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INSIDE: Schmoozapalooza Recap pg. 44 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 46



Club LeConte celebrated the opening of its newly renovated lounge. Club manager Steve Laney is pictured center cutting the ribbon, and is joined by club associates and members, along with 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 GOLD PREMIER PARTNERS Countrywide (877) 257-6662 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

BRONZE PREMIER PARTNERS Capstone Concepts, LLC (865) 231-9800 Restaurants Flowers Baking Co. of Knoxville, LLC (865) 362-7532 Manufacturing: Consumer Products

Chili’s North Knoxville (865) 938-4372 Restaurants

WhisperRoom, Inc. (865) 558-5364 Manufacturing: Consumer Products

Hampton Inn - Knoxville Airport (865) 983-1101 Hotels & Lodging

Christian Brothers Automotive (865) 209-3186 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Repair & Service

Y-12 Federal Credit Union (865) 482-1043 Financial Services: Credit Unions

IMS - Investors Management Services, Inc. (865) 522-5500 Real Estate: Property Management

Fenton Nissan of Knoxville (865) 687-6111 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Rentals, Repair & Service, New Car Dealerships Fraley and Schilling, Inc. (865) 673-6411 Transportation

ArborTrek ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls (615) 499-5779 Attractions & Tourism

Golden Outlook Insurance Services (888) 265-4612 Insurance: Health

Berkley Fleet Services (865) 824-4402 Insurance: Property & Casualty

Push Start Technology Solutions (865) 935-9559 Computer & IT Services



Agency Eagle (865) 262-8999 Computer & IT Services: Web Design & Hosting First Watch (865) 675-3447 Restaurants Gatti’s Pizza - Halls (865) 922-5519 Gatti’s Pizza - Kingston Pike (865) 588-8899 Gatti’s Pizza - Maryville (865) 981-9999 Restaurants

J.P. MacKay, CFP - Edward Jones Investments (865) 531-6584 Financial Services: Investments Managed Network Solutions (865) 304-9849 Computer & IT Services: Consultants Mary Kay Cosmetics - Renee Sapp (786) 374-4149 Personal Services Penn Station East Coast Subs (502) 643-9404 Restaurants










K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 40

Personal Auto Locator Service LLC (865) 315-7000 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: PreOwned Cars Petree Arbor, Lawn, & Landscape (865) 980-1820 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping Solution Providers - The John Maxwell Team (865) 300-6517 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Spontivity (865) 548-0121 Business & Professional Services Veronica G. Boutique (865) 675-0222 Shopping: Women’s Clothing


ituated at the junction of several major interstates, rail lines, and the Tennessee River, Innovation Valley is one of the most accessible regions in the country. With 60 percent of the nation’s population within a day’s drive of the area, it’s no wonder Innovation Valley has become a prime location for transportation-related

companies. The region offers easy access to the Tennessee River, Interstates 40, 75, and 81, as well as rail travel by CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Gulf & Ohio. Innovation Valley’s proximity to these vital routes has created a flourishing transportation industry, and spawned approximately 14,000 warehousing and distribution jobs in region. Those jobs account for an annual payroll of $3.8 billion. Because of the area’s wealth of logistics operations, Innovation Valley has included transportation as a target cluster in its strategic plan. The plan, or Blueprint 2.0, outlines five target recruitment clusters that are perfectly suited to take maximum advantage of the area’s strengths, especially its concentration of scientific and technological assets, central location, well-developed infrastructure, and low cost of living. “Innovation Valley is not only a hub for technology and research, but also for transportation. Our central location is ideal for businesses with logistical needs,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “We are always seeking out logistics-related projects which bring high density job numbers to vacant buildings or sites in the Innovation Valley region.“

RAILWAY Innovation Valley offers both main- and short-line rail transportation options. While locomotive giants Norfolk Southern and CSX operate most of the main line rail in the area, local company Gulf & Ohio operates the region’s short line — the Knoxville & Holston River Railroad. The Knoxville & Holston River Railroad consists of 20 miles of track. The KXHR transports more than 6,400 carloads per year with freight such as scrap metal, steel, ethanol, and plastics for companies like Gerdau Ameristeel, Burkhart Enterprises, Tindall’s, and Republic Plastics. “Rail is the second most fuel efficient form of freight transportation available (barges being first),” said Peter “Doc” Claussen Jr., president of Gulf & Ohio. and new member of the chamber’s board. “Short-line customers can save on their freight costs by using rail, and can usually get more flexible service from the short lines than the big railroads are able to deliver, as they have much larger interwoven networks to consider.” Claussen said KXHR’s proximity to Interstates 40, 75, and 81 allows the company to provide transloading services, which accommodates customers who do not have a rail siding. “(Transloading) allows customers to still get rail freight rates into Knoxville, and have trucks deliver from our sidings to their establishments,” he said.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 41

See “Target” on pg. 42

“Target” continued from pg. 41

WATERWAY Moving oversized material can sometimes prove difficult for rail or highway transportation. However, Innovation Valley’s location on the Tennessee River makes that easier with the help of local logistics company Burkhart Enterprises Inc. Burkhart specializes in several transportation modes, but moving freight by barge is one of its most popular, costeffective methods. Each Burkhart Enterprises specializes in moving freight by barge, year, the Burkhart barge rail and truck. terminal transfers approximately 500,000 tons of bulk commodities per year. General Manager Tim Jones said that while it might be the slowest mode of transportation, it is the best for moving large volumes of materials and costs a fraction of other methods. For example, one barge load is equal to 66 truckloads of freight. Jones also said very few companies have the facilities needed to load and unload barges, so Burkhart acts as a middle man –– receiving the shipments by barge, then moving them to the customer by rail or truck. “That’s our niche with rail and barge transport,” Jones said. “We enable every company in East Tennessee to ship or receive by barge and rail without the expense of the infrastructure that is needed for these modes. Products are picked up and delivered by truck and we handle everything in the middle.”

ROADWAY Since 1958, Cherokee Distributing Company has been taking advantage of Knoxville’s proximity to major roadways to advance its business. The company operates two distribution centers –– one in Knoxville and one in the Tri-Cities area –– to ensure fast delivery to its approximately 2,500 clients. Vice President Mary Ellen Brewington said her father started the company when Miller Brewing Company needed a distributor in the Knoxville area. Averitt Express has 143 trucks at its service center The company began with four in Knoxville. delivery trucks. “(Since the company began) Knoxville has grown to a nice-size market and with three major interstates converging here,” Brewington said. “This has allowed us to more easily deliver to the East Tennessee counties we serve.” Cherokee’s fleet has grown to more than 40 trucks as the company serves 22 counties in Tennessee, making around 4,400 deliveries per week. Transportation and supply chain management company Averitt Express also relies on Knoxville’s prime location to deliver fast service to its customers. “Proximity to Interstates 40, 75, and 81 is crucial to shipment speed,” said Joseph

Greek, marketing associate at Averitt Express. “Interstate 40, for example, provides our drivers with a clear shot between our services centers in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. If we had to drive an additional 45 minutes just to get onto an interstate, our delivery times would suffer as a result.” Averitt Express is based out of Crossville, Tenn., but has operated a service center in Knoxville since 1976. The center has 143 trucks in its fleet and has 260 employees. “Knoxville is more than just a strategic point on the map for Averitt Express. The area has given us many invaluable associates over the years. The overall dedication to customer service that our drivers in Knoxville provide is something we do not take for granted.”

DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE The University of Tennessee’s College of Business Administration boasts one of the top logistics programs in the country. In fact, the supply chain management program was recently ranked third among public research universities and fourth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report –– a two-spot jump from 2013 rankings. Mark Moon, department head of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, said a lot of the program’s success has to do with its long heritage and central location in the region. “We were one of the relatively early players with a transportation program,” Moon said. “Over time, I think we’ve done a good job adapting to the changing market. The department has evolved from physical distribution to logistics to marketing and supply chain management –– which integrates both supply KNOXVILLE and demand principles.” CHAMBER’S Moon said Knoxville’s array of TRANSPORTATION & transportation modes helped develop INFRASTRUCTURE the department’s content expertise COMMITTEE early on. Last year the department graduThe Chamber recently reated 273 supply chain students. The established the Transportation and average salary for those graduates is Infrastructure committee, chaired by $51,000. Moon said the majority of Alan Hill, AT&T’s regional director. the department’s students are from inThe committee aims to advocates state and a good percentage typically for physical systems, which tend stay in the region after graduation. to be high-cost investments on the Moon said a lot of these students front end yet are vital to Knoxville’s are hired by companies like Bush long-term economic development Brothers, Pilot Flying J, Wal-Mart, and prosperity. Procter & Gamble, and Boeing –– This Committee meets quarterly which are just some of the departand dives-deep into how to improve, ment’s industry partners. grow, and expand Knoxville’s “We’ve formed a strong alliance capability to service commercial with industry partners over the years,” traffic via transit, waterways, rail, said Moon. “(For 18 years), we’ve had pipelines, etc. This committee also a program called the Supply Chain focuses on methods to broaden and Forum, which consists of almost 60 extend access to utilities and Inforcompanies that come to conferences mation and Communications Techa couple times a year where faculty nology (ICT). For more information and students present (work). We bring on the committee, contact Lindsay top minds in the field of logistics and Hammill, economic development supply chain management to speak to project manager for the Chamber, that group. It’s also an opportunity for at those industry partners to get to know or 865-246-2647. our students and possibly recruit our students.”

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 42

MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE PROTÉGÉ: LAUREL PATRICK Title: CEO Business: First Place Finish Inc. Website: Industry: Construction What is the importance of having a mentor to you? As our business faces obstacles, having an outside business leader’s knowledge and perspective is beneficial. How has this program added to or changed your value of chamber membership? The program has allowed our business an open door to become instantly welcomed and active within the chamber. What do you want to learn from your mentor? I have valued my mentor’s wisdom and spirit of sharing. Management Solution’s company culture is to be admired. It is my desire to use some of their company values as we grow.

MENTOR: MISTY D. MAYES, PMP Title: President and founder Business: Management Solutions, LLC Website: Industry: Project Management Consulting Services Who has been one of your important mentors and why? Jerry Mikeal – my former boss at both IT Corporation and SAIC. Jerry was a great mentor because he saw potential in me very early in my career. The confidence he had in me, as well as the insight he shared, enabled me to work on and lead a variety of diverse projects over the years. How has being a mentor helped you or your firm? One of my passions is helping others –- in life and in work. Many people have helped me throughout my career and I truly enjoy giving back and helping others achieve their goals or merely reach for their dreams. I’m a problem solver by nature, so if I can offer my experience and insight to help someone create a plan of action, implement action steps or make decisions, I’m happy to assist. What do you want your protégé to learn from you? Laurel and I will focus on all aspects of business from payroll to budgeting to project analysis to RFPs, but since my background is in project management, I will place particular emphasis on teaching some of the basics like scope, schedule, and budget. In addition, in the area of business development, we will discuss the importance of communicating, packaging, and presenting ideas. With these key focal points in Laurel’s plan, I look forward to watching her business reach the next level.

Amendment 2 Clarifies State Judicial Selection On Nov. 4, Tennessee voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on how appellate court judges are selected and retained by voting on a new amendment to our state’s constitution. Amendment 2, or the Judicial Selection Amendment, would authorize the governor to appoint the state’s appellate judges –– with the approval of the Legislature –– and give voters the right to decide if a judge stays in office at the end of his or her term. While this is essentially the process now, the Legislature’s approval adds new layer of accountability by having elected representatives confirm or reject the governor’s appointees. Vote Yes on 2, an organization lobbying for the passage of the amendment, states that the measure will also help keep the influence of special interest money away from judges and out of the state. “Passing Amendment 2 will provide greater stability to our appellate courts and help ensure that Tennessee remains competitive in attracting businesses and investment, expanding economic development, and growing job opportunities,” said Stephen Susano, campaign director for Vote Yes on 2. Susano explained that Amendment 2 strikes the right balance between making sure the state has an independent and qualified judiciary to uphold the rule of law, while still maintaining accountability to the people it serves. “The past four decades have seen numerous and expensive legal challenges to the current system for electing our appellate judges,” Susano said. “These challenges are destabilizing to our court system and diminish Tennessee’s competitiveness in attracting businesses and expanding economic development. Passing Amendment 2 will end these legal challenges and bring clarity and certainty to the process for selecting our appellate judges.” Top business groups across the state have voiced support for Amendment 2, including the Knoxville Chamber, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, the Tennessee Business Partnership, the Tennessee Bankers Association, and the Tennessee Hospital Association. The proposed measure has also received strong bipartisan support from some of Tennessee’s top leaders, including Gov. Bill Haslam, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. Early voting begins on Oct. 15. To learn more about the amendment before heading to the polls, visit

JOIN US OCTOBER 23 for the Chamber’s

ANNUAL MEETING 7:30 – 8 a.m. – Continental breakfast/networking 8 – 9 a.m. – Annual Meeting The Square Room, 4 Market Square

Register by visiting the events calendar on

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 43

Myra Hamilton and Rebecca Alcorn of UT Federal Credit Union pose for a photo at their festive Schmoozapalooza booth.

The Capitol Theatre’s elegant booth showcased the unique venue’s event and entertainment offerings.

Representatives of KaTom Restaurant Supply, Inc. pose with their colorful, cooking-themed booth.

Event sponsors Comcast Business hand out swag to attendees. Comcast has sponsored Schmoozapalooza since 2009.

Eight-six businesses exhibited at Schmoozapalooza on Sept. 18.

Chamber Ambassadors Alice Eads and Danielle Presnell help hand out the Schmoozapalooza goodie bags.

Guests chat with Celluar Sales representatives at their Schmoozapalooza booth. Cellular Sales has been a sponsor of the event since it began in 2009.

Schmoozapalooza attendees Martin Wade of FlowSink, Jackson Blake and Bennett Gibbs of Go Shake International, and Sharon Meredith of SM Sales and Marketing Consultants pose for a photo.

Lorena Hubbard, Ashleigh Lawhorn, and Connie Francis of Lawhorn CPA Group, Inc. pose for a photo with their booth.

Zip Dancy and Mitch McCampbell of Buddy’s BarB-Q serve up some tasty snacks for Schmoozapalooza attendees.

Mark Field, senior vice president of membership for the Chamber, announces the evening’s door prize winners at Schmoozapalooza.

Julia Bankert and Erin Shellman of Club LeConte pose with former Vol Fred White at Schmoozapalooza.


(August 2014)

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

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Aug. ’13Aug. ‘14

Aug. 2014

July 2014

Aug. 2013

% Change July ’14Aug. ‘14

227,910 357,430 3,010,900 156,434,000

233,310 366,010 3,069,400 157,573,000

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

-2.3 -2.3 -1.9 -0.7

-2.7 -3.0 -3.4 0.3

343,500 2,806,800

340,400 2,784,300

332,900 2,749,600

0.9 0.8

3.2 2.1

15,810 25,180 246,860

16,760 26,830 262,350

18,200 29,100 288,640

-5.7 -6.1 -5.9

-13.1 -13.5 -14.5

6.3 6.4 7.4 6.3

6.6 6.7 7.8 6.5

7.0 7.1 8.3 7.3

-0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.2

-0.7 -0.7 -0.9 -1.0

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Aug. 2014 1,294 11,387 $155,000

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

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


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

% Change Aug. ’12Aug. ‘14 -0.3 0.2

Aug. ’13-‘14

July ’13-‘14

Aug. ’12-‘13

1.5 1.7

1.9 2.0

1.8 1.5

-0.4 -0.3

% Change Aug. ’13Aug. ‘14

Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

July 2014* 21 21 0

July 2013 20 20 0

% Change July ’13July ‘14 5.0 5.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

116 116 0

109 107 2

6.4 8.4 -100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

150 150 0

139 137 2

7.9 9.5 -100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,685 1,474 211

2,031 1,340 691

-17.0 10.0 -69.5

Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Aug. 2014

July 2014

Aug. 2013

% Change July ’14Aug. ‘14

48,326,011 68,619,708 629,734,407

48,964,535 69,193,625 654,991,640

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

-1.3 -0.8 -3.9

4.4 3.7 6.7

13,561,747 19,535,969

12,528,661 18,048,460

-1.6 -1.2

6.5 7.0


Passengers Cargo

July 2014 168,680 6,046,162

June 2014 164,397 5,466,645

July 2013 162,233 6,797,296

% Change June ’14July ‘14 2.6 10.6

% Change July ’13July ‘14 4.0 -11.1

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

*All 2014 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


1,355 12,607 $154,900


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - ALL ITEMS % Change July ’13Aug. ‘14

Aug. 2013

% Change Aug. ’13Aug. ‘14 -4.5 -9.7 0.1

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

July 2014 1,387 11,606 $155,000

% Change July ’14Aug. ‘14 -6.7 -1.9 0.0

13,346,911 19,304,423

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. 2014

July 2014

455,181 27,888 22,050 8,666 57,262 49,704 8,781 48,065 56,197 24,983 10,740 95,199 37,188

448,745 29,819 20,090 8,248 57,466 48,350 8,500 49,046 53,472 24,933 10,326 94,495 37,238

441,013 27,008 21,833 8,622 55,882 46,557 8,723 48,975 55,209 23,490 10,516 90,396 35,678

% Change July ’14Aug. ‘14 1.4 -6.5 9.8 5.1 -0.4 2.8 3.3 -2.0 5.1 0.2 4.0 0.7 -0.1





Aug. 2013

% Change Aug. ’13Aug. ‘14 3.2 3.3 1.0 0.5 2.5 6.8 0.7 -1.9 1.8 6.4 2.1 5.3 4.2 4.1

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 | 46

Knoxville Hosts Prestigious Medal of Honor Convention


Last month, the city of Knoxville had the privilege of hosting the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention. The event brought 47 Medal of Honor recipients and their guests to town for the celebration that ran from Sept. 10-13. The convention kicked off with a dinner at Neyland Stadium for the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. The program prompts students, athletes, scouts and others to think of others first, make good choices every day and build stronger communities. More than 250 teachers, principals, and students from across the state that have incorporated the program’s message into their curriculum were invited to attend. Among the other scheduled events included a Medal of Honor reunion dinner at Blackberry Farm, Blackhawk helicopter rides to visit local schools, book signings, and a concert at the Tennessee Theatre It was a hero’s welcome for the Medal of Honor featuring the Charlie Daniel’s Band. A favorite event of the recipients, attendrecipients as they were bused across the Clinch Avenue Bridge on Sept. 10., which signified the ees, and volunteers alike was a Veterans start of the convention. Appreciation Luncheon. Approximately 500 veterans and recipients gathered for a private luncheon and presentation. “To see our local veterans and military have the opportunity to sit with a Medal of Honor Recipient and personally get a chance to speak with them was very heart-warming,” said Patrice Collins, economic development assistant for the Knoxville Chamber and member of the convention’s executive committee. “I know the luncheon was enjoyed by all who attended, and one they will always remember.” The event concluded on Saturday night with the sold-out Patriot Award Gala held at the Knoxville Convention Center. More than 1,400 guests were in attendance as master of ceremonies Gary Sinise, best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, gave awards on behalf of the society to four distinguished guests. The awards included the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment given to actor Mark Wahlberg for his portrayal of Marcus Luttrell in the movie Lone Survivor; the Patriot Award given to United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr.; the “Tex” McCray Award for Excellence in Journalism was given to Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent; and the Distinguished Citizen Award was present to Golf Chanel personality David Feherty. “It took a lot of teamwork and many hours of planning, but I think we made this a convention the Medal of Honor recipients will remember as the best they ever attended,” Collins said.


Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

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 October. Thank you for your commitment to the Chamber and the community!


OrthoTennessee 1954 O’Neal Steel Incorporated 1960 Pizza Palace 1962 The Coal Creek Company 1965 Vreeland Engineers, Inc. 1966 Arnett, Draper and Hagood 1968 Duo-Fast of Knoxville, Inc. 1971 Knoxville Convention Center 1983

25 – 30 YEARS


Y-12 Federal Credit Union 1985 Knox County Education Association 1987 Aqua-Chem, Inc. 1988 Tennessee Valley Authority 1989

20 – 24 YEARS


Courthouse Retrieval Systems, Inc. Corporate Quarters, Inc.

1991 1994

15-19 YEARS


Foundry on the Fair Site 1996 The Southern Market 1996 The Reserve at Westland 1996 Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc. 1997 The Benefield-Richters Company 1998 BEST WESTERN PLUS Cedar Bluff Inn 1999 Energy Control Consultants, Inc. 1999 Community Television of Knoxville 1999 J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC 1999 Worden, Rechenbach & Brooke 1999 The Eye Group 1999 Bell & Associates Construction L.P. 1999

10 – 14 YEARS


Capital Resource Partners, Inc. 2000 John S. James Co. 2000 Heely Brown Company 2000 Conway Marketing Communications 2000 Knox Housing Partnership Home Ownership Center 2000 Prosser Investigations 2001 Project GRAD Knoxville, Inc. 2001 SalesManage Solutions, LLC 2002 CarMax 2002 Hamilton Inn 2002 Ridgeview Terrace of Life Care 2002 Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) 2003 George Armour Ewart, Architect 2004 PME Communications 2004

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 47

Chamber Staff Shows Their Love For Knoxville In New Profiles

The Knoxville Chamber recently revamped the staff page on its website, giving employees the chance to share their favorite aspects of living and working in Knoxville. “We don’t just sell Knoxville, we truly love Knoxville, and now we get to share why,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing for the Chamber. “Our website gets a lot of traffic from prospective residents and we want to share ‘our’ Knoxville with those visitors.” Each staff page features an updated biography, contact information, fun facts, and a new photo. “One of the best parts of doing this project was the new photos,” Fuller said. “We had each staffer pick their favorite spot around Knoxville and took their photo there. So from Gay Street to Neyland Stadium to the Knoxville Zoo, we definitely had a lot of fun with this project.” Visit to check out the new page.


Priority Ambulance If you were given the option to open your new business anywhere in the United States, where would you choose to operate? For Priority Ambulance President and CEO Bryan Gibson, the answer was easy. “Tennessee was my home for many years, and I have an emotional connection to this area,” Gibson said. “Knox County is a great place for our employees to live, work and raise their families. Also, I knew that in East Tennessee I could tap into an incredible pool of high-caliber, dedicated, and talented managers, EMTs and paramedics.” In early 2014 Priority Ambulance, a medical transport company that serves Tennessee, Alabama, and New York, opened its corporate headquarters on Callahan Drive in Knox County. With the opening, the company brought more than 50 jobs to the area and became the only national ambulance company headquartered in East Tennessee. Priority Ambulance provides pre-scheduled ambulance service to Knox and Blount counties and is the preferred emergency and nonemergency ambulance provider to the cities of Loudon and Lenoir City in Loudon County. “Our community is our priority,” Gibson said. “We invest in new Mercedes ambulances that are the best equipped emergency vehicles on the road; we recruit topnotch employees and offer them the opportunity to grow their careers as our company continues to expand; and we offer our customers a team of expert EMTs and paramedics who are equipped to provide the highest level of medical care available.” In addition to a commitment to quality care, Gibson said that Priority Ambulance also is committed to supporting worthy community causes and promoting awareness of public health issues. “We know that we best serve our community when we are connected to the causes and organizations that matter to our patients and their families,” Gibson said. “The people of our hometown will be seeing more of us as we become increasingly active in the community.” While Priority Ambulance is new to town, there are several familiar faces among its leadership team. Gibson is the former chief operating officer of Rural/Metro Corporation and general manager of Rural/Metro of East Tennessee. Others coming from Rural/Metro of East Tennessee include Rob Webb, Priority Ambulance vice president of Tennessee operations; Dennis Rowe, Knox County director of operations; Gary Morris, director of communications; former Knox County Commissioner John Mills is director of government relations, and his wife, Charlotte Mills, is customer service manager. At the corporate management level, Steve Blackburn is chief operating officer and Kristi Ponczak is chief financial officer. Both are former high-level managers at Rural/ Metro Corporation. Throughout its service area, Priority Ambulance operates more than 45 ambulances and staffs more than 300 licensed paramedics and EMTs. Operating as Shoals Ambulance in Alabama, the company is the exclusive E-911 ambulance provider for the city of Florence and Lauderdale County and provides nonemergency transport options for Birmingham and Bessemer in Jefferson County. In Utica, N.Y, Priority Ambulance operates as Kunkel Ambulance providing emergency medical service.

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Full-Day Dale Carnegie Workshop to Focus on Improving Customer Service To prepare for the impending holiday season, the Knoxville Chamber has teamed up with Dale Carnegie Training of Knoxville to help businesses improve their customer service with a full-day training seminar on Oct. 29. “Good customer service is the most important part of your business. People want to know they are appreciated,” said Jim Christensen, regional corporate sales director for Dale Carnegie Training. “This is especially important with the holidays just around the corner.” Dale Carnegie Training is one of the most recognizable leadership training companies around the world, with a focus in giving businesses the skills they need to increase knowledge and improve performance. In regards to customer service, Dale Carnegie Training clients have experienced increases in average value order, as well as customer retention. “Today, providing customers with outstanding customer service is essential to building a successful business and a long-lasting brand,” said Mark Field, senior vice president of membership at the Chamber. “Dale Carnegie has always understood this philosophy and will give our members the information they need to succeed with their customers.” The seminar will focus on the differences between transaction buyers and relationship buyers, the latter being more essential for businesses to gain. It is important for businesses to initiate relationships with its customers because relationship buyers are likely to purchase more frequently and in larger amounts. “They want to do business with friends. They want to know that if there is a problem, it will be resolved quickly and to everyone’s benefit,” said Christensen. “You don’t have to have the cheapest price. It is not a pricing issue. It is the value in the relationship, and that is, as they say, priceless.” Participants of the seminar will learn how to identify current customer needs, anticipate customer expectations, and win over customers as friends. One will also develop skills in communicating effectively and finding creative solutions to problems. Christensen believes it is important for businesses to develop an understanding of its customers as soon as possible. “Learn about your customers today so when the holidays roll around they’ll recommend you to all their friends, not just through the holiday months but January through October, too,” he said. The seminar will take place at the Chamber from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The registration fee is $199 with a special group discount of 10 percent off for three or more participants in the same course. To get the maximum benefit from the program, it is suggested to attend with the whole business team to help reinforce the Dale Carnegie Training methodology back on the job. To find out more information or to register for the event, visit Knoxville Chamber intern Jessica Karsten contributed this story.

tnAchieves Seeks Mentors for High School Students tnAchieves is asking the public to help in its mission to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee high school students by providing last-dollar scholarships with mentor guidance. The program needs more than 5,000 volunteers statewide by Nov. 1 to mentor the 30,000 students projected to take advantage of this program. The tnAchieves Scholarship will fund up to $4,000 annually for five consecutive semesters. The amount of money awarded is determined after all other sources of scholarships and financial aid have been awarded. tnAchieves, a partnering organization to Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, serves primarily first generation, low-income students in an effort to increase this population’s likelihood of earning a college credential. While the funding provided by Tennessee Promise is critical to increased post-secondary access, tnAchieves data confirms that working with a mentor further enhances a student’s likelihood of entering the post-secondary pipeline. “Neither my family nor I had a cent to put towards college, so if I hadn’t been blessed with this scholarship, I would still be at my job dreaming one day of registering for a college class,” said Stefhanie Hernandez, a student at Southwest Community College in Memphis. “Not only did tnAchieves help me financially, it really opened me up to a lot more opportunities. Before this scholarship, I never volunteered and now that I do, I can’t see myself not doing it. You meet so many new and important people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to shake hands with if I was sitting on my couch.” tnAchieves mentors spend less than one hour per month serving as a resource to the students. The role is simple but significant as mentors help the students reach their potential. At its core, tnAchieves mentors complete an application, choose their preferred high school, complete a one-hour training session, attend two one-hour meetings, and communicate with students every two weeks via email, phone or text as they transition from high school to college. tnAchieves designed its mentoring program so even the busiest executive, parent, or young professional could make a meaningful impact. To sign up or learn more about the program, visit Kayla Witt, marketing coordinator for the Knoxville Chamber, contributed this story.

On Sept. 4, the Knoxville Chamber welcomed 16 new members to its board of directors with an after hours reception. The reception gave the new board members a chance to visit with existing board members and Chamber staff. (Pictured: Chamber CEO/President Mike Edwards and Rhonda Rice, the Chamber’s executive vice president, pose with board members Michael McIntryre and Antone Davis.)

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Bright Ideas Seminar to Discuss Knoxville Spending Habits The Knoxville Chamber’s upcoming Bright Ideas seminar will feature Ben McWhorter of the Journal Broadcast Group, who will highlight local consumer information and market spending patterns. “Show Me the Money: How Knoxvillians are Spending Their Money” will detail information from market research company Scarborough, which conducts local consumer trend surveys. Various companies, marketers, and advertising agencies use these insights to identify target consumers and increase product sales. “It’s basically where people are shopping and how much they are spending on different items like automotives and home repairs,” said McWhorter, who works as local sales manager for Journal Broadcast Group. “I think it is very good consumer information to help people with their marketing.” The data is published twice a year and allows business owners to analyze demographics and consumer behavior in various categories including media outlets, clothing purchases, and restaurants. For example, one can make comparisons between Knoxvillians who eat at sit-down restaurants and those who eat at fastfood restaurants and analyze the demographic differences. Comparisons can also be made based on information regarding pet ownership. The seminar will feature profiles of cat owners and dog owners, to compare their demographics, daily activities, and even their eating habits. A significant category for the Knoxville area is automotive, due to an increasing demand for new cars. As the economy continues to grow, people are no longer delaying the purchase of new vehicles as they did during the recession. “Right now you can see there is a demand for new cars,” McWhorter said. “In this presentation, I’m going to show what year of car people in Knoxville are driving and how far they will drive to buy a new car.” McWhorter will share information not readily available to many Knoxville business owners that can be used to expand business possibilities, create effective marketing strategies, and achieve marketing goals. The seminar will explore the minds of Knoxville consumers and detail what industries are affected by their spending habits. The seminar will take place Oct. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members. Admission includes a boxed lunch. To find out more information or to register for the event, please visit www. Knoxville Chamber intern Jessica Karsten contributed this story.



Bright Ideas Seminar: Show Me the Money: How Knoxvillians are Spending Their Money Presented by: Ben McWhorter, Journal Broadcast Group

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 $25 for Chamber Members/$35 for Non-Members

Sponsored by:

OCTOBER 16 Exclusive Premier Partner Event featuring Coach Donnie Tyndall – UT Basketball 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Ray Mears Room, Thompson-Boling Arena Sponsored by:

OCTOBER 23 Annual Meeting 7:30 – 8 a.m. – Continental Breakfast/Networking 8 – 9 a.m. – Annual Report The Square Room, 4 Market Square

OCTOBER 29 Dale Carnegie Customer Service Seminar 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square, #201 $199 – Group Discounts Available

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 - October 2014  
Commerce - October 2014  

The official newsletter of the Knoxville Chamber.