Blount Partnership News and Events

Let the friendly competition begin. Taste of Blount, a collection of savory food favorites from restaurants, caterers, food trucks and gourmet grocers, returns for its 17th year at the Theater in the Park in Maryville (across from the Blount County Courthouse) Thursday, Sept. 13 from 6-8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $25 for Blount County Chamber members, $30 for the public and $15 for students 17 and under or those with a college or student ID, are available at the Chamber office (201 S. Washington St., Maryville, Tenn.), by phone 865.983.2241 or online. Tickets are available at the door the night of the event on a cash-only basis.

A new flare to the event is the addition of food trucks for the first time. Furthermore, culinary judges will present the "Culinary Excellence Awards" based on one item from each Taste of Blount vendor.

Ticket holders will still vote for their favorite appetizer, beverage, sandwich, main course, dessert, presentation and overall winner while tasting savory treats.

Participants at press time include: Artistic Pops, Chadwick's Creamery, Chick-fil-A Foothills Mall, Full Service BBQ, Lambert's Southern Pies & Bake Shop, Mattie Moox the Coffee Camper, Metz Catering, Mother Earth Meats, R.T. Lodge, REO Cheesewagon, Rocky Top Snoballs, Rocky's Jamaica Sunrise, Roland's Bistro, Savory Rootz, Small Town BBQ, Soup Kitchen, Sullivan's, The Artistic Bean, The Shrimp Dock, The Steel Room, The Walnut Kitchen, Vienna Coffee House and Which Wich.

The event is hosted by the Blount Partnership and sponsored by Reinhart Food Service, Cornerstone of Recovery, Food City and CBBC Bank. Silver sponsors are Express Strategic Services, Hyperion Networks and Knoxville TVA Credit Union. Media sponsors include WATE-TV, The Daily Times and WNOX 93.1 FM.
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 for Blount Chamber members are on sale through August 22 for $70 (plus taxes and fees) by calling the Clayton Center at 865-981-8590 or online. Use the passcode: BOB18. The public sale for tickets begins at 10 a.m. August 23.

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. Nominations are open for the awards, so please submit the name of someone you think is deserving by logging on at until Sept. 14.

Event sponsors are Massey Electric, Cirrus Aircraft, Cherokee Millwright, Blount Excavating, DENSO, T.W. Frierson Contractor, C2RL Engineering, McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Stowers Caterpillar and First Tennessee Foundation.
Join us Wednesday, August 29 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville) as Jennifer Goodrich will NOT discuss great words to say to boost morale...instead, she will clearly define the four factors that cause productivity loss.

Have you heard (or thought) these statements? "Motivation?!? They get a paycheck... that's motivation?" "They're professionals, they don't need motivation." "In our company...FEAR is our #1 motivator." How about this... "My people aren't producing...they need motivation."

Please think about the following before you come to class.

What are common "cures" for un-motivated employees?

What's the difference between "Motivators" and "Incentives"?

Also, please think about your team (staff or co-workers) and select 1-2 people who you believe are performing under their potential. We will create an improvement plan for them in class.

RSVP TO JENNIFER GOODRICH if you wish to attend.
Make plans to attend our next HR Focus Group on Wednesday, September 5 from 9 a.m.-noon at Cornerstone of Recovery, 4726 Airport Hwy, Louisville. The topic is "Substance Abuse in the Workplace" by Webster Bailey of Cornerstone of Recovery. Please register by Wednesday, August 29 to turn in a head count for the provided lunch.

In this workshop Webster will discuss the following Learning Objectives:

Can you see it?

To understand the difference between substance abuse, chemical dependency, and addiction.
To be able to recognize the behavioral stages of the addiction process
To be able to articulate the various types of treatment available for substance abuse
A Family Sculpture - We will also apply and adapt this to the workplace.

Learn the unspoken/unwritten "rules" of dysfunctional family systems
Be able to identify the roles that family members play in their family system
Understand the ways in which treatment improves the family system (not just the addict/alcoholic)
Small business owners need to attend this workshop on August 31 from 9-10 a.m. at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington, Maryville). Financing Your Buiness the SBA Way covers SBA loan options including which loan program meets a specicific entrepreneural need. Whether you are an existing entrepreneur or have given thought to starting a business, this seminar will put you ahead of the game in government guaranteed lending. RSVP to Jacqueline Merritt at 615-736-7465.
Join us for a power connect lunch on August 28 at 11:30 a.m., at Puleo's Grille (352 Fountain View Circle, 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.
The Blount Chamber has revamped its Job Bank. The Job Bank is a self-service tool members can use to fill vacancies and search for jobs. By using the Job Bank, your association can be a conduit to increasing employment in your industry and community. The Job Bank is a self-service tool, which means members and website visitors may submit their own information via

Inside the Employers tab, you are given the option to post a job or view job applicants. Job posters need their ID number and password to submit jobs to the Job Bank or to view resumes. If you have forgotten, click here to request your login & password.

Inside the Job Seekers tab, this page displays all of the existing jobs that have been submitted and are still within their active date range. Jobs will appear and remove themselves from here automatically, based on their status.
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 "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
Member-to-member promotions are here for August. Submit to the email below. Check out the offers from Pellissippi State and Gold Crown Vacation Club. 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!
Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
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 2001 was "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. The single was one of the best-selling singles in 2001. It won three Grammy Awards in 2002, including Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and was also nominated for Record of the Year.
Alicia Keys - Fallin'
Alicia Keys - Fallin'



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The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 116th installment visiting with Charlie and Victory Harbin, owners of Tech Nav, which exists to empower the people of East Tennessee to live their best life with technology.
Describe what Tech Nav does. Tech Nav provides traveling tech support which means a professionally trained computer technician comes to your home or small business to provide computer repair or computer lessons. We serve Knox, Blount, Sevier and Anderson counties. How did you get started in this business? In both of our previous careers, we commonly worked with people who felt left behind by technology. We identified the need for people to have a patient and knowledgeable person sit down with them to show them how to do the things they need the most from their technology. From there, Tech Nav was born.
What is your background? Charlie has a Bachelor's in computer science from ETSU and a MBA from King University. He has almost ten years experience working on and teaching computers. Victory has a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration and eight years experience in healthcare offices. With Charlie's experience with computers and Victory's experience with running an office, when the need for traveling tech support was identified, it just made sense!
Who is your mentor? Throughout both of our careers, our biggest supporters have always been our families. Since the beginning of Tech Nav, Teresa Sylvia with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center has been our most valuable mentor. We met her within a month of getting our business license and she has been there for every step of the way since. She has helped us navigate so many difficult and stressful decisions and she's also celebrated with us for every victory. She is basically an undercover superhero! We are so thankful for her and all her guidance.
Describe your customers. Our average customers are between the ages of 55-85 and living independently. Generally, they have family members or friends who are encouraging them to use a computer, smartphone or tablet. Once they have the device, they generally need a little bit of assistance setting it up, maintaining it or learning how to use it. Of course, we serve plenty of customers outside of this demographic - anyone with tech needs - but this is our average customer.
What impacts your business environment? With social media being such a core part of society right now, the primary use for technology with the clients we work with is usually social. They are using their computers, tablets, and smartphones to see pictures of their grandchildren, email their friends, and be on Facebook to keep up with loved ones.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. - Write a business plan! - Your business cannot be all things to all people. - It's ok to make a living doing what you're passionate about.
What do you enjoy Tech Nav? We truly enjoy seeing people be able to connect with their loved ones or have independence because of technology.
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