Community Stakeholders Report 
 2nd Quarter - 2016

From the Desk of the CEO...

"Whatever it is that you desire to do in life, have the courage to do it, and do it to your absolute best."
- Pat Summitt

This week, we lost a great Tennessean in Pat Summitt.
I'm sure everyone reading this newsletter knows who Pat Summitt was, but on the off chance they don't, here are the bullet points: she was head coach of the Lady Volunteer basketball team who won more games than any other collegiate coach, including eight national championships, took women's basketball from barely an afterthought to packed gyms and nationally televised games, all while graduating every single one of her players. In short, she was women's basketball.
But that doesn't begin to explain who she was. She was brought up on a farm in middle Tennessee and never forgot the values and work ethic she learned there. In fact, she embraced them and used them to carve out her remarkable career and life. Along the way, she taught so many of us so much more than basketball. She gave us life lessons that can be applied in so many circumstances. And she made Tennessee an even better place.
What does this have to do with economic development and the NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership mission? To me, Pat Summitt was about three things: integrity, teamwork, and winning. I believe that you can't truly have any one or two of these things without having all three. And that also applies to economic development.
This newsletter often celebrates the victories and advances of our county, region, and state. In this very edition, we discuss the Agero grand opening, exciting new existing industry initiatives, and unique marketing events. All of these things are accomplished on that foundation.
Ms. Summitt once said, "Here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it."
Our team - staff, Board of Directors, elected officials, regional and state ECD partners - are the hardest working bunch of folks I know. And it is reflective of the culture of Northeast Tennessee. During many conversations with Agero officials, we have been told how industrious and well-prepared our workforce is.
So all Tennesseans can honor the coach in many ways, but perhaps the most appropriate one is to continue to do our part to make our communities, our state, our nation, and our world a better place. And to keep moving forward.
"Discipline helps you finish a job," she said, "and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work."
Upcoming Meetings
Full Board

July 13, 2016

8:00 AM

Northeast State Community College
Library - Room L106

In This Issue

Agero Grand Opening
State-of-the-art call center cuts ribbon in Bristol

Agero, Inc., a leading provider of vehicle and driver safety, security and information services, recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the official grand opening of its newest inbound contact center in Bristol, Tennessee. In addition to Agero's CEO Dave Ferrick and Vice President of Human Resources Sandy Savage giving welcome speeches at the grand opening celebration, many other officials including Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey spoke about the excitement of welcoming Agero to Northeast Tennessee.
"We are privileged to be putting down roots in the Tri-Cities region and are looking forward to building strong connections with the local community," said Ferrick. "The foundation of our sixth contact center showcases the tremendous growth that we have experienced in recent years due to growing demand for our award winning vehicle services.  This success, however, is not possible without the collective expertise and passion of our entire workforce, especially our frontline associates, which is why the company growth that we are celebrating here today is so significant."
Agero anticipates creating more than 600 new jobs in the Tri-Cities area by the end of 2017. The company has already hired over 150 associates for the facility and is actively interviewing for a variety of positions.
"As we continue to expand our local staff over the next year, all associates will receive comprehensive training, as well as continued professional development opportunities," Savage said.  "We also strongly believe that corporate social responsibility is important for encouraging a rewarding working environment. Therefore, at Tri-Cities we plan to continue our longstanding record of community involvement through education programs, community building events, fundraising initiatives and corporate giving programs."
Northeast TN Red Carpet Tour Update
Planning underway for event to take place August 18-21

NETWORKS staff and its community partners continue to make preparations for the upcoming Northeast TN Red Carpet Tour taking place August 18-21. With the event being just under two months away, we are quickly approaching "crunch time" around the office. Over 30 unique invitations have been sent to top-level site location consultants as well as numerous regional and state economic development partners. With several already confirming their attendance, we can expect another great event as in years past.
During their time in Sullivan County, consultants and guests will hear from several officials and business leaders about doing business in Northeast TN. In addition, consultants will see and hear about some of region's most notable assets including numerous colleges and universities, the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), the Tri-Cities Regional Airport, and the Bristol Motor Speedway, where they will get to experience one of NASCAR's most exciting races, the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.
Since its inception just two years ago, the Northeast TN Red Carpet Tour has been very successful in raising our community's profile with many site location consultants nationwide and can be directly linked to the successful recruitment of Agero, who recently located a new call center to Bristol, Tennessee.
Existing Industry Update
Putting employers FIRST

The Career Advancement Portal (CAP) will be launched in July.  The CAP features four parts - a summary of corporate culture, a list of available jobs and career paths and how to apply for them, a list of job resources that link back to our partners, and a calendar for hiring expos and career related training events.  The CAP will be found on the NETWORKS website.

The 2016 Wages and Benefits Survey was sent via email to FIRST members on June 20.  This year's survey was done in-house, which allowed a more user friendly version of the survey to be created, as well as the addition of relevant questions requested by FIRST members.  The survey deadline is end of business on July 18.

A FIRST meeting took place at Eastman on June 2.  NETWORKS staff presented updates on the CAP and Wages and Benefits Survey, and Kenny Smith of University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UTCIS) shared an overview of UTCIS solutions and services.  David Golden, Eastman's Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, was the keynote presenter.  The meeting concluded with a perimeter tour of Eastman.  Thank you to Mr. Golden, CeeGee McCord, and everyone at Eastman!

Other Existing Industry Updates:

* Domtar celebrated Earth Week and 100 years of operations at the Kingsport Mill by planting 100 trees along both sides of Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport.
* Microporous hosted an open house showcasing new office upgrades to itsPiney Flats facility.  The company was also the cover story of the April 2016 edition of the Tri-Cities Business Journal.
* Goessling USA hosted NETWORKS staff and community partners for a tour of its facility in the Tri-County Industrial Park.

City of Bristol's Hiring Expo
Local leaders connect job seekers to businesses

The City of Bristol, Tennessee held a hiring expo on May 19 from 10 AM to 7 PM at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Around 1,600 job-seekers attended the event, which hosted 44 employers and 12 life resources (childcare, housing, etc.).  36% of the jobs available were filled as a result of the event.  NETWORKS congratulates our partners in Bristol on such a unique and successful event! 
Bristol Motor Speedway in the News
World's fastest half-mile continues to make headlines

BMS always puts our region in the spotlight, but the light has been shining even brighter than usual recently.  After a successful spring race, complete with beautiful weather and the first look at Colossus, BMS is gearing up for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race in August and the Battle at Bristol in September.  The most recent announcement of a Kenny Chesney concert the night before the biggest college football game in history has us on all the edge of our seats to see what they will come up with next.  We are very proud to have Bristol Motor Speedway Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day!