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INSIDE: Chamber Unveils New Website pg. 78 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 74


CONNECT with the


Sam’s Club celebrated the grand re-opening of its newly remodeled west Knoxville club with a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception in August. Club Manager Tony Street (center) is joined by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knoxville Chamber President & CEO, Mike Edwards as well as Sam’s Club executives and associates, and Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors. Sam’s Club also gave several grants to area organizations after the ceremony.


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. DANIEL MONDAY



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



Pileum Corporation (865) 293-0050 Computer & IT Services


Bristol Motor Speedway (423) 989-6959 Sports & Recreation HR Comp (865) 938-3555 Business & Professional Services: Human Resources 3 Minute Magic Car Wash Fountain City (865) 249-7425 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service 640 Nissan (865) 687-6111 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: New Car Dealerships

A to Z Background Screening (888) 522-8912 Business & Professional Services

Days Inn North (865) 687-5800 Hotels & Lodging

ADS Phoenix (865) 573-9221 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

Gregory’s Greenhouse Productions, LLC (865) 607-0030 Florists, Nurseries & Garden Centers

All American Tire & Wheel (865) 688-1822 Automotive Sales, Parts, & Service: Repair & Service ALSAC/ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (615) 332-2388 Healthcare Providers & Services:Hospitals & Clinics Barberitos - Southwestern Grille and Cantina (865) 303-0068 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

Harold C. Ward, Jr., CPA, PC (865) 584-1500 Business & Professional Services: Accounting, Auditing, & Bookkeeping Impact Performance! LLC (865) 306-3275 Business & Professional Services: Business Advisors & Consultants Kear Contracting, LLC (865) 661-1504 Construction & Contractors: General Contractors Keller Williams Knoxville Premier Properties (865) 694-5904 Real Estate

KenJo Markets (865) 982-2192 Shopping: Convenience Stores & Travel Centers knox360 (865) 245-2333 Business & Professional Services Lighthouse Knoxville (865) 247-6072 Event Planning, Catering, & Venues

NavCal Marine Services, LLC (865) 765-3407 Attractions & Tourism

The Casual Pint Downtown (865) 951-2160 Shopping: Specialty

Publix Super Markets (865) 470-0720 Shopping: Grocery

The Peoples Bank (865) 474-6363 Financial Services: Banks

Quaker Steak & Lube (865) 687-0399 Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places

Total Office - New & Used Office Furniture (865) 898-6678 Shopping: Furniture

Lockridge Law Firm (865) 522-4194 Legal Services: Attorneys

Reliant Title (865) 238-4369 Real Estate: Title Companies

Millennial Consulting LLC (615) 482-2277 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

Salon Silhouette (865) 394-6919 Personal Services: Salons & Spas

Nature’s Best Organics (865) 927-7646 Building & Grounds Maintenance: Landscaping

Send Out Cards - Maria Kear (865) 661-2228 Business & Professional Services: Marketing

















Tru Staff (865) 558-5960 Employment, Career, & Staffing Services UBS Financial Services, Inc. (865) 329-1279 Financial Services: Investments

The Knoxville Chamber & Innovation Valley: Offering Community More Bang for Its Buck


he Knoxville Chamber and its economic development arm, Innovation Valley, provide critical services to both Knox County and the City of Knoxville and receive public funding for those specific services. However, the majority of the operating funds for both organizations come from the private sector, through either membership dues or private investors. This allows the Chamber and Innovation Valley to offer far more to taxpayers than what the city or county could offer if they handled the same services within their administrations without the benefit of private dollars. In order to better understand the magnitude of the public-private partnership managed by the Chamber and Innovation Valley, it is important to know the roles each organization plays. Innovation Valley is a regional economic development initiative led by the Knoxville Chamber’s economic development staff which also includes the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, the Loudon County Economic Development Agency, the Roane Alliance, and the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency. Ultimately, Innovation Valley is tasked with the economic growth of the region, and it does this by recruiting new companies to the area, marketing the region globally, retaining existing businesses and helping them expand, and identifying current and future workforce needs, among a few other functions. While the Knoxville Chamber is a membership organization and is focused on providing its member businesses with products and services to help them grow, it also fulfills many functions that are not specific to its membership base. These include serving as a clearinghouse for newcomer calls and information, and providing research and demographic information to various constituencies. Both organizations are providing fundamental services to Knox County and the City of Knoxville that would cost taxpayers much more if they were handled within the structure of government.


$400,000 $140,000

KNOX COUNTY: Innovation Valley Chamber TOTAL:

$125,000 $80,000 $745,000

NEW BUSINESS RECRUITMENT Innovation Valley and Chamber executives ensure the area stays competitive when it comes to bringing prospective businesses to East Tennessee. As a private non-profit, Innovation Valley offers those businesses a priceless commodity that government officials cannot: confidentiality. Government officials, both elected and appointed, are prohibited by state law from entering into non-disclosure agreements. This requires chambers of commerce and economic development agencies to be the first-line of interface with a recruit until the company is ready to be known. “Confidentiality is key for many economic development prospects. There are situations where we work with a consultant who cannot divulge the name of business that is considering Knox County for an expansion until late in the recruitment process,” Executive Vice President Rhonda Rice said. “Think about it. If company ‘X’ is considering leaving city ‘Z’ to come to Knox County, they don’t necessarily want their intentions and explorations to be public record. This becomes even more of an issue if it is a publicly-traded company. There are many layers to re-

See “BANG” on pg. 70

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cruitment, and being able to assure confidentiality is a basic need,” Rice continued. This doesn’t mean that the economic development efforts are hidden behind a veil of secrecy. “We meet with our local elected leaders every other week and make sure they know what potential industries are saying about Knoxville and Knox County, what they see as our strengths, weaknesses, and what we can do to make our local job market even stronger,” said Rice.

Last year the Chamber fielded more than 2,000 informational requests from the community and area businesses. Some of these requests include demographic analyses and targeted business lists that can take several hours to fill. Additionally, the Chamber frequently meets one-on-one with Knoxville and Knox County businesses in consultations related to crafting an information request and understanding what data is available.

BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION Over the past fiscal year, members of the Chamber’s economic development team have visited more than five-dozen local companies, shown available properties and discussed relocation with nearly 20 different prospects, and played a role in the creation of more than 1850 jobs in the Knox County area through expansions. “We want our business community to be able to have candid conversations about what they need in order to thrive in Knox County. Sometimes it means we’re helping a company file for environmental permits, sometimes it’s helping an organization address a specific workforce issue,” Doug Lawyer, the Chamber’s vice president of economic development said.

MARKETING THE REGION Innovation Valley takes the lead marketing the Knoxville region to the world, touting the region as the place for high-tech, high paying jobs with an abundance of resources available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee, and other facilities. Through one-on-one meetings with businesses and site selection consultants, trade shows, and well-targeted media buys, Innovation Valley presents a favorable impression of the region to the global business community. Innovation Valley’s marketing efforts went a step further in April when it hosted a two-day “Green Carpet Tour” for several site selection consultants, touting the region’s assets to a group of individuals charged with helping companies find locations to relocate to or expand in. In addition to marketing the region to businesses and site selection consultants, the Chamber also markets the region to potential residents. Part of this role happens organically, as the public is conditioned to reaching out to the local chamber of commerce to solicit information about a given city or area. However, beyond just answering the phone calls and questions, the Chamber provides potential new residents with a wealth of resources and information via and its relocation packet mailers. Requests come from individuals, companies making out of market hires, and realtors looking for information to provide clients.

“No two people request exactly the same thing. We allow them to customize their request to their line of work or industry,” Chamber research specialist Joe Riley said. “You’re looking at somewhere between 20-30 minutes per request of leg-work that we do here in the office, on average.” Additionally, Riley handled 189 Certificates of Origin for area businesses that export goods internationally. Trade law requires that chambers of commerce issue these certificates for international trade and the Chamber’s involvement eases the process for East Tennessee companies looking to do business overseas.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO GROW BUSINESSES There are a number of services the Knoxville Chamber offers to the public and business community-at-large, at no cost to the individual, business, or taxpayer. “Throughout its 175-year history, the Knoxville Chamber has been the voice of the business community as a whole. The Chamber does a lot more than what is outlined in the contract with Knox County or in our relationship with the City of Knoxville. We take our role to grow business very seriously,” Chamber CEO Mike Edwards said. Chamber programs like Chamber Member MD are free to all businesses in the community and offer a way for small business owners to analyze their business

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“BANG” continued from pg. 70 operations and understand best practices. The University of Tennessee business school and business leaders such as Joe Weller, the former CEO of Nestle, endorsed the online analysis. Chamber Member MD is a proprietary tool and gives Knox County’s business community a leg-up. “We’re here for businesses, whether they’re exploring an expansion or just trying to keep the lights on. We have world-class tools at the Chamber to help them make informed decisions and connect them with the resources they need to succeed and survive,” Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards said. Chamber Programs such as Propel, which is led by Chamber Business Development Manager Doug Minter, give one-on-one counseling to a wide array of young businesses. It assists start-ups still finding their niche in the market to established small businesses looking to make a bigger splash. Propel’s accompanying Mentor/Protégé Program has delivered a transformational impact on the small business community as well. In just three years, the program, which pairs young start-ups with established business leaders, has helped those businesses grow by more than 50 jobs while delivering $20 million in economic impact for East Tennessee.

THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT In the end, it is all about job creation. That is what the Chamber and Innovation Valley are charged with by the city, county, and the community-at-large. The more Knox County residents that are working, the more economically prosperous the region is. Between June 2011 and June 2012, more than 6,000 jobs were cre-

ated in Knox County, according to the most recent data available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Knoxville Chamber played a role in assisting companies with several expansions that helped bring a good number of those new jobs to the region. “We take our relationship with local government very seriously and do everything in our power to ensure taxpayers receive every last bit of value from each dollar that gets spent promoting the community and helping grow our local economy,” Rice said. Knoxville and Knox County taxpayers received a great return on their investment from the Chamber and Innovation Valley’s economic development efforts. In Knox County, a new job was created during the 2012 fiscal year for every $120 in public funding in economic growth.


Public Funding To Chamber

Dollars/ Job







Nashville Metro








Knox/Knoxville Hamilton/Chattanooga

Jobs Created*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (6/11 - 6/12)

Knox County’s investment in the Chamber and Innovation Valley is done through defined service contracts. That means every dollar the county contributes has a defined use. Each quarter the Chamber and Innovation Valley update the county with a report that offers details on site visits, meetings with existing businesses, and marketing efforts the Innovation Valley team does on behalf of the community to reach prospects. Similar reports are conducted with city leaders to keep them abreast of Knoxville’s standing in the competitive world of business recruitment. While the funding the Chamber and Innovation Valley receive from city and county government is significant, it is enhanced by membership dues and investors from the private sector that recognize the importance of economic growth for our community. The public-private partnership enables the organizations and our political leaders to ensure the taxpayers are getting more bang for their buck when it comes to economic growth initiatives.

Kimberly-Clark Staying in Knoxville After months of conversations and consultation between city of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville Chamber officials, and the executives at Kimberly-Clark, the company recently announced it is committed to Knoxville and will remain here when it vacates its Summit Hill address in the coming months. “We worked closely with the company and a number of site selection consultants to ensure Knoxville had every opportunity to keep the company and its employees here,” Doug Lawyer, the Chamber’s vice president of economic development said. “Kimberly-Clark is a stalwart of our corporate community and we did not want to lose them to another market,” he continued. Knoxville’s City Council recently approved a measure that will spur Kimberly-Clark to invest $4.5 million in facility upgrades to the former Goody’s Headquarters offices in West Knoxville. In return, the city will freeze personal property taxes for the Fortune 500-company for five years. “To see a unanimous city council vote, that’s a great sign our city council really

understands the value of retaining a great company like Kimberly-Clark brings to our community,” Knoxville Chamber executive vice president Rhonda Rice said. “There are dozens of communities that would fight tooth and nail to land an organization of Kimberly-Clark’s caliber. We’re thrilled they’ll be staying in Knoxville.” The Chamber economic development executives worked closely with Kimberly-Clark as the company eyed a move into a more appropriate facility outside downtown Knoxville. Office space at the former Goody’s Headquarters is now full. A 360,000 square-foot distribution center adjoining the offices is actively being marketed to distribution prospects. With more than 300 employees at an annual wage of more than $80,000, the high-paying jobs are a great value, bringing more than $60 million in economic impact to the Innovation Valley. The payment in lieu of taxes agreement that Knoxville’s City Council approved is valued at $200,000.

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Knoxville Chamber Recognized at National Convention Several Knoxville Chamber staff members recently attended the annual American Chamber of Commerce Executives Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Convention materials covered everything from best practices in Chamber programming to effectively communicating within a large membership organization. “It is always good to go to the ACCE Convention in order to stay on top of trends and issues as they relate to operating an effective chamber of commerce,” said Mark Field, senior vice president. “We are excited about some of the programs and benefits we learned about from our peers and look forward to integrating them into what we do here in Knoxville,” he continued. Doug Minter, the Chamber’s business development manager, headlined a session at the annual conference on inclusion in the workplace. His workshop, called “Growing Inclusively” discussed what East Tennessee has done to practice inclusion in a market that is not as racially-diverse as others. “It was an honor to represent East Tennessee and showcase all the programming we have in Knoxville to make our community as inclusive as possible for people of all backgrounds,” Minter said. At the annual awards presentation, the Chamber’s Membership Development Manager Ashleigh Adkins was once again recognized as one of the top ten sales executives in the country. Adkins was ranked 7th in the nation for new member sales last year. Organizationally, the Knoxville Chamber was recognized with a Silver ACE Award for communications excellence in the category of electronic communica-

Pictured center is the Chamber’s Ashleigh Adkins, who was recognized by ACCE as the 7th ranked sales executive in the country. She is flanked by Roy Williams, chairman of the ACCE board of directors (left), and ACCE President Mick Fleming (right).

tions for The Silver Award recognizes communications pieces which surpass the fundamental standards and criteria of communications excellence.

Chamber Hosts Luncheon Featuring Senator Bob Corker More than 250 business leaders joined presenting sponsor Pinnacle Financial Corker said he has a bill written that he believes will help fix what many see as a Partners at a recent Chamber luncheon featuring United States Senator Bob fiscal cliff in the country’s future. The Senator didn’t elaborate on the bill’s details Corker at the Crowne Plaza but said his office was planin downtown Knoxville. ning a push after the Novem“I don’t think there is ber election. anything I like doing more “We are one fiscal reform than talking to a chamber package away from being group like this,” Corker said. able to focus on being a great “I thank you for your interest nation,” Corker said. in the chamber of commerce After taking several quesand what Mike Edwards and tions from the crowd ranging his team are doing to promote from his thoughts on ObamKnoxville. You all have done acare, to the possibility of an outstanding job.” a balanced budget amendCorker spoke primarily ment, Corker was presented about fiscal issues, pointing with an award by the United to the country’s deficit as one States Chamber of ComRob McCabe and Nathan Hunter of Pinnacle Financial Partners with Senator Bob Corker, Mike Edwards, and of the largest issues facing Mitch Steenrod. merce. The award recognized our nation’s future. SpecificalCorker for having a voting ly, the former Chattanooga mayor said government spending needs to be reined record which was 100% in line with what the U.S. Chamber considers businessin and that could mean changes to programs like Medicare. friendly. “A big part of what’s unfortunately happened is that people have been willing to put their head in the sand. Politicians would rather somebody else deal with the issue after they’re gone,” Corker said. “If you want to see havoc in America Sponsored by: and you want to see some of the same issues we’ve seen in Europe, just let this issue keep going.”

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The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in 1983. Today, Sam’s Club operates in nearly 600 locations nationwide. Sam’s Club is the nation’s eighth-largest retailer and a leading Membership warehouse club offering superior products and services to more than 47 million Members in clubs across the U.S. as well as in Brazil, China, and Mexico. Sam’s Club makes savings simple for small business owners, last year saving members more than 59% on office supplies versus traditional retailers. An annual membership fee provides access to those products and other services, such as free cost comparisons, Click ‘N Pull, and access to capital through a SBA loan program that can help a small business owner succeed. Cellular Sales operates Verizon Wireless retail locations throughout the United States. Here in Cellular Sales’ hometown, a team of dedicated small business professionals provides its East Tennessee business clients concierge-level wireless account service. “We want to make you more productive as a business person. We’re going to find solutions to your problems and save you money,” said Will Davis, a business account manager at Cellular Sales. Cellular Sales owes their success to a simple and unrelenting focus on total customer satisfaction and they’d love to show your business that dedication. For more information or to contact them for a consultation, head to Small businesses are built on smart decisions and Comcast Business Class is committed to providing businesses the resources they need to make those decisions as quickly as they can. Comcast Business class offers reliable internet, phone, and TV services. “We really have a competitive edge we can offer businesses,” Jennifer Brown, a business services account executive with Comcast said. “Everything with technology is the faster the better. We can give you that speed while still providing reliability.” For more information or a free consultation, contact your local account executive or see how Comcast’s internet speeds compare to the competition at

Innovation Valley and Tennessee Showcase Auto Opportunities Innovation Valley and the state of Tennessee were in the driver’s seat in front of just under 1,000 automotive industry officials and executives at the recent Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing in Traverse City, Michigan. Doug Lawyer, the Chamber’s vice president for economic development and current Chairman of the Tennessee Economic Partnership, attended the annual conference. Lawyer stressed Tennessee’s prominent position in the industry and had the chance to share some of the opportunities available for automotive component companies in Tennessee. “It is the best opportunity to network and meet automotive professionals each year,” Lawyer said. “I had the chance to speak with several individuals about Tennessee and what we have available from a facility, technology, and workforce standpoint.” Lawyer said the National Transportation Research Center, carbon fiber research, and East Tennessee’s automotive history were all hot topics in his conversations. “In addition to the Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen manufacturing facilities, we also boast more than 900 automotive suppliers in the state of Tennessee,” he said. Tennessee’s governor was also a part of the conference for the first time in its history. At a reception for about 100 automotive executives, Gov. Bill Haslam spoke of Tennessee’s business-friendly attitude and told the story of

Jesse Smith and Doug Lawyer of Innovation Valley and the Knoxville Chamber joined Gov. Bill Haslam at the C.A.R. Management Briefing in Traverse City, Michigan.

how his Tennessee-based family business, Pilot Flying J, grew from one gas station to an employer of over 20,000 today. Haslam is one of just a handful of governors not representing Michigan that have been invited to speak at the C.A.R. management briefing. “The Tennessee Economic Partnership worked for more than a year to get a Tennessee representative in front of an audience at the conference,” Lawyer said. “It’s the Michigan governor’s home-turf so it isn’t easy to get someone from another state on the agenda. Governor Haslam was terrific and the reception hosted by the Tennessee Economic Partnership was very well received by everyone at the conference.”

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(July 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 July ’11July ‘12

July 2012

June 2012

July 2011

% Change June ’12July ‘12

243,050 383,400 3,141,500 156,526,000

243,790 384,570 3,152,900 156,385,000

240,840 377,830 3,144,800 154,812,000

-0.3 -0.3 -0.4 0.1

0.9 1.5 -0.1 1.1

336,000 2,677,300

336,900 2,683,500

326,100 2,644,900

-0.3 -0.2

3.0 1.2

Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price

July 2012 1,034 14,862 $148,125

June 2012 1,115 14,767 $138,600

July 2011 897 15,718 $149,500

% Change June ’12July ‘12 -7.3 0.6 6.9

% Change July ’11July ‘12 15.3 -5.4 -0.9

Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee


Knoxville (City)

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

June 2012* 13 13 0

June 2011 34 34 0

% Change June ’11June ‘12 -61.8 -61.8 0.0

Knox Co.

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

108 108 0

95 95 0

13.7 13.7 0.0

Knoxville MSA

Total Single-Family Multi-Family

131 131 0

118 118 0

11.0 11.0 0.0


Total Single-Family Multi-Family

1,785 1,143 642

1,173 977 196

52.2 17.0 228.6

Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee

18,020 29,670 305,620

17,880 29,440 301,200

20,090 32,880 338,090

0.8 0.8 1.5

-10.3 -9.8 -9.6

6.7 7.0 8.8 8.6

6.7 7.0 8.7 8.4

7.5 7.9 9.6 9.3

0.0 0.0 0.1 0.2

-0.8 -0.9 -0.8 -0.7

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

July ’11-‘12

June ’11-‘12

July ’10-‘11

1.4 1.4

1.6 1.7

4.2 3.6


% Change June ’11July ‘12

% Change July ’10July ‘12

-0.2 -0.3

-2.8 -2.2

*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

July 2012

June 2012

July 2011

48,004,196 67,109,685 613,858,234

47,458,318 66,464,916 589,616,339

48,216,085 67,753,483 594,270,774

1.2 1.0 4.1

-0.4 -1.0 3.3

13,181,633 17,774,727

13,189,970 18,398,079

13,759,091 18,977,590

-0.1 -3.4

-4.2 -6.3

Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA

% Change July ’11July ‘12

% Change June ’12July ‘12


Passengers Cargo

May 2012 157,152 8,076,221

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

July 2012 401,988 25,003 18,242 7,795 53,260 45,262 7,975 45,889 50,295 22,065 9,986 76,326 32,931

June 2012 405,820 27,009 18,618 7,632 53,162 45,398 7,773 45,706 51,213 22,131 10,397 76,247 33,289

388,749 24,256 17,776 7,882 53,005 43,088 7,316 47,493 50,990 21,909 9,559 70,503 28,531

% Change June ’12July ‘12 -0.9 -7.4 -2.0 2.1 0.2 -0.3 2.6 0.4 -1.8 -0.3 -4.0 0.1 -1.1





July 2011

% Change July ’11July ‘12 3.4 3.1 2.6 -1.1 0.5 5.0 9.0 -3.4 -1.4 0.7 4.5 8.3 15.4 8.0

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 | 74

April 2012 142,564 7,128,486

May 2011 156,578 7,499,503

% Change April ’12May ‘12 10.2 13.3

% Change May ’11May ‘12 0.4 7.7

Chamber Protégé wins TSBDC’s Rising Star Award The Knoxville Chamber congratulates Casey and Margarita McClure of Triple 8 Corporation, this year’s winner of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center’s Rising Star award. Triple 8, a cloth diaper company, has grown from a spare room in the couple’s basement to a West Knox County operation that plans to distribute 600,000 diapers this year in more than 20 countries. The company sells diapers under the Swaddlebees and Blueberry brands. In addition to working closely with TSBDC, Triple 8 is a member of the Chamber’s Mentor/Protégé Program and is paired with mentor-company, Radio Systems Corporation.

Larry Rossini, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center presents Casey and Margarita McClure with 2012’s Rising Star Award.

Triple 8 has a corporate headquarters and distribution center in West Knox County off Outlet Drive.

PROPEL MENTOR/PROTÉGÉ PROFILE Protégé: Gary Johnson, CG Services Corporation Mentor: Cavanaugh Mims, Visionary Solutions The protégés are not the only ones that benefit from the Chamber’s Mentor/Protégé Program. Obviously the protégés are able to take advantage of their mentor’s experience and maybe skip some of the pitfalls the mentor had to experience on his/her way to success. But the program also gives the mentors an opportunity to reflect and realize all the challenges they were able to surmount. “As a small company you are not always in the position to do certain things that may offset or disrupt your operation. That is where having a mentor comes in. You are able to get a different spin and insight on various issues,” Gary Johnson of CG Services Corporation said. That same benefit carries over to Johnson’s mentor, Cavanaugh Mims, who gets a peek back some of the obstacles his business has overcome. “A good mentor/protégé program allows both firms to ‘peek in’ to how successes are accomplished and to ‘bring home’ those skill-sets and tools that will make their business even more successful. Access to systems and leadership are important, but often it is the little things…the details…that can be just as valuable to both firms,” Mims said. In the case of CG Services’ partnership with Visionary Solutions, the

two businesses are complementary to each other, and the mentor/protégé relationship enables them both to take advantage of opportunities in the complex world of government contracting. Both companies work heavily in government contracts and waste manageCavanaugh Mims Gary Johnson ment for the facilities in Oak Ridge. “This enables us to better assist with meeting growth objectives and providing helpful preventative tips in business management and government contracting,” Mims said. For more about PROPEL’s Mentor/Protégé Program, call program director Doug Minter at (865) 246-2662 or email him at

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Boyd, Espiritu Share Community Schools Concept with Premier Partners After startling successful results in a pilot program funded by a Knoxville business leader, the Community Schools concept is growing in Knox County. At a recent Premier Partner event at Pond Gap Elementary sponsored by Lewis, King, Krieg, and Waldrop, P.C., Knoxville Chamber members heard more about the concept, how it works, and how to get involved. “Our sponsorship of this event represents an on-going commitment to education,” David Draper of Lewis, King, Krieg, and Waldrop, P.C. said. Local business leader, Randy Boyd, initially became engaged in the discussion on public education reform when he helped launch knoxAchieves, which eventually grew into the tnAchieves program. The mission of tnAchieves is to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee students by providing last-dollar scholarships for community college and mentor guidance. However, the founder of Radio Systems Corporation quickly realized that something needed to be done for students before they reached their senior year in high school. “I realized providing an opportunity for a student as they left high school was just too late,” Boyd said. So Boyd started doing research and even considered opening a charter school in Knox County. After more conversations with educational professionals and site visits, he realized a charter school wouldn’t solve the root of the problem. He saw students were distracted and unable to excel in the classroom because of hunger and other social issues that were taking place outside of their time in the school. With the help of the University of Tennessee and Knox County Schools, Boyd set out to establish the first Community School in Knox County. It’s a place where students get meals, mentorship, as well as an education. It’s also uniquely a place where parents can get access to laundry facilities, English-language classes, as well as courses to help them get on track for a G.E.D. It didn’t take long for the program to make an impact. In the first year of the pilot program, Pond Gap saw absences decrease 34-percent, student discipline referrals fell 77-percent, and nearly half of the students in the program improved overall grades. “It’s just amazing what we’ve seen happen,” Susan Espritu, Pond Gap’s principal said. “We worked for eight years to try to get a PTA started. After the community school model came in, parents and neighbors saw the school on television and in the news and felt a sense of pride. This year, they came to us and said, ‘we want a PTA!’” Pond Gap does it all without additional tax dollars. Randy Boyd has taken on financial responsibility for the program which costs just under $12 per student/per day. For the school year, the total came to approximately $150,000 with additional costs for summer programming. The program is now expanding to three additional Knox County Schools. While Boyd realizes not everyone is able to help the program financially, he encouraged the attendees to participate in some way. “If you don’t have the money but have the time, come read to the kids for an hour. You’ll get more back than you could ever imagine,” he said. To find out more about the Community Schools concept, contact Jennifer

Chamber Board Chairman Mitch Steenrod; David Draper of Lewis, King, Krieg, and Waldrop, P.C.; Radio Systems founder Randy Boyd; and Pond Gap Principal Susan Espiritu.

Boyd told the crowd the teachers at Pond Gap and schools like it are in a very challenging situation. Nearly 90-percent of the student body receives free or reduced price lunches.

Evans at the Knoxville Chamber. For information on tnAchieves, head to www.

Sponsored by:


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The Knoxville Chamber’s June Employee of the Month, Terry Tabors, presents August’s Employee of the Month, Doug Minter, with the award. Minter is the business development manager for the Chamber and Tabors is the Chamber’s accounting manager.

Chamber Receives Grant from Messer Foundation Thanks to a generous grant from the Messer Foundation, the Knoxville Chamber is adding new technology to its arsenal to help improve the local workforce as well as expand the reach of programming geared toward business development and inclusion. Andy Lorenz, vice president and general manager of Messer Construction Company, presented a $25,000 grant to the Chamber’s Partners Initiative Fund at a recent board meeting. The money will go toward the purchase of a pair of 323 Link systems. These video recording devices will allow educators, lecturers, or presenters an easy way to record and upload educational videos to the web. “At Messer we know that giving back contributes to the overall well-being and long-term vibrancy of the communities in which we live, work, and raise our families,” Lorenz said. “One of the ways we build community is by investing our time and dollars in high impact organizations and initiatives like The Partnership Initiatives Fund.” “With new technology reaching students and our workforce every day we saw an opportunity to expand a lot of the great programming our community already offers. We’re thrilled the leadership at Messer and the Foundation chose our project and continue to do everything they can to make Knoxville a stronger place to do business,” Evans said. Initial plans call for one of the 323 Link units to be used primarily in a classroom setting with the Knox County Schools. That system will focus on recording STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals. For example, if a Messer engineer tells a group of high school students how they use engineering in their job, the experience and learning opportunity will now have the ability to reach hundreds of students, not just the host classroom. The other system will be used predominantly with the Chamber’s business development and inclusion efforts. The systems will afford more opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and others to reach resources that otherwise may have been limited to participation in a given event. “Access to information and resources that support education, workforce development, and economic inclusion are critical to our community’s success. They also make up the criteria we look for in selecting grant recipients for our Foundation,” Lorenz said. The Chamber’s Vice President of Public Policy and Education Jennifer Evans pitched the Chamber’s plan to the Messer Foundation along with Doug Minter, the Chamber’s business development manager in June. The 323 Link systems are currently being built and are expected ready for use by the end of September.


Pileum Corporation When it’s time to assess or upgrade a company’s information technology, it’s one thing to get the flashiest, latest, and greatest technology; it’s another to ensure the investment is going to pay off and give the organization a positive return. Pileum Corporation doesn’t believe in selling cool technology just because it’s cool. Technology should be used to make businesses more profitable either by saving the client money, by making the business more efficient, or by allowing the business to provide better service. That mindset has helped Pileum become one of East Tennessee’s fastest growing information technology service providers. “We work alongside our clients based on their needs. We have companies of all sizes and verticals; we service five employee companies to organizations with 50,000 employees. We specialize in helping analyze and tackle complex projects with our real world expert knowledge and resources,” Sean Camp of Pileum said. A dedicated team of engineers delivers value by working side-by-side with Pileum’s “solutions architects”, former CIOs and technology directors. The staff has years of experience wearing management’s shoes in various industries. Clients benefit from that experience and it also helps Pileum understand their diverse needs and how to cost-effectively ensure those needs are met. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Pileum opened its Knoxville office in 2008 and has grown rapidly through tough economic times. Pileum services over 450 accounts in the Southeast and its fastest growing market is East Tennessee. “We do business locally. Our customers stem from where our offices are,” Camp said. “That business model has always worked for us because our local offices deliver the most value to our customers.” Pileum prides itself on staying with customers throughout the process, from assessment of needs, to installation, to proactive maintenance aimed at ensuring their clients stay up to speed in the face of natural disaster or other disruption. Pileum’s suite of services includes: • Datacenter Design • IT Outsourcing • IT Security • IT Consulting • Wireless • Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery • VoIP • Networking “Our biggest assets are our customers. We focus on them to ensure we develop long-standing relationships. It’s simple, when we earn a customer and their trust, we don’t lose them,” Camp said. To set-up a consultation with Pileum, contact Sean Camp at (865) 293-0013.

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Chamber Unveils More Interactive, Redesigned Website



New Member Orientation 4 – 6 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square Sponsored by:

SEPTEMBER 13 a.m. Exchange 8 – 9 a.m. Image Matters, 3017 Sutherland Ave Sponsored by: Catering Sponsor:

SEPTEMBER 19 Bright Ideas Seminar: Cash Flow – The Lifeblood of Your Business Presented by: Michael Ownby, B2B CFO 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for members/$35 for non-members (boxed lunch included) Sponsored by: Co-Presented by:

America’s Best Business Address® just drastically improved the look and feel of its home on the World Wide Web. The Knoxville Chamber recently unveiled a redesigned and reformatted that offers more opportunities to share your business’s success stories and interact with East Tennessee’s business community. Web users looking for information about Chamber events, economic development, education, or relocation will likely find the new website much more appealing and better-organized. “We took a step back and looked at our website from a user’s perspective,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Chamber. “Our website has a diverse audience of users and our team spent a great deal of time making sure it was organized with those different groups of visitors in mind. We also recognized that we needed to talk to the users, not at them. The conversational tone throughout the site is a result of that,” she continued. Designed by Bluegill Creative, the new offers traditional chamber information mixed with great visual content, and social media integration. The site is divided into nine different sections, appealing to the various audiences that utilize it. New content includes the “Member News” area of the website, allowing members to submit press releases via an online submission form, and member testimonials which rotate throughout each section of the site. The site’s overall look is complementary to the Chamber’s online business directory,, which was launched in November 2010.

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SEPTEMBER 25 Schmoozapalooza 4 – 7 p.m. Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave. Tables in Tabletop Expo: $200 members/$300 nonmembers Attendee Registration: $10 (members can save $5 by pre-registering online prior to September 21) Sponsored by:

Media Sponsors:

SEPTEMBER 27 Exclusive Premier Partner Event w/ Featured Speaker Holly Warlick, Head Coach UT Lady Vol Basketball 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Calhouns on the River, 400 Neyland Drive

September 2012 Commerce  
September 2012 Commerce  

News from the Knoxville Chamber.