Blount Partnership News & Events

There are still spots available for Tuesday's free Blount Chamber network training class with renowned collaborative networking and relationship authority Raeus Jae Cannon. It runs from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Chamber's boardroom. Come learn common sense tips and techniques you can use immediately. Please RSVP to Amy if you are interested in attending.
Be sure to check out the 14th ediion of The Dialogue featuring Ben Hazel, President of Pree's Tree Specialists, Inc. This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member.
The Blount Chamber is hosting a job fair on April 29 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Second Harvest Food Bank in Alcoa. To make this a success, we need your participation as either an employer with a booth or as a sponsor of the event.
Participants receive an eight-foot table, two chairs and linens if needed for $150. Premier event sponsorship is $2500 and receives top billing on all promotional materials and signage at the event.
So sign up today: Participation Form | Sponsor Form
What is the first impression you give when they see you in their email inbox? And when they see you there, what do they do?

This powerful seminar takes you step-by-step through the keys to effective email marketing

From revealing why regular email doesn't work, to insider tips and techniques like automated list building tools and the design elements that work (and those that don't!), this seminar will give you the keys to the most effective marketing you can do: email marketing.

Join us at the Blount Partnership on Wednesday, March 23 from 9-11 a.m. Register Here.
Glenn Shepard's seminar "Hire With Confidence, Fire Without Fear, Tame Toxic Employees and Put Your Team on the Fast Track to Record-Shattering Success" is coming to the Blount Chamber on Thursday, April 14.

In the seminar, Shepard shows you how to motivate your people, not just manage them. How to get them to follow you because they believe in your goals, your skills as a leader, and they are committed.

He'll also explain why The Millennials require such a different supervisory style than Gen X or Baby Boomers, and how to apply Dr. Ken Blanchard's (author of The One Minute Manager) principles of situational leadership to get all the different generations to work together as a team.

If you were fortunate enough to attend Glenn's seminar last year, this seminar will be the PEREFCT continuation to take you to the next level of excellence in management expertise, leadership development, and building a culture of teamwork that encourages cooperation that leads to success for your entire team.

If you missed last year's seminar, the April 14 seminar will offer you the opportunity to sharpen your supervisory skills and become a more effective manager and stronger leader than you've ever been. After completing this seminar, which has been certified for additional HRCI credit by SHRM, you'll have the tools for leading your team to achieving goals much faster than ever before.

The seminar runs from 8:30 a.m.-Noon (arrive by 8:00 a.m.). Print the flyer to register.
Join us for a free seminar on Tuesday, March 29 from 8-9:30 a.m. as Jim Rose from EQ Consulting Services will help managers effectively utilize the human potential in their organization. This session will focus on how to empower individuals and work groups throughout the organization along with a means for holding them accountable. The goal is to ensure that all resources in the organizations are focused on how they can improve their performance and collectively when accomplished will improve the effectiveness of the entire organization. RVSP to Jim Rose.
Home Federal Bank launched its sixth Hometown Heroes community service awards program which looks to honor include those who mentor children; support seniors; advocate for the most vulnerable; care for animals; expand the region's cultural opportunities; and serve in other ways to make East Tennessee a great place to live.
Eight 2016 Hometown Heroes honorees will be recognized for volunteer work in the community. Seven will have $2,500 donations made in their names to their favorite nonprofits, and one overall honoree will have $5,000 donated in his or her name.
Anyone may nominate a Hometown Hero. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, March 25, at 5 p.m. Full details and a nomination form are available for download at or can be picked up at any of the bank's 23 offices in Knox, Anderson, Blount and Sevier counties. Honorees will be announced beginning in April.
Blount Partnership is holding an information session regarding gang awareness in Blount County on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 8:30-9:30 a.m., in its boardroom. RSVP to Amy.

Knox County Sheriff detective Thomas Walker will lead the presentation which is free and open to the public. The main focus is on what business owners should know about gangs in the area.
It's Your Career! That's the focus of three free soft skills sessions offered in partnership by the Blount County Public Library, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce that are scheduled over the next five months.
With more and more millennials entering the workforce, employers have noticed many workers in a variety of professions are lacking in several areas, including problem solving, conflict resolution and critical observation. But, even though they possess the hard skills to get an interview, it's the important soft skills that will land the job and help them keep it.
All classes are conducted at the library located at 508 N. Cusick in Maryville and limited to 30 participants. Those interested must register online at A complete class description is located on the registration site. All classes run from 8-10 a.m. with networking beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Registrations are currently being accepted for:
March 18 - Team Building
April 15 - Conflict Management
May 20 - Mentoring
As a small business owner, email marketing is 100% essential. Often times you'll get sucked into purchasing a program that leaves you wondering how to write HTML code. Wouldn't it be great if there was an EASY and FREE email marketing platform? Well, thankfully, there is! Save Local Now, as a value added member benefit, includes email marketing in their digital platform! If you haven't yet uploaded your email marketing list, rest assured that it is 100% private and only accessible by you and other members of your staff.
Here's Two Reasons Why You Should Be Using Email Marketing:
Email Marketing is Affordable
With Save Local Now, it's actually free (and automatically mobile friendly). We understand small business and we know that things are tight. One thing small businesses often cut is their marketing budget; now, you won't need to.

Email Marketing is Easy
You could get all fancy with email and make it into something complicated. With SLN, you don't have to. Create a business promotion on your SLN platform and publish it. From there, it's as simple as clicking on that little email icon and pushing it out to your personal distribution lists. Get creative and separate your lists; your messaging for new customers and repeat customers should be engaging and - most importantly - different.
If you have any questions regarding your free digital marketing member benefit ( Save Local Now), your digital platform, or online marketing in general please reach out the Blount Chamber's Rachel Coffman. She is here to help you in the year ahead and will keep you on track as you fulfill your resolutions in 2016.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. Not everything is available all year round, meaning what grows is the most abundant, least expensive and at its peak.
Find what you're looking for in the Chamber Directory.
Is your organization hosting an event in the community? Submit it here on our community calendar. If it's a tourism event, please email Ashlee so she can post it on
Also, please send us any news releases or good news about your business. We'd love to share it with the community.
"Jump," by Van Halen from their album 1984 was in the midst of a five-week run atop the Billboard Music Chart this week in 1984. It is Van Halen's only single to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song differs from earlier Van Halen songs in that it is driven by a rolling synth line.



March 7-13


The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 14th installment visiting with Ben Hazel, President of Pree's Tree Specialists, Inc., whose mission is to help our clients navigate the care or removal of their trees through honest and professional service and advice..
Describe what you do. We provide a full spectrum of tree care services from planting, to removal. We have two Certified Arborists on staff as well as one Certified Tree Care Safety Professional; these certifications bind us to a code of Ethics and give us the knowledge necessary to offer solutions to clients that are in line with the latest standards in the industry. We plant, prune, diagnose illness, treat trees, install support cables and lightning protection systems, fertilize and aerate root systems and offer professional advice. We have been thoroughly trained to remove hazardous trees as well.
How did you get started? My entire life, I have had a fascination with trees. I think it was due to a large Norway Spruce we had in our front yard. It had limbs all the way to the ground and it was everything to us as kids...a fort, a climbing tower, a hiding place, shade in the summer. I started working with trees right out of high school but it was almost 10 years before I realized how much this industry has to offer.
How did you get your background? Fifteen years ago, when I realized that this was the path I was going to take, I saved up about $1500 and sent myself to a one week, formal training course at the Biltmore Property. This course taught tree climbing, rigging and felling. They are basics but this course taught how to do it safely and systematically. From there, I started pursuing different certifications. I am now an I.S.A. Certified Arborist and a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional.
Describe your customers. We are a relationship company. I know that is tossed around a lot these days but when you are working with your clients trees, you are working with something that might outlive both of you. It's important to use logical and proven practices and we take that seriously. Our customers are those who care for their properties and their trees and who want to work with and establish a relationship with professional company. We also work with numerous realtors, golf courses and other businesses who know that they can't afford to waste time sifting through the endless list of roughneck tree guys claiming superiority over one another with no tangible credentials. Our clients recognize value in the consistency of service and professionalism.
What are the major hurdles in your business? This industry is largely unregulated. Anyone who owns a chainsaw can start a tree service tomorrow by putting a sign on a truck and an ad in the Yellow Pages; formal training and certifications are voluntary and anyone can claim experience. This makes it difficult for the average homeowner to "compare apples to apples" when selecting a contractor which opens the door to enormous variations in pricing and dishonest practices. It is part of my 10 year plan to initiate change in this area. Homeowners deserve the opportunity to work with fair companies. Many states in the country already require formal training to perform tree work. It is my goal to add Tennessee to that list. People are getting hurt and homeowners are being exposed to unnecessary liability.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started or began working at the business. 1. When I started I thought there were three positions: climber, "limb dragger", owner. This industry has so much more to offer and the opportunities grow everyday as we learn more about trees. 2. I wish I had learned the safety culture first. 3. I would have liked to have known the benefits of hiring good people sooner. I tried to do everything by myself for years.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy teaching proper tree care to homeowners, meeting new people and seeing what trees are capable of. They can do amazing things and live for centuries. I also love my team. We have a dedicated group; everyone is here because this is what they want to do.
Previous Profiles:
Jamie Weiss Photography
Jamie Weiss Photography
Jeff Jones, LC Fence
Steve White, White Enterprise Holding
Aundrea Scholem and Jennifer Madaj, Foothills Adult Care Enrichment Services
Wade McLemore, Paychex
Alan Baker, Crown Point Consultants
Shelby Avery, Avery Wealth Management
Kate Schriver, Schriver's
Elizabeth Ross, ECS Central, PLLC
Tony Saddy, Get Fit Maryville
Renee Taylor, CBI
Christy Simmers, Christy's Creative Cafe
Premier and Presidential Partners