Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lewisburg Site Receives Select TN Site Certification

Christos Industrial Site in Lewisburg Industrial Park Select TN Certified Site
44 sites have now been certified through the program
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced five new Select Tennessee Certified Sites.
The Select Tennessee program was launched in 2012 to help Tennessee communities prepare available industrial sites for investment and expansion. The program sets rigorous standards to give companies reliable information when making location choices during the site selection process. To date, 44 sites have been certified. The five newest sites and their local sponsoring agencies are:
“While we can pitch companies on the advantages of Tennessee’s ready workforce, business-friendly climate and strong fiscal health, many times the make-or-break during economic development searches is a simple question: Do you have a readily available site?” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “The Select Tennessee Certified Sites program helps our communities get a tangible product to put before companies looking to expand or relocate. These sites are vigorously vetted, so businesses know that their projects can proceed in a timely fashion with less risk. I congratulate the communities investing in their local assets and securing these newest certified sites.” 
The Select Tennessee program has certified forty-four sites in 34 counties. Eight certified sites have landed projects, which have together combined for nearly $979 million in private sector investment and more than 3,600 jobs committed.
The program acknowledges that companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less-prepared sites. Select Tennessee certification addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet high-quality standards. Among the qualifications needed for certification, industrial sites must have at least 20 acres of developable land, proper zoning to allow for ease of development, existing utilities onsite or a formal plan to extend to the site and truck-quality road access.
The hallmark of the Select Tennessee program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are primed for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified sites to achieve a higher level of preparedness.
“The Select Tennessee Certified Sites program gives our local communities, especially ones in rural Tennessee, an advantage when competing with other states for economic development projects,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner of Rural Development Amy New said. “The communities with certified sites have invested in themselves and will be ahead of the game in recruiting new businesses and jobs.” 
“This certification isn’t a rubber stamp. Our communities go through a lengthy process to get certification,” TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said. “Companies scouting a new location for their operations can feel confident that these new certified sites have been thoroughly vetted by economic development professionals and have the strong support of local community partners.”
TNECD has partnered with Austin Consulting to administer the program. 
“The Select Tennessee Certification Program continues to forge ahead and certify premier properties located in quality communities since 2012,” Frank Spano, managing director of Austin Consulting, said. “The Program will enter its fifth year in 2017 and continues to showcase the strengths of a very diverse state and all it has to offer to the industrial sector for both domestic and international companies considering a new location.”
Communities interested in participating in the program must begin the formal application process by sending their letter of intent to Select.Tennessee@tn.gov. More information about the program can be found at http://www.tnecd.com/sites/certified-sites/apply-now/.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community DevelopmentThe Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Tennessee is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. Find us on the web: TNECD.com. Follow us on Twitter: @TNECD. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/TNECD.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


United Communications recently expanded its fiber network by delivering Gigabit Internet to the Chapel Hill Town Hall Administrative Complex and several additional customers located along the Chapel Hill business district.  The company has also partnered with the Town of Chapel Hill and the Marshall County Joint Economic and Community Development Board (JECDB) to ensure that any businesses planning to relocate to the area will have access to high-speed broadband services.

President and CEO of United Communications, William Bradford indicated, “We are committed to giving our region the best possible communication services.  When this company was formed in the mid-1950’s that meant quality telephone services where no other provider would serve. Today it means delivering advanced communication services and Internet capabilities unsurpassed by any other provider in the area – regardless of size or location.”

Mr. Bradford continued, “Fiber technology is the new gold standard for how people use digital communications services, and this technology will help fuel economic development as well as give our customers unparalleled service offerings. Fiber service will not only provide the capacity to handle current communication technologies, it will meet the increasing demands of the next generation of broadband innovations.”   United Communications is one of the first service providers in Middle Tennessee to offer this level of speed to customers.  “We believe expanding broadband is a great equalizing force for boosting rural economies. Today you don't have to live off a major highway or in a big city to find a good job, start a new business, or get a quality education, but you do need a high-speed Internet connection,” said Bradford.

Chapel Hill Town Administrator, Mark Graves, stated he “strongly supports the effort to expand rural high-speed Internet access and is excited about the potential growth opportunities this technology will bring to the Town of Chapel Hill.  Access to broadband has become one of the driving forces in economic development, and I am thrilled to be one of the few rural Tennessee communities to have access to this type of technology”.

This sentiment was reiterated by Chapel Hill Mayor, Danny R. Bingham, “I would like to commend United Communications for their vision and investment in our community.  This new service will provide a strong foundation for technological and economic growth in our area. It also offers our community the ability to run a business and enjoy an exceptional quality of life in today's technological world.”

Plans are already underway to further expand United’s fiber network so the company can bring Gigabit Internet service to other areas and communities within its service area.  Customers can determine if their home or business has access to United Communications’ fiber network by visiting www.united.net.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mentors Needed to Work with Third Class of TN Promise Students

tnAchieves, partnering organization for Governor Bill Haslam’s TN Promise, is currently seeking volunteers to serve as mentors for program’s third class of students.  TN Promise offers every high school senior the opportunity to attend one of the state’s 13 community colleges or 27 colleges of applied technology tuition free with a last dollar scholarship.  The program also pairs each applicant with a volunteer mentor to ease the transition from high school to college.

Tennessee’s Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd has been a mentor with the program since its inception in 2008.  “With the idea of eliminating the barriers keeping Tennessee students from entering the post-secondary pipeline, Tennessee Promise provides a last-dollar scholarship with mentor support to our state’s high school seniors,” said Boyd.  “It sends the message to students and families that college is within everyone’s reach regardless of zip code or socio-economic background.  It also communicates to business and industry that Tennessee is intensely focused on creating the workforce to meet their demands.”  TN Promise is one program of the state’s Drive to 55 initiative that aims to increase Tennessee’s adult population with a post-secondary credential to 55 percent by 2025.

In the first two years of the program almost 120,000 students have applied.  In the first year, 16,291 students began college TN Promise eligible.  The state’s college going rate increased 4.6 percent, more than the previous seven years combined.  Enrollment at the state’s community and technical colleges increased more than 20 percent and enrollment at all of the state’s public higher education institutions increased 10 percent.  This translates into approximately 4,000 new students entering the college pipeline. 

The scholarship dollars are important, and often creates excitement around going to college, but the support of the mentor can be critical to many students’ success.  Most of the students participating in the program are first generation college attendees and navigating the admissions and financial aid processes can seem overwhelmingly.  Mentors spend about one hour per month reminding students of deadlines, serving as a trusted resource, and encouraging students to reach their full potential.  The time commitment is small, but the impact can be life changing.

tnAchieves Director of Community Partnerships Graham Thomas explained the importance of the role of the mentors.  “Mentors provide the encouragement and support students need to be successful as they begin their college careers,” Thomas said.  “Mentors ensure barriers that might cause students to quit are overcome, processes that might prove to be intimidating are completed, and vocabulary that was foreign becomes everyday language.”    

tnAchieves needs more than 9,000 volunteers statewide to serve as mentors to meet student demand.  The program operates TN Promise in 84 counties and each county has a specific mentor goal that includes a need for 60 mentors in Marshall County.  To learn more and apply you can visit www.tnachieves.org or contact Thomas at graham@tnachieves.org or (615) 604-1306.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Calsonic Kansei Presents $100,000 to City for Rock Creek Park Improvements

Pictured are (l-r) Sen. Jim Tracy, Rep. Billy Spivey, Mayor Jim Bingham and CKNA COO Eric Huch.
Calsonic Kansei has followed up its commitment to the City of Lewisburg of a year ago with a second $100,000 donation to provide improvements to Rock Creek Park. Last year, the company worked with the city to provide amphitheatre seating and underground utilities to Rock Creek Park and provided the city with a $100,000 donation to assist in the funding of the improvements. 
This year, the company, that is Lewisburg's largest industrial employer, donated another $100,000 to help the city acquire additional properties around the park and increase the park's footprint and green space. 
COO of CKNA Eric Huch presented Mayor Jim Bingham with a check for the project during MFG Day at MCHS where CKNA and other local manufacturers set up booths to interact with students about their companies, careers at their companies and the pathways to achieve those careers. 
Special Guest TN ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd joined the ceremony following the Commissioner's Tour of Spot Lowe Technology Center and his visit with students and industries during MFG Day at MCHS. Pictured are (l-r) Mayor Jim Bingham, CKNA COO Eric Huch and TN ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd.