One night recently, when I was having trouble getting to sleep, I caught one of my favorite movies as I flipped through the stations trying to find something worth watching. I came upon Jerry Maguire at just the right time.
I think that the signature scene of that film about a sports agent trying to find his soul has clearly become the "Show Me the Money" conversation between Jerry, played by Tom Cruise, and Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. But I happened upon the movie during the scene that followed, which was Jerry's speech as he left the office having just been fired. "There's such a thing as manners... a way of treating people," he says, then looks to the aquarium. "These fish have manners. These fish... have manners! In fact, they're coming with me."
In the first item that follows my little essay in this newsletter, you can read about the recent grants we and our partners were awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in March for site development. So, I guess the "Show Me the Money" scene would also apply here, but I'd prefer to focus on the "Manners" narrative.
Last year, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services received a $500,000 site development grant from TNECD to prep a site for a large pad in the Bristol Business Park. I was proud to be on the team, led by April Eads of BTES, that achieved that award, along with a healthy grant from TVA. This year, working with Tom Anderson, Economic Development Director for the City of Bristol, and April, our Michael Parker led the team that was awarded a $1 million TNECD grant to prep a 30-acre rail site in Partnership Park II. NETWORKS was also fortunate to play a supporting role to Patrick Wilson and Mark Canty of Tri-Cities Airport as they were awarded $500,000 for site work at Aerospace Park. Earlier this year, TDOT awarded that site $4.1 million.
So, while Nashville has definitely been showing us the money, I think we need to pause for a moment to say thanks for all of the support we continue to receive. In fact, we do so in an ad in this month's issue of the Tri-Cities Business Journal. We've already heard from some folks at TNECD who expressed their appreciation for the gesture, but it was really the least we could do.
There are plenty of other folks to thank for all that they have done to support Aerospace Park, including all of our state delegates, who have championed the project with dogged determination, and our local officials in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, and Sullivan and Washington counties who came together to invest more than $8 million in the park.
These grants and the publicity they have generated have already led to an uptick in interest from aerospace companies and site location consultants and I believe that interest is going to escalate tremendously as work progresses.
While passing around the gratitude, I'd like to thank Master Tool & Die and AGC Glass for their recent expansions. Most job growth comes from existing industry and these are two premier employers, so we are very pleased and encouraged by their growth. Also included in this newsletter is some exciting recognition of Eastman and TEC Industrial.
We are also appreciative of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and congratulate everyone affiliated with it for the recent ribbon cutting on its RCAM Academy. I'd also like to thank the RCAM for hosting TNECD and its Apprenticeship Listening Tour. As I sat in that meeting listening to people so much smarter than me, I was reminded of what a great asset that facility and its staff are to our economic development efforts.
Also below, please be sure to read about the accomplishments of Lynn Tully and Miles Burdine, as well as Lost State Distillery's plans in Bristol and Bell's new branding announcement. And speaking of existing industry and being appreciative, thanks go out to Jesse Smith of Oak Ridge National Laboratory for hosting NETWORKS staff and industries from Sullivan and Hawkins counties for a tour of the lab.
With all of that going on, it's hard to believe we've done as much marketing as we have thus far in 2018. I attended the Site Selectors Guild as part of a strong delegation from Team Tennessee in Cincinnati in March and a productive TEP outbound event in Detroit in February. I was joined by Board Members, Carolyn Ferrell, David Wagner, and County Mayor Richard Venable on a tour of a transloading facility in Somerset, Kentucky, a potential end user of the site in PPII that was awarded the aforementioned TNECD site development grant. Please take a look at some of the social media posts to the right of this report for more on these activities.
Other activities of note include our joining the Bristol and Kingsport chambers of commerce for their Day on the Hill dinners in Nashville (where our best manners were on display) and me joining Mark Canty and Northeast State Community College's Richard Blevins on an Aerospace Park panel at the Tennessee Environmental Conference. More thanks - this time to TNECD Regional Director Iliff McMahan who moderated.
We really do have a great deal for which to be thankful Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day. I know I'm grateful to be working with such a great group of colleagues, volunteers, and partners. And, by and large, they all have some pretty good manners, even more than the typical fish.