Blount Partnership News and Events

Former U.S. Army pilot and author Mike Durant, whose saga was chronicled in the 2002 Oscar Award winning movie Black Hawk Down, is the guest speaker for the Blount Partnership's Best of Blount Awards held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Sponsored by Charter Spectrum, C2RL, Cherokee Millwright, DENSO, Blount Excavating and Massey Electric, tickets, which go on sale Sept. 9 at 10 a.m., are $35 (plus taxes and fees) and can be purchased from the Clayton Center ticket office at 865-981-8590 or online at

The Best of Blount Awards celebrates those individuals and businesses that give their time and resources to make this area an outstanding place to live and work.

Awards are given for Philanthropist of the Year, Community Impact Award, Bright Future Award, Large and Small Business of the Year, First Responder Award and the Tourism Award.
Amedisys Home Health (504 W. Broadway Ave., Maryville) is holding its ribbon cutting on November 12 at 10 a.m. Refreshments provided.
Join Propel Financial Advisors, DW Agosto Tax Planning and DW Lenski Law Group for a free seminar entitled Strategic Financial Planning for Small Business on November 13 from 8:30-10:30 and the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). Learn effective tax planning, investing in yourself and your employees, organizing your books and contracts, estate plans and buy-sell agreements. RSVP Here.
Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) is an innovative membership program that provides qualified employers with national recognition and an elite designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits. Employers and developments that meet the National Standard of Excellence in commuter benefits can get on the list of Best Workplaces for Commuters. The application deadline for the 2020 BWC list is November 30, 2019.

Smart Trips has partnered with Best Workplaces for Commuters to encourage employers to apply for this national recognition opportunity. Our program would love to cover the application fee ($230 value) for our Chamber's members. If you know of any members interested, please let them know this is available until the application deadline.

For more information about the application process, please visit our website.
Become a tnAchieves mentor! 12 hours a year is all it takes to help Tennessee students on their journey to higher education. The December 6 deadline is approaching fast. We need 67 more mentors locally to meet our goal of 192! Encourage your friends, family and coworkers to apply at
Check out the latest edition of The Dialogue in this email where we visit with new Blount County Chamber member Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-owner of Brand Shepherd.
The 2020 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. 2020, along with distribution four times throughout the year via area professional offices, newcomers, visitors, and new businesses all looking to relocate to Blount County.

We are pleased to offer a variety of advertising opportunities at cost effective rates through our media kit. We have contracted with Marcon Marketing Consultants, a local Chamber member, to handle production and ad sales.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Basically Blount, the importance of supporting the Chamber, and how to get your business involved, contact: Rick Ford of Marcon Marketing at 865-705-8580 or Vicki Hawkins of Marcon Marketing at 865-310-2963
This November 30, 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.
soft skills It's Your Career! That's the focus of a free soft skills session offered in partnership by the Blount County Public Library, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

Registrations are currently being accepted online at for a class entitled Building Success by Developing Leadership on November 22. Learn the difference between management and leadership. Explore the characteristics, qualities and attributes of proven leaders, and see how you can develop these traits within yourself and others.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.

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.
Blount Chamber members can now post their own Member-to-Member deals on this page at no charge. Simply login to your account, Click on the "New Coupon" button, fill out the form and click save. It's that easy.

Click here if you need access to your login information.

Of course, we will be happy to add your coupon. Just email information about the product or discount you'd like to offer to the Chamber membership to Be sure to include an expiration date.

View the latest deals.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
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 1973 was "Keep on Truckin'" by the Eddie Kendricks. The song was Kendricks' first major hit as a solo artist, coming two years after his departure from The Temptations.

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 150th installment visiting with Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-owner of Brand Shepherd, which is a product-focused, cross-category creative agency, developing products that come to life through diligent process and design.
How did you get started? The idea of shepherding a brand was inspired by a dear member of our family: Jake the Border Collie. He loved structure, herding our kids and whatever else we needed him to help get in order. We had an idea of Jake helping brands herd: Jake was strategizing, getting the brand's needs into order. He wasn't herding the brands themselves, but instead, their users and customers. The herding was by creating order, flow, and experiences that kept a brand's flock growing, moving, and thriving. This is how we see our role at Brand Shepherd. We don't see brands as dumb sheep in need of a shepherd. We see brands as having products that have users and customers that need to be given order, flow, and experiences that keep them at peace, wanting more. We are brand shepherds.
What is your background? I worked for several different creative agencies for years as a graphic designer and project manager. That led to working directly with business owners and brand managers, and I learned that those brands that made a tangible or digital product were the ones I always helped get the best results for.
Who is your mentor? During my years at Tandem Design in Ottawa, Illinois, I worked on a very small team led by owner, Lee Ann. She truly laid the foundation for how I conduct business because she entrusted her small team (all 3 of us!) with every but the invoicing for our work. We worked with brands of all sizes, too. From Abbott Labs in the Chicagoland area (a multi-billion dollar corporation) to a baby quilt maker trying to start her business out of a garage. She made sure we went about our business with integrity, and she also taught me a lot of business operations skills as well.
Describe your customers. Our customers make a product: tangible, digital, or productized service. The products require on-going needs, such as UX/UI for digital products, and packaging branding for tangible products. The products might also need support in the form of great websites, eye-catching brand identities (logos), or even printed sales materials -- all of which come from great product branding.
What environments impact your business? During prosperous times, brands look to us to help their products break through a highly competitive market through great visual design and UX/UI. During not-so-prosperous times, brands look to us to gain market share through their products by smartly creating designs that can be used in a variety of channels, from product to marketing and all points in between.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. 3. It is good to turn away new clients when it's not a good fit because it helps our business do its best work, and creates an opportunity for us to make a referral. 2. Never start a project without 1/3 the total project budget paid for, and then invoice all time into a project every 30 days, due Net 15 for first-time clients and Net 30 for clients who establish on-time payments. 1. Move to Tennessee sooner!
What do you enjoy about running the business? Watching the delight on a person's (shopper or consumer) face when they interact with the product or product's packaging. I get to see this in the apps we create and also when I walk through stores like Walmart and Target and see products we've helped bring to market.
Any additional comments? From our very first day of forming our business, our co-owner and I have shared a phrase between us that states, "The Lord sets our table." It is a paraphrasing of 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 and provides a reminder to us that God sovereignly provides us what we need to grow our business.


November 11-17


November 11 -- RCN Technologies Veterans Day Cookout
November 12 -- Amedisys Home Health - Maryville - Ribbon Cutting
November 12 -- Power Connect Lunch
November 12 -- Microsoft Word 2016 Essentials Computer Class
November 12 -- ACA (Affordable Care Act) Enrollment Assistance
November 12 -- Learning and Loving Books with Mr. Gary
November 12 -- Wine and Will Workshop by Ladies of Justice
November 12 -- Garden Series: Yardstick Gardening
November 13-15 -- Ken Justice at the Townsend Visitors Center
November 13 -- Strategic Financial Planning for Small Businesses
November 13 -- Microsoft Excel 2016 Essentials Computer Class
November 14 -- Microsoft Word 2016 Advanced Tips and Tricks Computer Class
November 15 -- Instagram for Business - Social Media For Business Class
November 15 -- Microsoft Excel 2016 Advanced Tips and Tricks Computer Class
November 16-17 -- Rick Kratz at the Townsend Visitors Center
November 16 -- Christmas Village
November 16 -- Appalachian Reads Book Club
November 16 -- National Novel Writing Month: Halfway There Party
November 16 -- YA Cafe


November 18-24


November 18-23 -- Corinne Coley and Bill Saltz at the Townsend Visitors Center
November 18 -- Women in Business
November 19 -- Learning and Loving Books with Mr. Gary
November 20 -- Focus on Seniors: Medicare & Drug Plans
November 20 -- Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Advanced Tips and Tricks Computer Class
November 21 -- Coffee Club sponsored by Quinn Appliance LLC
November 22 -- History in a Bottle, a Bourbon-centric dinner and auction to benefit Historic Ramsey House
November 22 -- It's Your Career: Building Success by Developing Leadership
November 22 -- United Way of Blount County Victory Luncheon
November 23 -- Holiday Homecoming at Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
November 23 -- Holiday Bazaar & Bake Sale
November 23 -- National Novel Writing Month Write-In
November 24 -- Trot for Education


Save the Date


Chairman's Club, Champion's Club, President's Circle