Page 1

INSIDE: Big Idea Winner Crowned pg. 43 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 46


CONNECT with the



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.

Virginia College School of Business and Health celebrated the grand opening of its new Knoxville campus in June. Knox County Commissioner R. Larry Smith is pictured center cutting the ribbon and is flanked by Jim Branham, Virginia College President, and Tom Moore, Education Corporation of America President and CEO. Many other elected officials, Knoxville Chamber representatives and Ambassadors, students, faculty, and friends joined in the celebration as well.


Capital Financial Group, LLC


Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

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

MARK AMREIN University of Phoenix Knoxville Campus

NEW MEMBERS / NEW PREMIER PARTNERS BRONZE O’Neil, Parker & Williamson, PLLC (865) 546-7190 Legal Services: Attorneys

11 Cafe’ (865) 851-8150 www.elevencafe.wordpress. com Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places: Coffee & Tea Ben McWhorter - Management, Marketing and Sales Consulting (865) 679-6107 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants

Brandr (865) 862-1430 Business & Professional Services: Marketing Edward Jones Investments George Lucke (865) 219-7910 Financial Services Gatlinburg Ziplines Treetop Adventures (865) 430-9442 Attractions & Tourism Gillespie Financial & Tax Service (865) 974-9674 Business & Professional Services: Accounting, Auditing, & Bookkeeping

Hemp Monkeys (865) 803-2053 Shopping: Specialty Knoxville Food Tours (865) 201-7270 Attractions & Tourism Lowe’s Home Improvement (0486) (865) 690-9770 Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services Lowe’s Home Improvement (0637) (865) 938-5600 Shopping: Flooring Lowe’s Home Improvement (1544) (865) 329-0418 Building Materials: Hardware

Lowe’s Home Improvement (2239) (865) 609-3641 Building Materials: Hardware Construction & Contractors: Specialty Services Shopping: Flooring Residential Services: Interior Design Mary Beth West Consulting, LLC (865) 982-6626 Business & Professional Services Michael Ownby a Partner with B2B CFO (865) 686-8333 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants

Perfection Group, Inc. (865) 938-4822 Manufacturing

The Knoxville Journal (865) 546-5353 Publishing/Publications

SGH Enterprises (865) 898-8769 Business & Professional Services: Public Relations Agencies

The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek (865) 675-0120 Shopping: Shopping Centers/ Malls

Steamboat Sandwiches Inc. (865) 546-3333 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

United DMS of Tennessee LLC (865) 637-2560 Environmental Services & Equipment: Recycling

Strong Organization, LLC (540) 460-1982 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors, Coaches, & Consultants

Morehous Legal Group, PLLC (865) 971-1775 Legal Services: Attorneys

















Private Colleges Boom as Enrollment Opportunities, Options Grow


t’s a case of the more the merrier when you look at post-secondary opportunities and Knoxville’s quest to become America’s Best Business Address®. The past several years have seen not only a spike in the number of students enrolling in Knox County’s colleges, but also in the number of private institutions setting up home in East Tennessee. “In order to attract world-class industry to East Tennessee, we must be able to boast a world-class workforce,” commented the Chamber’s Vice President for Workforce and Education Jennifer Evans. “The increased number of private colleges in the area makes more and more opportunities available for non-traditional students to get retrained and re-enter the job market.” The University of Phoenix seized that opportunity and focused its efforts on creating an educational model for the non-traditional student. “This area has a great bit of growth potential. It certainly fits our model in terms of MSA size to serve and when you start talking with raw numbers like that and consider that almost three out of four students pursuing a degree right now are non-traditional, that makes Knoxville a good fit,” Mark Amrein, the University of Phoenix’s Knoxville campus director said. Amrein would have a good idea how Knoxville stacks up. This campus marks the fourth he has helped the University of Phoenix grow in different parts of the country. He says in the University of Phoenix’s case, the school looked at the demographics of Knox County and felt there was a niche they could fill.

The school’s classes are scheduled in a way that allows non-traditional faculty the opportunity to teach, something that helps ensure the institution won’t have to endure any faculty shortages or struggles. “Because of our model, which is that our students take one course at a time for five weeks as an undergraduate or 6 at the master’s level program, that’s what allows our students to balance being a full-time student with the rest of their life,” Amrein said. “It’s actually more flexible for our faculty to balance it with the rest of their life, too.” So far, even in the face of growing competition, the Knoxville campus is thriving with more than 100 students. They recently cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art resource center in West Knox County. “It’s right on target with what we wanted to do. Solid incremental growth was the plan all along,” he said. “There are certainly a lot of choices, we hope to be a complement to the choices there. We have a great deal of respect to the educational institutions in this community.” Just a few miles down the road, Bryan College is another new addition to Knoxville’s postsecondary landscape. With a beautiful, recently renovated classroom space in the Windsor Square Shopping Center, Bryan is quickly gaining traction as a fantastic education option for non-traditional students.

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

See “Private Colleges” on pg. 42

“Private Colleges” continued from pg. 41


“Students only have to attend class one night a week, one class at a time,” David Montgomery, Bryan College’s Knoxville campus director said. “It really makes it easy for students who have maybe been away for a while to come back to school and finish or attain a degree.” Bryan offers a B.A. program in business as well as a master’s degree in business administration program. In Fountain City, Virginia College School of Business and Health just cut the ribbon on a beautiful new facility which took over the space vacated by Kroger on North Broadway. Working with local businesses, the school tries to provide a curriculum that caters to the needs of the local community to ensure workforce expectations are met and students find jobs after graduation, president Jim Branham said. “As with all Virginia College locations, we gauge employer demand and then design and offer programs that meet those needs,” he said. By enhancing the local employment base, the school hopes that it will increase the economic prosperity of the area. To start, the college is offering fast-track career training in business, health care, medical billing, cosmetology, and more. That strategy appears to be working well. In the school’s first semester of instruction, it got off to a great start with more than 170 students enrolled in the fall of 2012.

The post-secondary success isn’t limited to new schools in the Knoxville area. Established campuses with a long history in the region are also seeing growth and setting enrollment records. With the new additions to the education landscape, South College continues to do more than hold its own, with incremental year-to-year gains and very impressive enrollment growth over the past five years. Since 2008, enrollment at South College has increased by 36 percent, a mark the college says is attributable at least in part to the lagging national economy. “With the issues in our economy these past years, emphasis on higher education is prevalent. Besides the traditional college student, many adults continue to return to college. The small private college is attractive to many students because of the small class sizes and the personalized attention provided to students. At South College, class offerings are year around, allowing students to often times graduate quicker,” President Stephen South said. Several dozen students are currently working toward their Ph.D. at South College’s School of Pharmacy, a recently added program that received Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accreditation in January. In Southeast Knox County, Johnson University, formerly Johnson Bible College, expects to break records in terms of enrollment this fall. The University adopted the new name in 2011 and while their East Tennessee footprint looks to grow, the university has truly become a global brand. “We have started and/or completed 13 new academic programs including a Ph.D. program that has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,” Gary Weedman, president of Johnson University said. “It’s very good for the Knoxville community that there are more options,” Tim Wingfield, dean of enrollment services said. “Our mission and purpose are so different, we’re not necessarily competing for the same student. It doesn’t bother our numbers.” Faith remains an integral part of higher education at Johnson, where every student studies the Bible. The university also recently added a number of new programs to help students with global outreach, including urban studies, Islamic studies, Chinese studies, and management of nonprofit organizations. This fall, 100 Chinese students studying English will be enrolled at the campus in a joint program that allows students to study in both China and the United States. The program is a partnership with the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou. A Chinese principal visited Johnson’s campus and initiated the partnership. “The principal of the Chinese school started requesting our teachers,” Wingfield said. “Last year, I think we had 12 that graduated with our master’s program and it looks like somewhere between 40 and 60 will be involved this year.” Because of the religious niche they’ve found and the success of the international programs, University officials say that as the post-secondary market continues to grow in Knox County, their campus has continued to thrive. In fact, the school is considering additional on-campus dormitories for students as they anticipate near-record enrollment this fall.

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

See “Private Colleges” on pg. 47

“Private Colleges” continued from pg. 42 The Tennessee Wesleyan College and Fort Sanders School of Nursing are housed at the College’s satellite campus on Cogdill Road in Knoxville. The campus, opened as part of a relocation in 2010, also hosts the college’s business program. “It tripled our square footage, we were in two office suites and now we occupy a much larger space. Our nursing program is second-to-none,” Blake McCaslin, Tennessee Wesleyan College’s director of public relations and marketing said. Nursing students participate in clinical experiences in Knoxville and the surrounding area, including the facilities of Covenant Health and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “Everybody’s schedules today are more hectic with little league, soccer, whatever commitments students may have. The one thing we do is continue personal contact. You’re not just logging into a forum, there is constant contact with the professor,” McCaslin said. Today, approximately 75 students are enrolled in Tennessee Wesleyan’s

Knoxville-based nursing program and another 50 or so in the school’s business program on the Knoxville campus. The college is also launching a new format for the business program called Management Excellence. Students entering with an Associates Degree can earn their Bachelor’s Degree in 15 months. Lincoln Memorial University’s footprint continues to grow both in and out of Knox County as well. The private college opened the doors to an Associate of Science in Nursing program at what was then St. Mary’s Medical Center in 1989. Today, LMU offers general education, undergraduate business courses, as well as both undergrad and graduate level education programs in West Knox County at their Hayfield Road location, a converted Food Lion grocery store. The Harrogate-based university increased their presence in Knoxville even more in 2009 when they opened the doors to the Duncan School of Law downtown. For a third campus, LMU added a Cedar Bluff location that is the classroom home to more than 700 students today studying business, education, and nursing. “All the great postsecondary possibilities add-up to more opportunities for students both in and out of Knox County to get the education and training they need to be successful as professionals and contribute to a vibrant regional economy,” Doug Lawyer, the Chamber’s vice president for economic development said.


Fountainhead College of Technology ITT Technical Institute Johnson University King College

Lincoln Memorial University Maryville College Pellissippi State Community College South College

Strayer University Tennessee Wesleyan College The University of Tennessee Tusculum College

University of Phoenix - Knoxville Campus UT Center for Executive Education Virginia College School of Business and Health

Virtuous Idea Garners Business Competition Crown After more than 30 applicants and four rounds of cuts, judges named Virtuous Products, LLC, founded by Mark Wassenaar, the winner of this year’s What’s the Big Idea!? Business Plan Competition, sponsored by Rodefer Moss & Co. The annual business plan competition offers more than $25,000 in grants and services and is presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber, and Tech 20/20. Virtuous Products, LLC, has developed a unique material that is ideal for flooring, countertops, and outdoor casual furniture called Sedonite. Using recycled glass, Sedonite offers the strength and look of resin or cement-based competitors but at a much lower cost. “I’ve been in manufacturing my whole life. I try to get out but it just keeps coming back because there is so much creativity involved. I literally lie awake at night thinking of new ideas,” Wassenaar said. “This competition, even if I didn’t win, it would have been an unbelievable opportunity because the competition really helped me along the way.” Judges remarked all three of the final businesses appear poised for success. DineTouch, a mobile application that allows restaurant visitors to order food directly from their smartphone and LineShark Audio, a start-up offering professional audio input and output to any mobile device, provided worthy competition as finalists. All three start-ups continue to seek investors to help bring their plans to fruition.

“We were impressed by all the entrepreneurs who took part in this competition,” Todd Napier, executive vice president of The Development Corporation of Knox County and co-presenter of the program with the Knoxville Chamber and Tech 20/20 said. “Virtuous Products shows an enormous amount of promise and the judges indicated they expect big things from the start-up in the years to come.” In all, Virtuous Products wins a prize package that includes: • $10,000 grant for start-up costs • $15,000 potential equity investment by Tech 20/20 Venture Startup Fund • One-year’s rent at the Fairview Technology Center • Accounting services provided by Rodefer Moss & Company • Business coaching provided by CEO Advisors • IT Hosting and Services by the IT Company and Digital Crossing Networks • Legal Services by Kathleen Zitzman • Chamber membership by the Knoxville Chamber Additionally, all three finalists received coaching by Ellen Kern, owner of Stand and Deliver, who helped each of them refine their pitches in order to hook potential investors.

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

BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION FINALE • JUNE 14, 2012 The Square Room, 4 Market Square

Nearly 100 spectators watched the finalists pitch their business plans at The Square Room.

Lee Martin, Amy Nolan, and Tom Rogers served as judges in the finals. In all, more than 15 members of the Knoxville business communitydonated time to judge the competition.

Chamber CEO and President Mike Edwards prepares to announce 2012’s Big Idea.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 44

Jonathan Meyer of Lineshark Audio shares his business plan with the judges and audience.

Joey Natour, founder of DineTouch, pitches his business plan.

Mike Edwards, Mark Wassenaar of Virtuous Products, Shawn Carson of Tech 20/20, and Todd Napier of the Development Corporation of Knox County celebrate the Big Idea.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 45


(May 2012)

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

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

HOUSING MARKET % Change May ’11May ‘12

May 2012

April 2012

May 2011

% Change April ’12May ‘12

239,080 377,200 3,114,200 154,998,000

235,460 371,530 3,073,700 153,905,000

240,220 376,560 3,133,900 153,449,000

1.5 1.5 1.3 0.7

-0.5 0.2 -0.6 1.0

338,900 2,701,100

336,200 2,696,300

330,000 2,663,200

0.8 0.2

2.7 1.4

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

May 2012 1,134 14,727 $143,150

April 2012 966 14,368 $147,200

May 2011 828 15,774 $140,350

% Change April ’12May ‘12 17.4 2.5 -2.8

% Change May ’11May ‘12 37.0 -6.6 2.0

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee


Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

April 2012* 8 8 0

April 2011 8 8 0

% Change April ’11April ‘12 0.0 0.0 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

113 89 24

64 62 2

76.6 43.5 1100.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

140 116 24

87 85 2

60.9 36.5 1100.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,306 1,076 230

979 856 123

33.4 25.7 87.0

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

15,720 26,030 270,780

15,200 25,270 259,340

19,360 31,410 325,030

3.4 3.0 4.4

-18.8 -17.1 -16.7

6.0 6.3 7.9 7.9

5.8 6.1 7.6 7.7

7.4 7.7 9.5 8.7

0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2

-1.4 -1.4 -1.6 -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

May ’11-‘12

April ’11-‘12

May ’10-‘11

1.7 1.7

2.5 2.3

4.0 3.6


% Change April ’11May ‘12

% Change May ’10May ‘12

-0.8 -0.6

-2.3 -1.9

*South – City Size Class B/C

*All 2012 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

May 2012

April 2012

May 2011

45,571,873 63,528,658 562,471,681

49,251,883 68,997,164 617,909,545

41,923,133 59,054,788 538,780,075

-7.5 -7.9 -9.0

8.7 7.6 4.4

12,723,236 17,513,991

13,486,866 18,918,674

11,971,421 16,815,255

-5.7 -7.4

6.3 4.2

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

% Change May ’11May ‘12

% Change April ’12May ‘12


Passengers Cargo

March 2012 156,888 8,281,003

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

May 2012 424,023 31,047 19,981 7,608 54,352 45,939 7,963 48,239 52,244 23,499 10,804 80,171 35,251

April 2012 398,671 27,318 18,602 6,907 51,249 44,215 7,292 46,834 50,331 22,704 9,472 74,073 33,088

May 2011 396,066 28,694 18,618 7,516 51,905 42,748 7,148 47,615 51,708 22,783 9,903 70,618 30,462

% Change April ’12May ‘12 6.4 13.7 7.4 10.1 6.1 3.9 9.2 3.0 3.8 3.5 14.1 8.2 6.5





% Change May ’11May ‘12 7.1 8.2 7.3 1.2 4.7 7.5 11.4 1.3 1.0 3.1 9.1 13.5 15.7 9.1

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

Feb. 2012 126,402 7,422,837

March 2011 143,459 8,593,171

% Change Feb. ’12March ‘12 24.1 11.6

% Change March ’11March ‘12 9.4 -3.6

Esteemed Economist Delights Crowd at Reception Hosted By Pinnacle Financial A man known as the “father of supply-side economics” gave a V.I.P. crowd his insight into today’s economy at a recent reception hosted by Pinnacle Financial Partners. Dr. Arthur Laffer gained prominence as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s administration. He spoke to about 150 Chamber members at the Knoxville reception held at The Foundry. Today, Laffer is the chairman of Nashville-based Laffer Associates and speaks all around the state for Pinnacle Financial Group. “I’ve been involved with Pinnacle since the day I moved to Tennessee,” Laffer said. The economist and author may be best known for his use of the Laffer Curve in economics, although he does not claim to have invented the curve. The model serves as a representation of the relationship between government revenue raised by taxes across all tax rates. The curve shows at a tax rate of 0% or 100%, tax revenue would be zero, with the sweet spot falling somewhere in between. “Do any of you understand why I left California? I tried to explain it to them, if you have two locations and you raise taxes in one and lower the other, producers are going to move from the higher tax rate to the lower rate,” Laffer said. Laffer went on to heap heavy praise on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and the taxes he pushed to reduce or eliminate in The Volunteer State. “Did you see what he’s done in this state this year? He, and people like Charles Sargent and others, got rid of our gift and our estate tax. It’s amazing, when you talk about making our state attractive to businesses and people to move here. They’ve done it,” he said. Through his presentation, Laffer shared a number of opinions, some of which were more extreme than others. For example, the economist dismissed trade sanctions as effective when dealing with potentially hostile nations such as

Iran. The economist contends trading sanctions with nations does very little to help them become more peaceful democraChamber Board Chairman Mitch Steenrod, Pinnacle’s Nathan Hunter, Dr. Arthur Laffer, and Pinnacle’s Rob McCabe gather after Laffer’s lecture. cies and pointed toward Cuba and North Korea as examples. “The last thing you want to do is hostilize and make Iran an enemy for the next 70 years; using trade embargos will not work. Not only will it not work, it will create an enemy that will be there for our great-grandchildren. Trade with them a lot and if you’ve got a real problem, bomb them. That’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said. As for the future, Laffer told the crowd he sees Republicans taking control of the presidency this fall and controlling both the House and Senate as well. He suggests they need to do just five things to turn the American economy around: adopt a low rate flat tax, show spending restraint, adopt sound monetary policy, allow free trade, and reform the regulatory culture. “If you get that happening, you will find these places and corporations investing money all over the place. We’ll have a boom like you’ve never seen. It’ll make the Reagan/Clinton boom look like kids play,” he said.

Chamber Expresses Appreciation of Ambassadors at Annual Lunch Without them, there is no group that we could never afford to employ but they are way the Knoxville Chamber there steadily at each event we do with great reliability would have the reach it has or and professionalism.” coordinate the more than 80 At the luncheon, Ambassadors were encouraged to events members enjoy each relax, enjoy a meal, and network with one another. Each year. At a recent luncheon at volunteer was recognized with a certificate for his or The Square Room on Market her service to the business community, and several area Square Chamber staff shared business owners praised the volunteers for their time in their appreciation with the an appreciation video. several dozen volunteers who “It’s really nice for me, who is not a morning person, make up the Chamber’s Amthat when I get to the Chamber at 7:30 in the morning for bassador program. a breakfast, I have somebody who greets me and makes “We certainly wouldn’t be me feel like I’m going to have a good day after all,” Suable to do what we do and san Richardson Williams, a Chamber Board member and The Chamber’s Vice President of Member Services Melissa Spangler, Ambassador of the Year Danny Hastaba, and Leslie Smith, the Chamber’s help the businesses we are owner of SRW & Associates said. member services manager gather after the luncheon. able to help if it weren’t for At the conclusion of the event, WATE-TV’s Danny Hasour Ambassadors,” Chamber taba was named Ambassador of the Year for showing CEO and President Mike Edwards said. “They are the backbone, they’re the unparalleled dedication to the Chamber and its programming.

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

SBA Names Jonathan Williams Veteran Small Business Champion The U.S. Small Business Administration recently honored Jonathan Williams, president and CEO of Accord Federal Services as 2012’s Veteran Small Business Champion for the state of Tennessee. “These award winners represent the many excellent small businesses that we have in the Volunteer State,” said Walter Perry, District Director of SBA’s Tennessee District Office. “All across Tennessee, our hard working award winners are the very best at what they do.” Williams received the award at a ceremony held at the Knoxville Chamber in mid-June. The award is based on a number of criteria that include: supporting legislative or regulatory action to help small businesses, increased business opportunities as a result of Williams’ actions, improved awareness of small business opportunities among veterans, advocacy of veteran-owned small businesses, and demonstrated success in getting community support for the establishment of veteran-owned small businesses. “We’ve grown a lot, gone through some growing pains along the way, and great learning on my part but the Chamber has been very supportive throughout everything,” Williams said. “Jonathan’s vision, leadership, perseverance, organizational abilities, and success with the formation of the Tennessee Veterans’ Business Association in the

Knoxville- area have led to invitations from veterans in Nashville and Chattanooga to assist in the formation of Tennessee Veterans Business Associations in those cities,” Larry Rossini, the director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Knoxville said. Williams founded Accord Federal SerSBA officials present Jonathan Williams with the Veteran vices as well as the Small Business Champion award during a June ceremony Tennessee Veterans at the Knoxville Chamber. Business Administration and was recently elected to the Knoxville Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Management Solutions Named National Subcontractor of the Year Knoxville Chamber member Management Solutions, LLC is taking home a prestigious honor from the U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Subcontractor of the Year. The woman-owned business was named the winner on May 22 at a breakfast event sponsored by Sage North America as part of the SBA’s National Small Business Week celebration. “I am absolutely thrilled and honored that Management Solutions was named the SBA’s National Subcontractor of the Year,” said Misty Mayes, president and CEO of Management Solutions, LLC. “This is a wonderful acknowledgment for our entire team. We have worked hard to understand the needs of our clients and to deliver innovative solutions that will help them reduce time and costs on projects. It is simply wonderful to have our small company recognized on the national level.” Management Solutions was selected from among nine regional prime contractors and 10 regional subcontractors of the year. The award honors small businesses that provide outstanding goods and services to the federal government as prime contractors or as subcontractors. “When federal contracts get into the hands of small businesses, it is a win-win for the federal government, small businesses, the economy and the job market,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “Last year, the federal government awarded nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses like the ones being honored today. These businesses help boost the nation’s economy and they are outstanding examples of how to successfully navigate the federal contracting arena.” Management Solutions was nominated for this award by the Small Business Programs Office of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory

for its work in project management, project controls, and related IT and administrative support. Mayes told the SBA she attributes the growth of her business to knowing her customers. “Understand the mission of your potential customer. Too many subcontractors overSBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, Management look that. Understand the Solutions President Misty Mayes, SBA Administraspecific pain points that tor Karen Mills and Management Solutions Vice the customer is experienc- President Sam Mayes at the SBA awards ceremony during National Small Business Week. ing,” Mayes said. Management Solutions, LLC specializes in project management/control services, project management training, construction management, information systems application/integration, process improvement, and cost estimating services. Since 2002, it has provided project management support to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory for scientific, national security and infrastructure projects. Management Solutions supports 17 divisions of the laboratory. The company developed Oak Ridge’s project management system, its procedures, software solutions and trained Oak Ridge’s lab personnel. It has grown from three employees to 40 and from a contract valued at $8,000 to more than $18 million. It also holds subcontracts from the Department of Defense and various commercial firms.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48

From the Chamber CEO: Thank You for Making Our Schools Better


McGhee Tyson Airport

Dear Business Community, June’s vote by the Knox County Commission was a big win for Knox County Schools and all those that support academic improvement. Together we proved that the school system and its improvement can, and should, be the central focus of citizens and elected officials. Thank you for contacting commissioners, attending meetings, and being concerned. Please make a point to thank commissioners Sam McKenzie, Amy Broyles, Richard Briggs, Brad Anders, Mike Brown, Mike Hammond, and Ed Shouse. The Knoxville Chamber is committed to working with Knox County Schools. We will push them to make improvements. We will demand that they show results. We will encourage them to identify savings and spend with focus and precision. Finally, we will work with them over the next year to demonstrate the funding needs to the community, the mayor, and the county commission. We will need your help. Thanks again,

Mike Edwards President & CEO

This month marks 75 years McGhee Tyson Airport has hosted soldiers returning home, reunited families, and facilitated worldwide relationships for East Ten- McGhee Tyson Airport in 1939. (Photo courtesy: Thompson Photograph Collection nessee. and the McClung Historical Collection) “Almost since the birth of aviation, Knoxville has been a part of what was then a new method of travel,” Beth Baker, director of marketing for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority said. The original McGhee Tyson Airport wasn’t much more than a crushed stone runway on Sutherland Avenue in Knoxville. As planes took off, industry took off as well in East Tennessee. Aviation’s popularity quickly outgrew the facility and sparked a search for a flat tract of land that could house a larger air-travel center for the region. On July 29, 1937, the new airport welcomed the first flight to Knoxville just 12 miles south of Knoxville in Blount County, the same location East Tennesseans know as the airport today. “When you see the pictures, there are no fences. You could walk right out to the runway. It’s so different than today,” Baker said. “A lot of people have memories of being brought out to watch the airplanes come in and land. It was absolutely a spectacle.” Today, there are a lot of aesthetic changes at McGhee Tyson, but the love and wonder of aviation are still evident. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the terminal to ensure a clear view of aircraft and rocking chairs dot the concourse to ensure a comfortable seat as passengers take it all in. More than 140 flights arrive and depart from McGhee Tyson each day, with six major airlines offering service to 19 non-stop destinations. The airport contributes an estimated economic impact of more than $600 million annually, employing nearly 3,000 people. “Our airport has the most air service of any city of our size in the country. We have a great business market, great leisure, and a great government travel market here,” Baker said. Even after all that progress, the facility continues to grow. McGhee Tyson is moving forward with a feasibility study examining the addition of an international terminal. The study is exploring the ability to add customs and a way to move international passengers. It’s likely an international addition wouldn’t be limited to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. “We have had carriers, or at least charter companies that are very interested in Tennessee,” Baker said. “Elvis and Dolly Parton are huge in Europe. Our area is very attractive to the European and Asian markets.” McGhee Tyson will host an open house the afternoon of July 29 from 2 - 5 p.m., celebrating the first 75 years and putting together a time capsule of artifacts that best represent the airport and the East Tennessee of 2012. After the three-quarters of a century that have brought so much change, it’s a safe bet when the community opens that capsule in the future, the community and airport will be drastically different than it is today.

K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 49

Chamber Becomes More Efficient and Effective with LBMC Technologies’ Help When the Knoxville Chamber was nominated for Chamber of the Year, organization leaders knew the competition would be steep. However, the Knoxville Chamber felt that the innovative ways they were using technology to engage members and improve internal systems would be key differentiators between them and other chambers in the competition. The Chamber had enlisted the help of former board member and LBMC Technologies managing partner, Stacy Schuettler, and her team to identify ways to utilize technological advances to increase member engagement, improve communication, and allow the Chamber’s internal systems to be better integrated and more efficient. “Our Chamber was doing great things but not always in the most efficient way,” said Schuettler, managing partner of LBMC Technologies. “We worked closely with Chamber staff to look at their current systems and business processes to identify how we could incorporate more integrated solutions, allowing them to realize increased operational efficiencies throughout the organization.” LBMC Technologies then implemented a customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution to provide seamless communication across all facets of the organization’s operations. LBMC also implemented Microsoft Dynamics GP, a robust financial solution to streamline accounting processes, enable invoice auto send, and offer on-demand reporting. “Duplicating data entry efforts wasn’t an efficient use of our time and because our internal systems weren’t talking to each other, data retrieval was also quite difficult,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “The new CRM system, coupled with the accounting solution, now allows us to connect with our members more easily and respond to their needs in real time, not to mention our internal staff has access to information like never before. All of which has resulted in being able to serve our members at a much higher level.”

The custom Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution was fully integrated into the organization’s website,, making it possible for members to update profiles online, register for events, make payments online, and track activity and interests. On the back end, Chamber staff can identify member interests, gauge levels of engagement, and collect information to improve the member experience. And since all systems are web-based, Chamber staff currently uses iPads and smartphones to improve registration processes, and reduce wait time at member events. “Perhaps the most exciting product that was born out of this collaboration was Chamber Member MD,” said Mark Field, the Chamber’s senior vice president of membership. “The only thing constant in business is change, and we are continually looking for ways to provide relevant resources to small businesses.” Chamber Member MD is an online business analysis offered to businesses at no charge. After answering a series of questions, Chamber Member MD assesses the health of a business and provides Chamber Member RX which links users to community and Chamber resources that may be of assistance. “Chamber Member MD is another way the Knoxville Chamber remains relevant to our members. It has definitely reinvigorated the member experience,” said Field. “Forward-thinking technology and the willingness of Chamber executives to sit down and have an honest conversation about strengths and weaknesses resulted in vast operational and member service improvements,” said Schuettler. “I’m proud to be part of a business community with such an engaged, creative Chamber and feel honored that LBMC Technologies and the services we have provided to the Chamber were integral in their selection as Chamber of the Year.” To take Chamber Member MD, head to

Knoxville Businesses Honored by U.S. Chamber

Congratulations to Analysis and Measurement Services and Dr. H.M. Hashemian, winner of a 2012 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award presented by the U.S. Chamber. Knoxville-based Pyxl also won a Blue Ribbon Award. Additionally, Studio Four Design and The Tomato Head took home honors as Free Entertprise Honorees. Congratulations to all of these fantastic businesses!

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