Blount Partnership News and Events

Check out the 101st edition of the The Dialogue at the bottom of this email where we visit Roger H Wilhoite, Owner | Designer | Consultant of Gather and Blüme events & floral.
business_group_women.jpg Make plans to attend our next Women in Business meeting on Monday, March 19 noon at the Airport Hilton (Bar Area) led by Sharon Hannum.

In order for us to have enough time for the meeting if you are planning on eating please arrive at 11:45 and go ahead and get your lunch and bring to the bar area.

This will be a Dutch treat lunch from Cooper's Restaurant. The menu is soup or salad bar for $8.95 + tax, this includes drink, and dessert or the whole buffet for $12 (including tax) and includes drink, buffet and dessert.

Please RSVP by Friday, March 16 to if you plan to attend.
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.

This 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. The $10 registration fee includes a box lunch and participants will have the opportunity to network. Each of the topics offered will be divided into 3-4 weekly sessions that can stand alone or be taken consecutively. A total of 50 classes will be offered with a new schedule released each month.

To register for classes in the Lunch and Learn Series please visit the Blount County Public Library website
Join Jeff Francis from the state of Tennessee's Bureau of Workers' Compensation on March 28 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Blount Parternship (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). Contact Amy for registration information which is $15 and includes lunch.
Attendees at this presentation should expect to learn: * How large the drug epidemic is in the US * How prevalent drug use in the workplace * The financial and non-financial impact that drugs in the workplace cause. * Ways to create a safer worksite * The difference between a drug free workplace and Tennessee's Drug Free Workplace Program * The benefits and requirements for employers that participate in the Drug Free Workplace Program * Recent revisions to the Program's rules
Recognized management guru and author Glen Shepard returns to the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville) on April 12 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. to present a more advanced seminar for managers ready to move from management to leadership. In the seminar, he'll show 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.

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, this 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.

Contact Amy for registration information. The cost is $197 for Chamber members (When 3 or more enroll, 4th person FREE) and $247 for non-members.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Leadership Blount Class of 2019. After a year-long strategic planning process, Leadership Blount revamped its core program to introduce a more dynamic, issue-driven curriculum to address head on issues affecting Blount County. Nominations can be made online at through March 15. Any community member can make a nomination. However, self-nominations or those made by immediate family members will not be accepted.

Applicants must show potential for or demonstrated leadership abilities, community involvement, and the desire for expanded leadership responsibility. Selection is based upon the quality and depth of the answers provided in the application.

Leadership Blount strengthens our community by educating and inspiring current and emerging leaders to engage in active, lifelong service.

For more information, please contact Leadership Blount, 865-984-9368, or by email,
Sponsored by BNI, take part in the one of today's hottest business events - Speed Networking!

What is speed networking? It is like speed dating, except it is for building business relationships.

Only 30 individuals can participate in each Quick Connection event and every individual is GUARANTEED to meet 15 people and spend 5 minutes with each of them.

A facilitator will spend the first 30 minutes of the event teaching you how to maximize your Quick Connection networking opportunity.

You will then spend the next 1.5 hours rotating around the room and meeting 15 other participants at five minute intervals.

The afternoon will be capped off with a 30 minute reception during which you can follow-up with participants you met or introduce yourself to those you didn't get to meet.

Quick Connections is offered free of charge.
March 29, 2018 at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville)
Event Hours: 2-5 p.m.

RSVP to Kasey at
Please include your Name, Company Name, Phone Number & Email

Facilitator: Susan Moser, GAMA Network Solutions, Director Consultant, Business Network International (BNI)

ONE person per company per session.

Only TWO people per industry (i.e. Health Insurance, financial planning etc.)

Individuals can only attend TWO Quick Connections sessions per calendar Year.
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is presenting a start up assistance workshop on March 22 from 9-11 a.m. at the Blount Partnership, 201 S. Washington St., Maryville. Explore your idea viability utilizing GrowthWheel. Learn about forms of business organization, tax requirements, business licenses, business planning and financing options with additional discussion about SBA loan qualification and opportunities. Register here.
Join us for the annual Blount County job fair presented by Blackberry Farm, M Force Staffing, Pellissippi State and Staffing Solutions, on Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 2-6 p.m. at the Second Harvest Food Bank facility in Maryville. If you are interested in participating, please click here for more information.

Some employers already participating include: Ruby Tuesday, Premier Solutions International, AMR Blount County, First Tennessee Bank, Harrison Construction Co., Gear Recruiting, LLC, Allcor Staffing, Asbury Place, ESS/Source4Teachers, EZ Stop FoodMarts, Denso Manufacturing, Summit Medical Group, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, AAA-Auto Club Group, AtWork Personnel, K12, Life Care of Blount Co, Express Employment Professionals, Gibson Hotels, Source4Teachers, Pellissippi State, M Force Staffing, Staffing Solutions, Blackberry Farm, Y-12 Federal Credit Union, TCAT-Knoxville, Blount Memorial Hospital, Hickory Construction, Inc., Avant, Massey Electric, Blount Co Sheriff's Office, Arconic Global Manufacturing Internship Program, Brewing & Distilling Company, Claiborne Hauling, Joseph Construction.
Join us at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St.) on Wednesday, April 18, at 11 a.m. as Regions Bank is hosting an informational business succession planning meeting to assist these successful entrepreneurs in evaluating their options.

Key speakers include Andy Stockett, Managing Director of Four Bridges Capital located in Chattanooga and Dennis Tygart, Regional Wealth Strategist for Regions Private Wealth Management.

Key discussion points will be:
* Determining the value of your company
* Enhancing the value of your company
* Identifying the optimal time to transition the company while maximizing value
* Properly evaluating multiple business succession options
* Growing your business through acquisition or merger
* Evaluating the best strategy for protecting wealth once a company is sold
* Wealth management strategies for enhanced success
* Estate planning strategies for business owners

We encourage everyone to come and hear this presentation if you are interested in the key topics discussed above. There will be limited sitting for this presentation, so reserve your spot no later than April 12. To RSVP please contact Owen Ray at 865-268-1801 or email
Little Arrow Outdoor Resort (118 stables drive Townsend) is holing an open house on April 28 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Visitors are invited to stop and tour their Clayton luxury tiny homes, cabins and beautiful space next to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Mattie Moox the Coffee Camper will on site to sell coffee. Doc's Dounuts will available in the morning along with free (donations taken for Friends of the Smokies) hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch. After 4:30 p.m. REO Cheesewagon food truck will be selling delicious cheese goodies! The Knoxville Zoo will be bring friendly animals. Our campfire and smores will make everyone ready for cabin season.
It's Your Career! That's the focus of eight 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 10 months.

Registrations are currently being accepted online at for the second class entitled Managing People and Personalities set for March 23. This course qualifies for .2 CEU's awarded by Pellissippi State.

The other classes offered include Free Resources for Professional Development, How to Run an Effective Meeting, Improving Your Presentation Style - Speaking, 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.
Member-to-member promotions are here for March. Check out the new offers from AAA, King University and IDShield. 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!
Support your neighborhood by buying and selling nearby
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 1998 was "Gettin' Jiggy wit It," by actor and rapper Will Smith. Released as the third cut from his debut solo album Big Willie Style (1997). The verse is based around a sample of "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge, and the chorus is sampled from "Sang and Dance" by the Bar-Kays. It also won a Grammy Award in 1999 for the Best Rap Solo Performance.



March 19-25



Save the Date


You can access the entire calendar here to see other community events and submit your own.

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 101st installment visiting with Roger H. Wilhoite, Owner | Designer | Consultant of Gather and Blüme events & floral which helps people gather for all things - from small social events to large annual fundraising events; corporate retreats to group experiences.

Describe what Gather and Blüme does. First, we help people gather. In all ways, for all things - from small social events to large annual fundraising events; corporate retreats to group experiences. We work hard to make sure that every detail, and every result, fits you, your budget, and your aspirations. That's why we listen hard, and work harder - to inspire, to design, to plan, and to manage every aspect of the events we do, not just so that you don't have to, although that's important, but so that we can make sure that you get what you want, without hitch or hassle.
Tell me more. I recently relocated to Maryville from Washington state - "coming home," as so many in the South do, place and people never fully out of us, and always tugging. In Washington, I spent the last several years planning and managing fundraising events for local nonprofit organizations. Helping to build the capacity of organizations "to do good" and volunteering myself has always been something I've done and been thankful for wherever I've lived. Giving back to the community is important for all of us. I see that same opportunity here, and that's a big reason for starting this business. And while I also do private and corporate event planning selectively, helping put together successful events to support a purpose I believe in remains a life joy. Why floral design services? That comes, first, from a love of flowers I get from my grandmother. I will have the opportunity here to use fresh cut flowers most of the year from our own fields, which gives me the ability to offer the widest, freshest selection of flowers, with a unique design aesthetic, at reasonable cost to the customer.
Second, we help others bloom. We provide floral design services to people, events, and businesses. We are not a retail flower shop (yet), although we do pop-up shops at local businesses and markets throughout the year and plan to have a flower stand on-site at "Hugh's Garden" later this summer! Our specialty is creatively and thoughtfully designed occasional and special event flower arrangements and flower subscription services (we grew up with fresh flowers always in the house, no matter how simple the arrangement, and strongly believe that flowers inevitably bring hope and joy to the spaces we inhabit).
How did you get started? Does the time I planned my aunt's baby shower from start to finish as a 15-year-old count? Actually, I worked for a while before college at a flower shop, and in college I studied horticulture and floriculture, earning an undergraduate degree in landscape design from North Carolina State. I also studied design at graduate school in Massachusetts. Early on in my professional career, I worked at Screen Gems Studio in Wilmington, North Carolina in set design, including floral ( a few acting spots). And then, as a master gardener, having the good fortune (and supply) of our own gardens, I have always provided flower arrangements for the house, friends, family and local events. I came to doing event planning and management more informally (although I did work early in my career as a corporate event planner). My partner was the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization in Bellingham, Washington, and he convinced me to "volunteer" my services as its event coordinator, where, among other things, I produced and secured sponsorship for its annual art auction, garden parties, a five-day film festival (complete with red carpet arrivals with VIP's, music concerts (both national and local artist), bingo nights, and board retreats. From there, I worked for a private philanthropical family doing all of their social and corporate events, and moved on to work on other nonprofit fundraising events.
Who is your mentor? A supportive family is essential to any truly successful business - if not, one or the other suffers. I've had that my entire career. Add friends, and it gets even easier, and always better. How? As a sounding board, and a thought partner - no matter how good or crazy the idea, it helps to get it out of your head and in front of someone else you trust completely and unequivocally. As a calming presence or helpful backstop during the frantic times inevitable in any business. As a kind word or a stern prod, and knowing when each is needed. And sometimes, to see you through.
Describe your customers. That's a tough one. We build our business on hard work, attention to detail, innovation and creativity, integrity of purpose, mutual respect, honesty and fair dealing, and humility. Maybe that sounds lofty, or simplistic. But we mean it. So, I would describe our customer as someone who thinks the same way. We have the privilege of engaging people at some of the most important times of their lives, doing some of the most important things any of us will do. That's something quite a bit more than a business transaction, it's a commitment. Our customers get, and expect, this.
What impacts your business environment? Again, with the tough questions! There is a line from a Pierce Pettis song that says, "everything matters if anything matters at all." Thatas certainly true about the business environment, where context is everything. When I think about fundraising, for example, both the social and political environments are fundamentally impactful. The work of most human and social service organizations is necessary in the first place because something about our social construct is broken or inefficient. And these are problems we often lack the political will or ability to fix. At the same time, this important work is made possible in no small part by the generosity and support of members of the community and local businesses. That's both the challenge and opportunity of our social environment. Technology, I suppose, has the same duality. On the one hand, it has been one of greatest drivers of change, knowledge, capacity and prosperity in history, bringing a ruthless efficiency and effectiveness to much of what we all do every day. We, like almost everyone, depend on technology to do our work well and affordably. At the same time, technology has been one of the great disrupters of the modalities of business we have ever seen. I wake up several times a week wondering about how to engage the customer. And as we begin to plan and think about growing our own flowers and nursery stock, and the ethic of grow and go local, we are becoming more aware of the environmental (and economic) footprint we leave in the business we do, and more interested in doing something about it. Again, for us, coming home, this is about more than a business and maximizing profit, it's about enhancing the place we live, and leave behind. We are just now stepping into the legal and regulatory environment of Tennessee. Ask us in a year!!
Name three things you wish you knew when you started?
1) Tax accounting- That way I would not have to pay someone else to do it, yet it does give back to the community.
2) How to manage my expectations- Rome was not built in a day yet we all yearn for instant success or financial freedom.
3) How to celebrate /embrace accomplishments and setbacks- We are our own worst critics and I am humbled by kind words or critique as it is always a learning/growing experience.
What do you enjoy about your business? Aside from the work itself, which is no small thing (as they say, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life), being an owner. Not just because. It's a bracing responsibility. At the end of the day, the decisions made, the work done (or not done), and the impression left, come back to me, and iterate upon themselves. It's something I must answer for, be proud of, and believe in. That will get you up in the morning, and keep you awake at night. As it should! Oh, and the flexibility.
Additional comments: As people have asked, a few words about Gather & Blüme. "Gather & Bloom" is a name that we liked from the beginning (and thought of independently!), but as with many other entities, what we are called depends in no small part on the domain name that is available. And Gather & Bloom" isn't (a women's clothing store in Texas). But my mother-in-law is German, and a woman who still has a fresh bouquet of flowers in her house every week. And "blume" is the German word for flower - except it's blu : mǝ. Now you know.
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