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INSIDE: 2014-15 Facts and Figures pg. 62 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 66





The Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center celebrated the grand opening of its newest location on Willow Loop Way in September. Dr. Robert (Bob) Overholt is pictured center and is flanked by Mayor Tim Burchett (left) and Knox County Commissioners Jeff Ownby and Bob Thomas (right) along with associates and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.





Top Achievers are recognized for their countless volunteer hours and dedication to the Ambassador Program’s mission of serving as an active volunteer extension of the Knoxville Chamber to cultivate, promote, and maintain positive relationships between the Knoxville Chamber, its members, and the community.










NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Forensic Pursuit (865) 281-3067 Computer & IT Services: Consultants Business & Professional Services: Technical Services Legal Services The Adams Law Firm (865) 531-6440 Legal Services Admiral Title (865) 531-6060 Real Estate: Title Companies Babalu Tacos and Tapas (865) 332-9060 Restaurants Bestbytes (865) 268-9068 Computer & IT Services Blake Rickels - Keller Williams Realty (865) 207-4283 Real Estate: Residential



C&J Wealth Advisors (865) 481-0385 Financial Services: Planning

The Insurance Group (865) 670-0911 Insurance

NHC HealthCare, Knoxville (865) 524-7366 Social Services: Senior Services

Cherokee Farm Development Corporation (865) 974-8210 Education & Training

Jack of All Trades (865) 299-5400 Construction & Contractors

Dunlap RV Center of Knoxville (865) 233-4010 Sports & Recreation: Recreational Vehicles

Janice Ann’s Fashion (865) 212-5666 Shopping: Women’s Clothing

Off Road Equipment Parts (865) 379-7895 Industrial Supplies & Services Construction & Contractors Off Road Equipment Parts Construction & Contractors: Equipment/ Supplies

Escape Game Knoxville (865) 246-1306 Attractions & Tourism

Knoxville Uncorked (865) 521-0600 Restaurants

Frussie’s Deli & Bakery (865) 577-2108 Restaurants

The Landings Riverfront Apartments (865) 249-8065 Apartments Apartments:Corporate Housing

Goodness To Go (865) 253-7099 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues: Catering

Market House Cafe (865) 524-2224 Restaurants

Innovative Consulting Group, Inc (865) 321-8325 Computer & IT Services

Moonshine Mountain Cookie Company (865) 362-5997 Restaurants: Sweet Treats & Bakeries

Scruffy City Hall (865) 524-2224 Restaurants: Bars Solomon IT (865) 309-4343 Business & Professional Services Computer & IT Services: Consultants

Paul Davis Emergency Services of West Knoxville (865) 584-1227 Residential Services

Sourcing Business Solutions (865) 805-4356 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Premier Laser Spa (865) 777-4447 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Summit Uniforms (865) 454-8194 Business & Professional Services: Uniforms

Preservation Pub (865) 524-2224 Restaurants: Bars

Which Wich Superior Sandwiches (865) 539-9608 Restaurants








Schooley Mitchell of East Tennessee (423) 200-4100 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants

Painting with a Twist - Downtown Knoxville (865) 253-7710 Entertainment: Arts & Culture



Saving Little Hearts (865) 748-4605 Healthcare Providers & Services: Agencies


K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 60



It is a privilege to be serving my first of two years as the chair of the Knoxville Chamber’s board of directors. I’ve been engaged with the Chamber for a number of years and I recognize the importance the organization plays in the overall wellbeing of our community. The Chamber’s mission of Driving Regional Economic Prosperity is an important one that can be summed up in just one word – jobs. It’s about providing businesses and businesspeople with the resources and programs to help them grow, recruiting new businesses to the area or helping existing companies expand, and ensuring that our public education system is preparing the workforce for tomorrow’s jobs. A year ago, the Chamber embarked on its second three-year strategic plan. This document provides the framework for everything the organization does. The three key objectives in the strategic plan are to ENGAGE the business community, to INFLUENCE the business climate, and to STRIVE for distinction. These objectives also provide a structure for reporting the organization’s triumphs and tribulations as we strive to help make Knoxville America’s Best Business Address®. Each October the Chamber hosts its Annual Meeting and Stakeholders Report to inform members and the community about what it has accomplished over the past year. You will find the notable results on the pages that follow, but I would like to bring your attention to a few of the most remarkable results. First and foremost, we must applaud the record-setting year we’ve had with regards to economic development. Innovation Valley, the regional economic development partnership led by the Knoxville Chamber, welcomed seven new corporate recruits to the region and celebrated 37 expansions at existing companies. These announcements accounted for 3,250 new jobs, $642.5 million in capital investments, and a 2.8 percent



wage increase. On the membership side of the organization, we continue to serve members as diverse as the businesses in our region. The organization finished the year with just shy of 2,200 members, 70% of which employ 50 or fewer employees, and 42% of which employ 10 or fewer employees. While we serve businesses of all sizes, we are not the “big business” organization we are perceived to be. Small business is at the core of who we are. Member engagement continues to be a priority for the organization. The Chamber strives to host 55-65 meaningful events and average more than 6,800 registrants, each year. During the 2014-15 fiscal year the Chamber produced 58 events that attracted more than 7,000 registrants, including a record crowd of 750 attendees at the 11th annual Pinnacle Business Awards. Engaged members are highly likely to renew their membership, and the organization once again hit its budgeted member retention goal of 88 percent. Finally, as members we can rest assured our Chamber continues to be in a strong financial position. Last year, the organization recorded $136,528 in new member sales and $37,163 in Premier Partner sales, and its net assets increased by $49,069. An organization is only as good as the people who work within it and I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the Chamber’s staff for their tireless work. I am proud of the staff that is the face of the Knoxville Chamber, and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with them over the coming two years to continue to drive our region’s economic prosperity.

Robyn Askew Chair, Knoxville Chamber Board of Directors

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2014-15 FACTS & FIGURES The Knoxville Chamber is in year two of its most recent three-year strategic plan. The plan is focused on three objectives that will guide the organization through 2017: to ENGAGE the business community, to INFLUENCE the business climate, and to STRIVE for distinction. The metrics associated with each of these objectives provide a good barometer of the Chamber’s accomplishments over the past year.

OBJECTIVE: To INFLUENCE the business climate…

3,250 1,242

Number of net new jobs created by business expansion or relocation in Innovation Valley.

Number of relocation packets distributed to individuals looking to move to the area.

2.8%/$44,718 Increase in annual wages across Innovation Valley and the average salary.



Capital investments for new or expansion projects in Innovation Valley

OBJECTIVE: To STRIVE for distinction…

$136,528/$37,163 New Member Sales/Premier Partner Sales

NATIONAL LEADERS RHONDA RICE 2015 Excellence in Economic Development Award Site Selectors Guild


$49,069 Increase in Chamber net assets.

Reveived designation as Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) Chamber of Commerce Executives

DOUG LAWYER North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers Consultant Connect

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50 62


OBJECTIVE: To ENGAGE the business community…



Membership retention rate.

Number of research requests processed by the Chamber’s research specialist.


Number of volunteer hours dedicated to the Chamber by its board members, committee members, and Ambassador program.


@K_Chamber Followers. Up 20%

Knoxville Chamber Total Likes



Number of views the Chamber’s YouTube Channel received during the 2014-15 fiscal year and the estimated number of minutes watched.




Number of minority-, veteran-, and woman-owned small businesses provided with one-on-one counseling through the Propel Program.

Number of promo page views on, a 44% increase over prior year.

Number of events hosted by the Chamber and the number of people who registered for those events.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 63

Chamber Members Save Big at Office Depot Knoxville Chamber members have the opportunity to save money on office, cleaning, and breakroom supplies through the Office Depot Chamber Advantage Program, which offers huge discounts on materials businesses use every day. Each business that joins the Chamber automatically receives an Office Depot Store Card. This provides all member businesses with immediate discounts of up to 10 percent on most everything in Office Depot retail stores and the Business Solutions Division annual catalog. These savings can also be extended to the business’ employees through the Employee Purchase Program – giving the whole team a chance to utilize the discount in stores. “The discounts our members receive on office supplies and printing services through the Office Depot Program provide our members with a direct return on their investment in joining the Chamber,” said Melissa Spangler, vice president of member services for the Knoxville Chamber. Another way to save through the advantage program is to open an Office Depot Business Account, which provides member businesses with next-day delivery on discounted supplies ordered over the phone, fax, or online at An

added benefit of this account is the ability for businesses to receive monthly reports of their office supply expenses from Office Depot. The program also provides a “Best Buy List” of more than 600 items that members receive discounts of up to 45 percent on, as well as monthly promotions that offer special pricing on supplies used by businesses daily. Members also save big on printing services through Office Depot including 2.5-cent black and white copies, 24-cent color copies, and 40 percent off finishing services. “The Office Depot program is invaluable,” said Brielle Hoffman, benefits specialist for Premier Solutions International. “As a business owner, I am always looking for ways to reduce expenses, and this program has helped me save thousands annually. I am so thankful for my Chamber membership.” To learn more about the program, please visit office-depot-program. If you are a Chamber member who has not received their discount card, contact Member Services Coordinator Katie Wells at Marketing and Events Assistant Jessica Karsten contributed this story.

Inaugural Class Selected for Knoxville’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy On Oct. 13, the inaugural class of Knoxville’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy embarked on a 30-week journey through the ins and outs of owning and operating a real business. The Knoxville Chamber, which manages the program, accepted 24 talented students from the area to participate in the class. Ranging in age from 11 to 17, these students represent 14 different schools within Knox County. “When we set out to recruit the inaugural class for Knoxville’s YEA! program, we had hopes that it would be a diverse class,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Knoxville Chamber. “We are so excited to see that come to fruition. Diverse backgrounds are going to bring diverse ideas, which will create incredible opportunities for the students.” Throughout the program, students will attend one, three-hour class each week from October through April. In this time, students will brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to real investors, obtain funding, file their DBAs, and by the end, actually launch their own business or social movement. However, the students won’t spend all of their time in the classroom. The class will experience six exciting field trips during the program, which include trips to a food franchise, a personal style business, and an ad agency. YEA! is presented by Pilot Flying J and hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business. The Chamber has partnered with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Tech 2020 to help with YEA! programming. Thanks to a $15,000 grant that the Chamber’s Partnership Initiatives Fund received from the Alcoa Foundation, tuition for all students participating in the

program for the first two years has been reduced from $395 to $160. Seven students in this year’s program have received full scholarships. In addition to the Alcoa Foundation’s investment in the program, Clayton Bank is also a supporting sponsor. Follow the class’ progress on the YEA! Knoxville Chamber Facebook page.

INAUGURAL KNOXVILLE YEA! CLASS Frenando Blevins, West High School Dareece Blue, Career Magnet Academy

Ashton Mayo-Beavers, Episcopal School of Knoxville

Bailey Butler, West High School

Alise Ndacayisaba, Career Magnet Academy

Katherine Chen, West Valley Middle School

Paul Nodit, West High School

Chase Countiss, West High School

Mick Rash, West High School

Christian Crawford, Vine Middle School

Nathan Respess, West High School

Aaron Frazer, Christian Academy of Knoxville

Santiago Sanabria, Powell High School

Josiah Gibson, West Valley Middle School

Alex Seaver, L&N STEM Academy

Thomas Gore, Bearden High School

Sierra Shuck-Sparer, Nature’s Way Montessori

Ethan Hoskins, Farragut Middle School Anna Huss, Karns Middle School Cooper Jones, Catholic High School

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 64

Noah Smith, Webb School Spencer Terry, Central High School


Jackson Terminal Events by All Occasion Catering celebrated its grand opening in the newly renovated Jackson Terminal in September with an open house and ribbon cutting. All Occasion Catering owners, Neal & Susan Green are pictured center with Mayor Madeline Rogero, family, associates, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors. Jackson Terminal provides the perfect atmosphere for a variety of events and occasions and is located in the Southern Terminal and Warehouse Historic District.

Cornerstone of Recovery broke ground on an $18 million expansion of its facility on Alcoa Highway in September. Cornerstone’s executives and their partners on the project are pictured for the ceremonial ground breaking.

Community Colleges, TCATs Welcome First Class of Tennessee Promise, Reconnect Students This fall community colleges and technical schools across the state welcomed the first class of Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students. These programs are helping nearly 20,000 students in the state obtain advanced degrees or certificates at no cost. For graduating high schoolers, the Tennessee Promise gives every student two years of tuition-free community college or technical school. Tennessee Reconnect helps adults, 27 or older, enter higher education so they can gain new skills and advance in the workplace by obtaining an associates degree or certificate from one of the state’s 27 Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Both the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs are key components of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative, which strives to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. It’s projected by 2025 that 55 percent of jobs in Tennessee will require a degree or certificate. In order to reach this goal, the state needs an additional 494,000 degrees or certifications. With 15,000 students participating in the Tennessee Promise, and nearly 5,000 participating in Tennessee Reconnect, area schools such as Roane State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville have seen increased enrollment numbers from these programs. Roane State Community College has nearly 850 Tennessee Promise students enrolled. Teresa Duncan, vice president of workforce development and student affairs at Roane State, said many of these students are enrolled in the college’s health science and nursing programs, as well as many who are focusing on transfer degrees.

Duncan said with the increase in student enrollment from the Tennessee Promise, Roane State has staffed up their math and English departments. She said this not only helps with the volume of students taking these classes, but also with the ones who need additional help. Duncan said in total Roane State had nearly 2,000 students who were interested in attending this fall through the Tennessee Promise. However, she said many of these students simply missed the application deadline. She hopes this will improve next year. TCAT Knoxville currently has 300 Reconnect students and 334 Promise students. These students are working towards certificates in programs such as welding, machine tool technology, practical nursing, and computer information technology. “We’re looking at potentially doubling our enrollment with these programs,” said Patrick Wade, assistant director of TCAT Knoxville. “We’re excited about that. So what we’re doing is creating partnerships with Pellissippi and area high schools, and starting night programs so that we can accommodate more students.” Wade said these partnerships will help TCAT eliminate wait lists that exist for their most popular programs. “We know that’s an issue and especially when someone is just out of high school or out of a job looking for training, Wade said. “We know two years is a long time for them to wait around to get in a class.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 65


(Sept. 2015)

NOTES – Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane & Union Counties.



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

% Change Sept. ’14Sept. ‘15

Sept. 2015

Aug. 2015

Sept. 2014

% Change Aug. ’15Sept. ‘15

228,590 405,890 3,037,500 156,607,000

228,700 406,380 3,050,900 157,390,000

226,470 396,602 3,000,000 155,903,000

0.0 -0.1 -0.4 -0.5

0.9 2.3 1.3 0.5

390,400 2,890,100

386,700 2,866,400

380,900 2,842,000

1.0 0.8

2.5 1.7

11,990 23,550 193,090

12,130 23,630 194,280

13,360 26,490 218,850

-1.2 -0.3 -0.6

-10.3 -11.1 -11.8

4.8 5.3 5.7 4.9

4.8 5.3 5.8 5.2

5.4 6.0 6.6 5.7

0.0 0.0 -0.1 -0.3

-0.6 -0.7 -0.9 -0.8

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Sept. 2015 1,495 10,293 $155,000

Unemployment Rates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.

Sources: Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


% Change Sept. ’13Sept. ‘15 -2.1 -1.7

Sept. ’14-‘15

Aug. ’14-‘15

Sept. ’13-‘14

-0.6 0.0

-0.3 0.2

1.5 1.7

-0.3 -0.2

% Change Sept. ’14Sept. ‘15

*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Aug. 2015* 12 12 0

Aug. 2014 16 16 0

% Change Aug. ’14Aug. ‘15 -25.0 -25.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

104 104 0

109 109 0

-4.6 -4.6 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

201 179 22

159 159 0

26.4 12.6 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

2,530 1,615 915

1,484 1,378 106

70.5 17.2 763.2

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2015

Aug. 2015

Sept. 2014

% Change Aug. ’15Sept. ‘15

52,746,036 80,866,636 662,239,049

52,539,050 80,885,550 681,741,813

49,027,309 75,062,013 622,113,570

0.4 3.1 -2.9

7.6 7.7 6.4

14,317,119 22,421,796

14,312,483 22,668,745

13,496,108 21,209,898

0.0 2.8

6.1 5.7

% Change Sept. ’14Sept. ‘15 2.5 3.0 5.0 -5.2 3.0 8.4 5.8 -20.0 2.1 3.5 5.4 8.7 5.2 6.4


Passengers Cargo

June 2015 163,099 6,585,367

May 2015 147,493 6,551,753

June 2014 164,397 5,466,645

% Change May ’15June ‘15 10.6 0.5

% Change June ’14June ‘15 -0.8 20.5

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


1,148 11,320 $150,000


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Aug. ’14Sept. ‘15

Sept. 2014

% Change Sept. ’14Sept. ‘15 30.2 -9.1 3.3

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Aug. 2015 1,575 10,489 $158,000

% Change Aug. ’15Sept. ‘15 -5.1 -1.9 -1.9

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

Sept. 2015

Aug. 2015

430,925 27,404 19,485 8,067 55,219 51,058 8,680 36,060 51,778 25,954 10,245 92,016 37,880

456,513 27,928 22,180 8,247 57,372 53,130 8,848 39,889 57,309 26,137 10,581 98,967 37,756

420,516 26,617 18,564 8,509 53,633 47,090 8,203 45,062 50,691 25,077 9,724 84,687 36,007

% Change Aug. ’15Sept. ‘15 -5.6 -1.9 -12.2 -2.2 -3.8 -3.9 -1.9 -9.6 -9.7 -0.7 -3.2 -7.0 0.3





Sept. 2014

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 | 66

Manufacturers Gather and Learn from Each Other Area manufacturers gathered at the Jackson Terminal in downtown Knoxville on Sept. 29 for a day-long Workforce Employer Outreach Committee (WEOC) seminar. Hosted by the Chamber’s Manufacturers Roundtable and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, more than 80 individuals representing 50 public and private firms attended the event. The Knoxville Chamber and Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley sponsored the seminar. Attendees heard from panelists representing companies such as Bush Brothers, Keurig Green Mountain, and Monterey Mushrooms, discuss topics ranging from diversifying the workforce to best practices in employee recruiting and retention. “It is important to start the conversation amongst the manufacturing sector on what is working and what is not working in the field,” said Sharon Shanks, workforce development manager at the Knoxville Chamber. “We can then begin maximizing efforts where needed, and also minimize duplication of thought processes in order to leverage resources.” Special guests included Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville Chamber CEO Mike Edwards, and a keynote address from Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Philips.

Much of the discussion was focused on preparing high school students for the workforce, which continues to be an ongoing conversation as the manufacturing sector grows across Innovation Valley. Industry leaders are calling for more industrial exposure for high school students who choose not to pursue four-year degrees after graduation. Panelists touched on high school-to-work programs and plans for the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) grant that was recently awarded to three counties in East Tennessee. “My mission in the workforce arena is to promote career awareness and exploration to help fill the skills gap as students consider post-secondary options,” said Shanks. “It is important that we work with the school systems and make sure they are not only working on college readiness, but also having a strong focus on career readiness programs for students who may not pursue a four-year degree.” The manufacturing industry continues to rapidly expand across Innovation Valley, with almost 10 percent of the region’s workforce working in a manufacturing related field. This story was contributed by Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator.


Since 1869, the Knoxville Chamber has been the leading voice for business in our region. Each of these businesses are celebrating milestone anniversaries as Chamber members during the month of November. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community! Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville



Monterey Mushrooms


Duncan for Congress


Knoxville Habitat for Humanity


Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace - North Office 1958

West Chevrolet, Inc.


Heritage Lake at Westland


Beverage Control, Inc.


Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center


Stowers Machinery Corporation


Wood Printing Company


10 – 14 YEARS

Atchley, Cunningham & Shoemaker


SERVPRO of North Knoxville


Tennessee Brokerage Agency, Inc.


Knox County Schools



M & M Development Company, Inc.

2001 2001



World Travel Service Wood Realtors

1954 1956

Gerdau 1963

25 – 30 YEARS FMB Advertising

Weigel’s Stores, Inc.


Knoxville Area Transit


20 – 24 YEARS

Addicks CPA Firm, LLP


Kelso-Regen Associates, Inc.




Knoxville Academy of Medicine


NHC HealthCare, Knoxville


Technology for Energy Corporation

Stonemill Log & Timber Homes


Randstad USA


First Priority Title Company, Inc.


Allied Toyotalift


Construction Plus, Inc.


Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics


Markman’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry


Harmony Family Center


R. H. Sinclair Construction Company, Inc.


15-19 YEARS

Walker Springs Apartments


Southern Management and Development, LP


The Grove at Deane Hill


Club LeConte


BACO Realty Corporation


Hilton Knoxville


Commercial Lighting Supply, Inc


Ackermann PR


Fountainhead College of Technology


Burkhart & Company, PC


Lawhorn CPA Group, Inc.



K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 67

Chamber Hosts Premier Partner Appreciation Reception The Knoxville Chamber celebrated its most generous investors at its Premier Partner Appreciation Reception, sponsored by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, on Sept. 29. The Chamber has nearly 250 Premier Partners that are recognized as leaders in the community. The contributions of these partners are vital to funding the organization’s economic development activities, including recruiting new companies to the area, nurturing entrepreneurs, and assisting existing businesses as they grow and expand. The event, held at Ruth’s Chris, drew more than 70 guests representing these elite business partners. “The investment and commitment our Premier Partners make to the Chamber greatly outweighs any benefit we can offer them return,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Chamber. “They make it possible for us to have more resources to use when working towards creating a better economy for Knoxville.” Randy Merritt of J.S. Ridenour Construction Inc. took home the evening’s door prize – a $100 gift card to Ruth’s Chris.

Elite Group of Chamber Ambassadors Recognized The Knoxville Chamber is proud to recognize 20 of its Ambassadors for being Top Achievers during the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year. These Ambassadors have been especially valuable to the organization by volunteering countless hours to assist with Chamber events and mentoring new members. “As a Knoxville Chamber Ambassador, board member, and membership committee chair, I am constantly reminded of the value our Ambassador group brings to the Knoxville Chamber,” Jill Green said. “I am proud to be part of such an active, professional group as the Ambassadors who all dedicate so much of their time to helping the Knoxville Chamber provide the service its members expect and deserve.” The Knoxville Chamber Ambassador Program has 53 members who all play an integral role in the organization’s ability to provide excellent customer service. “Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors are truly an extension of our staff,” said Melissa Spangler, vice president for member services. “They are friendly, engaging, and professional, and work with us to provide an extra special connection with our members. Whether Ambassadors are helping with an event or calling on a member, they make the Knoxville Chamber member experience a great one!”


James Mynatt, Tim Miller, Doug Minter, and Steve Linn pose in the midst of their conversation at the Premier Partner Appreciation Reception.

Marc Archer

Samantha Lane

Archer Design & Marketing

King University

Cleshon Bess

George Lucke

Cellular Sales of Knoxville, Inc.

Edwards Jones Investments

Lea Bradley

Paige McDaniel

Contract Business Interiors

Rodefer Moss & Company, PLLC

Laura Caves

Sherry McHaffie

WOW Business

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Brent Christian

Daniel Monday

Capital Financial Group, LLC

Slamdot, Inc.

Alice Eads

Ben Moser

SunTrust Bank

Moser Visuals

Christa Early

Hayden Oakley

StaffingSolutions/Employbridge Companies

Regions Bank

Jill Green BGT Recruiting & Consulting, Inc.

Alex Kleto Southeastern Technology Consultants Dawn White, Susan Lynch, Eric Barton, and Annie Pentecost pose with Chamber’s Mark Field at the event.

Lorena Hubbard Lawhorn CPA Group, Inc.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 68

Tom O’Brian Core Benefits & Investments

Laney Palmieri Visit Knoxville

Brandi Salyers Regions Bank

TSBDC’s Laura Overstreet Receives GrowthWheel Certification

Crowd Gathers at Lamar Advertising to Celebrate and Network

Laura Overstreet, business specialist for the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Knoxville, has been licensed as a GrowthWheel Certified Business Advisor. This allows her to utilize GrowthWheel’s visual toolbox to assist small businesses in the area. The GrowthWheel toolbox is simple, visual, and practical. It helps small businesses make decisions and develop action plans in a convenient and interactive way. The toolbox was designed with the idea that all businesses are faced with four challenges: creating a business concept, building a strong organization, developing lasting client relations, and maintaining profitable operations. The four challenges are broken down into 20 focus areas such as revenue model, sales and service, and production and deliveries. Small businesses can undergo a GrowthWheel 360° screening to help identify which specific focus areas need to be addressed. Advisors like Overstreet use this information to create a visual profile of the business’ current situation and to identify future growth opportunities and obstacles. “The GrowthWheel framework provides a simple and efficient process to identify areas a business needs to focus on in order to drive the business forward,” said Overstreet. “Once identified, worksheets help the business owner develop a plan of action. The GrowthWheel tool is flexible for businesses of all sizes and stages because it addresses the four challenges all businesses face.” The GrowthWheel method does not replace the traditional business plan, it simply addresses business problems and helps businesses develop a plan of action. Overstreet acknowledges how the toolbox speeds up the process of small business assistance and how it will help Knoxville businesses. She said, “Applying the GrowthWheel process brings new tools to our small business clients here at the TSBDC to help them find challenges and opportunities, get new inspiration, make decisions, and take action.” Jessica Karsten, marketing and events assistant, contributed this story.

Lamar Advertising hosted a Business After Hours at its new location on Deerborn Lane on Oct. 8. More than 140 guests enjoyed networking in the brand new building, including Mayor Tim Burchett and County Commissioners Ed Brantley, Jeff Ownby, and Bob Thomas. Prior to the networking event, the Chamber helped officially christen the new building with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Two lucky attendees, John Randazzo of Fish Window Cleaning and Manuela Scott Ptacek of Arbonne, won tickets to upcoming UT football games provided by Lamar.

Lamar Advertising celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville facility in October. Brian Conley, vice president/general manager is pictured center with Knox County Mayor Burchett. He is joined by Lamar associates and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors. SPONSORED BY:

Propel Mentor/Protégé Program Supports Small Businesses Small businesses have the unique opportunity to team up with an established community business leader with the Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Mentor/Protégé Program. Each year the program accepts approximately 15 individuals to serve on each side of the program, acting as either a mentor or protégé. The protégés are relatively new small business owners who have a passion to grow and the ability to articulate clear and measurable goals with the assistance a mentor. The program spans two-years during which the protégés attend a seven-week boot camp used to develop their business goals and are assigned a mentor to help them achieve those goals. They also participate in monthly peer-to-peer sessions where the class of protégés meets to share success stories and discuss best business practices. The protégés also receive technical assistance from the Tennessee Small Business Development Center and the SCORE Association. This ensures the business owner is able to maximize time with his or her mentor. “As a protégé in the mentor/protégé program, I have received a mountain of support from both my mentor, Misty Mayes, and the program’s initiatives,” said Laurel Patrick, CEO of First Place Finish, Inc. and second-year protégé. “There is a genuine element of sincerity to the advice and guidance given. I truly feel the program wants me to succeed

and I am thankful.” The program recently expanded to rural areas including Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Claiborne, Scott, and Roane counties with help from a grant provided by the State of Tennessee’s “LIFTTN” microenterprise initiative. “We are grateful for the knowledge being given to us by our instructor, Doug Minter, and his guest speakers,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president manager of Darkhorse Entertainment, LLC and first-year protégé. “We are also grateful for the LIFTTN grant that has allowed those of us in rural counties to participate in this program for free. Since we are a big believer that ‘a rising tide raises all ships,’ we are grateful this program is lifting us up, so that we have a greater capacity to lift up others.” The program currently has 28 active teams, with nine second-year teams, 10 first-year teams, and nine rural firms. Recruitment for next year’s class will begin in April 2016. For more information about the program, please contact Doug Minter, business development manager for the Chamber, at dminter@ Jessica Karsten, marketing and events assistant, contributed this story.

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Bright Ideas Seminar: The Process of Leadership Presented by Angela Cassel, TLC Moments, LLC 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members

Sponsored by:

NOVEMBER 16 Dale Carnegie Leadership Essentials Series: “Leveraging Generational Differences” 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square #201 $25 for Chamber members/$35 for non-members

Sponsored by:

Go to “Chamber Events” on to learn more or register for any of these events. You may also call the events line, (865) 246-2622

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Commerce - November 2015  
Commerce - November 2015  

The Knoxville Chamber's monthly newsletter