Blount Partnership News and Events

Check out our question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member in this email. So, here we go with our 123rd installment visiting with Kevin Kragenbrink of CPS Leadership, LLC/3to99.
Urgent Team-Maryville invites you to its grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 31 from noon-1:30 p.m. at 525 W. Broadway (Next to New Providence Presbyterian Church). Treats will be handed out and door prizes given away.
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 are on sale for $50 (plus taxes and fees) by calling the Clayton Center at 865-981-8590 or online.

Event sponsors are Massey Electric, Pilot Flying J, Cherokee Millwright, Blount Excavating, DENSO, T.W. Frierson Contractor, C2RL Engineering, McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Stowers Caterpillar, Joseph Construction and First Tennessee Foundation.
If you've ever been nervous about networking or want to learn how to do it better, then you need to attend this fabulous free seminar by Raeus Jae Cannon on November 6 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). It will be the best 90 minutes of your week.

You will learn how to stop making cold calls and steer more prospects toward you. REGISTER ONLINE.
The Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville) is a particpating location for the United Way's "Can"Paign which is a county-wide competition in the quest for most pounds of food donated. The "Can"Paign runs Oct. 22-Nov. 2. In addition, a $1 donation equals two pounds of food. So, if you care to donate as we near the holidays, please stop by and drop off your canned food items.
This Nov 24, the Blount Partnership wants to celebrate Small Business Saturday with you! It's a special holiday created so communities can show love for small local businesses. And it wouldn't be a celebration without businesses like you joining us!

The day was setup to help businesses with their most pressing need -- getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before.

If your small business is interested in participating, please email We will help get the word out about shopping locally at the beginning of the holiday season.
Early voting for the Federal & State General, Alcoa, Louisville, & Maryville City Election continues until November 1, 2018. The following locations and times are available for your convenience.

Blount County Courthouse - Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Blount County Public Library - Monday thru Friday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Everett Parks & Rec - Monday thru Friday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Pellissippi State - Monday thru Friday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

The 2019 Basically Blount lifestyle magazine and membership directory is entering production once again. This annual, full-color lifestyle magazine and chamber membership directory is initially distributed to all Chamber members starting Feb. 2019, along with distribution four times throughout the year via area professional offices, newcomers, visitors, and new businesses all looking to relocate to Blount County.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Basically Blount or view the media kit, contact: Rick Ford of Marcon Marketing at (865) 705-8580

The annual meeting of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is set for Nov. 5 at 11:30 a.m. at the Blount Partnership office located at 201 S. Washington St., Maryville, Tenn. There are currently no items on the agenda for the annual meeting other than the regular report made by President/CEO Bryan Daniels. RSVP to Brenda at
soft skills It's Your Career! That's the focus of 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 two months.

Registrations are currently being accepted online at for a class entitled Making Your Social Media Look Good on Nov. 30. This course qualifies for .2 CEU's awarded by Pellissippi State.

The final class is Creating Infographics for Promoting Your Business on Dec. 21.

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 Blount County Public Library is offering free computer classes in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint (2016) and Gmail. Receive an opportunity to gain a nationally recognized certificate from Northstar Digital Literacy. Course descriptions and schedules are listed below. The free classes meet in the Blount County Public Library's new Learning Lab (outside the library in the former First Tennessee Bank branch building) unless otherwise *noted. Spaces are limited and registration is required. To register, please visit the library's Information Services Desk or call (865) 982-0981, ext. 1450, or (865) 273-1428. Sign up no earlier than one month prior to a class.

Microsoft Excel 2016 Essentials: 2-session class. Bring a USB drive.
M/F - Nov. 5 @ 9-12:30 PM, Nov. 9 @ 8-10:30 AM
M/F - Dec. 10, 12 @ 2-4 PM.

Microsoft Word 2016 Essentials: 3-session class. Bring a USB drive.
M/W/F - Dec. 3, 5, 7 @ 2-4 PM

Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Essentials: 3-session class. Bring a USB drive.
M/W/F- Nov. 26, 28, 30 @ 2-4 PM

Gmail How-To's: 1 session class. Bring a USB drive.
M - Nov. 19 @ 9-11 AM

Additionally, businesses need to take advantage of the library's subscription to Using your library card, get access to, a LinkedIn Company, with thousands of courses in software, creative and business skills to develop your staff skills and meet learning needs at your own convenience. Learn More
Member-to-member promotions are needed for November. Submit to the email below. Check out the latest offer from Metz Catering for a great breakfast. See 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!
The multiplier effect is the boost to your local economy that results from locally-owned independent businesses, owners, and employees spending business revenue within the region.
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 1982 was "Who Can It Be Now?" by the Australian band Men at Work. The song remains a popular symbol of new wave music and has been featured on numerous 1980s compilations.

Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now? (Video Version)
Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now? (Video Version)

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 123rd installment visiting with Kevin Kragenbrink, managing member of CPS Leadership, LLC/3to99, which is a is a full service employee benefits consulting and brokerage firm.
What does CPS Leadership, LLC/3to99 do? We are a service first team focused on providing small and medium sized employers with the best service, highest caliber consulting, and most effective employee benefit solutions available. Because we focus on the small business market, we are able to provide service and benefits options often neglected or overlooked by other brokerage firms.

An ideal employee benefits plan is more than a plan, it's a partnership. For small companies with 3 to 100 employees, finding the right partner who will give you the time and attention you deserve and work for your best interests can be very difficult At CPS Leadership/3to99, we take that approach every day as we create customized plans that are tailored to both our client companies and their employees.
How did you get started? After nearly 30 years as an entrepreneur and business coach, I had an opportunity to take all that I had learned about the needs, problems and concerns of business owners and apply it to one of the most critical areas of business need, employee benefits. I came to this business from the perspective of the business owner, not the insurance sales rep or broker. I gathered a team of the most highly qualified and experienced partners I could find to create a customer focused, service oriented business that puts the business owner and her/his employees first every time.
What is your background? I teamed up with insurance industry professionals with experience in employee benefits to create a solid team. Our Sr. Benefits Advisor, Erin Pederson, came to us with more than 17 years of benefits experience in both large and small firms. Our associate producers are highly skilled professionals who bring only those cases to our firm where we know we can make a difference for the employer and the employee. We combine extensive insurance and employee benefits experience with more than 40 years of business leadership to create a firm that understands both our industry and our client's needs.
Who is your mentor? My personal mentor is Ron Hoestery. Ron has been my coach/mentor since 1984 (it seems like only yesterday). I have consulted with Ron as my coach regularly (most years monthly at least) for over 30 years. His experience in business, his wisdom, his kindness, and his friendship have given me immeasurable value. I learned from him the value of having a coach/mentor and have been blessed to serve as mentor/coach to many others building on the things Ron taught me. His values, principles, and wisdom guide me constantly to serve my clients better.
Describe your customers. Our customers are business owners and HR leaders in small and medium sized businesses. We work with clients as small as 2 employees. Our clients represent a broad array of industries and are located throughout the eastern United States.
What environments impact your business? Employers tell me every day that among their largest concerns are the cost of benefits, the value of benefits and regulatory issues that apply to benefits. The larger the employer the more critical these become. While we don't have much influence over cost, we can help employers identify benefits strategies that provide the greatest value at the lowest cost. As for regulation, the Affordable Care Act, ERISA, and HIPPA are government regulations that impact our business every day. Helping employers and employees understand their obligations under the law and their rights is one of many ways we serve our clients.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. This is a tough one for me. I think there is a constant learning process in business and it is always true that "you don't know what you don't know." My approach has always been to make every day a learning experience. I can say that my knowledge of the insurance industry as a whole is so much stronger now than it was 4 years ago when I launched this business. I also think I have a much deeper understanding of the issues facing business owners and HR leaders as they work to create benefits strategies and implement their plans. I also think I have learned how important employee education is to the whole benefits process. When employees don't know about or understand their benefits, the entire plan becomes ineffective.
What do you enjoy about your business? This business, more than any other I have led, offers me an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people. I am not only able to make a positive impact on the business and its bottom line. In this business I am able to help employees understand and take full advantage of their benefits. I have helped hundreds of people obtain or improve their health insurance benefits. I have seen the result when someone receives that check from their insurance company that provides the money needed to pay bills and keep the lights on at home. This business allows me to make a real difference. That's what I love the most about it.
Any additional comments? I moved to East Tennessee in 2005 when my partner and I launched the business coaching firm, Estrada Strategies. The first Chamber of Commerce I joined was the Blount County Chamber. I benefited in countless ways from that connection. I am excited and honored to be bringing my newest venture to the chamber and look forward to meeting new people through the connection.


October 29-November 4



November 5-11



Save the Date


Premier and Presidential Partners