Blount Partnership News and Events

It's Coffee Club Week for the Blount Chamber, so join us Sept. 27 at 7:45 a.m. at Pinnacle Financial Partners (837 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Maryville). Wake up to new business contacts at Coffee Clubs held the last Thursday of each month from 7:45 until 9:00 am. Coffees are designed to offer our members the opportunity to build business relationships with other members and to gain exposure for their business or organization in an "open house" setting. Coffees are open to anyone associated with a Chamber member business. Participation is not reserved to the representative(s) listed on the Chamber membership.
On behalf of the Blount County Chamber we're pleased to inform you of a new program exclusive to Chamber Members. The Blount County Chamber and Accident Fund have partnered to provide you with a valuable benefit that will save you money on your workers compensation.

This workers compensation group program allows members a variety of employer benefits. As a member, you have the potential to earn dividend up to 5% based on your individual policy performance. Over the past few years, Accident Fund has paid out more than $47 million in dividends to their group members, and they have received positive feedback from all their members.

One of the nation's leading workers compensation providers, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America is rated "A-" (excellent) by AM Best, and we're excited to partner with them. In addition to their group offerings, members have access to Accident Fund's on-line safety and loss prevention materials and quick claims reporting. Specialized loss control services are also available based on account size. Accident Fund's goal is to help keep your costs and losses low while providing the best service, and they look forward to working with you.

If you are already an Accident Fund policyholder, contact your agent to see if you qualify for the group benefit and start saving today. For more information, you may contact a preferred member agency listed below or find an Accident Fund agent by visiting their Web site at

Cate - Russell Insurance -- (865) 982-4111 --
Geny Insurance Group, LLC dba Blackwood Insurance -- (865) 983-3872 --
Geny Insurance Group, LLC dba Mowery Insurance -- (865) 584-1115 --
The 2019 Basically Blount lifestyle magazine and membership directory is entering production once again. This annual, full-color lifestyle magazine and chamber membership directory is initially distributed to all Chamber members starting Feb. 2019, along with distribution four times throughout the year via area professional offices, newcomers, visitors, and new businesses all looking to relocate to Blount County.

In addition to intriguing stories and area photography that highlight the best of Blount County, Basically Blount also includes a finger-indexed, color-coded directory and buyer's guide of all Chamber members. Chamber members consistently tell us that they keep Basically Blount on hand throughout the year in order to find business products and services when they need them.

On top of the lifestyle magazines, we will have a complete online version on both the chamber and economic development websites.

We are pleased to offer a variety of advertising opportunities at cost effective rates through our media kit. We have contracted with Marcon Marketing Consultants, a local Chamber member, to handle production and ad sales.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Basically Blount, the importance of supporting the Chamber, and how to get your business involved, contact: Rick Ford of Marcon Marketing at (865) 705-8580

Sign up today and promote your business in a primary marketing tool utilized by the Chamber and Economic Development Board. Key positions will go quickly!
Two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and University of Tennessee All-America Peyton Manning is the guest speaker for the Blount Partnership's Best of Blount Awards, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus.

Tickets are on sale for $70 (plus taxes and fees) by calling the Clayton Center at 865-981-8590 or online.

The question and answer show format features queries provided by fans submitted at prior to the event.

Awards will be given for Philanthropist of the Year, Community Impact Award, Bright Future Award, Business of the Year, First Responder Award and the Tourism Award. 

Event sponsors are Massey Electric, Pilot Flying J, Cherokee Millwright, Blount Excavating, DENSO, T.W. Frierson Contractor, C2RL Engineering, McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Stowers Caterpillar, Joseph Construction and First Tennessee Foundation.
Join us for a Power Connect Lunch on September 25 at 11:30 a.m., at Green Meadow Country Club (1700 Louisville Rd, Alcoa). Meet, Mingle, Lunch, Connect, Nibble, Engage and Network with other influential professionals.

While you (and the other guests) will have an opportunity to introduce your business, current areas of focus and/or anything you could use help with, all I ask is that everyone shows up with a focus on how they may be able to add value for the other attendees.

Open to ALL Blount County Chamber members, but you must RSVP online. This is a Dutch Treat lunch.

Event chair Tony Saddy of Get Fit Maryville will lead the event.
Join us Sept. 26 from 9:30-11 at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville) for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies: Exploring the NEW CURRENCY The number two most searched word last year in Google was Bitcoin. What is Bitcoin? What are Cryptocurrencies? Blockchain? John Cannon of Simply Data Centers, member of ETSU Innovation Lab, explains cryptocurrency foundation technology, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies. How do you use it? What are the tax implications? Explore cryptocurrency business opportunities existing in the new technology? Cryptocurrency has been described as the next generation of internet technology and has the ability to influence markets similar to the introduction of Google. Is this the future of Money? REGISTER HERE.
Running a business is more than dollars and cents; there's a legal element that many human resource professionals, supervisors and managers deal with daily. To that end, the Blount Partnership, along with the law firms of Wimberly Lawson and Lewis Thomason, is hosting a three-part supervisors training - human resource/legal seminar on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 from 8:30-11 a.m. at the Blount Partnership office located at 201 S. Washington St., Maryville, Tenn.

Topics to be covered include the Worker Comp/ADA/FMLA for supervisors presented by Lynne Peterson of Lewis Thomason. Kurt Greene of Arrow G Consulting will present Fire Them Before They Start and Howard Jackson of Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones will discuss Interviewing/Hiring and Conducting Performance Evaluations.

The cost is $50 per person for non-Chamber members and $25 per person for Chamber members. REGISTER HERE. If a chamber member sends two more employees, registration is $20 per employee.
analyze_down_trend.jpg Make plans to attend our next HR Focus Group on Wednesday, October 3 at 8:30 a.m. at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). The topic will be "T he Nitty Gritty on the TN Drug Free Workplace" by Charity Suttles of Tennessee Drug Testing.

With updates that have taken effect in 2018, now is the best time for a workplace to join the state sponsored drug free workplace program! From policy development, testing requirements, training solutions, EAP resources, and more, this presentation will provide an overview of what it takes to participate in the program. We will also explain the newest updates so that you can see how simple and effective a drug free workplace can be. Your organization can be a part of the TN Drug Free Workplace program and reap the benefits it has to offer!

RSVP online here.
soft skills It's Your Career! That's the focus of four 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.

Registrations are currently being accepted online at for a class entitled Improving Your Presentation Style - Speaking set for September 28. This course qualifies for .2 CEU's awarded by Pellissippi State.

The other classes offered include Improving Your Presentation Style - Strategies for Engaging Presentations, Making Your Social Media Look Good and Creating Infographics for Promoting Your Business.

All classes are conducted in the Blount County Library's learning lab located at 508 N. Cusick in Maryville and limited to 50 participants. 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.
The Google Lunch and Learn series meets in the new Learning Lab at the Blount County Public Library on Fridays each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is available if desired. The next four classes are:

* "Advanced Google Sheets" - September 28. Learn practical applications for Google Sheets, such as calculating investments and loan payments, the effects of interest and inflation, using Sheets to determine dates and times for project deliverables, and more. Explore how to maximize your productivity by using conditional formatting, creating charts, and expanding Google Sheets capabilities using Add Ons. Register here.

* "Get Up and Running with Google Slides" - October 5. Create a website from scratch. Learn how to manage your site and add collaborators. Work with text, links, and learn how to embed features like videos, Google forms, and maps. Discover how to make your site public or private and add pages. Register here.

* "Google Hangouts" - October 12. Learn how to use Google Hangouts to initiate one-to-one and group text chats, phone and video calls, how to facilitate group meetings, webinars, and more. Register here.

The "All Things Google" Lunch and Learn Technology Series is a professional development workshop series for adults who seek to learn about the Google platform, applications available through Google and how to access and use these applications (Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) This technology series is offered by the Blount County Public Library with funding provided by the Tennessee State Library Archives Library Technology Training Grant.
Member-to-member promotions are needed for September. Submit to the email below. Check out the offer from Roland's Bistro catering. See these and other promotions at member-to-member promotions. New offers are being posted almost daily, so check out the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Member-to-Member promotions online. This Member-to-Member Promotional Program offers you and your company the opportunity to market your products and services to the membership.
Here's how it works:
1. Submit a PDF of a service, product or discount you'd like to offer to the Chamber membership to Be sure to include an expiration date.
2. An email with all the promotions will be sent out on the final Monday of every month to our member database.
3. All promotions will be posted on
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
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 or any good news about your business, please send it to us. We'd love to share it with the community.
Topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week in 1988 was "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. The song became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks.

Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy



September 24-30


September 25 -- Power Connect Lunch
September 26 -- Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies Exploring the NEW CURRENCY
September 27 -- Coffee Club at Pinnacle Financial Partners
September 27 -- Songs By The Brook Concert Series
September 27 -- Influential Leadership Training: Delegation 101: Let it Go
September 27 -- 6th Annual Blount Award honoring Debra Whaley
September 27 -- City of Alcoa Police and Fire Department National Night Out & Fire Prevention Week
September 28 -- Supervisor's Training Seminar
September 28 -- Tip Signs - Open House & 70th Anniversary Celebration
September 28 -- Maryville Moonlight Mile
September 28-29 -- Townsend Fall Heritage Festival
September 29 -- Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center Blue Ribbon Country Fair
September 29 -- Town of Louisville Cleanup
September 29 -- Compassion Counseling 3rd Annual Compassion Navigators Event


October 1-7



Save the Date


The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 120th installment visiting with Kent Davis, Executive Director/President of Special Growers which serves the every growing population of disabled young adults that leave high school with little job skills and minimal opportunity for employment..
Describe what Special Growers does. Special Growers is a not-for-profit entity with the mission of providing job training and employment opportunities to area disabled young adults leaving high school by mass producing quality fresh herbs for sale and distribution into many elegant restaurants in Maryville and Knoxville.
How did it get started? Special Growers started eight years ago by a few parents with disabled children leaving high school coming together to form a business model that would provide a safe place to learn job skills and provide challenging work assignments based upon the individual capabilities of each child.
What is your background? Having a disabled son provided me with the understanding and insight of how to work directly with this population of disabled young adults. My professional experience as an Executive with Ernst & Young LLP advising Fortune 500 companies on new trends for growth and efficiency has helped me significantly as we have developed and grown Special Growers.
Who is your mentor? I have had the opportunity and have been blessed to work with many very strong professionals during my 30 years of consulting. My biggest mentor during my career has been Bob Patton, EY Americas Market Leader, who has demonstrated to me how to define your purpose and bring that to work with you each day as you serve your clients. Special Growers is another opportunity for me to define and execute my purpose.
Describe your customers. Special Growers works with many of the leading elegant restaurants in the area like: Foothills Milling Co, Walnut Kitchen, Blackberry Farms, Aubreys, RT Lodge Mertz, and in Knoxville: Cru Bistro, Brazzerie, Farmacy, Knox Mason, Emilia Italian, A Dopo Pizza and Old City Wine Bar.
What impacts the environment you work in? Special Growers is not effected by social, economical or political circumstances. We work closely with the environment by the production of Fresh Herbs on our 3 acre farm and in our greenhouse. Climate change and the impacts to normal weather trends do impose a challenge to us.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. Without any prior experience in gardening or farming, we have had to learn growing techniques and processes that are reliable and repeatable year after year. We have had to learn how to engage the community into our business operations both as volunteers and financial supporters. We have had to learn the government requirements for running a non profit business.
What do you enjoy most? My biggest reward is seeing the disabled young workers that come to Special Growers each day and and how they have grown independently in their work assignments and socially with the other team members they interact with. The support of the local community of businesses, restaurants, and schools that have contributed to our growth and development is very heart warming.
Premier and Presidential Partners