Community Stakeholders Report 
1st Quarter - 2017

From the Desk of the CEO...

Doing the Work to Enjoy Long-term Success

I was recently at an IEDC training seminar on the subject of strategic planning. Overall, it was an enlightening program with knowledgeable presenters and it had the added benefit of networking and learning from other economic development professionals from across the country. No matter how long one has been in a profession, he or she can continue to learn... and to reinforce.
The last couple of months, we have been busy with prospect and project activity, but the major accomplishments have been strides in product preparation - community development projects that will lead to economic development wins down the road. Economic development is a long-term commitment fueled by quick-term wins (i.e., announcements of new companies and expansions). As I was reminded by the IEDC instructors and my peers, we are keeping our eye on the future as we work the projects that are before us now.
NETWORKS, the City of Bristol, and Sullivan County have been working toward a trans-loading facility in Partnership Park II, taking advantage of our rail capabilities there. There is still a great deal to be determined in site planning, costs, and how to fund the project (a public-private partnership seems to be concept with the most momentum at present), but we are all encouraged by the possibilities. More tangible success was celebrated recently when our partners at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced that BTES had been awarded a $500,000 Site Development grant for excavation work in the Bristol Business Park and the City of Kingsport was awarded $50,000 from the Tennessee Main Street program to support entrepreneurism.
In February, NETWORKS and our partners from the City of Bristol and BTES met with several TVA representatives to look at other potential projects to improve the marketability of our properties. And our partners with the Phipps Bend Joint Venture approved the installation of a gate to open a previously closed emergency egress road - an example of responding to existing industries' concerns.
To further enhance the appeal of our sites, Aerospace Park recently was recertified as a Select Tennessee site through TNECD. BTES and NETWORKS are working through the final stages of recertification of Bristol Business Park and Partnership Park II, respectively.
Along with our local partners, we have been busy with the upcoming Northeast Tennessee Red Carpet Tour. Our signature marketing endeavor is under the umbrella of the Tennessee Economic Partnership and continues to grow its regional appeal as Greene and Blount counties have discussed joining Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratories as partners in this year's event. It is hard to believe that this will be the fourth year for the RCT. We continue to improve upon it and are implementing some ideas, including a video invitation, in order to continue to raise its profile. Speaking of videos, we recently updated our community video to correspond with the rebranding of Tri-Cities Airport; the video has now been viewed through various media by more than 500,000 people.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we welcomed the new TNECD Commissioner, Bob Rolfe, as he made the first of his regional town halls at the Kingsport Higher Education Center. Following that meeting, he focused on Sullivan County with a luncheon at the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) where he was given a presentation by NETWORKS and its partners and a tour of the facility. He then visited the recently expanded KPS Global plant in Piney Flats, and Aerospace Park at the Tri-Cities Airport. I'm looking forward to a meeting with Commissioner Rolfe in the upcoming weeks to discuss TEP.
In this quarter's newsletter are other examples of "product development" in the area of workforce development and entrepreneurial support. We are fortunate to have so many organizations and leaders doing great things that improve the likelihood of our recruiting more projects as well as assist our existing employer base. This long-term commitment goes a long way in submitting our reputation as being Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day.
Upcoming Meetings
Full Board Meeting

April 12, 2017

8:00 AM

Northeast State Community College
Library - Room L106

In This Issue
TNECD Commissioner Rolfe visits Sullivan County

Bristol Business Park Receives Site Development Grant

The Bristol Business Park was among 18 communities that shared in $6.2 million from the Site Development Grant program administered by TNECD. BTES, owners of the park and recipient of the grant, led the effort that included the City of Bristol and NETWORKS, culminating in a presentation in front of TNECD, TVA, and the Austin Group - the consulting firm contracted to oversee the competitive process - in March. BTES was awarded the program's maximum $500,000 grant to be used to develop about 50 acres that would then be ready to accommodate a building up to 420,000 square feet.
"We need this for the community," BTES CEO Dr. Mike Browder said, adding that eliminating a prolonged, expensive site development process will make the site appealing to large scale projects on a tight timeline. "We are looking forward to the opportunities this grant will provide BTES and the community team. With a pad, someone could build very quickly."
Kingsport Among Winners of Main Street Funding

Kingsport was among six communities to receive the second round of Tennessee Main Street $50,000 grants. (Bristol received a grant last year.) The projects are funded as part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Act's effort to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and revitalization of vacant and underused buildings in Tennessee's Main Street communities.
Kingsport will host entrepreneur training classes and grant awards to participants in a pitch contest. It will also fund a makerspace at an art gallery and make improvements to a studio space.
Governor Haslam Names Bob Rolfe Commissioner of Economic and Community Development

In February, Governor Bill Haslam announced Nashville business executive Bob Rolfe as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. An innovative business leader, Rolfe, 56, has more than three decades of experience in business and investment banking in Tennessee.
"As a lifelong Tennessean, it is an honor to have the opportunity to serve our governor and the citizens of our great state," Rolfe said. "After spending many years working in the business community, I look forward to applying my energy and efforts toward recruiting additional capital investment and jobs across the state of Tennessee."
TNECD Commissioner Rolfe Visits Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day

Commissioner Rolfe practicing virtual welding with help from RCAM's Jeff Frazier

Newly appointed Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Bob Rolfe made the first stop of a series of community town halls to be held in each region of the state at the Kingsport Higher Education Center in March.
Following the public meeting, during which the commissioner and other TNECD staff presented Northeast Tennessee communities with various grants, Commissioner Rolfe met with NETWORKS staff and our community economic development team at the RCAM. The local team gave a presentation to the commissioner demonstrating our role as Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day. He also received a guided tour of the RCAM, and visited recently expanded KPS Global in Piney Flats and Aerospace Park.
ETSU Joins Academic Village's Higher Education Center
East Tennessee State University and the Kingsport Center for Higher Education announced a partnership bringing the total of four-year schools offering courses at the center to four. ETSU joins King University, Lincoln Memorial University, and Milligan College, as well as Northeast State Community College.
The agreement was approved by the Higher Education Committee and Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen at special call meetings on March 7.

FIRST Group Meets at Tri-Cities Airport

NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership held a FIRST - Focus, Innovation, Results, Synergy, Together - meeting in March with our primary employers at Tri-Cities Airport. These meetings are designed to bring our existing industries together to form their own relationships and support networks as well as introduce them to other organizations, programs, and resources. About three dozen representatives from 11 of our companies and our various partner organizations attended. 
Economic Impact Study Reveals Worth of 2016 Announcements
After a record-breaking year, NETWORKS commissioned The Next Move Group to perform an independent study of the economic impact of recent job creation. The report details that announced primary business sector locations and expansions in 2016 would lead to the addition of some 610 spin-off, or secondary, jobs creating a total of more than 2,000 jobs and $67 million in new spending to the regional economy.