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INSIDE: 2012 - 13 Facts & Figures pg. 58 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 62


CONNECT 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.





(1st Place) SLAMDOT, INC.



(2nd Place)

(2nd Place)



TOM O’BRIAN (2nd Place)

Knoxville Chamber



U.S. Bank celebrated the grand opening of its new branch in September inside the Food City Powell store. Crystal Pierce, branch manager, is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by U.S. Bank executives and associates along with Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

with the



(3rd Place)

(3rd Place)



Knoxville Chamber

NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS BRONZE BOMBDIGGITY, LLC (865) 805-8345 Business & Professional Services: Marketing Power Systems, Inc. (865) 862-7903 Shopping: Sporting Goods

SILVER Cherokee Country Club (865) 584-4637 Associations & Organizations: Clubs

Appalachian Log Homes Log and Timber Homes (865) 966-6440 Construction & Contractors BW Fullington & Associates (865) 671-7526 Financial Services: Planning Coates and Associates, Inc. (843) 229-3546 Business & Professional Services Courtyard by Marriott Knoxville West/ Bearden (865) 690-7680 Hotels & Lodging

CPR Choice (865) 548-1500 Business & Professional Services First Choice Testing Center (865) 675-0377 Healthcare Providers & Services: Occupational Health From Me To You (865) 584-6328 Shopping: Specialty

Massage Envy Spa - Northshore (865) 531-9966 Personal Services: Salons & Spas Mattress Firm (865) 966-1150 Shopping: Furniture Natural Alternatives Salon and Spas (865) 588-3738 Personal Services

Hyperion Networks (865) 622-7834 Computer & IT Services

Renew Crew (804) 214-3022 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services

Iron Tribe Fitness (256) 497-2507 Personal Svcs: Fitness & Well-being

Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, P.C. (865) 637-0661 Legal Services

















Sevierville Convention Center (865) 453-0001 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues Williams Creek Golf Course (865) 673-8584 Sports & Recreation: Golf Workforce 2000 Staffing, Inc. (865) 522-6224 Business & Professional Services

LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN I am honored to be serving as chairman of the Knoxville Chamber Board of Directors this year. I feel fortunate to be working with the talented and knowledgeable business professionals on the Board and the skilled Chamber staff as we fulfill the Chamber’s mission of driving regional economic prosperity. The Chamber has been at the heart of local business efforts for 143 years, and it is more important to our region’s success now than ever before. Current initiatives such as workforce development, attracting new businesses, job creation, and advocating for pro-business policies are vital to moving our community forward. Workforce development is our priority, first and foremost. Providing an educated workforce is critical to the achievement of our economic development goals. A workforce skilled in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – is important now and will become increasingly essential as more companies seek knowledgeable and technologically savvy workers. We live in a beautiful area with an affordable cost of living, excellent quality of life and many cultural opportunities. The Smoky Mountains are nearby and Knoxville is gaining recognition for its system of connected parks, greenways and trails known as the Urban Wilderness. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a tremendous asset to the Innovation Valley as it generates scientific breakthroughs and facilitates industry’s adoption of new materials, designs and manufacturing methods. And our central location and proximity to major highways, rivers, and McGhee Tyson Airport make us a convenient transportation hub for new businesses. These strengths make Knoxville attractive to new companies, but we must be able to provide the sophisticated workforce new businesses require. Public education reform has become a focal point for the Chamber because today’s students are tomorrow’s workers. We need to ensure our workforce pipeline meets current and future employer needs by collaborating with K-12 and higher education institutions to improve student

outcomes. Advocating for Common Core State Standards and supporting the University of Tennessee’s efforts to become a top 25 public research university are two priorities for workforce development. Advocacy is an integral tool for workforce development and other major projects at the Chamber. One of the Chamber’s key roles is representing the business community’s interests at the state capitol and with local leaders. The Chamber serves as a go-to resource for well-considered public policy and advocates for regulations that are in the best interest of the broader business community. The health and growth of our business community affects everyone. Businesses drive the local economy. Businesses employ people and exchange goods and services. They support community causes and cultural organizations, which enhance the quality of life in our region. We are fortunate to have many national and international companies headquartered here. These companies and their executives give back professionally and personally. Much good is accomplished through corporate donations and executives who volunteer their time to community causes. It is in everyone’s best interests for local businesses to flourish. A vital local economy is critical to me in my roles as chairman of the Chamber and publisher of the News Sentinel. Some have asked me about juggling these roles, but they are more similar than different. The ultimate concerns and goals of the two roles are aligned. For both, the importance of a strong local economy is paramount. Both organizations support the well-being and growth of the community and act as driving forces for change. I look forward to working with you in my role as chairman of the Chamber this year. I will be pushing for quantifiable results – new jobs, new companies, and better educational outcomes. I encourage your active participation as we lead the regional business community forward.

Patrick Birmingham Publisher, Knoxville News Sentinel

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During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the Knoxville Chamber celebrated the following milestones on the road to helping Knoxville become America’s Best Business AddressŽ

201 2-13 FACTS & F IG UR E S Economic Development


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

2.0 1,504

$131.9 MILLION

Capital investments for new or expansion projects in the Innovation Valley

Innovation Valley launched Blueprint 2.0, the next edition of its five year strategic plan in February

Number of relocation packets distributed to individuals looking to move to Knoxville


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

Public Policy Launched a public policy tool developed to help notify the business community of impending political issues which also provides a turnkey call to action


Created Common Core 101, a brochure that provides information about the important education initiative

PAC Formed a PAC to better enable the Chamber to advocate for business-friendly policies

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America’s Best Business Address®

20 1 2-13 FACTS & FIG UR E S


Membership Membership retention rate – up 2% from prior year


$161,413 Highest new member sales revenues in recent history

Number of promo page views on, a 77% increase in views over the prior fiscal year


5,600 Number of volunteer hours our Chamber Ambassadors dedicated to Chamber-related functions

Top 10

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

Chamber Account Executives Ashleigh Adkins and Cori Johnson are ranked in the Top 10 nationally for new member sales

Finance & Operations

15 YRS

Refinanced the Chamber’s building loan to be retired in 15 years with a projected interest savings of more than $45,000

$58,986 Increase in Chamber net assets

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Patrick Birmingham Board Chair Knoxville News Sentinel

Mitchell Steenrod Past Chair Pilot Flying J

Sam Furrow Founding Chair Mercedes Benz of Knoxville

Kathy Hamilton Board Secretary Shelton Group

Tom Fisher Board Treasurer University Health System

Robyn Askew Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C.

Eddie Black Knoxville Utilities Board

Larry Bodie Claris Networks

Grant Boyd SunTrust Bank

Jenny Boyd Boyd’s Jig and Reel

Mike Brennan Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Gwendolyn W. Brown Brown Pearman Russell

Daniel Carter The Trust Company of Knoxville

Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dr. Joseph DiPietro University of Tennessee

Mike DiStefano Pinnacle Financial Partners

Parker Frost Gigmark Interactive Media

Michael Garfield Tennova HMA

Bill Garibay ES&H, Inc.

Jill Green BGT Recruiting & Consulting

Ron Honken

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Randy D. Jenkins Partners Development

John Kalec Clayton Homes

Mae KillebrewMosley Markets Demand More

Joseph Ledford Barge Waggoner Summer and Cannon, Inc.

Andy Lorenz Messer Construction Company

Misty Mayes Management Solutions

Cavanaugh Mims Visionary Solutions, LLC

Chris Ooten Weigel’s Convenience Stores

Roger Osborne Caris Healthcare, LP

Damon Rawls Jani-King of Knoxville

David Reynolds Home Federal Bank of Tennessee

Jessica Rich US Bank

Steve Ridenour Ridenour Companies


Tim Romero Enterprise Rent-a-Car

David Rookstool Pepsi Beverage Company

Andy Shafer Shafer Insurance Agency

John Tolsma Knowledge Launch

Terry Turner All Occasions Party Rentals

Susan Varner Realty Executives Relocation

Howard H. Vogel O’Neil Parker & Williamson

Jonathan Williams Accord Federal Services

Susan Williams SRW & Associates

EST. 1869

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Greg Wilson First Tennessee Bank


(Sept. 2013)

NOTES - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties. Some September 2013 data was not available in time for publication due to the federal government shutdown.



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

% Change Sept. ’12Sept.. ‘13

Sept. 2013

Aug. 2013

Sept. 2012

% Change Aug. ’13Sept. ‘13


234,270 368,340 3,116,500 155,971,000

238,900 376,750 3,103,400 155,075,000




338,700 2,753,500

332,600 2,732,800




18,200 29,100 288,640

15,710 25,840 264,840




7.0 7.1 8.3 7.3

5.9 6.2 7.6 7.6



Note: May workforce numbers were unavailable at time of printing.

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Sept. 2013* 1,156 11,709 $145,900

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

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

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


% Change Sept. ’11Sept. ‘13 NA NA

Sept. ’12-‘13

Aug. ’12-‘13

Sept. ’11-‘12


1.8 1.5

1.9 2.0


% Change Sept. ’12Sept. ‘13

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

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Aug. 2013* 22 22 0

Aug. 2012 16 16 0

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13 37.5 37.5 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

125 123 2

83 81 2

50.6 51.9 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

154 152 2

111 109 2

38.7 39.4 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,667 1,271 396

1,564 1,135 429

6.6 12.0 -7.7

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Sept. 2013

Aug. 2013

Sept. 2012

% Change Aug. ’13Sept. ‘13

46,711,449 65,761,292 590,714,853

46,311,067 66,192,354 590,044,887

46,559,386 64,942,609 570,755,375

0.9 -0.6 0.1

0.3 1.3 3.5

12,528,661 18,048,460

13,007,625 18,023,790

3.4 1.5

-0.4 1.6

% Change Sept. ’12Sept. ‘13 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA


Passengers Cargo

Aug. 2013 151,029 7,560,296

July 2013 162,233 6,797,296

Aug. 2012 146,995 8,577,151

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2013 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


883 14,636 $140,325


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change Aug. ’12Sept. ‘13

Sept. 2012

12,951,136 18,311,085

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. 2013

Aug. 2013


442,847 26,675 21,919 8,483 56,131 48,032 9,081 49,092 55,106 24,060 10,933 88,762 36,002

390,766 23,146 18,456 7,765 51,933 43,313 7,942 46,563 48,036 21,819 10,014 70,769 33,842

% Change Aug. ’13Sept. ‘13 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA





Sept. 2012

% Change Sept. ’12Sept. ‘13 30.9 -20.0 4.0

*August 2013 data not available at time of publication.

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Aug. 2013 1,355 12,607 $154,900

% Change Aug. ’13Sept. ‘13 -14.7 -7.1 -5.8

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

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EST. 1869

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13 -6.9 11.2

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13 2.7 -11.9

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE Messer: Building Knoxville Landmarks When you are passionate about what you do, you do it well. In Knoxville, the team at Messer Construction Co. is passionate about building a better community – and it shows. “We are an employee-owned company, which means each of us has a personal stake in every project we do,” said Andy Lorenz, vice president of Messer. “This inspires the commitment to excellence that has earned us a reputation for well-managed projects and trust within the industry.” Founded in 1932, Messer is a full-service complex commercial construction company specializing in building for health care, higher education, and life sciences. Since opening its Knoxville location in 2004, Messer has been busy building a premier reputation locally. Messer has completed local projects totaling almost $300 million. These projects include the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville, St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Farragut, and the new Carter Elementary School and the Episcopal School of Knoxville Lower School in Knox County. Messer’s latest project is the recently opened $23.1 million John D. Tickle Engineering Building on the University of Tennessee campus. The five-story, 100,000-squarefoot, technologically advanced facility houses classrooms, labs, and faculty offices for the departments of civil and environmental engineering and industrial and information engineering. “When you’re looking to build a better community in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee is a great place to start,” Lorenz said. “Working on the Tickle Building, it’s been an honor and privilege to help shape the UT campus and subsequently, the future of this community. I was proud to hear UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek say that the Tickle Building will greatly enhance the opportunities available to faculty and students as they work to shape the future of our state and our nation.” In addition to striving for excellence in its construction projects, Messer aspires to be a leading corporate citizen. Since 2004, Messer has invested nearly $400,000 and numerous volunteer hours in Knoxville organizations such as the March of Dimes, arts organizations, Emerald Youth Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Rebuilding Together Knoxville. Messer professionals dedicate their leadership talents and serve in key roles on community service boards and committees, such as the Knoxville’s Public Assembly Facilities board, the Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals, the UT Chancellor’s Associates, and the Knoxville Area Urban League board. In 2009, Messer was honored with the Council of Better Business Bureaus International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence. The Marketplace Excellence award is presented annually to three North American businesses in recognition of their superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit their consumers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and surrounding communities. “It is important for us to understand the needs of our community in order to help meet those needs,” Lorenz said. “Knoxville is our home. Our goal is to help ensure it’s on a solid foundation and build it up with quality and excellence.”

Answer Financial Opens New West Knoxville Sales Center Answer Financial Inc. opened its state-of-the-art flagship sales center in Knoxville on Oct. 15. The company’s significant investment in Innovation Valley will produce 400 jobs and have a $77.8 million impact on the region’s economy. “Answer Financial’s decision to have its new facility in Knoxville is a great testament to our workforce and our location in Innovation Valley,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “We appreciate the company’s commitment to staying in the region.” Prior to opening its new 33,000-square-foot facility, the Los Angelesbased insurance company had operated a smaller sales office in Oak Ridge for more than 10 years. Peter Foley, Answer Financial’s senior vice president of sales and client service operations, said the new location is more centralized for the majority of the company’s employees. “About 45 percent of our employees live within a 15 minute drive (to the building) and 80 percent are within a short commute,” Foley said. “We chose this location because of the great features that it has: easy access to the freeway, a beautiful 10-mile greenway, great location for accessibility to banks, restaurants and other services,” added Robert J. Slingerland, CEO and president of Answer Financial. “We hope that will help us attract and retain new associates as we continue to grow.” To date, Answer Financial has hired more than 350 people to work at the flagship facility and is looking to hire 50 more positions in the fourth quarter alone. Slingerland said they’ve already seen proof that the new location is helping with recruitment. “Two weeks (before the grand opening) we hosted a job fair at the new building and we had close to 120 people show up,” he said. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he’s glad to see companies like Answer Financial expanding its facilities and services in Knox County. “This new facility is great news for Knox County,” Burchett said. “This office will increase jobs and economic development in our community.”

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Zabrina Minor TORCH Age: 27 Title: Executive Director Company: TORCH (Trinity Out-Reach Center of Hope), with a mission to invest in and support the holistic transformation of the economically disadvantaged in our community as they pursue self-sufficiency. Visit them online at Education: Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) Hometown: Moody, Ala. YP affiliation: Young Professionals of Oak Ridge Community involvement: Foster Care Review Board for Anderson County Juvenile Court, UT Alumni Regional Network board, media liaison and vice president for the Young Professionals of Oak Ridge. Also engaged with various activities such as Relay for Life, YPOR’s annual Mutt Strutt, networking events, and YPOR’s annual Halloween Party.

Favorite thing to do in Innovation Valley on the weekend: Eat, drink, and be merry in Market Square. The Knoxville Chamber and Innovation Valley have partnered with six locallyestablished young professional organizations to recognize outstanding young professionals on a monthly basis. To nominate a YP deserving of recognition, fill out and submit the online form located at: http://www.knoxvillechamber. com/innovation-valley-young-professionals-spotlight.

Air Fare Initiative Continues to Recruit Partners, Raise Funds The Competitive Airfare Partnership (CAP) is continuing to raise awareness and support from public and private investors in the Innovation Valley region to expand sustainable low-fare air service at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. CAP, which launched in May, has been in contact with several large companies and the momentum for the initiative is growing. By presenting individualized corporate travel analysis, CAP representatives can show you first-hand how low fare service can impact corporate bottom lines. “The cost of air travel in and out of McGhee Tyson Airport is impacting the economic growth of our region, and the CAP efforts are critical to make sure we are ready to respond when an air carrier is considering expanding low fare service to the Innovation Valley region,” said Mitch Steenrod, chair of the CAP advisory committee and chief financial officer at Pilot Flying J. Market research shows that approximately 20 percent of Knoxville-area travelers are using other airports for their travel needs. Based on 2012 passenger levels for Knoxville, that 20 percent represents 310,000 additional passengers, or 425 departing passengers per day. Having a low-fare carrier can stimulate the market and reverse the loss of travelers. “Working as a region to lower airfares at McGhee Tyson is one of the strategic priorities of Innovation Valley’s Blueprint 2.0,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “The cost of air service continues to be one of the things we hear about from site selection consultants as a barrier that needs to be overcome to make our region competitive for corporate relocation projects. CAP is working to address this issue.” The CAP has raised more than $1.6 million to date, with an overall fundraising goal of $3 million. For more information on the initiative, please visit the Innovation Valley website at

RIBBON CUTTING Toyota of Knoxville has generously loaned the Knoxville Chamber a 2013 Toyota Tacoma. This vehicle will be invaluable to the Chamber’s staff as they set up for events throughout the Innovation Valley. Pictured left to right: Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Chamber; Ashleigh Adkins, membership development manager for the Chamber; Doug White of Toyota of Knoxville; Stefanie Hess of Toyota of Knoxville; Brandon Drummer of Toyota of Knoxville; Michelle Kiely, vice president of Development for the Chamber; and Angela Beaulieu, event coordinator for the Chamber. In the background Mike Edwards, Rhonda Rice, and Mark Field all with the Chamber.

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Help the Chamber Choose a Marketing Tagline The Knoxville Chamber’s marketing committee is directing an effort to create a new marketing tagline for the Chamber. Over the last few years, the Chamber has focused its resources on marketing specific products and services like iKnowKnoxville. com and Chamber Member MD®, but now the organization would like to have a new tagline to help promote the organization as a whole. The Marketing Committee recently met and brainstormed several ideas that bridge the Chamber’s mission of “Driving Regional Economic Prosperity” and its vision of helping make Knoxville “America’s Best Business Address®.” Now we want your help! Vote for one of the committee’s favorites, listed below, or give us

an idea of your own! • You’ve arrived. • Turn here. • Make your connection here. • Your route to success • Direction. Performance. Success. “The best people to help us accentuate the benefits of the Chamber are our members,” said John Tolsma, chairman of the Chamber Marketing Committee. “This will be an innovative way to excite people about all that is happening to make Knoxville America’s Best Business Address.” Go to to cast your vote for one of the five suggested taglines. Or if you have a better idea, please let us know! Voting will be open until Dec. 18. Once you vote, you will be eligible to win a $100 gift card from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

PROPEL MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE Protégé: Mel Evans, Ally Insurance

Mentor: Doug Minter, Knoxville Chamber

In each of the Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Mentor/ Protégé classes, a protégé is identified that a Chamber staff member will mentor. Doug Minter, program manager of Propel, selected Mel Evans, president of Ally Insurance, as his protégé. Minter said he felt compelled to mentor Evans because of his own past experience as an insurance agency owner. “Mel is one of the hardest working protégés I have seen since we started the program,” Minter said. “Let’s be honest, insurance is a needed but sometimes complicated item of our lives. But Mel’s delivery system simplifies the process and provides client understanding. All this with the hallmark of representing a market-leading company in Erie Insurance.” Evans said that his firm seeks to enrich the safety of people while enhancing the concepts of protection and security in our community. They carry this out through a few essential philosophic principles: provide extraordinary customer and customized service. Evans said that, no matter the size of the policy, he and his growing staff bring nothing but the best effort and heartfelt passion about the customer experience. The company has also incorporated marketing and digital enhancements to help enlighten their clients. “The Propel program has been excellent for my business and has helped fuel many of the concepts that I have in place,” Evans said. “The number one thing I’ve learned from my mentor is budget. Doug stays on me about budgeting and other financial-related topics. This is definitely not my area of expertise. But I’ve come a long way in a short time since entering the

program.” Evans has already established himself as a sales leader within Tennessee for Erie. He is also one of the first AfricanAmericans to represent Erie in Tennessee. Ally Insurance began just seven months ago and Mel Evans Doug Minter has increased sales 20 percent each month since inception. Evans said the Propel program has been a great motivator for him. “A mentor is a steward of sorts. He or she can assist in managing certain areas where the protégé doesn’t excel,” he said. “My areas of expertise are sales, marketing/advertising, and networking. However when it came to the accounting side of it, I found myself procrastinating or just putting it off due to lack of interest. I now have a grasp on it because my mentor was pushing me. I guess we can say a mentor is like a coach, too.” The Chamber is now excepting applications for the 2014 mentor/protégé class. For more information about Propel’s Mentor/Protégé Program, contact Doug Minter at (865-)246-2662 or at

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UT President Speaks at Premier Partner Event


Nearly 100 people filled the Market House Room at the Knoxville Chamber on Oct. 22 to hear University of Tennessee System President Joe DiPietro speak about the state of the university system. The event, sponsored by Blaine Construction, was one of the exclusive gatherings the Chamber hosts for its Premier Partners. DiPietro, who has been at the helm of the university system for nearly three years, gave the crowd insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the campuses and institutes that make up the system. “UT is a system of campuses and institutes with a presence across the state in all 95 counties. Through this large network, the university impacts the Left to right: Gary Bennett of Blaine lives of thousands of Tennesseans every Construction, UT President Joe DiPietro, day as we fulfill our mission to educate, and Knoxville Chamber Chairman Patrick discover, and connect,” DiPietro said. Birmingham. As part of its mission to educate, DiPietro said the system is heavily involved in Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative, which aims to have 55 percent of Tennesseans with at least a two-year degree by 2025. “The governor’s Drive to 55 initiative is both exciting and challenging,” DiPietro said. “The University of Tennessee is engaged in helping our state achieve this goal, and we are seeking ways to become more efficient in producing graduates.” DiPietro said the system is looking into better advising and student success programs to produce higher graduation rates. UT Knoxville is implementing a new program for freshmen that will monitor their progress. Another focus of the system’s mission is producing world-class research. DiPietro highlighted UT’s relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory as key to fulfilling this mission. He also discussed the new Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, which is a joint project between UT and ORNL. The facility will open in 2015 and will be a hub for energy, agriculture, biomedical, environmental, material science, and supercomputing research. “Our Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is good for the university, faculty and students, and we will deliver on the promise to bring public-private partnerships that will foster economic development for all of Knoxville.”

NOVEMBER 12 Bright Ideas: Increase Your Revenue, the “One Thing” You Must Do!

Presented by: Jill Vogelfang, Pinnacle Solutions 11:30-1:00 Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber Members/$35 for NonMembers (includes lunch)

NOVEMBER 22 Premier Partner Event with Featured Guest Randy Boyd 7:30-8:30 a.m. • King College, 10950 Spring Bluff Way, 37923 (Off of Hardin Valley Road, just west of Pellissippi Parkway) Exclusive Event for Premier Partners Sponsored by:

DECEMBER 5 BAH Humbug Holiday Party 5 – 8 p.m. Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, 525 Henley Street 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


The Knoxville Chamber would like to thank the 240 companies that are our Premier Partners. These businesses are recognized as leaders within the community and make a vital commitment to the economic development of the region through their enhanced investment in the Knoxville Chamber.

Interested in becoming a Chamber member at this prestigious level? Contact Michelle Kiely, vice president of membership development by emailing her at or calling her at (865) 246-2617 To see a list of these companies, scan the QR code.

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Commerce November 2013  
Commerce November 2013  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.