The Blount Chamber is hosting AM Connect on December 11 at 8:15 a.m., sponsored by Rocky Top Restoration, LLC.

This is the final virtual networking event of 2020. So join us and other chamber members for this holiday extravaganza.

We bring connections to you with our virtual networking option. Held the second Friday of every month, these online meetings are a companion to our in-person coffee clubs. Here you have the opportunity to meet new people in breakout rooms.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is hosting a special acoustic concert by GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Billy Dean on Friday, December 11, as part of its “Townsend Christmas in the Village” events.  

General admission tickets are $50 per person. Tickets are available online or by calling the Heritage Center at 865-448-0044.
If you were unable to attend the PYA webinar entitled, "What’s Next for PPP Recipients—Navigating the Forgiveness Process and (Finally) Planning for the Close of 2020 for Income Tax Purposes," you can view it here.

Key takeaways included the following:
  • Appropriate use of PPP loan proceeds, and documents to retain for record-keeping
  • Forgiveness application forms required for completion
  • Key components of the PPP loan forgiveness application
  • Impact of forgiveness determination on expense deductibility
  • Tax planning strategies for minimizing the tax impact of forgiveness
  • Needs for legislative and guidance clarity
Come learn about counseling, government contracting certifications, and financing available for start-ups, expansions, and transitioning during this pandemic.

Join the Tennessee Small Business Administration for this Road to Recovery webinar on Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. REGISTER HERE.
Marcus Blair, director of Poribar Digital Consulting, is hosting a webinar on Cybersecurity Basics, December 15 at 10:30 a.m. REGISTER HERE.

From Tron to Matrix to Mr. Robot, hackers have fascinated us for as long as there have been computer networks. 21st century hackers have an enormous arsenal at their disposal, but, like all predators, they want the easiest targets. A few practical steps can help keep you, your family, your identity, and your data safe.

This webinar will review some practical steps to boost your home and business cybersecurity.
This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 166th installment visiting with Ray Pasko, Outsourced VP of Sales for Blue Sky Consulting, LLC, which helps small to mid-size businesses put their sales team and processes back on track through the creation of sales infrastructure components and sales leadership, often leading to record-breaking sales results.

What are some of the services you offer?
Specifically, some of the services I provide include assessing the current sales team, sales strategy, sales and coaching process and sales execution. and then implementing the necessary changes to drive sustained revenue growth.

How did you get started?
I have been in sales leadership most of my life, but I started this business - Blue Sky Consulting last year after retiring from my last role as the Business Unit Head for Alcon Laboratories, a then a division of the Novartis Pharmaceutical company.

What is your background?
I acquired the skills necessary to be successful in my role as a result of the 30+ years working with various multinational and global companies in a wide variety of industries - from Retail to Consumer Product Goods, to Functional Beverages, and then Medical Devices. I have held multiple positions of increased score and responsibility collimating in leading the sales team responsible for 500+ sales representatives and over $1.5 billion in sales.

Who is your mentor?
My greatest supporter was first and foremost, my father, who taught me the value of hard work and the importance of keeping your word. Professionally, I have been blessed with working for some really caring and committed leaders who gave me the opportunity to learn, make mistakes and grow!

Name three things you wish you knew when you started.
1, How long it was going to take to get my first client
2. When to say yes and when to say no to clients
3. How lonely it is running our company

What do you enjoy about running the business?
I enjoy the variety of clients and businesses with which I get to work. It is fun and exciting to learn the nuances of different businesses and it allows me to meet tons of great people in the East Tennessee area!
Local public health authorities determine and establish the quarantine options for their jurisdictions. CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, based on local circumstances and resources, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives. READ MORE.

  • Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
  • With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%.
  • When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available (see bullet 3, below), then quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
  • With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%.
The December 11 edition of soft skills classes offered by the Blount County Public Library is quickly approaching.

This Zoom Webinar session is entitled "Networking Strategically." Build a network that is beneficial and strategic. Learn how to avoid networking traps and break out of the mold in order to advance project and professional goals.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a myriad of online training webinars to assist you in all facets of your businesses. Take advantage of training opportunities with the SBDC at no cost.

Get the Facts on PPP and EIDL
Hear from SBA every Monday and Friday at noon ET until December 21. Find out what is a myth and what is a truth on SBA loans for small businesses. REGISTER HERE 

December 8 from noon-1 p.m.

December 8 from 4-6 p.m.

December 9 from 10 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

December 18 from noon-1 p.m.
If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.
And follow tourism updates here:
Here's a great way to offer Member-to-Member deals using your chamber member account. Check the deals.

Members can post Coupons and Discounts to this page at no charge. Click Here
Topping the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1964 was "Ringo" by Lorne Greene. The song's sung lyrics are limited to the title word alone, performed by an unidentified male chorus. The rest of the vocal performance consists of a spoken-word, first-person account of a Western lawman and his relationship with a notorious gunfighter, Ringo.