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INSIDE: Schmoozapalooza pg. 52 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 54


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.


with the


(1st Place) SLAMDOT, INC.


Knoxville Chamber

Embassy Suites celebrated the grand opening of its new west Knoxville location in August. Alpesh Patel, CEO, is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by his family, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Embassy executives, First Bank representatives, and Knoxville Chamber representatives and Ambassadors.

MARK ARCHER (3rd Place)

Knoxville Chamber


NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS SILVER Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center (865) 584-0291

Healthcare Providers & Services: Hospitals & Clinics

BRONZE Answer Financial, Inc (865) 226-1000 Insurance: Property & Casualty Central Communications (865) 525-2308 Telecommunications Business & Professional Services: Technical Services

HSC BUILDING AUTOMATION & CONTROLS (865) 247-0481 Industrial Supplies & Services Shular Hospitality (865) 868-2991 Hotels & Lodging Storage Pros Management, LLC Sutherland (865) 637-5016 Residential Services: Storage

BASE TIER MEMBERS Ascertainment Marketing (865) 310-1505 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

Bojangles’ (865) 212-0059 Restaurants Composed IT (865) 288-9030 Computer & IT Services: Consultants Easy Money (865) 622-5934 Financial Services: Commercial Financing Elder Law of East Tennessee (865) 951-2410 Legal Services First Call Ambulance Service (865) 474-8166 Healthcare Providers & Services Joe’s Repair Service (865) 924-4649 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Safety Equipment & Services

Joyce R. Turner Wellness Center, LLC (865) 577-8667 Personal Services: Fitness & Wellbeing Knoxville Vapor (865) 466-5107 Shopping: Tobacco Landmark International Trucks, Inc. (865) 637-4881 Transportation: Fleet Maintenance, Transportation: Truck/Trailor Sales & Equipment, Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service Orange Leaf Cedar Bluff (865) 531-7727 Farragut (865) 288-7721 Restaurants: Ice Cream & Frozen Treats

Postec (865) 212-4730 Restaurant Supplies & Services Rainbow International Restoration of Knoxville (865) 670-2772 Residential Services Robin Easter Design (865) 524-0146 Business & Professional Services: Graphic Designers Sherwin-Williams Paint Store (865) 450-5048 Shopping: Specialty

















The Work From Home Expo (865) 470-4346 www.theworkfromhomeexpo. com Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Welcome Wagon (865) 363-4388 Business & Professional Services: Advertising Media

Knoxville Receives Highest Sustainability Rating From TVA


ver the past few years, Knoxville has made significant strides in becoming a greener community. Those efforts were recently recognized with the city receiving a platinum rating from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new Valley Sustainable Communities program. The platinum rating, which is the highest designation a community can receive, signifies that Knoxville has made a “significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and also has thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts.” “This innovative program offered an opportunity to demonstrate Knoxville’s commitment to sustainability and leverage that commitment to be even more competitive for economic development investments,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. Earlier this year, the city was invited to participate in the new program sponsored by TVA and administered and developed by Boyette Strategic Advisors. When evaluating Knoxville, BSA took economic, environmental, and societal resources into

account. “(BSA) visited our city and evaluated us in key areas like sustainability preparedness and education; economic vitality; and environmental and societal commitment, including health and wellness efforts,” Rogero said. “The program is unique in that it has an economic development focus.” Some of the efforts that has made Knoxville a sustainable community include: offering electric car charging stations in various locations throughout the city; creating energy-efficient municipal buildings; adding more bike lanes; and installing recycling bins in downtown and city parks. The city has also made a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020 from the 2005 levels. Rogero also attributes the top-notch rating to the tireless work of countless orga-

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See “Sustainable” on pg. 50

“Sustainable” continued from pg. 49

nizations and businesses in the area that make sustainable practices a priority. The University of Tennessee, the Knoxville Utilities Board, Knoxville Area Transit, Pellissippi State, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., are just a few of the those that have made a conscious effort to educate and promote green practices in the area. “Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and we are pleased to be part of a community that has been recognized

for its performance in this area,” said Mike Brennan, director of Knoxville Plant Operations for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. “We know that as a local business, we have a responsibility to support the economic, social, and environmental goals of our communities, and it has been gratifying to partner with Knoxville and help support the Knoxville region.” The rating not only has a positive meaning for current residents and businesses, but it will help recruit business prospects to the area. “The Knoxville Chamber has seen increased interest from business recruitment prospects inquiring about our community’s sustainable efforts, so the results of this certification will be touted immediately to those companies considering Knoxville for capital investment and job creation opportunities,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Chamber. Knoxville is currently the only city in the program to receive a platinum ranking. Washington County received a gold rating and Roane County was recognized with a silver rating. “All of us in the city, at the Chamber, and our partners in county government, the school system and elsewhere can all be proud of this top rating,” Rogero said. “It reflects the hard work of many people and organizations dedicated to making Knoxville a more vibrant, healthy, and environmentally responsible community.” To learn more about the Valley Sustainable Communities program, visit www. On the Cover: Doug Lawyer, vice president for economic development at the Knoxville Chamber; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; Andy Lawson, regional development specialist for TVA; and Rhonda Rice, the chamber’s executive vice president celebrating the platinum rating.

ARC Automotive Expands Innovation Valley Operations, Creates 115 Jobs ARC Automotive, Inc. announced on Sept. 4 that it will expand its existing Knoxville location. The expansion in Innovation Valley, necessitated by the company’s growing domestic and international customer base, represents a $3 million investment in the region and will create 115 new jobs in Knox County. “I’m pleased that ARC Automotive, a longtime Knoxville manufacturer, is adding jobs and new equipment to its Third Creek airbag component manufacturing operations,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said in a press release. “This expansion validates that Knoxville continues to be a strong location for the automotive sector.” ARC Automotive is a global manufacturer of inflator products for airbag applications including driver, passenger, side, and curtain automotive airbag inflators. The company, headquartered in Knoxville, has offices in Japan and Korea and manufactur-

ing facilities in China and Mexico. “We are particularly excited about this expansion since it represents reshoring of equipment and jobs from Mexico to Knoxville,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president for economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Innovation Valley is very fortunate in that it’s seeing a good deal of activity currently from the automotive sector.“ The Knoxville plant, located at 1611 Third Creek Road, specializes in research, engineering, prototype, and production. The company plans to fill the majority of the new positions within the first year of the expansion. “ARC Automotive’s expansion of their existing plant in Knox County is good news and I’m confident that they will continue to see success in this highly competitive industry,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said in a press release. “Our low taxes and conservative fiscal management make Knox County a great place to do business.”

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Chamber Honors its Premier Partners at Appreciation Reception

More than 100 guests representing the Knoxville Chamber’s Premier Partners gathered that Ruth’s Chris Steak House for the Sept. 12 Premier Partner Appreciation Reception.

The Knoxville Chamber celebrated its most generous investors at the Premier Partner Appreciation Reception, sponsored by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, on Sept. 12. The Chamber has more than 200 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 100 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 in 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.” Jessica Emert of ORNL Federal Credit Union took home the evening’s door prize – a $100 gift card to Ruth’s Chris.

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Dino Cartwright of Prestige Cleaners, Sherry McHaffie of Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Chamber Board Member Jonathan Williams pose for a photo at the Premier Partner Appreciation Reception at Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Sept. 12.


More than 550 packed the floor of the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Sept. 26 for Schmoozapalooza IX. The tailgate-themed expo, sponsored by Comcast Business Class, Cellular Sales, and SERVPRO, gave guests the opportunity to interact with nearly 70 exhibiting businesses. The semi annual networking extravaganza wrapped up with the announcement of several door prizes. Ginger Pellechia of Rosa’s Catering took home an XBOX with Kinect, courtesy of SERVPRO of Rocky Hill/ Sequoyah Hills/South Knoxville; Doug Allen of Five Star Food Service won a Coleman grill, courtesy of Comcast Business Class; Matt Cremeens of Arrow Extermination and Daniel Wilson of SERVPRO both won Knox 360 Virtual Tour packages, courtesy of Knox 360; and Karah Kataoka of the YMCA took home a VIP package to Tailgate Tennessee for the University of Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game.

2. 1.

1. Nearly 70 businesses set up booths at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Sept. 26 for Schmoozapalooza IX. 2. Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber, chats with Jayson Swain, former Vol and Chicago Bears football player, on Tennessee Sports Radio at Schmoozapalooza live remote. 3. Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber, Chamber Chairman Patrick Birmingham, Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards, and Chamber Executive Assistant Jenny Anderton pose for a photo.

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4. Guests wait in the registration line at Schmoozapalooza IX. More than 550 businesspeople came out for the networking extravaganza.

7. Louis Savard, Matthew Wygal, and Christine Gray of Comcast Business Class, a sponsor of Schmoozapalooza IX, pose with their booth at the networking expo.

5. Guests network with representatives from the Tennessee Smokies baseball club.

8. A guest samples barbeque from the All Occasion Catering.

6. Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Knoxville Chamber, announces the winner of the Tailgate Tennessee VIP package. Karah Kataoka of the YMCA excitedly accepted the grand door prize.

9. Erik Ainge, former University of Tennessee football player, and TSR morning show host and Steve Phillips of TSR visit with Jim Evans and Caitlin Newman of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority.

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(August 2013)

NOTE - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties



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

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13

Aug. 2013

July 2013

Aug. 2012

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13

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

238,110 374,730 3,153,600 157,196,000

240,790 379,340 3,127,500 155,255,000

-1.6 -1.7 -1.2 -0.8

-2.7 -2.9 -0.4 0.5

338,700 2,753,500

335,800 2,736,700

331,100 2,716,700

0.9 0.6

2.3 1.4

18,200 29,100 288,640

18,460 29,900 300,040

17,970 28,990 289,950

-1.4 -2.7 -3.8

1.3 0.4 -0.5

7.0 7.1 8.3 7.3

7.0 7.2 8.5 7.7

6.7 6.9 8.3 8.2

0.0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.4

0.3 0.2 0.0 -0.9

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

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Aug. 2013*

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


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

% Change Aug. ’11Aug. ‘13 0.3 -0.2

Aug. ’12-‘13

July ’12-‘13

Aug. ’11-‘12

1.8 1.5

2.2 2.0

1.5 1.7

-0.4 -0.5

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

July 2013* 20 20 0

July 2012 8 8 0

% Change July ’12July ‘13 150.0 150.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

109 107 2

67 65 2

62.7 64.6 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

141 139 2

90 88 2

56.7 58.0 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,918 1,379 539

1,159 1,073 86

65.5 28.5 526.7

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Aug. 2013

July 2013

Aug. 2012

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13

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

47,346,542 67,115,826 634,841,867

46,297,950 64,938,229 568,718,972

-2.2 -1.4 -7.1

0.0 1.9 3.7

13,169,293 18,797,569

12,662,776 17,689,587

-4.9 -4.0

-1.1 2.0


Passengers Cargo

June 2013 164,541 6,503,502

May 2013 155,164 7,409,392

June 2012 163,024 7,991,223

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


1,171 14,909 $147,850



% Change July ’12Aug. ‘13

Aug. 2012

12,528,661 18,048,460

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

Aug. 2013

July 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

429,115 28,476 19,581 7,952 55,416 46,543 8,535 48,606 52,287 23,588 10,635 85,922 34,574

422,544 25,242 20,963 8,228 53,792 45,607 8,656 49,726 54,889 23,356 10,523 80,204 33,094

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13 3.2 -6.3 11.9 6.7 1.3 3.2 6.4 1.0 5.4 2.0 2.8 3.3 4.1





Aug. 2012

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13 NA NA NA

*August 2013 data not available at time of publication.

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

July 2013 1,289 15,656 $156,300

% Change July ’13Aug. ‘13 NA NA NA

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘13 4.8 5.7 4.6 3.1 4.3 5.3 4.9 -1.3 0.4 3.0 3.9 10.7 8.8 3.7

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

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EST. 1869

% Change May ’13June ‘13 6.0 -12.2

% Change June ’12June ‘13 0.9 -18.6

PREMIER PARTNER PROFILE For more than 50 years, Lewis, King, Krieg and Waldrop, P.C., has been a leading defense litigation firm in Knoxville. The firm boasts 16 areas of legal practice and more than 55 attorneys who handle cases from across the state. Based in Knoxville, Lewis King has two additional offices in Nashville and Sevierville. Some of the firm’s practice areas include education, employment, and insurance defense. Construction is another prominent practice area at Lewis King. The firm has 10 attorneys devoted to diverse construction litigation. David Draper, an attorney and shareholder at Lewis King, said the firm represents all aspects of the construction business – from owners and developers, designers, engineers and architects to general contractors and suppliers. Lewis King also handles insurance coverage disputes related to construction claims. “The construction industry got hit pretty hard in the economic downturn,” Draper said. “We’ve seen our clients struggle and strategize through that. But (the construction industry) is coming back rather vibrantly, and I think our clients are better for it.” Several of the firm’s attorneys devote their entire practice to the construction industry; several have architectural, engineering, contractor, real estate development or other construction backgrounds that further advance their ability to understand the construction industry and successfully navigate its often complex contracts and diverse relationships. Lewis King’s clients are local, regional, and national. The firm’s construction attorneys are active participants in the Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel, Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, and the Tennessee Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors. Along with construction, the firm has a heavy focus on education. “We represent more boards of education than any other firm in Tennessee,” Draper said. “We represent local county school boards and various city school boards, as well as higher-education institutions.” Draper said that through the firm’s involvement with the Knoxville Chamber, it has been able to support and underwrite various special events relating to education, including a forum on community schools last year. As one of the largest firms in Knoxville, Lewis King has been able to make a significant impact on the community, not just through legal work, but also through its philanthropic activities. “This firm is very committed to the community through charitable works and through participating with our clients in ways that are not just related to their legal needs, but to their businesses and things they do to give back to the community,” Draper said. Each year, through the Lewis King Charitable Giving foundation, the firm chooses local charities to be the recipients of its annual fundraising. This year’s donations went to CASA of East Tennessee, Hope Resource Center, Free Medical Clinic, and the Love Kitchen. The firm is also a supporter of Mobile Meals, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Cancer Society.

Knox Schools Seek Community Input for New Strategic Plan Development The Knox County Schools is looking to the community for guidance as it develops its next five-year strategic plan. The school system will host a series of Insight Sessions to get feedback on the plan from teachers, students, parents, and community members. The first Insight Session will be held at South-Doyle Middle School on Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. Morgan Camu, director of strategic planning for Knox County Schools, said participants at sessions will be asked three basic questions – What’s good? What’s not? What’s next? “Five years doesn’t come around all too often, so we’re interested in getting as many people as we can into a room to ask these basic questions. Then (we will) decide what the next steps should be,” Camu said. Camu said the Insight Sessions will be a fresh take on the typical community meeting. She said they will be discussion-based, rather than a presentation or lecturestyle, and will include fun elements like student performances, refreshments, and childcare for parents with young children. The new plan, Knox Schools 2020, will build on the momentum of the first strategic plan, which emphasized higher academic expectations with Common Core State Standards, individualized learning, strong student support and services, and strong learning foundations. “One new thing that we’re very excited about is really looking at personalizing learning for students, which wasn’t as prominent in the first plan,” Camu said. “(The last plan) talked about multiple pathways for success for high school students, such as with the L&N STEM Academy and the opening of the CTE magnet school, but now we’re going to be using a lot more technology at all levels.” Camu said the integration of more technology will capitalize on the School Technology Challenge that launched earlier this year, which offers students their own device – laptop or tablet – to enhance classroom instruction. Eleven schools are currently participating in this pilot program. There will be six Insight Sessions in October. In November, the school system will host two Feedback Sessions to present parents and stakeholders with a synthesized version of the feedback it received in Insight Sessions. “We have a responsibility to ensure we’re providing an excellent education for every child, and there’s no better people to ask than the parents, grandparents, and other community members who know these children well,” Camu said. To learn more about the new strategic plan and view the full Insight Session schedule, visit

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Cameron Puckett Bank of America Age: 28 Title: Vice President, Small Business Banker Company: Bank of America Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Finance from the University of Tennessee; Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee
 Hometown: Greeneville, Tenn. YP affiliation: President, Young Professionals of Knoxville Community involvement: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Knoxville Chamber Ambassador, University of Tennessee Young Alumni Council

Favorite thing to do in Innovation Valley on the weekend: Cheer on the Big Orange!! The Knoxville Chamber and Innovation Valley have partnered with six locally-established 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:

Alcoa Celebrates 100 Years of Its Tennessee Operations Alcoa Inc. is celebrating a century of aluminum manufacturing at its Tennessee Operations in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. For 10 decades, Alcoa has been a valuable contributor to the Innovation Valley — providing countless jobs and economic stability to the region. Not to mention giving its namesake to an entire city. The Tennessee Operations continues to grow and expand as it enters its second century. In May, Alcoa announced a $275 million investment to expand its rolling mill that will add 200 permanent jobs, as well as 400 jobs during the construction phase. The expansion will help the company meet the growing demand for light, durable, and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production. “The decision of Alcoa to make this significant investment in the Innovation Valley is a testament to their belief in this region, its workforce, and its ability to produce the quality product they desire,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. Construction on the expansion began in May and will be completed mid-2015. Once finished, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets. Much of the volume for the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements. “Alcoa doing such a significant expansion of their operations for new products, specifically for the automotive industry, is a tremendous win for the Innovation Valley and our economic development efforts for this targeted business sector,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Chamber.

RIBBON CUTTINGS Personal Finance Company celebrated its grand opening at 8078 Kingston Pike in September. Pictured from left to right are: Paige McDaniel, Knoxville Chamber Ambassador; Robert Cooley, Chamber Ambassador; Lisa Cannon, PFC; Tabitha Gibson, PFC branch manager; Vanessa Cannon, PFC; Rob Glass, Chamber Ambassador; Sara Rochester, Chamber Ambassador.

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Environmental Standards, Inc. celebrated its new Knoxville location and expansion in September. David Thal, associate principal with Environmental Standards, is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is joined by Environmental Standards staff and associates along with Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors.

New Red Cross Program Gets Businesses Prepared for Disaster Disaster can strike at any time. Tornados, fires, earthquakes, and flooding can take a tremendous toll on a business and its staff. To make sure your business is prepared in the event of an emergency, the American Red Cross has created the Ready Rating Program. Along with national sponsors Anheuser Busch and SERVPRO, the Red Cross has partnered locally with the Knoxville Chamber to provide this one-of-a-kind emergency response planning tool to Knoxville-area business owners. Nearly 40 percent of businesses fail after a natural or human-caused disaster, and nearly one-third of businesses have no business continuity plan. But for April Stouffer, major gifts officer at the Red Cross, the statistics are no excuse not to be prepared. “Now, I am by no means a doomsday prepper,” she said. “But if you could have a plan, just a small scale structure of what to do in a disaster – for free – wouldn’t you do it? You wouldn’t go to bed without setting your alarm, so why go to work without having a plan?” The Ready Rating Program is designed for any organization, but Stouffer’s goal is to see it implemented in schools.

“When we involve the teachers, our kids become safer; when our kids are safer, our homes become safer. It’s a great grassroots campaign that can improve all our lives,” she said. “We can benefit the entire community by making our schools members.” By becoming a Ready Rating member, each organization completes an online assessment to determine readiness and address possible threats to the business. Then members are supplied with a Next Steps Report, Emergency Response Planner Tool, Peer Comparison Report, and full access to a Resource Center. With these tools, members are able to become part of a solution before the effects of any disaster become irreversible. Mark Field, senior vice president of membership at the Knoxville Chamber, has been a part of the project since its genesis in Knoxville. “We can never give our members enough information about how they can be ready when it comes to a crisis,” he said. “It’s more than how to react to a flood or tornado. It’s about knowing how to manage your business without power. How do you maintain the flow of business without computers? We want to provide a nocost opportunity to those in the community who want to be better prepared.” To participate in the Ready Rating program visit This story was written by Knoxville Chamber Intern Libby Perry.

PROPEL MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE Protégé: Jennie Huettel, Mountain Mutt Media Mentor: Greg Cox, Virginia College According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 51 percent of small businesses survive beyond their fifth anniversary. However, studies by show that the success rate improves to 70 percent if the small business has a mentor. The Chamber’s Propel Mentor/ Protégé Program was started with that premise in mind. It strives to help early-stage small businesses survive – and thrive – for many years. One of the key benefits Protégé Jennie Huettel, owner of Mountain Mutt Media, has received participating in the program is positive motivation. “There is a direct correlation between a happy, confident business owner and revenue,” Huettel said. “My mentor has encouraged and helped me stay positive and confident, which in turn helps me be more profitable.” Huettel adds that her mentor has been valuable because he gives her the perspective of someone outside of her specific field and has helped her to realize her strengths and weaknesses. “Every business, every person should have a mentor,” she said. “Having someone who can look at your situation as an outsider is priceless, and being able to build a relationship with that person along the way and being able to call them a friend is invaluable. When you have someone willing to share everything they know with you and let you pick their brain, it provides a huge asset to your business and to your life in general.” Mountain Mutt Media is a photography business focused on pets and kids. Along with personal portrait clients, Mountain Mutt Media also does com-

mercial and animal shelter photography. Huettel’s mentor, Greg Cox who is a market development manager for Virginia College, believes that every successful business should give back to the community in the form of mentoring. Greg Cox Jennie Huettel “Everyone needs mentoring at some point in their lives,” he said. “I have been very fortunate to have two in my career. I had one very early in my career and another who was able to assist me in moving my professional life forward. Becoming a mentor was just one way to give that assistance back.” “Jennie’s drive and plan will enable her to take her business to any level of success that she chooses to attain,” Cox said. “During each of our meetings she has detailed the progress that she has made, and she has explained, in a very logical and professional manner, why she was making changes to her plan.” This article was written by Doug Minter, program director for the Propel Mentor/ Protégé Program. To learn more about the program, contact Minter at (865) 246-2662 or email him at

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Orange-Clad Crowd at Annual Image Matters Hosted Event



New Member Orientation 4-6 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Presented by:


Image Matters hosted its eighth annual “Gator Hater” a.m. Exchange on Sept. 19. Image Matters staff members pose for a photo at the event (left to right): Allison Roop, Jenni Gray, Afton Drinnen, Lynette Williams, and Katie King.

More than 80 businesspeople attended the Knoxville Chamber’s a.m. Exchange, sponsored by Image Matters, on Sept. 19. This was the eighth year Image Matters has sponsored the casual morning networking event. The annual “Gator Hater” themed event had guests geared up for University of Tennessee football, many clad in orange and white as they enjoyed the delicious breakfast spread by catering sponsor All Occasion Catering. Image Matters provided five exciting door prizes for the morning event – including gift bags, Tailgate Tennessee tickets, and a Natural Alternatives spa gift card. The door prize winners were: Lisa Hood Skinner of Akerman PR, Marco E. Castaneda of Genesis Clinic, Dorothy Franklin of American Trust Bank of East Tennessee, David Bowers of Citizens Bank of East Tennessee, and J. Michelle Kelly of Scoles Family Chiropractic.

Will You Be Ready if Disaster Strikes? Panel Discussion w/ Mary Beth West, Mary Beth West Communications; Mike Riley, The Oliver Hotel; Joel Hester, Red Cross 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • 6921 Middlebrook Pike, 37909 Presented by:

OCTOBER 22 Premier Partner Event

Featuring Dr. Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Exclusive to Premier Partners

OCTOBER 29 Hiring our Heroes 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Expo Center 5441 Clinton Hwy, 37912


OCTOBER 30 Employee Engagement Series Seminar 3


The Manager-Employee Relationship: The Bottom Line for Engagement 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Members: $25 Non-Members: $35 Presented by:

OCTOBER 31 Knoxville Chamber Annual Report 7:30 a.m. Networking and Continental-Style Breakfast 8 a.m. Annual Report The Airport Maintenance Center (AMC) was officially opened on Aug. 28, and combines the airport’s operations department under one roof, which increases its effectiveness in keeping McGhee Tyson Airport running smoothly. Left to right: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; U.S. Congressman John Duncan Jr., Airport Chairman Howard Vogel, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; and Airport President William Marrison.

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 October 2013  
Commerce October 2013  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.