Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marshall County Workforce Improvement Conference January 23, 2009


Marshall County Workforce Improvement Conference
Columbia State Community College - Lewisburg
Friday, January 23, 2009 - 12 p.m.
Lunch to be Provided by Russell Catering


Workforce quality is a serious issue in the South Central Tennessee Region, including Marshall County. Whether it is basic work ethic of employees, a lack of adequate reading, writing and arithmetic skills or a lack of more advanced skill sets in the workplace, workforce quality continues to affect productivity, profit margins, industry recruitment, industry retention and industry expansion in the region, including Marshall County.
For this reason, we are urging you to attend the Marshall County Workforce Improvement Conference on January 23 at Columbia State Community College in Lewisburg. Your knowledge of this issue, overall and, more specifically, as it affects your business, makes it essential that you attend the conference. We need to know exactly the issues in workforce quality with which you must contend daily and those you expect to become problematic in the future.
We realize that you are busy and do not need to attend another meeting where this much talk and little action afterwards. This letter of invitation is to assure you that this conference will result in action by the Marshall County Joint Economic and Community Development Board, the City of Lewisburg Economic and Community Development Office and the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board. A project is underway to improve and enhance workforce quality in the region, including Marshall County, through utilizing training facilities locally, such as Columbia State Community College, Tennessee Technology Center, the Marshall County School System and the Marshall County Adult Education Center. The meeting is scheduled to last one hour unless you and fellow attendees want more time to discuss the issue.
Please join us for this conference and assist in moving this project forward. Workforce quality is critical to you but it is also critical to the economic well-being of the region, including Marshall County.
Sincerely,
Terry Wallace—Lewisburg ECD Director
Mike Wiles-Marshall County JECDB Director

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Wallace embraces economic development role for City of Lewisburg


In 2007, Terry Wallace took the position of Director of Economic Development for the City of Lewisburg and ever since his phone has not stopped ringing.
“I have been in almost constant contact with numerous prospective industries looking to relocate here or expand their operations here,” Wallace said. “I’ve actually shown property to prospects all over Marshall County.”
Lewisburg has long been the envy of cities across the state for its strong industrial base creating tax revenues and jobs. As the landscape of manufacturing jobs around the nation changes, the City of Lewisburg is adjusting its focus to accommodate those changes under the direction of Wallace.
“What we are looking for now are companies that are not related to industries that are in a state of flux or that are so volatile in nature so as to make the job base in Lewisburg unstable,” Wallace said.
For years in the past, Lewisburg’s employment base was heavy toward the sixty-five percent range and it remains heavy according to today’s standards at around forty-six percent. Experts across the nation are advising that communities move more toward the technological, retail and service industry recruitment for growth, as more and more manufacturing jobs are leaving states such as Tennessee.
“Listen, industry is still are focus and I am working on not only recruiting companies but also on maintaining those existing industries we have here and that are successful,” Wallace said. “At the same time, my focus will be split to also work on the recruitment to Lewisburg of more technical, service and retail industries.”
Wallace worked 19 years in the Marshall County Ambulance Service and for the past 16 years served as Marshall County Mayor where he served on the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board for six years. Those experiences allowed him to work closely with the cities and agencies in Marshall County on economic development and improving the infrastructure to make Marshall County and Lewisburg a more viable option for companies seeking a new place to set up their operations.
“I work closely with the JECDB and Director Jamie Stitt to help devise strategies for economic development from industrial to retail,” Wallace said. “I continue to meet with existing industries and will continue to seek out industries but there is more to my job today than simply industrial recruitment.”
Wallace sees the new focus of the city in its development of the Lewisburg Business Park on Highway 373. Wallace helped to facilitate the relocation of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics from Florida to become the first industry to set up operations in the Lewisburg Business Park.
“I believe getting U.S. Tank in the Business Park is just the first step but an important one as it will be the catalyst to help expand the business park into the vision it was intended to be for the city,” Wallace said.
The Lewisburg Business Park will not become a heavy industrial park such as the current Industrial Park; but rather, it will provide a location for more light industrial companies and even service or technological companies. According to Wallace, the Lewisburg Business Park should reflect the more modern focus of economic development for the City of Lewisburg as well as Marshall County.
“It’s a new world out there as far as economic development goes,” Wallace said. “We want to be on top of it and make sure our vision for the future is in line with the changes taking place.”

Photo Cutline:
Director of Economic Development Terry Wallace looks over data for a prospective industry looking to move to Lewisburg.

U.S. Tank and Cryogenics Opens its Doors



City, County and State officials came together on Monday to take a tour of the newly-built U.S. Tank and Cryogenics facility located in the Lewisburg Business Park on Mooresville Highway.
Chairman and CEO of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics, Jim Brown, officially opened the doors to the facility during a ceremony on Monday with a plaque dedication and a tour. U.S. Tank and Cryogenics becomes the first facility to be in operation at the Lewisburg Business Park and applications for employment will be accepted beginning January 22, 2008.
Jim Brown, a native of Columbia, began his business in his garage by designing and constructing a vacuuming machine- a key component in tank refurbishing.
“The best insulation is a vacuum,” Brown explained during the tour.
From that one piece of machinery, Brown grew his tank refurbishing business into a huge success with a 40,000 sq ft. facility in Bradenton, Florida. Bringing his sons up into the business, Brown decided to relocate his company to Tennessee and chose Lewisburg as the place for he and his family to call home.
“I really want to thank my sons, Jonathan and Jimmy,” Brown said. “I kind of uprooted my family a little bit.”
U.S. Tank and Cryogenics refurbishes tanks used to store liquid forms of gases. The company can refurbish tanks from 40 liters in size to those the size of a railroad car. Currently, U.S. Tank and Cryogenics refurbishes between 700-800 tanks each month but the business is growing and soon the company expects to be refurbishing up to 1,800 units each month. Brown is even considering constructing another building next to the current facility in the Lewisburg Business Park to accommodate expected growth in his industry.
One of the reasons for the growth of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics may be explained by Brown’s background on a Navy submarine. He expects cleanliness in his facility and near-perfection from his employees and the work they do.
“We have a less than one-percent return rate,” said Brown.
With that kind of record, U.S. Tank and Cryogenics services tanks for over 100 companies nationwide and the company is currently in talks with several more including one of the largest distributors of CO2 in the world.
The opening of the facility in the Lewisburg Business Park is the first step in completing the vision the City of Lewisburg and the Industrial Development Board has for the park. With its close proximity to Exit 32 on I-65, the Business Park provides a prime location for industries and businesses to locate in Lewisburg.
“This has been a dream come true for our board and the park,” said Industrial Development Board Chairman Eddie Wiles. “Just think, this was once a cow field.”
Wiles spoke during the plaque dedication for U.S. Tank and explained to the guests all the planning and preparation it took between the City of Lewisburg, ECD Director Terry Wallace, the IDB and U.S. Tank and Cryogenics to make the opening on Monday possible.
“We had our ups and our downs along the way but I don’t think we can have a better first tenant than Jim Brown,” Wiles said.
Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips performed the unveiling of the plaque located at the entrance of the facility and congratulated the City of Lewisburg City Council, City Manager Eddie Fuller, ECD Director Terry Wallace, IDB Chairman Eddie Wiles and the members of the IDB and Jim Brown and U.S. Tank and Cryogenics for their efforts on the project.
“We can’t say enough about how happy we are to see this day,” said Mayor Phillips. “This has pushed our vision of development out toward the interstate and represents a great step forward for the future of the Lewisburg Business Park. We are so grateful to Jim Brown and his family for not only moving his business here but also his family. He has put his heart and his money into this community.”
City of Lewisburg ECD Director Terry Wallace welcomed members of the Tennessee Economic Development Department Jerry Merriman, Tommy Burns and Jamie Stitt as well as Sims Lance of the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association and County Mayor Joe Liggett.
“They make sure I have the tools I need to do my job,” Wallace said.
Wallace also thanked everyone at the Lewisburg City Hall for their assistance during the process of working with U.S. Tank and Cryogenics from initial talks to the construction of the building.
“They help to make my job so much easier working with me as they do,” Wallace said.
Finally, it was time for the Chairman and CEO of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics to welcome the guests to the ceremony.
“First of all, I have to thank Eddie Fuller,” Brown said. “He was behind this one hundred percent. I also thank Terry (Wallace) and the Mayor. And I really want to thank the ladies at City Hall. They have helped me out a lot. Lastly, I would like to thank the City of Lewisburg.”
U.S. Tank and Cryogenics is in the process of getting its operations up and running and is expected to be on schedule for the end of this month.


Cutline

US Tank Opening Group Pic
City, County and State Officials came to celebrate the official opening of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics in the Lewisburg Business Park on Monday. – Photos by Greg Lowe
US Tank Opening Mayor Unveils Plaque
Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips unveils the plaque at the entrance of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics to commemorate the occasion.


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Study Helps Officials to Target Specific Industries for Area Recruitment

A study of how to bring industry to southern Middle Tennessee suggests targeting specific industrial clusters such as the auto industry, metal manufacturing, precision instruments and agribusiness, including breweries and distilleries, as well as exploring the potential for high technology and tourism.
The study also suggests counties should work together and market themselves as regions when it comes to industrial recruitment.
The study was done by Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center on behalf of the Middle Tennessee Marketing Region composed of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, Warren and Wayne counties.
“We came together with the other counties in the region and each submitted ten industrial clusters we each felt we want to target for recruitment to the area,” said Terry Wallace, Lewisburg Economic and Community Development Director. “The study took our recommendations as well as a massive amount of data on the region and developed a game plan, of sorts, for us to market the region better for industrial recruitment.”
The study recommends targeting four major clusters to promote inter-industry linkages:
· The automotive industry – Local economic development officials recently traveled to Germany in hopes of attracting supplier business for the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
· Advanced metal manufacturing, including machine tools, nondurable industry machinery, metalworking and fabricated metal products.
· Information technology and precision instruments, such as optical equipment and instruments, computer and electronic equipment, and information services.
· Agribusiness, including breweries and distilleries and packaged goods products – Currently, the region has three distilleries, Jack Daniels, George Dickel and Pritchard’s, a rum distillery in Lincoln County.
The study further suggested exploring a couple of emerging industry clusters to see how they can be developed:
· Aerospace and defense, alternative energy, high technology, and
· Tourism and agribusiness – the study noted the power of attractions in the region like Jack Daniels, George Dickel, Bonnaroo Music Festival and the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.
The study recommends a regional marketing campaign and workforce analysis. It also says that workforce education in the region “requires immediate attention.” According to the data from the study, workforce quality is the number one key gap in industrial recruitment for the region.
“We have to do a better job of educating and training our children for the future but we also do a much better job of educating, training and re-training our current workforce,” Wallace said. “We have to create a higher-skilled workforce, not only in Marshall County but in the region.”
The study calls for “setting up branch campuses of area universities” such as MTSU’s plan to set up a satellite campus in Shelbyville. The study also calls for expanding access to broadband Internet throughout rural areas. Connect Tennessee is a statewide project that is focusing on expanding broadband access throughout rural Tennessee on a model similar to the project in Kentucky. Marshall County has a chapter of Connect Tennessee that has been meeting for several months gathering data and creating a campaign to assist in expanding broadband throughout the county.
The study measured and assessed many of the challenges facing the region as the new dawn of global economics continues to shift and change; but it also assists the region in preparing a game plan to improve the quality of its workforce, upgrade infrastructure and address small business concerns. Using the industry target model, the region should be better able to position itself for future industrial recruitment insuring job growth and economic vitality in the region.

Retail Recruitment Team Gears Up for Atlanta

Retail recruitment is the focus as the Economic and Community Development team from Marshall County prepares for the upcoming International Council of Shopping Centers Southeast Conference in Atlanta Oct. 5-7.
JECDB Director Mike Wiles heads up the team of Chamber of Commerce representatives, Ritaanne Weaver, executive director and Barry White, board member, Terry Wallace, City of Lewisburg Director of Economic and Community Development and Greg Lowe, Codes Enforcement Officer, Mike Hatten, Town Administrator of Chapel Hill and Taylor Brandon, Town Administrator of Cornersville.
“We have a good group of people from Marshall County heading down to Atlanta,” Wiles said. “Together, we will have a strong presence to meet with developers and retailers looking to bring retail to Marshall County.”
The team will set up a booth displaying all that Marshall County has to offer and will provide materials of specific information on available commercial sites, demographics and local incentives. The team will take turns at the booth talking to interested developers and retailers with other members of the team meeting face-to-face with other developers and retailers in an effort to show them why Marshall County is the place to come and do business.
“We’ve seen significant growth in the retail area in the past five years from Wal-Mart and Walgreens to ACE Hardware and Peebles,” Wiles said. “But, we can grow even more and broaden our retail.”
Economic development experts from the state and other related organizations have suggested that Marshall County raise its retail employment percentage to balance out its top-heavy industrial employment percentage. Marshall County had been at 48 percent industrial compared to just 12 percent retail; but in the past five years, retail has grown to just under 20 percent bringing industrial to around 35 percent. Ideally, those two percentages should be close to even due to the mobile nature of industry in recent years. Today, keeping a county’s industrial base and growing it remains essential but it is also crucial to expand retail and services to maintain a strong employment base. A county that relies too much on industrial employment can become vulnerable as Marshall County learned when ICP closed its doors in 2001.
Fortunately, Marshall County has recovered quite well from the loss of 2,000 jobs in 2001 when ICP closed. Unemployment dropped from 14 percent to 8 percent and sales tax revenue is up over last year a half a million dollars for Marshall County. The average household income in Marshall County ranks 4th out of our 13-county region and in the top quarter of the state and our poverty rate ranks only behind Moore County at 12.5 percent (down from 18.3 percent in 2000) and ranks 11th in the state. These factors have helped Marshall County jump from a Tier III community to a Tier II community ranking by the state. Tier III communities are those that are most economically distressed, a ranking Marshall County had until this year.
“We are certainly moving in the right direction with our Economic and Community Development,” Wiles said. New industries have come to the Lewisburg Business Park, several industries are expanding in the Lewisburg Industrial Park and several new businesses have cropped up in just the past five years.
“The key, I believe, is the working together by the JECDB, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic and Community Development departments of Lewisburg, Chapel Hill and Cornersville.”
The JECDB, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lewisburg have been meeting each Monday morning to discuss Economic and Community Development strategies for both industry and retail. Wiles began these meetings after being hired as JECDB Director to ensure that all the related entities in Marshall County remain on the same page when it comes to economic and community development.
“We are constantly learning from each other and learning from conferences like the ICSC coming up in Atlanta and the Governor’s Conference held last week in Nashville,” Wiles said. “We just received our Three-Star award at the Governor’s Conference but we also brought back some great ideas to take with us to Atlanta the first of October.”
The goal of the trip to Atlanta and the ICSC Southeast Conference will be to get Marshall County on the minds of developers and retailers from all facets of the retail industry. Wiles said that there are some specific retailers the team will meet face-to-face in Atlanta in the hopes of taking talks already underway to the next level. Though he would not say exactly who those retailers are, Wiles said they would make great fits to the retail plan for Marshall County, especially in Lewisburg and Chapel Hill.
“I’ve been hearing from people on what kinds of retailers they would like to see come to Marshall County,” Wiles said. “I will say that I am listening and we will be working on just such retailers, believe me.”

New City of Lewisburg Website Up and Running

The City of Lewisburg has updated its website, http://www.lewisburgtn.com/, with a fresher look, more information and a user friendly format for visitors, newcomers and residents alike.
The new website provides a wealth of information about Lewisburg from members of boards and commissions to meeting dates and times. Now, the website is the place to obtain readable versions of the city’s zoning ordinance, municipal codes and subdivision regulations. One feature includes a calendar of events displaying dates and times for meetings and other happenings in Lewisburg.
Visitors to the site can also learn more about the Lewisburg Recreation Center or the Ellington Airport. There is a page detailing the history of Lewisburg and a page of useful links that will be updated with more links to more interesting websites about Lewisburg. The site even has pages with details about the various parks and recreation activities of Lewisburg and pages detailing the economic and community development opportunities in Lewisburg.
“We felt it was time to update our previous website and display the changes taking place in not only the city government, but in the overall atmosphere of Lewisburg,” said Mayor Bob Phillips. “We think the new website provides residents and visitors throughout cyberspace the information about Lewisburg that is vital to recruitment of commerce, industry and residential growth. Plus, local people can use the site to learn more about their local government and the city they call home.”
Tracy McMahon, local graphics designer, developed the new site and created its colorful appeal and user friendly format. She will maintain the site with updates and also provide employees of the City of Lewisburg a chance to update the calendar of events and minutes from all the meetings from the City Council to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The site should also help Economic and Community Development Director Terry Wallace in his recruitment of industry and commerce. The site will let prospective decision-makers the opportunity to view for themselves what Lewisburg has to offer.
“We have wanted to bring our economic and community development program to the web,” Wallace said. “This site is the beginning of our vision to put Lewisburg in front of the right eyes so that they can see for themselves that Lewisburg is the place they need to be.”
The site is still a work in progress with information updates still to come but it already provides more information to visitors on the web than the previous site.
To see it for yourself, log onto http://www.lewisburgtn.com/ and take a few minutes to browse around. You might find the site one you need to add to your favorites.

Lewisburg Business Park Certified “Deal Ready”


The City of Lewisburg recently earned certification for its Business Park on Mooresville Highway from the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA) to join only a handful of communities and sites across the state in becoming a “Deal Ready” Certified Industrial Site.
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, representatives with the City of Lewisburg, local utilities and the Industrial Development Board met with officials with MTIDA and CH2M HILL Lockwood Greene for a formal presentation of the Business Park’s “Deal Ready” site certification.
MTIDA, an economic development organization for Middle Tennessee power distributors, implemented the Deal Ready program to help Middle Tennessee communities attract more industries. MTIDA engaged the nationally known engineering and site-consulting firm of Lockwood Greene to serve as the third-party evaluator to certify the sites.
To qualify as “Deal Ready,” a site has to pass a rigorous evaluation process. Local economic developers submitted sites for review and had to provide more than 100 points of information on each site. Economic developers had to show that the site is free of ownership and transaction issues, environmental issues and meets the infrastructure requirements mandated by the Deal Ready program including water, gas and electrical lines available. A certified site is guaranteed to meet or exceed the criteria required by industries seeking a site for immediate development.
“A certified site jumps to the top of the list,” said Bill Shuff, Executive Director of MTIDA. “A business or a site consultant knows that a certified site is absolutely, positively ready to go.”
West Tennessee Industrial Association (WTIA), MTIDA’s counterpart in the Memphis region, is a partner in the Deal Ready program. WTIA announced certified sites in West Tennessee last month. To date, there are 35 sites across the state including 23 in the West Tennessee area and 12 in Middle Tennessee. The Lewisburg Business Park is now one of those “Deal Ready” sites.
“We want the Deal Ready seal of approval to be instantly recognizable for sites that can be fast-tracked and that hold no surprises,” said Shuff. “The number of sites that were certified is very impressive. Middle Tennessee has certified sites that range in size from 50 to over 1,000 acres. With these sites, local spec buildings and other available properties in our region we can attract a wide range of businesses.”
Director of Lewisburg’s Economic, Community and Industrial Development, Terry Wallace, sees adding the Lewisburg Business Park to the “Deal Ready” certified list as a tremendous asset to the marketing of the site to potential investors. He thanked the work of MTIDA and everyone with the City of Lewisburg for their hard work in making it possible.
“Everyone here today worked very hard to make this a reality,” Wallace said.
To make the Lewisburg Business Park certified took a joint effort from Mayor Bob Phillips, City Manager Eddie Fuller, members of the City Council, Lewisburg Electric Systems, Duck River Electric, Lewisburg Gas Department, Lewisburg Water Department and members of the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board.
“I must also acknowledge the work done by former Industrial Recruiter for the City, Larry McKnight,” Wallace said. “All of these people worked together and saw the importance in making the Business Park a ‘Deal Ready’ site and I feel confident we will see all of the hard work pay off.”
“This is an exciting step forward for the City of Lewisburg,” Mayor Phillips said. “It took a lot of people to get us to this point today and really put us on the map as a certified industrial site.”
Becoming a “Deal Ready” site also gives the Lewisburg Business Park additional promotion from the MTIDA not only within the state but across North America as well. The MTIDA has added the Lewisburg Business Park to promotional materials that are sent to prospective clients nationwide and can also be used by ECID Director Wallace to entice industries and businesses seeking a site to call their home.
“We already felt strongly that the location of the Business Park being just 7/10 of a mile from the interstate made it an excellent choice for prospective industries and businesses,” Wallace said. “Now, achieving this certification from the MTIDA makes the site even more impressive to possible investors.”
“The local economic developers are to be commended for their hard work to meet the certification requirements. Because of their efforts to meet the Deal Ready criteria, they have put Middle Tennessee in a very competitive position,” Shuff said.
“I think you’re in a really good program,” said Michelle Harris, project manager for CH2M HILL Lockwood Greene. “You’re out in front and ahead of the game. We firmly believe your site is worthy of this signification and would encourage you to fully support the ongoing marketing effort focusing on the preparedness of the certified sites to various industrial target markets.”
The Lewisburg Business Park already has its first tenant, U.S. Tank and Cryogenics. Construction on the U.S. Tank building is well underway and ECID Director Wallace is seeing more interest in the remaining property within the Lewisburg Business Park. He predicts more activity to be seen inside the business park by year’s end and sees the park’s designation as a “Deal Ready” site a perfect compliment to the ongoing promotion of the site.
“This certification will not only allow us to become more visible to the industrial world but will help us move closer to the top of more prospective lists,” Wallace said. “I feel very good about the direction we are heading with the Business Park.”
A website with complete information about the Deal Ready Program and detailed information about each site is located at http://www.dealready.com/. For more information, log onto mtida.org.
Photo Caption:
On hand for the presentation of the Lewisburg Business Park’s “Deal Ready” Certification were: IDB member Tommy Harris, City Council Member Hershel Davis, City Council Member Quinn Brandon, Lewisburg Water and Waste Water Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Carr, ECID Director Terry Wallace, IDB Member Lee Morrison, CH2M HILL Lockwood Greene Project Manager Michelle Harris, MTIDA Executive Director Bill Shuff, City Council Member Phil Sanders, City Manager Eddie Fuller, Lewisburg Gas Dept. Manager Pat Morgan and Mayor Bob Phillips. – Photo by Greg Lowe

CKNA Announces Lewisburg Expansions

CKNA of Lewisburg recently announced plans for a series of expansions to its existing operations in the Lewisburg Industrial Park.
CalsonicKansei North America CKNA (formerly know as Kantus Corporation in Lewisburg), a Tier 1 Automotive Supplier with 4,000 team members and annual sales revenues of $1.5 billion in North America, with operations in California, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Mexico, announced plans for a series of expansions to the operations in Lewisburg during a recent meeting of the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board.
CKNA stated that it will increase investment by $100 million dollars in equipment and building improvements in its Lewisburg facility. Additionally, 270 jobs will move to Lewisburg.
The movement of additional manufacturing capacity into Lewisburg is part of a corporate redesign that focuses on the creation of manufacturing Centers of Excellence.
Centers of Excellence is a manufacturing practice where CKNA will consolidate the engineering and manufacturing of similar products in centrally located facilities. This will improve the economies of scale for manufacturing and position the company for further growth. The creation of Centers of Excellence is part of a long-term strategy to maintain manufacturing competitiveness and jobs in the United States.
Starting in 2006, with a 4-year growth plan running through 2009, approximately 150 jobs will move to the Lewisburg plastics operations. Approximately 120 positions will move to the Lewisburg electronics manufacturing operation. It is anticipated that the relocation of production operations for electronics manufacturing operations will be completed by August 2007.
“We are especially excited about expansions of existing industry in Lewisburg and Marshall County,” said Lewisburg ECD Director Terry Wallace. “When we see this type of growth, it demonstrates corporate headquarters has faith in our workforce and community to produce quality products here in the United States.”

Business Park welcomes first resident

The City of Lewisburg’s Business Park on Mooresville Highway will soon see construction to house its first resident, U.S. Tank and Cryogenic Equipment.
The company will be making a move from Florida to Lewisburg after construction of a 58,000 sq. ft. facility on 10 acres of property in the Business Park is completed. Construction of the new facility is expected by mid-October.
Jim Brown, owner of U.S. Tank and Cryogenic Equipment, started the business 14 years ago after serving 24 years on a submarine in the Navy. The Columbia, Tennessee native retired from the Navy and spent time at M.I.T. studying more about liquid oxygen before starting his business in Florida. The company has grown to become the largest independent cryogenic tank repair company in the United States with a clientele of national home medical companies.
“We repair and refurbish between 450 and 500 tanks a month,” Brown said.
Brown added that he is currently in talks with more clients and expects to be refurbishing and repairing between 1,000 to 1,500 tanks per month by the time the company is up and running in Lewisburg’s Business Park. Brown employs thirty workers at his company in Florida but expects to hire a larger workforce after moving to Lewisburg.
“Once we get running, we will probably hire about 90 to 100 folks,” Brown said.
Brown said he is looking forward to the move to Lewisburg and is excited about the construction of a new facility in the Business Park.
“I think it will be an asset to your Business Park and the City of Lewisburg,” Brown said. “The building is a nice building.”
Richard Williams serves as the architect of the facility that will be constructed with brick fa├žade and a red, white and blue theme. Brown told the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board at its meeting Monday that he may plan an additional 25,000 sq. ft. to the original facility in the future.
“The 50,000 sq. ft. is almost too small before we even move into it,” Brown said.
Brown is the father of three children who work in the company and the grandfather of three children, two girls ages 3 and one boy age 2.
“We are a family company,” Brown said. “We all plan on living in the Lewisburg area. My kids are real excited about coming back here.”
Brown said that he chose Lewisburg because it is a wonderful community with a great school system for his grandchildren and because of the cooperation he has received from the City of Lewisburg and the members of the Industrial Development Board.
“I wish I had done this five or six years ago,” Brown said. “I thank you for letting me come here.”
The City of Lewisburg and the Industrial Development Board began working with Brown and his company on the project back in February. The project with the company is part of a 10-year pilot program created by the City of Lewisburg and the Industrial Development Board in which the City will loan U.S. Tank and Cryogenic Equipment $100,000 to help with the moving expenses from Florida. The pilot program was created to help businesses and industries choose to locate in the City’s Business Park with its access to I-65 and City services.
“We think this project will really get the ball rolling in our Business Park,” said Chairman of the Industrial Development Board Eddie Wiles. “We are very excited about Mr. Brown’s decision to relocate to Lewisburg.”
“I applaud the work of the Industrial Development Board, former Industrial Recruiter John Hatfield, ECD Director Terry Wallace and City Manager Eddie Fuller on making this possible,” said Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips. “I believe this is the start we needed to make the Business Park a great addition to the landscape and the economy of the City.”
After meeting with Brown and finalizing preliminary resolutions, the Industrial Development Board voted unanimously to approve the $100,000 loan to U.S. Tank and the issuance of a $2 million industrial revenue bond purchased by Community First Bank and Trust of Columbia. The preliminary resolutions were passed on to the Lewisburg City Council for final approval at the April 10 meeting and were approved 4-0.
Bidding for contractors of the building project is underway and groundbreaking on the first tenant of the Lewisburg Business Park is expected soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008