney, Gov. Bill Haslam, will start taking those for granted and let those start drifting away,” said Haslam, who Lisa Rothman and Ed Rothman. has about nine months remaining as governor. “The challenges out there still exist, and my fear is when you go through a battle and see results, people don’t see the battles that became before them.” The governor also worries about income inequality, which he said people from all BY: AMY NOLAN

Fulmer Featured at April Premier Partner Event BY: LYNSEY WILSON

University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer addressed more than 100 of the Chamber’s Premier Partners at an April 3 breakfast. The former Volunteer football coach shared his plans for the future of Tennessee athletics and answered questions about the upcoming season. Hyatt Place Downtown Knoxville hosted the event, treating guests to breakfast and a tour of their rooftop venue. For information on how you can invest in the economic vitality of our region and receive exclusive Chamber benefits as a Premier Partner, contact Ashleigh Christian at 865-246-2616.

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UT Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer addresses Knoxville Chamber Premier Partners.

Sponsored by:

Departing Legislators Brooks, Kane Applauded at Capitol Connections BY: AMY NOLAN

Those attending the final legislative panel discussion of the Capitol Connections series gave retiring state Rep. Harry Brooks a standing ovation in honor of his 16 years of service, which included leading efforts to bring greater accountability to Tennessee public education. Both Mike Edwards, the Knoxville Chamber’s CEO, and fellow legislator and panelist, Rep. Rick Staples, praised Brooks’ calm, steady and nonpartisan leadership in steering through reform initiatives under two governors – Gov. Bill Haslam and Gov. Phil Bredesen. Brooks served as chair of the House Education Administration & Planning Committee and as a member of the House Education Instruction & Programs Committee. The departure of Rep. Roger Kane after six years of service was also acknowledged, including his interest in reading proficiency as chair of the House Education Instruction & Programs Subcommittee and a member of both House education committees. “Skillfully moderated by Susan Williams, chair of the Chamber’s Government Relations & Public Policy Committee, the Capitol Connections discussions have provided Chamber members timely information about bills traveling through the Tennessee General Assembly,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “We appreciate members of the Knox County legislative delegation taking the time to keep us up-to-date on issues of interest to the business community,” he added. The series is sponsored by AT&T and WGU Tennessee, and resumes again in February 2019.

(from left) Knoxville Chamber Board Chair Terry Turner, Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards, Chamber Government Relations Committee Chair Susan Richardson Williams, Rep. Rick Staples, Rep. Roger Kane, WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kim Estep and AT&T Regional Director Alan Hill.

LEADERSHIP PROFILE Gregg Crowe, Campus President of Virginia College – Knoxville Gregg Crowe believes in the transformative power of education. Appointed to the position of campus president of Virginia College – Knoxville last November, Crowe has been working in higher education for over 10 years. Virginia College is a vocational college in Fountain City with programs in healthcare, business and the trades. Virginia College provides career training to students in the form of certificate and associates programs. As campus president, Crowe provides oversight for all aspects of the student life cycle. “Student experience is a passion of mine. In the classroom we serve students, outside the classroom we serve students as customers,” Crowe said. “Students come to Virginia College because they want high-quality instruction in academic programs that are focused and have strong career outcomes.” Crowe’s background includes experience in service industries before transitioning to education. The service experience has informed his leadership style in education. Education is the ultimate people business because it is tasked with the honor and responsibility to prepare students for their profession. The importance of that work is heightened when a school prepares people to work in healthcare. “Our graduates will absolutely have a positive impact on our community. They will provide care to our families and our neighbors. They are trained to work in industries that touch the lives of everyone,” Crowe said. “I’m proud to know that we are training people to work in such important industries. I’m also proud to know that the jobs they get because of their education will improve the lives of their families in process.” According to Crowe, schools do not operate in a vacuum. Successful schools are a part of the fabric of the communities in which they operate. It’s important to understand the needs of the community and the employers, and then adapt to meet those needs while maintaining academic rigor. As a leader, Crowe strives to create an environment of hard work, transparent communication and fun. “I take my role as a leader very seriously,” Crowe said. “Good leaders do seek additional privilege because of their titles, they adopt the mindset that they should work harder and set an example of service for others to follow. Students entrust their time and money with my team, so it’s important that we remain nimble enough to respond to their needs.” Finally, Crowe emphasizes the importance of a healthy work/life balance with his employees. “At the end of the day, we are a team,” he said. “If each of us works hard every day, we will serve our students, our community and our families well.” The Virginia College is an institution of higher education dedicated to providing quality programs that integrate curriculum with professional skill development, empowering students to achieve their lifelong personal and professional goals.

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American Composites Manufacturers Association Hosts Recycling Conference in Knoxville BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), the world’s largest composites industry trade organization, hosted its Composites Recycling Conference at the Hilton Knoxville from April 10 – 12. Session topics ranged from “Properties of Recycled Fibers” to “Re-purposing Aerospace Production Scrap.” The event brought experts from the U.S. and around the world together to discuss the most relevant technology and business developments making composites recycling a reality. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with an international network of businesses and industry stakeholders and see the latest recycled composites products. In addition, the conference allowed composites companies to explore the development

of a self-sustaining composites recycling industry and learn how to reduce scrap and increase productivity to improve their bottom lines. Guests from across the country also toured the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) lab at the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, and Local Motors’ micro-factory in Hardin Valley. “If you look at the total supply chain in the composites sector, recyclers were one of the missing links in the Knoxville region,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “That’s why it was so important, and we were so excited, that ACMA chose to host the Composites Recycling Conference in our city.” Composites Coalition, the statewide initiative working to raise international awareness of Tennessee’s composites-related assets and opportunities, partnered with ACMA on this significant industry event.

MAY - 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 May. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! 31+ YEARS

White Realty and Service Corporation Knoxville Beverage Co., Inc. Covenant Health Webb School of Knoxville Associated General Contractors of Tennessee - Knoxville Branch D & V Distributing Company Cindy Doyle Agency/State Farm Insurance Company Commercial Realty Company AMR/Rural Metro Fire Department Asset Planning Corporation Ayres & Parkey Wood Properties, Inc. Partners Development Rubber Plus, Inc. Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers, Inc. Novinger, Ball and Zivi, PC West Side Honda Bible Harris Smith, P.C. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Thermocopy of Tennessee, Inc. Brown, Jake & McDaniel, CPA’s Knox Chapman Utility District Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee Helen Ross McNabb Center, Inc. Senior Citizens Home Assistance Services West Knox Utility District Zoo Knoxville Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. - East TN Chapter Brandon’s Awards & Engraving CEMEX, Inc. Creative Structures, Inc. Kitchen Sales, Inc. McGaha Electric Company, Inc. Steel Plate Fabricators/Knoxville Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

MEMBER SINCE 1954 1961 1962 1967 1971 1971 1974 1974 1976 1976 1976 1976 1977 1977 1977 1979 1979 1980 1980 1980 1981 1981 1983 1983 1983 1983 1983 1984 1984 1984 1984 1984 1984 1984

The Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville 1984 Uster Technologies, Inc. 1984 March of Dimes 1984 American Red Cross - East Tennessee Chapter 1985 Boys & Girls Clubs of The Tennessee Valley 1985 Burkhart Enterprises, Inc. 1985 Children’s Center of Knoxville, Inc. 1985 Friedman’s Appliances 1985 Knoxville Museum of Art 1985 Knoxville’s Community Development Corp. 1985 Northwestern Mutual 1985 Securities Service Network, Inc. 1985 Stanley Steemer of East Tennessee, LLC 1985 Tate’s School & Tate’s Day Camp 1985 William E. Pinkston, CPA 1985 LubriCorp, LLC 1986 Northeast Knox Utility District 1986 Summit Medical Group, PLLC 1986 Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C. 1987 Prestige Cleaners, Inc. 1987 TeamHealth 1988

25 – 30 YEARS


Ameriplan Benefit Corporation Holston Gases, Inc. Bandit Lites, Inc. River Sports Outfitters, Inc. Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones, PLLC Knox Area Rescue Ministries Presbyterian Homes of Tennessee, Inc. Mullins Warehouse Park/1605 Rentals, Inc. Michael Brady Inc. O’Connor Communications Common Grounds/Landscape Management, Inc. Connor Concepts, Inc. The Development Corporation of Knox County Builders Exchange of Tennessee, Inc. Broadway Electric Service Corporation Regal Entertainment Group Smith & Hammaker

1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1991 1991 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992

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Rogers Group, Inc.

20 – 24 YEARS

AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure, Inc. LBMC, P.C.


MEMBER SINCE 1998 1998

15-19 YEARS


10 – 14 YEARS


Johnstone Supply Co. 1999 Marketing Dimensions 1999 Hoya Vision Care - Knoxville 1999 Office Depot 2000 Cannon & Cannon, Inc. 2000 NetGain Mobile Diagnostics 2000 EXIT Glenn Jacobs Realty 2001 Select Ticket Service 2001 Corporate Communications 2002 Resource Advisory Services 2002 BNI- Business Network International 2002 EPRI 2003 Premier Transportation, LLC 2003 Jewelry Television 2003 Toyota/Lexus of Knoxville 2003 All Occasion Catering, LLC 2004 Fulghum, MacIndoe & Associates, Inc. 2004 U.S. Bank 2004 Tillman Companies, LLC 2005 Mowery Insurance Inc. 2006 HomeTrust Bank 2006 Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C. 2006 Safe n’ Sound Creative Technologies 2006 Scenic Helicopter Tours 2006 Electrical Workers Local 760 2006 LDI 2006 Grayson BMW-Subaru-Hyundai-Mini 2007 Jim Cogdill Dodge, Inc. 2007 DS Services 2008


(March 2018)

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 Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18

Feb. 2018

Jan. 2018

Feb. 2017

% Change Jan. ’18Feb. ‘18

239,440 422,510 3,231,900 161,494,000

236,900 418,000 3,191,100 160,037,000

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

1.1 1.1 1.3 0.9

2.2 1.9 2.0 1.3

396,600 3,020,300

391,500 2,990,600

392,300 2,973,500

1.3 1.0

1.1 1.6

7,050 14,250 117,900

7,240 14,640 120,400

9,640 19,340 156,200

-2.6 -2.7 -2.1

-26.9 -26.3 -24.5

2.9 3.4 3.6 4.4

3.1 3.5 3.8 4.5

4.1 4.7 4.9 4.9

-0.2 -0.1 -0.2 -0.1

-1.2 -1.3 -1.3 -0.5

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Mar. 2018 1,671 5,761 $185,000

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 March ’16March ‘18 -0.2 0.0

Mar. ’17-‘18

Feb. ’17-‘18

March ’16-‘17

2.1 2.4

1.9 2.2

2.3 2.4

0.2 0.2

% Change Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Feb. 2018* 10 10 0

Feb. 2017 73 15 58

% Change Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18 -86.3 -33.3 -100.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

122 122 0

171 113 58

-28.7 8.0 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

217 203 14

286 217 69

-24.1 -6.5 -79.7


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,834 1,737 97

2,375 1,735 640

-22.8 0.1 -84.8

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2018

Jan. 2018

Feb. 2017

% Change Jan. ’18Feb. ‘18

48,546,697 74,198,679 648,160,781

48,546,697 74,198,679 648,160,781

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

-25.2 -23.2 -29.1

2.6 2.5 5.1

13,957,967 22,000,106

13,957,967 22,000,106

13,045,931 20,597,033

-28.1 -26.7

7.0 6.8


Passengers Freight

Feb. 2018 139,768 6,241,194

Jan. 2018 143,995 7,180,525

Feb. 2017 123,011 6,328,616

% Change Jan. ’18Feb. ‘18 -2.9 -13.1

% Change Feb. ’17Feb. ‘18 13.6 -1.4

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2018 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey

*South – City Size Class B/C


1,664 6,793 $167,000



% Change Feb. ’17March ‘18

Mar. 2017

% Change Mar. ’17Mar. ‘18 0.4 -15.2 10.8

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Unemployment Estimates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Feb. 2018 1,264 5,747 $177,900

% Change Feb. ’18Mar. ‘18 32.2 0.2 4.0

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

Mar. 2018

Feb. 2018

509,362 32,645 22,357 7,946 62,975 61,554 10,194 41,115 58,962 28,605 10,944 110,193 55,186

437,340 25,548 18,792 7,257 55,836 53,572 8,713 35,940 51,258 25,427 9,738 90,423 49,196

484,550 31,454 21,066 7,824 59,485 59,255 9,797 37,253 55,442 28,479 10,504 105,946 51,295

% Change Feb. ’18Mar. ‘18 16.5 27.8 19.0 9.5 12.8 14.9 17.0 14.4 15.0 12.5 12.4 21.9 12.2





Mar. 2017

% Change Mar. ’17Mar. ‘18 5.1 3.8 6.1 1.6 5.9 3.9 4.1 10.4 6.3 0.4 4.2 4.0 7.6 -0.9

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

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

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Young Entrepreneurs Academy Students Secure Investments, Graduate from Program BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

Students in the Knoxville Chamber’s third Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) took part in an investor panel on March 27, in which they pitched their business concepts to a panel of three local investors. The investor panel was made up of Chad O’Connor, senior manager of customer sales support and operations at Pilot Flying J; Tom Graves, operations director of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business; and Kelsey Paris, human resources business advisor for Arconic. Beginning October 2017, the middle and high-school students worked to build eight unique businesses from the ground up during the course of the 30-week program. Each business had three minutes to pitch their ideas to the panel, who later deliberated and allocated the combined pool of $4,500 to the businesses of their choice. The students will now be able to use these business investments for various start-up costs. Hannah Rodriguez, a senior at Clayton Bradley Academy, was selected by the panel to move on to the Saunders Scholars Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Her business, Hannah Ashton Content, provides a personal online mentoring course that trains YouTubers, influencers or anyone wanting to grow on social media. The third cohort of YEA! students graduated from the program on April 17 during a ceremony held at the Knoxville Chamber. YEA! instructor Haseeb Qureshi served as commencement speaker. He and Program Manager Megan Wright presented each student with a certificate of completion for the program. YEA! was supported by Pilot Flying J, UT’s Haslam College of Business, FirstBank and the Arconic Foundation.

Above: Students from the Knoxville Chamber’s 2017-18 Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) graduated from the program on March 27. Left: Hannah Rodriguez (center) with YEA! Instructor Haseeb Qureshi (right) and Mark Field, senior vice president of chamber development, for the Knoxville Chamber (left).

YEA! 2018 INVESTOR PANEL AWARDS Clover Clothing Co. - $300 Elastasock - $800 Hannah Ashton Content - $500 InvestRight Media - $1,250

Luck Lawncare - $250 Mikaira’s Reality - $200 Teaching with Classic Movies - $400 TN Martial Art Events - $800

Coffee, Connections Made at a.m. Exchange BY: LYNSEY WILSON

More than 200 professionals crowded into Jackson Terminal on March 27 for the Chamber’s annual a.m. Exchange hosted by All Occasion Catering. Guests enjoyed a hot breakfast provided by the host venue while they networked with regional business leaders. Jackson Terminal is the flagship venue for All Occasion Catering owners Neal and Susan Green, who recently added a second space to their portfolio, the Green Room, adjacent to their current location.

Catering provided by: More than 200 people gathered at Jackson Terminal in Knoxville’s Old City for an a.m. Exchange hosted by All Occasion Catering.

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Visiting Vietnam: The Trip of a Lifetime


In July 2017, while helping at a local veterans event, Ron Kirby - a member of the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter - said to me, “Patrice, why don’t you come to Vietnam with us next year? You do so much for veterans and we would love to have you join us!” Eight months later, myself, my son Chad, 19 Vietnam veterans, and five of their family members set out on a trip of a lifetime on March 6 as we departed Knoxville bound for Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam. While there, the group enjoyed a day-long tour on the Mekong Delta River, a region in Southern Vietnam. It is a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands and home to floating markets and villages surrounded by rice paddies. A few of the veterans we were with battled in this region during the Vietnam War. I will never forget the words spoken by one of them while going down the canal: “The last time I was here, the water in these canals was red.” Needless to say, tears were shed as he told us his story. The rest of the time in Saigon, our group took private tours around the city, visited the war museum, Reunification Palace, famous Buddhist temples and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the busiest city I have ever seen! On March 11, we left Saigon and flew northeast to the city of Da Nang, Vietnam, where the world-famous China Beach is located. This is where the American soldiers fighting in Vietnam were sent for R&R during the war. During our time in Da Nang, our group took an authentic U.S. military Jeep tour up to “Monkey Mountain,” where the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps had a joint military base during the Vietnam War. Our group also took a day long trip to the city of Hue. The road we took to get there went through Hai Van Pass, which was very near the demilitarization zone - the area that separated the North Vietnamese Army from the South Vietnamese and U.S. troops. Some of the veterans with us battled in this pass and trudged through the jungle-like terrain. They pointed out where bombs had dropped on the mountainous hillsides. The stories they told will forever be etched in my mind. Our trip concluded with a stop in Siem Real, Cambodia for sight-seeing at the many beautiful temples and tourist spots. We left Cambodia on March 18, and the trip of a lifetime came to an end. There are not enough words to describe what a wonderful time we had and the memories we made. There were highs and lows, happiness and sadness, but most of all, hopefully healing for many of the Vietnam veterans that returned on this trip for the first time. Thank you so much to my wonderful family, friends, co-workers, military units, veteran organizations and many others who made this trip possible.

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE InfoSystems has transformed along with the IT industry for more than 20 years, and now offers the most advanced managed Cloud platform in Tennessee and the surrounding regions. InfoSystems offers a complete range of IT services to both enterprise and small and mid-sized businesses. Services include InfoSystems Managed Cloud with 24x7 network operation center, managed services for customer-owned equipment, IT infrastructure project services, on-demand IT support, virtual CIO executive-level consulting, and specialized enterprise partnerships. InfoSystems helps customers plan and execute the most effective IT strategies based on all the considerations that are unique to their business. Hybrid Cloud (IT infrastructure that is deployed partially on-site at a business and partially off-site at a data center or other facility) is now the most common IT strategy in use. The InfoSystems Cloud has enabled businesses to access high-quality IT systems without having to invest large amounts of cash on new hardware. “Technology is still very much a ‘people’ business,” the company’s founder and owner, Clay Hales, said. “I’ve always believed that our best resource is a highly skilled and smart team of employees, and that has been my main focus over the years – hiring high-quality people, investing in training and certifications and building the right company culture.” Clay Hales has also invested in technology and his business, acquiring a 50 percent stake in another company, APSU, Inc., which owns proprietary server management software and proven business processes that have been developed and perfected over 20+ years. The APSU acquisition has given InfoSystems instant access to the technology and expertise of one of the top Cloud and Managed Services platforms in the world. The result of Hales’ hard work and visionary investments is that InfoSystems is now a regional IT leader that can offer world-class Cloud and expert consulting services across a wider range of technology platforms than competing Cloud companies – including both the Intel x86 architecture that powers Windows and other open systems, and also the IBM Power architecture that includes AS/400, IBM i, AIX, and Linux on Power. The vast majority of Cloud providers can only offer services for Intel x86. IBM Power is regarded as a more efficient and higher-performing chipset for running ERP and other business-critical applications that are widely used in manufacturing, distribution, retail, e-commerce, logistics, financial and other industries. InfoSystems is East Tennessee’s premier IBM Partner, and has been for more than 20 years, having earned major awards and certifications for work with IBM Power and IBM Storage solutions. Clay Hales is a member of the IBM Global Business Partner Advisory Council, which is made up of around 35 CEOs from top IBM Business Partners around the world. “The InfoSystems goal is to do the right thing for the customer, every time,” said Hales. Clay and his son Brent Hales, VP of operations at InfoSystems, are members of a consortium of top IT companies from around the country that share knowledge and best practices to help each member offer superior service to their customers.

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MAY 8 a.m. Exchange - Fittest Company Challenge at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM • Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center - 270 Fort Sanders W Blvd, Building #5 Hosted by:

Busmax Rent-A-Bus celebrated the grand opening of its Lenoir City location on March 23. They are a family-owned business offering daily and monthly rentals of cars, vans, buses, SUVs and trucks to schools, churches, businesses and families for more than 50 years. The new Lenoir City office is located at 403 Highway 321 North.

Catering by:

MAY 10 Knoxville Open Business After Hours 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM • Fox Den Country Club - 12284 North Fox Den Drive Presented by:

Sponsored by:

MAY 22 Bright Ideas – “How to Design Corporate Social Impact to Reverse Burnout” Peter Atherton, Actions Prove Landry & Azevedo Attorneys at Law celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville location on March 23. Their mission is to provide confident, competent and compassionate representation to individuals, their families and their businesses. The new office is located at 5301 Kingston Pike.

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM • Knoxville Chamber – 17 Market Square, #201 Sponsored by:

MAY 23 Women on the Rise with Sarah Trahern 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM • The Press Room - 730 N Broadway Chamber Members - $30.00, Non-Members - $40.00 Sponsored by:

Kilwin’s Knoxville celebrated the grand opening of its new store on April 19. They provide high quality chocolate, fudge and ice cream with a warm, friendly customer experience. The new store is located at 408 S. Gay St.


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May Commerce 2018  
May Commerce 2018