Community Stakeholders Report 
 September 2014
From the Desk of the CEO...

Professional Marketing Efforts Will Keep Our Brand from Running "Afowl"


It has often been said that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and acts like a duck, it is probably a duck.


Much of being recognized as a big-time player in the world of economic development comes from doing the things big-time economic development organizations do. Our work along those lines continued in late August when NETWORKS and our many local partners hosted a Tennessee Economic Partnership Red Carpet Event, culminating with entertaining consultants from some of the most prestigious, prolific site location consulting firms in the nation at the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.


A lot of attention is given to such events, usually with the entertainment piece front and center. While the entertainment piece is the hook that gets consultants to an event, the business piece of the tour is what separates winning communities from the pack. As proud as I am of our partnership with BMS and as much as I love NASCAR, my biggest takeaway from the event - and most of our guests' biggest takeaway, based on the feedback we've received - was on our business readiness. This pro-business message came through at the Red Carpet in many ways. Here are some of the highlights we heard from our guests:

  • Education and training - Stops at Northeast State Community College and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing made huge positive impressions. Those impressions were supported by the consistent testimonials of political and business leaders.
  • Community cooperation and partnerships - The synergy of our partners across the county, including city and county elected officials, state representatives, our city managers and economic development teams and a great presentation at Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) pointed to outstanding infrastructure, a focused economic development effort, and spoke more than words could about how well we all work together.
  • Regionalism and our regional story - Time and time again, our guests commented during and since our event of the strengths we have as a region and how our product must be looked upon from a regional perspective to do it justice.
  • A satisfied existing industry base - Our trip to Eastman Chemical and the existing industry panel discussion at the RCAM demonstrated not only how satisfied our major employers are with doing business here, but showed that we, the economic development team, had the confidence to put them up front and center and unfiltered.
  • Outstanding product and a true, befitting brand - By touching on our Gigabit capabilities in Bristol and overall infrastructure throughout the county, talking about our leading education and training initiatives, and unique assets ranging from the Tri-Cities Air Park to the Pinnacle retail development, to the investment in a speculative building in Gateway Commerce Park, we constantly and substantially supported and drove home our message that we are Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day.

Of course, the Red Carpet Tour is only one example of how we are continuing to up our game and our image. We are making it a point not only to be participants in key economic development activities, but be very engaged, valued partners. We are strengthening our relationships at the Tennessee Department of Economic Development and with other partners, even coordinating our marketing and advertising messages and strategies to build a brand consistent with the state's.


We also recently served as co-hosts, along with the Tri-Cities Airport Authority, to state ECD aeronautics and defense specialist, Alex Bertelli, and reached out to include other economic development groups in the region as we focus on that key industry sector.


Within this newsletter, you will also read about site development and the exciting partnership with the Jacobs Creek Job Corps in Partnership Park II, one of our Tennessee Select certified sites we continue to promote along with the ECD.


We have also submitted Sullivan County's "Tennessee Story" for inclusion in the upcoming Governor's Conference for Economic Development in November in Nashville and are advertising in the ECD's annual marketing publication.


It is of paramount importance that we are seen as a valuable resource by site location consultants and our lead providing partners at the regional and state levels. As long as we handle these bigger issues with a professional, holistic approach, the smaller challenges we face will roll off of us... like water off a duck's back.

Upcoming Meetings

October 8, 2014

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Northeast State Community College
Library - Room L106

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Northeast Tennessee Red Carpet Tour



NETWORKS and community partners the City of Bristol, the City of Kingsport, and Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) hosted representatives from nine of the nation's leading site location consulting firms over two and a half days, August 21-24. This event, which was held as a Tennessee Economic Partnership Red Carpet Tour, also included six guests from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and four representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority's economic development team.


Among the site location firm guests were consultants from Jones Lang LaSalle, CB Richard Ellis, MOHR Partners, Cresa - Dallas, Duff & Phelps, Foremost Quality Logistics, MCS Strategies, Hickey & Associates and Cushman & Wakefield.


During the two and a half days, the consultants were given a windshield tour of several certified industrial parks and available buildings, had an in-depth tour of the Tri-Cities Regional Airport and the Tri-Cities Air Park, toured the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, met with Northeast State Community College President, Dr. Janice Gilliam, toured Eastman Chemical Corporation's global headquarters, met with several of the county's leading employers, were given a presentation about the area's advanced infrastructure, including Bristol's One Gigabit service by BTES Executive Director Dr. Michael Browder, toured the Pinnacle retail development,anchored by Bass Pro Shops, visited the East Tennessee Moonshine Distillery, and, finally, received VIP access to the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.


At the race, several elected officials, including Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, and ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty addressed the group, discussing the unique business advantages of our county and region.


"It was important to showcase our distinctive business advantages," NETWORKS CEO Clay Walker said. "Most of the site location consultants said that they didn't have a positive or negative view of us coming in, but they certainly had a positive view of us afterwards. We received great feedback and encouragement to keep telling our story, to keep getting the information about what is happening here to them. The door has been opened now and the real work, the follow-up, begins."


The North East Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association (NETVRIDA) was also a contributing partner, sponsoring one of the event's dinners.

Groundbreaking in Piney Flats
Goesssling USA Breaks Ground on New Facility in Piney Flats

On August 21, Goessling USA, Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new manufacturing facility to be constructed on Mountain View Drive in the Tri-County Industrial Park in Piney Flats. 


Goessling USA was founded in

1990 in Johnson City as a subsidiary of the privately-owned German Dr. Ing. G�ssling Maschinenfabrik GmbH. The company is a major supplier of conveyors, interlinking systems and centrifuges for the fastener industry. Its wide range of conveyors, lift-tip units and scrap distribution systems are also utilized in other industries such as stamping, forging and casting.

Dr.-Ing Manfred G�ssling, founder and president of the company, flew in from Germany and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. "Following several years of continual increases to overall order volume at the US facility, a larger production plant is required to accommodate the growing demand," G�ssling said.


Goessling USA acquired the 6.39-acre site in the Tri-County Industrial Park several years ago but halted their plans for the construction of the building due to the downturn of the US economy. The new building will encompass 12,500 square feet of office and production space and will increase the output of material handling equipment presently manufactured while also allowing the company to manufacture larger conveyor systems that are currently being produced at its German facility for the North American market. To keep up with demand, Goessling USA plans to add at least 12 additional employees at their new facility. 


"The collaboration of our local and regional partners, and utilization of federal programs make this project a true regional effort," NETWORKS staff member Jack Lawson said. "Goessling USA is the beneficiary of a USDA Rural Development Loan which is made through and administered by the Johnson City Power Board. Goessling USA plans to use the loan toward the construction of their new facility. The Sullivan County Industrial Development Board also made a small forgivable loan to assist the company as they transition to the new facility and to spur additional job creation. The site was sold to the company by park owners Sullivan County, and the cities of Johnson City and Bristol, TN." The company plans to begin construction in the Fall of this year with completion expected in Spring of 2015.

Site Grading in Partnership Park II
Jacobs Creek Job Corps Begins Excavation of Partnership Park II 

The Jacob's Creek Job Corps has begun excavation of a 10-acre site in Partnership Park II. The finished site will be able to accommodate a 50,000 sq. ft. to 100,000 sq. ft. building.  The Corps is utilizing the endeavor to train students in heavy equipment operations. NETWORKS is providing the fuel for the Corps' equipment.
Gateway Commerce Park Spec Building

Construction Nearing Completion


Construction on the spec building being built by J.A. Street and Associates in Gateway Commerce Park is nearing completion. Once completed, the building will be roughly 85,000 sq. ft. and will help satisfy the growing demand for available larger industrial buildings. 


The spec building was planned to be just a "shell" with flooring, lighting, heating and ventilation and interior walls finished as required by the eventual building purchaser.  The intent of constructing a "shell" was to stimulate marketing by having an actual product to sell and to reduce the time required for a new company to become operational.


While the "shell" is nearing completion, planning for the finishing of the facility has already begun. Currently, a prospective buyer is examining the building for adaptation to its specific needs.  

NETWORKS Selects Design Firm for New Website

NETWORKS has chosen the firm that will design and ultimately build its new website. After reviewing several proposals from various design firms across the country, NETWORKS has selected Next Move Group, LLC to design and build the site. As NETWORKS continues to build upon its new brand, the new website will play a crucial role in relaying its message and making Sullivan County more accessible online. 

NETWORKS staff member and lead project manager for the website Michael Parker, stated that, "for all intents and purposes, the new website will be a prospective clients first impression of the county. The new site must be easy to navigate, informative, and drive home our message. Visitors to the site will have easy access to regional demographics, information on NETWORKS's targeted industries, as well as available buildings and sites within the county."

The site is expected to be completed and live by January of 2015.