Page 1


INSIDE: Q&A with Ryan Haynes pg. 53


Monthly Economic Indicators

pg. 54




Membership Services Manager Leslie Smith presents Events Coordinator Lynsey Wilson with January’s Chamber Employee of the Month award.


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.



LANEY SHORTER Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation

CHAMBER STAFF Doug Lawyer @knoxoakridgeIV Jennifer Evans @knoxevans Kyle Touchstone @knoxecondevguy Mark Field @field101 Michelle Kiely @mkiely1

NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS BRONZE Bryan College (877) 256-7008 Education & Training: Colleges CEO Advisors Group (865) 470-4224 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches & Consultants

ABM Janitorial Services - Southeast, LLC (865) 274-8281 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Cleaning Services & Supplies

All My Sons Moving & Storage of Knoxville, Inc. (865) 675-1556 Residential Services: Moving/Relocation

Bull Run Wildlife Control LLC (865) 712-3073 Residential Services: Pest Control

Harris Restaurant Group (865) 300-4260 Restaurants: Eating & Drinking Places

Allcor Staffing (865) 238-5736 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services

Dagnan Realty Group, LLC (865) 357-1537 Real Estate

Jewell General Contracting & Roofing (865) 357-7474 Construction & Contractors: Roofing

Apex Property Management (865) 640-6894 Real Estate: Property Management

EngelGroup (865) 809-4971 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants

Lyons HR (256) 546-9493 Business & Professional Services: Human Resources

Grande Aviation (865) 238-4500 Transportation

Pure Luxe Salon, Spa & Medspa (865) 474-7873 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Budget Blinds of Knoxville (865) 588-3377 Residential Services: Window Treatments

















Robert L. Webb & Associates (865) 470-4905 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants Shamrock Growth Associates LLC (865) 567-4095 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants Southern Sports & Entertainment LLC (865) 686-6106 Business & Professional Services Summit Companies (866) 435-0268 Financial Services

Pellissippi Extension & Jobs Incentives Top Chambers’ 2012 Agenda

higher wage. Specifically, those businesses would be eligible for the tax credit if their annual average wage is more than twice the average annual wage in the locating county. “We obviously welcome employment for all East Tennessee but if an organization is considering Knox County and wants to pay 10 employees $85,000 annually for employment, that’s worth more in wages to the state than an employer who is hiring 25 employees at $30,000. There is no reason the tax credit shouldn’t give something to that high-paying employer as well,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber.

PRIORITY II. Complete the Pellissippi Parkway Extension Currently, Pellissippi Parkway essentially becomes a dead-end near Rockford in Blount County. The expansion would connect the current Parkway to Highway 321 in Blount County, near Heritage High School. To complete the route, the state would need to invest just under $97 million. “We recognize that is a lot of money in what continues to be a tight state budget, but the long-term return on investment makes the Pellissippi Parkway extension a smart investment,” commented Lawyer. Pellissippi Place, a mixed-use business park with a focus on technology research, development, and commercialization could provide 7,500 jobs. With


s legislators fill the Senate and House chambers of the Tennessee Capitol for the 107th General Assembly, they walk in armed with a list of priorities laid out by the business communities in Knoxville, Oak Ridge, and Blount County. “The principles and legislative objectives outlined in the 2012 Regional Legislative Agenda are specifically intended to help increase job and business growth in the region,” Garrett Wagley, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president for policy and public relations said. Chief initiatives initiatives on the list for 2012 are a completed Pellissippi Parkway extension and incentives for high-paying jobs. Both measures could drastically improve East Tennessee’s ability to recruit new businesses and increase job opportunities for citizens. “We’ve worked with the chambers in Oak Ridge and Blount County for more than a quarter of a century. Because the Innovation Valley is such a cohesive region that allows workers and consumers to easily travel to jobs and shops, what is good for the economy in one part of the Innovation Valley can have a tremendous impact 20 miles away,” Wagley said.

PRIORITY I. Incentivize High Paying Jobs Innovation Valley is full of agencies like the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 Security Complex - organizations working to develop technology that’s viable commercially and can be licensed to private businesses. Those businesses are often small, high-tech companies with staffs that are highly educated and compensated well. Right now, Tennessee’s incentives favor employers who hire more than 25 employees. The regional chambers are pushing for the state to change that policy and allow higher-paying employers the tax credit if they’re creating a fewer number of jobs at a KNOXVILLE CHAMBER 49

See “AGENDA” on pg. 50

“AGENDA” continued from pg. 49 the Pellissippi extension, East Tennessee is much more likely to meet that job potential. A Tennessee Department of Transportation study found completing the 4.4-mile stretch could mean as many as 19,000 jobs for Knox, Blount, and other Innovation Valley counties. At the state’s average wage, that’s worth about $750 million per year by 2030. “We want to be able to woo prospective businesses with solid opportunities and the area around the proposed extension provides some of the best access to transportation infrastructure and brain-power they’ll find anywhere in the country,” Lawyer said. The extension would connect the area with the Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge, McGhee Tyson Airport, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. While the expansions of the Jobs Tax Credit and the Pellissippi Parkway are two issues in the spotlight, the chambers as a partnership will continue to support on-going issues to improve and prepare our community for the future.

EDUCATION The chambers will continue to push for accountability in the classroom for our teachers and high standards for our students. Education is the most important issue facing Knoxville’s business community so we need to make every effort to ensure students receive an adequate education – one that prepares them for the high-skilled jobs of the future. “We have to continue supporting the education reforms passed during last year’s session,” Jennifer Evans, the Chamber’s vice president of workforce development and education said. “Any effort that would derail the state’s tenure or teacher evaluation systems or weaken academic standards needs to be defeated at the capital.” In 2012, the three chambers will continue to advise against using Tennessee Education Lottery revenue for expenses outside the original intent of the legislation. That act primarily calls for lottery revenue to be put toward pre-K funding

and higher-education scholarships for Tennessee students. Additionally, the chambers will continue to oppose the election of superintendents of school districts in Tennessee. “Professional school superintendents need to have academic improvement and execution of strategies to increase the skills of their graduates as their singular focus,” Wagley said. “If a superintendent is forced to raise money and run a campaign every four years, that’s time taken away from making our students the most prepared in the nation.”

ADDITIONAL AREAS OF FOCUS The coalition of chambers will also continue to support transportation improvements across East Tennessee, recognizing that one of the Innovation Valley’s key strengths is its location along major transportation corridors. Realizing the importance of healthcare to creating an economically viable and attractive economic center, the chambers also support efforts to ensure quality healthcare is available in the Innovation Valley. That means adequate and meaningful TennCare reimbursement rates to help ensure the financial viability of our hospitals. Further, with a significant increase in Medicaid/TennCare enrollment expected in 2014, Tennessee will likely see dramatic increases to its budget obligation. The chambers back efforts by the Governor and General Assembly to work with the federal government to eliminate any additional healthcare burden on the state. Finally, the issue of finding a successful immigration system continues to be a federal issue that needs a federal solution. “As the home of a major research university and national laboratory, we’re an attractive spot for entrepreneurial immigrants who want to start a business and hire American workers,” Wagley said. To help these entrepreneurs employ East Tennesseans and start their companies, the Innovation Valley coalition of chambers encourage a path for foreign students earning advanced degrees in technical fields in the United States to stay here permanently upon graduation.

Chamber Members Welcome Mayor Madeline Rogero to Office Hundreds flooded the Knoxville Chamber to welcome and congratulate Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero as she takes the reins as Knoxville’s first female mayor. At a reception catered by Knoxville Catering & Special Events at the Chamber, Rogero introduced the team that will help her lead the city. It includes Knoxville Chamber board members Eddie Mannis and Christi Branscom. Mannis, the founder of Prestige Cleaners, will serve as Rogero’s chief operating officer. Branscom, the owner of Grace Construction and general counsel for Partners Development, is taking over as the city’s director of public works. She will join Rogero’s team in early February after completing construction of the Watson family’s home as part of the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Additionally, the former head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Robledo, is Rogero’s choice to serve as business liaison for the city. “I’m very excited about the team we have, it’s a great mix,” Rogero said. “I think we have a number of people with a number of different skills that they’ll bring.” The mayor went on to say she wants the business community to be comfortable with the city and says she understands good public policy can help private enterprises succeed. “When your business comes in, I want you to know we care. We know that time is money and we want to be responsive,” Rogero said. “We may not be

New Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero addresses Chamber members and outlines her plans for the community.

able to always give you want you want, but we’ll try.” To assist in that effort, Rogero told Chamber members she plans to establish a business advisory council.


Dr. McIntyre: District Sees Success but “We Simply Must Do Better” Still, the superintendent bluntly said students aren’t as prepared as the community needs them to be. More than half of Knox County high school graduates who go on to study at Roane State, Pellissippi State, or Walters State Community Colleges require at least one remedial class to get up to speed with a more rigorous college curriculum. Additionally, fewer than half of Knox County’s 3rd grade students are considered proficient in reading and language arts. Dr. McIntyre laid out a number of steps the district can take, which he believes will help Knox County improve student outcomes, but nearly all actions will take additional resources from the community. McIntyre pointed to things like a longer school day for students and increased professional development for teachers as two measures that could help students achieve more and compete with the global market. Currently, Knox County spends about $8,000 per student per year. Neighboring districts with good academic reputations spend considerably more. Maryville spends about $9,000 annually per student and Oak Ridge spends about $12,000 per student. To match Maryville’s per student spending, Knox County would need to spend an additional $56 million each year on education. “We don’t need to spend $18,000 per student to have great schools but we probably cannot get there at $8,000,” Buzz Thomas, the executive director of the Great Schools Partnership said. “The community with the best schools wins. It’s that simple and I believe we can be that community.”

• 1 in 5 students meet ACT benchmarks indicating B or better likely in college shaping coursework • More than half of Knox Co. high school grads require remedial courses in college • Fewer than half of 3rd grade students “proficient” in reading



• Increased graduation rates • Improved value added scores • Better than predicted ACT scores • More AP tests taken • Increased TCAP scores



Knox County is making progress in getting students ready for college and beyond, but there is still a lot of work to do if the area is going to become a global leader in preparing students for success according to Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. James McIntyre. McIntyre shared his perspective with the community in his first-ever State of the Schools Address at Gresham Middle School in late January, an event co-sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber. Since taking over as head of the district in 2008, McIntyre pointed to several indicators that show promise for the district’s future. McIntyre said metrics like an increasing graduation rate, reduction of central office staff, and the continued commitment of ABOVE: Students at Gresham Middle teachers to students are big wins School perform prior to Superintendent for Knox County Schools. On the Dr. James McIntyre’s first-ever State of the other side, there are a number of Schools Address. metrics indicating students aren’t RIGHT: Superintendent McIntyre said achieving all they should. despite many successes in Knox County’s “We simply must do better,” Schools there is still a lot of room for improvement to ensure students are ready McIntyre said. “We need to to give East Tennessee a workforce that’s redouble our efforts and greatly among the world’s best. accelerate our results.” McIntyre said increases in individual accountability for students and teachers is one area he believes will lead to better outcomes. He also praised the Chamber for its role in helping develop the Education Management Information System (EMIS), a database that tracks student achievement across several areas. When initiated in 2009, the system was the first of its kind in the country, because it included budget data. “EMIS enables our teachers and administrators to make sound, data-driven decisions about the direction of their schools,” McIntyre said.

• More instructional time (possibly year-round or balanced school calendar, longer school day) • Enhanced professional development for teachers • Increase supplementary instructional tools like smart boards • Expanded performance pay (Knox Co. 37th in state for average teacher salary) • Additional support and enrichment for students

Frontier Adjusts Flight Schedule to Accommodate Knoxville Business Travelers Knoxville’s business community will have another option to go west beginning in early February. Frontier Airlines’ pilots will be taking off from McGhee Tyson a few hours earlier on Monday mornings starting this month. In a written release, the airline attributed the move directly to feedback from Knoxville’s business community. “While our current schedule is convenient for leisure travelers, it essentially wastes the first workday of the week for business travelers – especially those connecting in Denver to one of our West Coast destinations,” explained Robert Westgate, senior director of Scheduling and Planning at Frontier. “We sincerely appreciated that feedback. If moving our Monday departure three hours earlier makes our business travelers more productive, we’re happy to do so.” Starting February 6, Frontier’s Monday flight will depart at 6:25 a.m. instead of 9:37 a.m. While Denver serves as the only direct destination from Knoxville via Frontier, the airline does offer very competitive rates to a number of high priority destinations for Knoxville business travelers, like Los Angeles. A survey administered by East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition found among 79 respondents in the business community, more than 12 percent list Los Angeles among their top three destinations. Las Vegas came in slightly higher with more than 15 percent of businesses pointing to Vegas as a top-three destination. Denver itself was also among the top fifteen responses by businesses, with about one in twenty listing it as a top-three destination. “The Chamber realizes that enhanced low-fare service out of TYS can only help us in our business recruitment, retention, and expansion efforts. This tweak in flight schedules will help those business travelers that need to get to the west coast in a timely fashion. As prospective businesses look at the Innovation Valley


25.4% NEW YORK










12.7% SOURCE: East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition Survey, percentage of 79 respondents list cities ranked as a top three destination)

region, direct air service is always one of the things that are evaluated,” Doug Lawyer, the vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber said.

Business Community Shares Workforce Concerns with Mayor Burchett Several of Knox County’s growing industries are having a hard time finding people with the right skills to fill available jobs. Businesses shared that message with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett at a luncheon recently hosted by the Knoxville Chamber. “I think it is important for me to sit down and listen to the people who are helping to drive our local economy,” Mayor Burchett said after the meeting. “These companies are putting Knox County citizens to work, and I think it’s important to make sure they know that I want Knox County government to stay out of their way and focus on providing and maintaining the high-quality infrastructure that economic development requires.” Several of the employers mentioned they can’t find the technically-skilled workforce here in Knox County required to fill positions they have open. In many cases, it means the businesses aren’t able to grow as quickly as they would like. “It’s attention grabbing when you hear a company is struggling to add four or five employees that could mean $1 million in sales,” said Jennifer Evans, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president of workforce development and education. As a short-term solution, the Chamber is meeting with several of the companies who expressed workforce issues to discuss what specific skills they are looking for and how resources like Pellissippi State Community College may be able to help. Over the long-term, the Chamber plans to continue working with Knox County

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Chief of Staff Dean Rice listen to business leaders at a luncheon hosted by the Chamber in January.

Schools to ensure quality curriculum and a strong base for students. Already, Knox County Schools’ Career and Technical Education personnel are looking for additional business partnerships so students can leave high school with the skills necessary for jobs or apprenticeships at Knox County businesses. About a dozen Knox County companies of various sizes shared their stories with the mayor including: Fulton Bellows, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Republic Plastics, Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Barge Waggoner, Workspace Interiors, Claris Networks, ADT Security Service, and Quality RX Returns.





State Representative, District 14

Q: You’ve heard the business community’s legislative priorities for 2012. Where do you stand on them and how difficult do you perceive they will be to accomplish? A: I think you will find this General Assembly will be one of the most business-friendly there is for the business community. Over the summer, our Majority formed a special task force designed to study and learn about what is hampering private sector growth in Tennessee. This group will head our efforts to help Tennessee business. Additionally, we have a pro-business Governor leading us who has proposed a number of innovative ideas to encourage growth in the private sector.

Q: What are your top legislative priorities this legislative session? A: I believe we need to do more to add greater accountability and performance measures to government so that Tennesseans are getting the most value for their taxes. We must do more to prevent government’s limiting influence on businesses, through factors like regulations and paperwork, so our job creators can grow their businesses. Government must be transformed from a hurdle to a resource, in my view.

Q: When you talk to legislators from the other grand divisions in Tennessee, what makes East Tennessee and Knoxville’s priorities different? A: East Tennessee and Knoxville are unique in the sense we are a pathway for commerce for the entire eastern United States. A number of transportation firms are based in East Tennessee and Knoxville is a hub of that activity. Additionally, with the State’s flagship university here in Knoxville and ORNL in Anderson County, we have a great qualified workforce that makes our area a dynamic region.

Q: After a 2011 legislative session that saw a lot of education reform, what educational initiatives do you think will be debated in 2012? Governor

Haslam has said that he wants to study the new teacher evaluations and the proposed school voucher bill during the session. Do you think the legislature will wait for the study to be completed before dealing with those topics? A: For far too long, Tennessee has languished in education rankings. In the last few years, the General Assembly has finally decided that can no longer be a reality. We are losing ground to neighboring states and that must stop. With Governor Haslam’s vision for education, we are going to do everything we can to ensure student achievement and rewarding teacher excellence are the top priorities for education in Tennessee. We are going to give reforms time to see if they are working and then, if a change needs to be made, we won’t hesitate to do that.

Q: How should Tennessee address the issue of declining gas tax revenues in order to continue to fund road projects across the state? A: This is an important question and one that merits a lot of consideration. Certainly, we will have a funding shortfall at some point and we will have to develop new formulas to find the necessary revenue. Our roadways are some of the best in the nation and that is important for shipping commerce. That said, the last thing that needs to happen right now is a tax increase. That would really hamper our fragile economic recovery and hurt Tennessee families. That’s an unacceptable outcome.

Q: 2012 is an election year. What’s your prediction on when the Legislature will adjourn? A: I believe this session of the General Assembly will provide a model for future General Assemblies in terms of efficiency and good government. We have a number of issues to tackle but all of us want to do our work in an orderly fashion and then go home. That’s a major difference between us and Washington. We roll up our sleeves, protect taxpayers, and balance our budgets on time. Washington likes to waste our hard-earned money and run up deficits. This is a major reason Tennessee is on such solid-footing.


Monthly Economic Indicators

(December 2011)

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

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change Dec. ’10Dec. ‘11

Dec. 2011

Nov. 2011

Dec. 2010

% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘11

238,030 373,860 3,099,800 153,373,000

238,430 374,040 3,118,800 153,683,000

234,710 369,480 3,059,000 153,156,000

-0.2 0.0 -0.6 -0.2

1.4 1.2 1.3 0.1

332,300 2,675,600

331,900 2,680,300

326,600 2,644,400

0.1 -0.2

1.7 1.2

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

Dec. 2011 705 12,939 $142,500

Nov. 2011 737 13,825 $139,075

Dec. 2010 715 14,399 $143,300

% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘11 -4.5 -6.8 2.5

% Change Dec. ’10Dec. ‘11 -1.4 -11.3 -0.6

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee


Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

Nov. 2011* 11 11 0

Nov. 2010 9 9 0

% Change Nov. ’10Nov. ‘11 22.2 22.2 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

66 57 9

46 46 0

43.5 23.9 100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

82 73 9

67 67 0

22.4 9.0 100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,352 787 565

701 616 85

92.9 27.8 564.7

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

15,590 26,340 280,640

16,790 27,760 295,060

18,060 30,600 316,850

-7.7 -5.4 -5.1

-15.8 -16.2 -12.9

5.9 6.4 8.1 8.3

6.3 6.6 8.4 8.2

6.8 7.3 9.1 9.1

-0.4 -0.2 -0.3 0.1

-0.9 -0.9 -1.0 -0.8

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

Dec. ’10-‘11

Nov. ’10-‘11

Dec. ’09-‘10

3.4 3.0

3.9 3.4

1.5 1.5


% Change Nov. ’10Dec. ‘11

% Change Dec. ’09Dec. ‘11

-0.5 -0.4

1.9 1.5

*South – City Size Class B/C

*All 2011 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

SALES TAX REVENUE - STATE & LOCAL ($) State Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

Dec. 2011

Nov. 2011

Dec. 2010

46,094,800 63,381,166 536,535,249

45,728,368 63,982,687 542,131,051

42,277,849 58,349,027 502,477,636

0.8 -0.9 -1.0

9.0 8.6 6.8

13,026,958 17,954,942

12,797,792 17,858,864

12,057,462 16,698,003

1.8 0.5

8.0 7.5

% Change Dec ’10Dec ‘11 6.2 4.7 7.9 -0.5 5.6 10.1 5.7 9.2 2.4 2.5 6.8 8.5 8.1 3.1

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

% Change Dec. ’10Dec. ‘11

% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘11


Passengers Cargo

Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

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

Nov. 2011 145,847 7,430,031

Dec. 2011 461,167 23,386 30,848 13,061 57,010 43,492 9,265 43,080 74,132 25,746 11,999 70,180 46,711

Nov. 2011 398,748 24,701 20,767 9,993 51,861 39,974 8,228 42,823 57,908 22,664 10,121 64,072 37,916

Dec. 2010 434,288 22,339 28,586 13,126 53,986 39,508 8,762 39,434 72,404 25,129 11,240 64,672 43,212

% Change Nov. ’11Dec. ‘11 15.7 -5.6 48.5 30.7 9.9 8.8 12.6 0.6 28.0 13.6 18.6 9.5 23.2





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


Oct. 2011 167,328 7,486,322

Nov. 2010 140,171 7,193,945

% Change Oct. ’11Nov. ‘11 -14.7 -0.8

% Change Nov. ’10Nov. ‘11 4.0 3.3

Maryville College President Addresses Premier Partners McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects and LawlerWood Properties presented Dr. Tom Bogart, president of Maryville College at January’s Knoxville Chamber Premier Partner event. Dr. Bogart told Chamber members Maryville College is “Knoxville’s liberal arts college.” Dr. Bogart told members that, in an age of accountability and transparency in education, Maryville College looks to add value through their curriculum while giving students a return on their investment, similar to most businesses. The 11th president in Maryville College history said that framework leads to students being better prepared to tackle internships and employment opportunities upon graduation. “People want to know, are you doing what you say you’re doing and show us your work,” Dr. Bogart said. “In our small classes, classmates can tell if you aren’t prepared, if you haven’t done the reading, it’s obvious.” Taking the idea further, Dr. Bogart touted the senior curriculum at Maryville College as one that encourages students to tackle graduate-level work such as writing a thesis. That thesis work gives students real-world experience before they leave school. “You step back and ask, what do people do on a daily basis? They are asked to confront confusing situations and find a solution,” he said. Bogart believes that experience, coupled with unparalleled access to places

Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart touted the benefits of a liberal arts education and Maryville College’s location in relation to the Smokies, McGhee Tyson Airport, and the Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge.

like McGhee Tyson Airport, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Smokies gives Maryville College a competitive advantage few liberal arts schools can match. Sponsored by:

Knox County Schools Launch Volunteer Tracking System Giving back to the community is getting a little easier for now we’re not able to do that,” Scott Bacon, the district’s East Tennesseans who have the time and talent to volunteer director of business partners said. “Hopefully it allows in our schools. In January, Knox County Schools unveiled people with available time (to help) with the needs across a volunteer clearinghouse, a database matching potential the system.” volunteers with opportunities at the district’s schools. Other districts, like Nashville have a similar program but it “I think some people don’t get a chance to volunteer when came with a price tag of around $80,000. After Evans’ and they want to because they don’t really know what is needed,” the district’s work, they were able to come up with a cusJennifer Evans, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president of tomized solution that will allow teachers to make requests workforce development and education said. “It can be inand allow Knoxville area businesses to easily calculate mantimidating for a volunteer to walk into a school and try to find hours volunteered by their organization for about $30,000. Scott Bacon, Director of Business Partners for Knox County Schools show ways to help.” “It’s a way for a business to see what is there and proIn 2009, Evans started working with Knox County Schools’ how the new tracking system connects mote activities at a school near their business,” Evans said. the community to opportunities in area leadership to develop the database. After talking with the “They can also simply figure out how many hours they have schools. community and educators, the team realized there was no given back to the community.” real system offered on the market that would allow them to track volunteers the Volunteers who are interested can visit the school district’s website at way they hoped. and simply browse through a list of available volunThe district has received requests for years from the community about how teer opportunities. The system is very similar to a volunteer tracking program individuals can help improve our schools. Nashville schools launched last year. In the first year, Nashville saw about 9,000 “It’s just having the ability to promote needs and assistance because right volunteers help educate students in the community. KNOXVILLE CHAMBER 55

2012 Breakfast with the Governor About 450 Knoxville Chamber members welcomed Governor Bill Haslam home to Knoxville at a legislative breakfast in late January. Haslam brought his agenda for this year’s legislative session to the Knoxville Convention Center at the event presented by Stowers Machinery Corporation, and sponsored by ALCOA, and South College. Haslam laid out a customer service mindset he believes state government should have for the citizens in Tennessee. The former Knoxville mayor said that means providing good service for the lowest price possible because citizens’ tax dollars fund those services. “In the end, my job is to give the very best service we can in all the responsibilities we have at the lowest price,” Haslam told the crowd. Haslam’s specific legislative priorities this session include cutting the state tax on groceries. Currently at 5.5 percent, Haslam said he’d like to see it lowered to 5 percent as that cost is one of the few that all families in Tennessee, no matter their income. Haslam also believes Tennessee is losing investors and older Americans because of the state’s estate tax. Haslam said there are numerous examples of older Tennesseans packing up and going to Florida to spend their last years in an effort to avoid paying Tennessee’s estate tax. Further, the tax can place family businesses in a bind. When an owner of a business passes away, their children are often forced to sell the business or take out loans just to pay the estate tax from the deceased. Haslam would like Tennessee to explore the way business incentives are given out to prospective businesses. Currently, tax credits are the most common incentive issued to new businesses. The credits don’t cost the state cash on the front end; they often cost the state in the long run and don’t give the business as much benefit as an immediate grant would. Haslam said, transitioning to more grants could help Tennessee recruit new industries. “Businesses don’t put a lot of value in that (tax credits), they put value on what’s the exact grant that I’m getting now as I’m making this investment and bringing these jobs. We’d like to have a little more flexibility in that grant program and apply it more frequently to existing businesses,” Haslam said. Additionally, Haslam pushed Tennessee to continue reforming education in order to build the most competitive workforce the state can. Other states with similar household incomes have shown promise in areas like elementary reading and Haslam said there is no reason Tennessee can’t do the same. “We are becoming known across the country because of what we are doing in K-12,” Haslam said. “I can promise you Tennessee is on the right path.” Haslam said big name industries and corporations such as Volkwagen have praised the work-ethic of the state but worry about their own growth because of a lack of technical talent. That shortage is something Tennessee has to address and it starts with K-12 education, according to Governor Haslam. KNOXVILLE CHAMBER 56

Top to bottom: Governor Haslam laid out his legislative priorities for 2012, you can see all his comments on the Chamber’s YouTube Channel.

Governor Haslam met briefly with representatives from event sponsors ALCOA, Wes Stowers from Stowers Machinery Corp., and officials from South College.

Presented by:

Supported by:


Capital Financial Group With more than a dozen advisors in the Knoxville area, Capital Financial Group has the resources coupled with the knowledge to successfully guide both businesses and individuals through a wide array of services. Their goal is to help make a powerful difference in the lives of their clients and help make clients’ dreams a reality. Capital Financial Group strives to be one of the largest and most wellrespected financial services firms in Tennessee. They have offices in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and West Knoxville offering retirement planning, life and disability income insurance, employee benefits, business planning services and many other financial services. “I love to build relationships, I love to help people, it’s a great feeling,”said Bavy Lopez, assistant general agent for the Knoxville Office. Through an entrepreneurial spirit, CFG is able to meet the needs of clients in ways it believes other financial service providers sometimes lack. Capital Financial Group is a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). With that deep-trenched tradition, Capital Financial Group prides itself on being a financial services company with a secure history that is still flexible enough to customize their product offerings to each individual client. At CFG, they’re not locked into selling clients the product offerings of just one insurance company or just one retirement planning group. “Being able to find an appropriate product allows us to better suit the process to you, there is no cookie-cutter approach here,” Lopez said. “We encourage our advisors to be very entrepreneurial. We can think outside the box.” In other words, while Capital Financial Group is a member of MassMutual Financial Group, advisors aren’t limited to offering MassMutual’s products. That’s why listening might be the most important part of Capital Financial Group’s strategy. When advisors sit down with a client, they aren’t restricted to the financial offerings of a specific company. So with the client’s end-goal in mind, Capital Financial Group can piece together a strategy that helps increase the benefits for each individual customer. Once a strategy is set, CFG is certain to take the time to review progress to help ensure the client stays on the path they set out to follow. Global economic markets have been volatile, leaving investors more cautious and somewhat skeptical. However, Lopez believes CFG offers clients assurance that their needs are not only being heard but also being met with investment and risk management strategies tailored to each client’s concerns. “We like to be the ‘eye of the storm’ and our goal is to help provide our clients with a sense of security,” Lopez said. For more on how Capital Financial Group can help you reach your financial goals, contact their Walker Springs office at (865) 246-1680 or head to their website at Securities, Investment Advisory and Financial Planning Services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC, 8 Cadillac Drive, Suite 150, Brentwood, TN 37027 (615) 309-6300. MassMutual Financial Group® is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies & sales representatives.




“Shift Happens” – Progressive Marketing Summit Co-presented with the Knoxville Chapter of the American Marketing Assoc. 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Event begins with lunch at The Square Room, 4 Market Square $75 for members and non-members Sponsored by:


Casino Night Networking Event 5 – 7:30 p.m., Jubilee Banquet Center, 6700 Jubilee Center Way, 37912 $5 for members and $10 for non-members Hosted by:

Presented by:



Power 30 Speed Networking 4 – 7 p.m., Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square


Exclusive Premier Partner Event with David Millhorn, Executive VP, University of Tennessee 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:


Business After Hours 5 – 7 p.m., Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville, 10131 Parkside Drive Knoxville, TN 37922 Sponsored by: Knoxville Fashion Week

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. KNOXVILLE CHAMBER 58