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Knoxville Biz Ticker: Knoxville-area SERVPRO franchisees recognized for outstanding achievement

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logo The Knoxville News-Sentinel 7/28/2021 Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville-area SERVPRO franchisees recognized for outstanding achievement

Knoxville, TN (Grassroots Newswire) July 27, 2021 - SERVPRO announces that the following franchisees were recognized at the company's 52nd annual convention, held July 19-23 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

  • Max Pope Jr. & Andrea Pope, Owners of SERVPRO of Blount County, who can be reached at (865) 982-2332 or mpope@servproblountcounty.com, received the MILLIONAIRE'S Bronze award.
  • John & Kristina Greenway, Owners of SERVPRO of Rocky Hill/Sequoyah Hills/South Knoxville, who can be reached at (865) 862-8907 or kgreenway@servpro9669.com, received the HERITAGE Bronze award.

These top performing entrepreneurs joined the more than 650 franchise owners and key employees to receive recognition at the gala award ceremony. Forty-three of those award-winning entrepreneurs became first-time millionaires as SERVPRO franchise owners over the past business year. In all, SERVPRO boasts 663 franchisees who have attained the million dollar or more milestone through their franchise ownership.

"On behalf of SERVPRO, I congratulate these high-achieving entrepreneurs," said Rick Isaacson, CEO of Servpro Industries, LLC. "Throughout a difficult time when there were no models to follow, SERVPRO continued to provide the service, expertise, and emergency response that has helped us become the trusted specialists for residential and commercial disasters. I'm proud of our entire team of dedicated remediation professionals who stand ready to provide prompt, professional fire and water cleanup and restoration, and mold mitigation and remediation services to home and business owners in their communities – whatever the challenge and whenever it happens."

In an effort to accommodate all members of the SERVPRO franchise family, SERVPRO planned a high-tech "hybrid convention" event this year, encouraging franchise owners and key personnel to access the convention events in-person or virtually, according to their preference. The event theme, "Game On," characterized the excitement and determination that has energized the company and its franchise network as the world begins to reopen and return to normal. All attendees benefitted from three general sessions, including a keynote presentation by well-known motivational speaker Molly Fletcher. More than 40 workshop topics informed and educated attendees on the latest trends and innovations in the disaster restoration and remediation industry.

"We are always excited and proud to share the latest in SERVPRO innovation and business support with our entire network at our annual Convention, but the real 'win' this year was simply being able to get our franchise family together," said Isaacson. "Our annual convention is designed to encourage an open exchange of knowledge – franchise-to-franchise and franchise-to-headquarters. This sharing of hands-on best practices and real-life experiences benefits our entire company. I congratulate our winners for their outstanding achievements this past year and offer my sincere thanks to the entire SERVPRO family for a job well done in a time of unprecedented challenge."

For more information, please contact one of the award-winning Knoxville-area disaster remediation professionals named above or visit www.SERVPRO.com.

About SERVPRO

For more than 50 years, SERVPRO has been a trusted leader in fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation, biohazard and pathogen remediation, and construction services. SERVPRO's professional services network of more than 1,900 individually owned and operated franchises spans the United States and Canada, responding to property damage emergencies large and small – from million-square-foot commercial facilities to individual homes. When disaster strikes, homeowners, business owners and major insurance companies alike rely on SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened."

Greene County Partnership announces participation in TVA ED Community Innovation Academy 

Greeneville, Tennessee – Greene County is one of 8 communities taking part in this year’s TVA Economic Development Community Innovation Academy, a program and experience to help economic developers create breakthrough ideas together to better their communities.

Developed by TVA Economic Development and Guillermo Mazier, Founder of Collective Intelligence and VP of Global Innovation for Conway Data Inc., the Academy aids in unlocking the tools, tactics and skills to more effectively and collaboratively solve community problems with the goal of sparking more economic growth and shared community prosperity.

Greene County’s participation in the TVA Innovation Academy is a collaborative effort with Academy local representation by Jeff Taylor, President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, Mark Stevans, Director of Special Projects for the First Tennessee Development District, Paige Mengel, CFO of Greeneville Light & Power, and a Community Innovation A-Team back in each community. The Greene County Partnership is the initiative lead.

Over a course of nine months, participating communities are completing community ecosystem maps, performing innovation capacity assessments and engaging in hours of interactive working sessions to identify a critical community challenge and incubating a solution that would solve it and in turn positively affect their local economies.

The Academy will culminate on October 21 in Nashville, TN with a pitch presentation by each participating community outlining an innovative solution to a proposed problem within their community. Teams will be seeking resources (i.e. feedback, introductions, connections, program funding) from the pitch event judges and audience members to strengthen their solution pathway.

“TVA’s Community Innovation Academy provides participating Valley communities the opportunity to explore fresh and transformational approaches to competitiveness in the economic development industry,” said Heidi Smith, TVA General Manager, Global Business. “We are proud to partner with the Greene County Partnership and Greene County to help prepare the community catalysts for industry disruptors and support innovative solutions to foster economic growth.”

“Cities and their community networks are incredible vectors to solve complex economic development problems. The growing rate of global change and unpredictable business environments present a profound challenge to our ability to plan, manage and grow our communities these days.  Companies and talent alike are increasingly looking to locate or grow in communities that welcome change, embrace creativity and build innovative environments. Challenges accelerated by the Covid 19 pandemic like workforce availability, small business readiness, corporate growth/expansion and inequality have grown exponentially more complex. How communities effectively respond to those challenges requires new thinking, new models and new collaborations. By applying community innovation, we can help places like Greene County positively impact their long-term economic future,” said Guillermo Mazier, Founder Collective Intelligence and VP Global Innovation at Conway, Inc.

“We’re both proud and excited to be apart of this remarkably innovative program” said Jeff Taylor, President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership. “By partnering with the First Tennessee Development District and Greeneville Light & Power, we can identify common community problems, and with the help of the Community Innovation Academy, we’ve been able to develop appropriate solutions that are conducive to expanding and diversifying Greene County’s economy.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. More information is available at TVA.com.

The Greene County Partnership is a joint venture of the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board, Tourism Council, Keep Greene Beautiful and Education & Workforce Development. The organization actively promotes, preserves and enhances the quality of life and economic well being of all Greene Countians by providing collective leadership and serving as a facilitator, catalyst and unifying force to achieve common community goals. The Partnership is a highly effective organization for building community consensus and has become a model for other communities wanting to form similar organizations across the country.

Visit our website at greenecountypartnership.com

Novis Health of Knoxville announces the opening of new center

Knoxville, TN, July 13, 2021, residents of Knoxville, TN, and the surrounding area will be happy to hear that Novis Health has opened a new facility in their neighborhood. Their unique approach to health is entirely different from what is commonly known as traditional medicine, so much so it is not “healthcare” in the conventional sense at all. Novis Health ensures the seven critical areas of health are addressed and optimized, including a focus on Nutrition, Positive Psychology, Social Well-Being, Optimal Lab-Work, Sleep, Movement & Spirituality. Frequently members are able to reduce and even eliminate dependence on certain medications, optimize their health and reduce many of the known risk factors of chronic disease. The Novis Health process achieves success by collaborating with a certified health coach and partnership with a member’s clinician. 

Health in the US is a REAL GROWING PROBLEM.

An astonishing 47% of US adults deal with at least one Chronic Disease & many more develop chronic illnesses without knowing it. To make matters worse, deaths from prescription drug treatments (iatrogenic deaths) have become the #3 cause of death in the US.

These statistics beg the question of where one goes to regain optimal health? The fundamental blueprint of Novis Health is the solution to this crisis, a place that is family-focused and fully dedicated to addressing the root cause of disease.

Services and Products:

  • World-class Functional Health Coaches
  • Health Data Tracking Tools That Look At Sleep, Stress, Blood Sugar, Nutrition, And More
  • Cutting-edge Health Technologies
  • Fully Personalized Nutritional Solutions
  • Biofeedback Enhanced Mindfulness
  • Coordination W/ Primary Care Providers And Functional Medicine Providers 
  • Specialized Testing 

All Delivered through an affordable Monthly Membership.

To celebrate the opening of its new location, Novis Health of Knoxville will offer complimentary consultations for a limited time to experience the Novis Health difference.   

Novis Health helps their members achieve:

  • Health Optimization 
  • Reduction and even elimination of dependency on certain medications
  • Coordination of Services in Collaboration with Existing Providers
  • Reversal Type 2 Diabetes & Pre-Diabetes
  • Reversal of Low Thyroid Symptoms
  • Women’s Health
  • Loss of Stubborn Weight
  • Improved Lifestyle

For complete information, visit https://novishealth.com.

Nokian Tyres officially expands to 24/7 production at Dayton factory, earns ISO 14001 certification

DAYTON, Tenn. – Nokian Tyres has added a fourth production shift at its North American factory in Dayton, Tennessee, and is now producing tires around the clock at the state-of-the-art facility it opened in 2019.

The production milestone coincides with another major achievement at the Dayton Factory: ISO 14001 certification, which validates Nokian Tyres’ strict environmental standards at the facility.

“ISO 14001 certification is another testament to the fact that we are one of the most sustainable tire manufacturers in the world,” said Dayton Factory Environmental, Health and Safety Manager Darren Bakkestuen. “It’s pretty rare that we got through the assessment without any major findings.”

The Dayton Factory’s production building holds LEED v4 Silver certification, the only tire production facility in the world to achieve that mark, and its solar-powered administration building is LEED v4 Gold. Earlier this month, Nokian Tyres won the Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Sustainable Performance for its environmental efforts in Dayton.

Nokian Tyres began producing tires 24/7 at its Southeast Tennessee campus on July 12. The global tiremaker has hired nearly 150 team members since the start of 2021 and added a third production shift in mid-May. The creation of a fourth shift is in line with Nokian Tyres’ long-term ramp-up plans at the factory, where it plans to make as many as four million tires annually and employ up to 400 workers once the facility reaches full capacity.

“Adding third and fourth production shifts allows us to keep pace with production goals that will help us grow our presence in North America,” said Dayton Factory Operations Director David Korda. “We’re pleased with the quantity and quality of workers we’ve added this year, and we’re eager to help them thrive as our company grows.”

Nokian Tyres started production at the Dayton Factory in January 2020 to serve rising demand for its products in the North American market. It crafts all-season and all-weather tires at the facility in line with its core values of safety and sustainability. All three of Nokian Tyres’ global factories hold ISO 14001 certification.

Nokian Tyres aims to use the factory to reduce delivery lead times to North American customers and build tires tailored to the needs of drivers in the region, such as the Nokian Tyres One, an all-season passenger tire it launched in North America in January.

Knoxville’s annual entrepreneurship week returns in-person, celebrates new accelerator programs

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., July 15, 2021 – The Innov865 Alliance announced today Innov865 Week 2021 will return with an in-person annual pitch competition and other special events. Innov865 Week 2021 will take place Monday, October 4 – Friday, October 8. 

Innov865 Week boasts a range of events for everyone in the area to support local economic development, from investors and regional entrepreneurs to community leaders and students. Throughout the week, the Innov865 Alliance will celebrate two new startup accelerators coming to town in 2022-- Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator and the Spark Cleantech Accelerator.

Innov865 Week 2021’s premier event is Startup Day 2021, held Tuesday, October 5 at the Mill and Mine. Startup Day is an annual “Shark-Tank”-style pitch competition, where participants compete for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. Six of Knoxville’s most investable startups will pitch their businesses in front of a panel of investor judges. In addition to the opportunity to spotlight their startup for investors, entrepreneurs will compete for a “crowd favorite” cash prize, presented by Truist. Included in this year’s programming is the Impact Award, presented by Verizon, given to an entrepreneur or startup that has made a lasting, positive impact on the community. 

Earlier this summer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority and The University of Tennessee announced the launch of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator. Over the next three years, this unique program will work with 30 startups that use clean energy, AI, big data, cybersecurity, digital currency, 5G and other innovations to transform society.  Less than a week after the announcement of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,  the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Spark Innovation Center announced the formation of the Spark Cleantech accelerator.  The accelerator is a regional partnership supported through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and includes Clean Energy Trust, Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University and mHUB. 

To learn more about Innov865 Week 2021, visit https://innov865week.com/. The website and event calendar will be updated regularly as more events are added to Innov865 Week.

ABOUT INNOV865 WEEK AND THE INNOV865 ALLIANCE

Innov865 Week is a weeklong celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the City of Knoxville and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit www.innov865.com/.

Dollywood's Dreammore Resort and Spa earns top USA Today award, nominated for second award

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Monday, July 19, 2021) — In early July, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa was named the number one Amusement Park Hotel in the country by USA Today readers in the publication’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. Dollywood’s family-favorite resort now has the opportunity to go two-for-two, as it has been nominated for the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Family Resort.  

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which celebrates its sixth anniversary later this month, has quickly become a sought-after resort destination, prompting The Dollywood Company to announce a 10-year, $500 million investment strategy that includes additional resort properties. The first resort planned as part of the strategy is Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which is slated to open in 2023.

Voting opened today at noon and runs through Monday, Aug. 16 at 11:59 a.m. A page with a link to the voting page can be found at www.dollywood.com/vote. Anyone is eligible to vote and may do so once per day, per device. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from 10Best.com, relevant expert contributors and more.

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa provides guests with a full-service, comfortable home-away-from-home experience that only Dolly Parton could create. Inspired by Parton’s childhood in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, a love for music and storytelling, and a desire to create a place for families to grow and play, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa brings Parton’s vision for a premiere family destination to life.

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa has several unique areas and experiences for families to spend quality time together. Families gather to play checkers by the fireplace in one of the resort’s grand living rooms, enjoy a glass of sweet tea in a rocking chair on one of the many porches or swap stories on one of the beautiful garden benches. The resort’s lavish 20-acre property includes premiere amenities and perks to help guests create their own special moments and memories.

Full-service dining, indoor and outdoor pool complexes, and exclusive park privileges—like complimentary transportation to Dollywood theme park and complimentary TimeSaver passes for Dollywood rides and shows—make the property a must-visit experience. Additionally, there are a variety of on-site activities at the resort for families. Through fun-filled activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and summertime pool parties, Camp DW is designed to inspire children’s imaginations. At night, families gather around the fireplace for a bedtime story with a book selected from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Guests also can roast complimentary marshmallows to make s’mores each night around the fire pit.

During its history, DreamMore Resort has earned several awards including being named the #1 Amusement Park Hotel in 2018 by USA Today, one of Southern Living’s “Best Places to Stay in the South” and one of Travel + Leisure’s “25 Resorts in the US that are Perfect for Families.”

A panel of experts and USA Today 10Best editors selected Dollywood Parks & Resorts properties and attractions in six categories for award competitions that took place in June. Results included: 

  • Best Amusement Park Hotel- Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa (#1)
  • Best Amusement Park Restaurant- Aunt Granny’s Restaurant (#1)
  • Best Amusement Park Entertainment- Dreamland Drive-In (#3)
  • Best Amusement Park- Dollywood (#5)
  • Best Outdoor Water Park- Dollywood’s Splash Country (#5)
  • Best Amusement Park Roller Coaster- Lightning Rod (#5)
  • Best Amusement Park Hotel- Dollywood Cabins (#7)

For more information about Dollywood’s 2021 season, operating calendars and more, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.

Pinnacle is one of the country's top 5 workplaces for millennials

NASHVILLE, TN, July 16, 2021 – Pinnacle Financial Partners is among the top companies in the country for millennials to work, which includes associates from age 24 to 40. The firm earned the No. 4 spot on the list of Best Workplaces for Millennials from FORTUNE magazine and Great Place to Work®, just as it did in 2020. In April 2021, Pinnacle was named the overall No. 26 Best Company to Work For in the United States and No. 8 Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance.

“The pandemic changed people’s expectations of how work fits into their lives,” said Sarae Janes Lewis, Pinnacle’s director of associate and client experience. “Many of today’s millennials are parents of young children and even approaching middle age, and they expect a work-life dynamic that will let them be at their best in all roles. That’s always been Pinnacle’s value proposition for associates. They’re given the freedom to do what they love at work and the flexibility to take care of their family and personal needs so they never have to compromise. We were built for this moment.”

During the height of the pandemic, associates gave glowing reviews of Pinnacle’s response and business continuation plan, which gave them room to prioritize caring for themselves and their families.

  • “From Day One, I felt like my health and my family’s health was important… I appreciate being a part of the Pinnacle family now more than ever.”
  • “The constant support and requests for our input makes me feel valued as a person and a member of this Pinnacle family… We are all able to do what works best for our individual situations and offices.”
  • “I feel that every decision took my family into consideration, as well as my ability to continue performing my daily duties with all the resources necessary to do so.”
  • “The flexibility for us to take care of our family and kids really helped us. I don’t know what we would have done without that support.”

Even with a hiring philosophy that seeks out seasoned professionals with at least 10 years of experience for most roles, nearly a quarter of Pinnacle’s associates are 40 years old or under. With an average retention rate of 95 percent – unheard of in the financial services industry – they are more likely to stay and build their careers at Pinnacle.

Rankings for this list reflect feedback representing more than 5.3 million employees at Great Place to Work-Certified organizations. Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what millennials say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of millennials’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

Best Workplaces for Millennials is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. Pinnacle regularly ranks on several of them, including overall Best Company to Work For, Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance, Best Workplace for Parents and Best Workplace for Women.

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2020 deposit data from the FDIC. Pinnacle earned a spot on the 2021 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fifth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For eight years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $10 billion in assets in 2020.

Pinnacle owns a 49 percent interest in Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), which provides innovative, hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals. Great Place to Work and FORTUNE ranked BHG No. 1 on its 2020 list of Best Workplaces in New York State in the small/medium business category.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $35.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 14 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.

Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at www.pnfp.com.

About the Best Workplaces for Millennials

Great Place to Work based its ranking on a data-driven methodology applied to anonymous Trust Index™ survey responses representing over 5.3 million employees at Great Place to Work-Certified organizations. To learn more about Great Place to Work Certification and recognition on Best Workplaces lists published with FORTUNE, visit Greatplacetowork.com.

About Great Place to Work

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees around the world and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Great Place to Work helps organizations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. Emprising®, their culture management platform, empowers leaders with the surveys, real-time reporting, and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Their unparalleled benchmark data is used to recognize Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in the US and more than 60 countries, including the 100 Best Companies to Work For® and World’s Best list published annually in Fortune. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a Great Place to Work For All™.

HUB International acquires the assets of Georgia-based Risk Point Consulting

Chicago, July 16, 2021 - Hub International Limited (Hub), a leading full-service global insurance broker, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Risk Point Consulting. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Located in Marietta, Georgia, Risk Point Consulting specializes in professional sports and college athletics contractual bonus coverage and over-redemption insurance. Their team has been helping clients with more than 60 years combined experience in the industry and having managed more than $1 billion in risk exposure during their 15 years in business.

Risk Point Consulting’s focus aligns with Hub’s Sports & Entertainment Specialty practice by complementing and strengthening its existing capabilities. Michael Wright, President of Risk Point Consulting, and his team, including Adam Goldfarb and Ari Weitz, will join the Hub Gulf South region.

“Risk Point Consulting’s deep experience with all sports entities and a specific focus on sports sponsors, professional athletes and college athletic departments, allows it to help its clients achieve their unique goals. We are confident this acquisition will help expand our sports and entertainment capabilities in the South,” said Shaun Norris, President of Hub Gulf South.

About Hub’s M&A Activities

Hub International Limited is committed to growing organically and through acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and strengthen industry and product expertise.  For more information on the Hub M&A experience, visit WeAreHub.com.

About Hub International

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Hub International Limited is a leading full-service global insurance broker providing risk management, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and wealth management products and services. With more than 13,000 employees in offices located throughout North America, Hub’s vast network of specialists brings clarity to a changing world with tailored solutions and unrelenting advocacy, so clients are ready for tomorrow. For more information, please visit www.hubinternational.com. 

UT Knoxville donors invest in students, set scholarship record 

More than 51,000 generous alumni and friends of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, invested in students during the 2020–21 fiscal year, committing more than $202 million and transforming the student experience. The donations resulted in the record-setting awarding of student scholarships, the establishment of a student emergency fund, and the founding of the Big Orange Pantry to alleviate food insecurity.

“The way our alumni and friends have stepped up to support UT students during a difficult year has been nothing short of amazing,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “I continue to be inspired all the time by the selflessness, courage, and leadership that define Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.”

This record year has enabled another generation of students to gain access to the Volunteer experience. More than 7,400 students were awarded more than 9,500 privately funded scholarships for a disbursed total of over $21 million.

“I am the first person in my entire family to finish high school, let alone a college degree,” said senior Alexis Moreno, a statistics major. “Thanks to the generosity of donors, finances were not one of the obstacles. This is something I will always remember and be grateful for.”

Moreno completed his UT education with support from the Tri-Star Scholarship program, an area that saw significant growth this year. Comprising three scholarships (UT Promise, Tennessee Pledge, and Flagship), the Tri-Star provides pathways for Tennessee residents to receive an affordable UT education.

One of the proudest achievements of the year was the way Volunteers stepped up to establish the university’s Student Emergency Fund. The initial goal of raising $250,000 using VOLstarter, UT’s crowdfunding platform, was quickly exceeded, and funds were distributed to nearly 830 students by May. For Heath Allen, a geography major, the emergency funding helped him find an apartment in Knoxville, giving him reliable internet service and a pathway to complete his semester virtually.

The Big Orange Pantry was established after a study on campus revealed that one in three students identified as food insecure; the isolation and economic upheaval of COVID-19 increased the problem. A collaborative cross-campus effort created and stocked the pantry, where students can receive assistance in a stigma-free environment that is like a shopping experience.

The pantry was made possible by seed funding given by Donnie and Terry Smith (’80), whose philanthropy centers around agriculture and food.

“It’s really hard to ace a math test when you’ve got an empty stomach,” Smith said. “Our hearts are with that kid who needs that bit of extra help to do well in school and not get discouraged. It’s hard to raise your hand and say, ‘I’m hungry.’”

Two transformative moments during the year were a gift from the Haslam family to the Haslam College of Business and the Zeanah family’s gift to create the Zeanah Engineering Complex. Other highlights included the Big Orange Give, the annual day of giving, which raised $2.5 million in just 24 hours for hundreds of areas across campus; significant growth in alumni chapter and council scholarships; and a gift from Randy and Jenny Boyd (both ’79) to secure a historic replacement of the Carousel Theatre, which will be named the Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre.

UT raises funds through the University of Tennessee Foundation, an independent nonprofit corporation that seeks to enrich the lives of UT students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends through alumni engagement, financial stewardship, and private investments. The foundation is the preferred channel for all private contributions benefiting faculty and students throughout the University of Tennessee System.

Ole Red Gatlinburg to hold hiring event July 20th

Ole Red Gatlinburg—the popular restaurant, music venue, and retail space inspired by country superstar Blake Shelton—will welcome job seekers during a one-day hiring event. Prospective candidates will have the opportunity to learn more about careers at Ole Red Gatlinburg, which is owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties (RHP). The hiring event will take place Tuesday, July 20, 10am-6pm, at Ole Red Gatlinburg (511 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738).

The company is recruiting for full-time and part-time job openings that include everything from servers, hosts, bartenders, barbacks, bussers, and line cooks to AV, retail, security, and maintenance positions.

Candidates can apply online at RHPCareers.com/Ole-Red-Gatlinburg in advance to secure interview spots. The company will be making job offers on site.

Ryman Hospitality Properties offers competitive pay and benefits for both full and part-time positions. As COVID-19 restrictions lift across the U.S., new employees will help meet the surge in customer demand that Ole Red Gatlinburg has experienced.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful to bring mural to Marble City

Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB) has commissioned a mural to be installed on the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Concord Road. The mural will be located on the concrete block wall of the Smyrna Ready Mix plant.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful has partnered up with local artist Megan Lingerfelt to bring some greenery to a drab wall at the entrance to the Marble City neighborhood and steps away from the Third Creek Greenway. Lingerfelt was inspired by the lush and flourishing spirit of the Third Creek Greenway. The mural will consist of a pattern of a spade-shaped leaf with a sheen that would reflect light and give a sense of the dappled sun and shade experienced on the greenway. Additionally, a nod to the neighborhood's namesake and history is included with "Marble City" woven through the leaves in a light pink broken line to abstractly reference the color and character of Tennessee pink marble.

Executive Director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Alanna McKissack, says “we are excited to bring beautification through the creative lens to this historic neighborhood of Knoxville. Beautiful spaces help promote clean and thriving communities. We hope this will be a start to more projects along Sutherland Avenue.”

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is hoping to raise $5,000 to help pay for the new mural. The organization is asking for donations of $11 on Facebook to help cover the cost of one square foot of the mural. Donations can be made at https://www.facebook.com/donate/245831440413963/.

Prep and painting of the mural will begin in August.

KCDC secures 63 emergency housing vouchers to help stem homelessness in pandemic

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has been awarded 63 emergency housing vouchers to help prevent homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic with funding authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated additional emergency housing vouchers (EHVs) to public housing authorities in areas where populations have the greatest need while also considering housing authority capacity and the requirement to ensure geographic diversity, including rural areas.

“These vouchers will help KCDC get more people into housing who need it the most right now,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “The pairing of resources through HUD’s Continuum of Care (COC) programs with these EHVs will enable the delivery of rapid housing and support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”

The EHVs will help assist individuals and families who are homeless; recently homeless; at risk of homelessness; or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking.

KCDC’s Section 8 program is seeking additional landlords within Knoxville and Knox County to help provide affordable housing to lower-income families. Benefits to landlords include a guaranteed rent subsidy via direct deposit on the first working day of each month; lower vacancy rates; criminal background checks on applicants; and inspections on units to identify any possible problems. For more information, visit https://www.kcdc.org/landlord or contact section8info@kcdc.org.

About Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, call 865-403-1100 or visit http://www.kcdc.org.

Ribbon cutting ceremony officially opens Avertium's Knoxville office

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – July 14, 2021 – Avertium, a cyber security management and consulting company, re-opened its newly renovated Knoxville headquarters today, located at 1431 Centerpoint Blvd, Suite 150 with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Avertium executives and staff, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, amongst others.   

Knoxville-based Sword & Shield, in business for more than 22 years, was acquired by growth equity firm, Sunstone partners in 2019, merging multiple companies to form Avertium.  Avertium’s CEO, Jeff Schmidt, understands the business benefits of running and growing an office in Knoxville.  With offices in Phoenix, Ariz. and Longmont, Colo., Avertium’s next chapter requires the talent that comes from East Tennessee and the support of the community. 

“Avertium’s exponential growth is a testament to our employees and our mission to keep our customer’s information safe,” says Avertium CEO, Jeff Schmidt.  “Cybersecurity is top of mind for IT, security professionals and business executives and when a threat makes it to the news, it’s because of a breach – it’s our job to prepare, prevent and detect these things so that they don’t come to fruition.”  

Avertium attracts employees from all over the US and recruits locally from Pellissippi State’s Cybercrime Unit, University of Tennessee and other educational facilities.  Avertium’s Knoxville location has a state-of-the-art Cyber Fusion Center operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  As Avertium continues its rapid growth, and goal of helping its customers secure a better future, the team and community in Knoxville will continue to play a critical role.

Solar Alliance to hold free workshop for businesses seeking USDA grants for Rural Energy of America Program (REAP)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – July 14, 2021 – In response to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) now accepting federal grant applications for its Rural Energy of America Program [REAP], Knoxville-based Solar Alliance is presenting an informative workshop to help business owners understand how to get 75% of a solar system paid for with tax incentives and grants.

The free Solar Alliance workshop is hosted by Lick Skillet Farm on Wednesday, July 28 at 5:30 p.m., at 800 Lick Skillet Lane in New Market, Tennessee. Attendance is free by registering online.

REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. REAP grant application submissions are due by October 31, 2021, and many types of businesses are eligible.

“There is a big misconception that grants to fund solar installations to offset energy costs are reserved for agricultural producers or working farms, and that is simply not the case,” noted Harvey Abouelata, vice president of commercial solar for Knoxville-based Solar Alliance. “We’ve helped businesses of all types and sizes apply for and receive grants for solar solutions that have a huge impact on energy costs and their bottom lines. The main prerequisite is that the business be in an area deemed rural and they are classified as a small business. The USDA definition of “small business” is actually broader than most people realize, so we encourage business owners to get in touch with us so we can help them navigate the process and determine what support is available," said Abouelata.

Applying for the USDA REAP energy grant can be time-consuming and intimidating, so Solar Alliance offers a turnkey program to help businesses in rural communities. “Solar Alliance has secured millions of dollars in tax incentives/credits and grants for customers to help offset project costs. The REAP grant can be combined with the investment tax credit (ITC) and the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) depreciation which makes for an attractive payback,” noted Abouelata.

“The savings from our solar installation are a critical part of our cost-cutting strategy, and our customers appreciate our commitment to the environment. The turnkey approach Solar Alliance took to handling both the REAP grant and the total installation made everything easy,” said Alex Miller, CEO of Lick Skillet Farm in New Market, Tennessee. “It’s a rare occasion when a business can drive down a fixed-cost,” said Ted Wampler, Jr., president of Wampler Farm Sausage in Lenoir City, Tennessee. “We installed several solar projects through the grant process since 2009 and have been recognized as an innovative business in our industry. I highly recommend going for a REAP grant,” he said.

According to the USDA website, this program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower the cost of energy for small businesses and agricultural producers.

Randy DeBord, an entrepreneurial businessman involved in the revitalization of downtown Morristown, Tennessee utilized a REAP grant to install solar at McFarland Pharmacy where he is president and owner. “Grants to help reduce energy costs aren’t just for farmers,” noted DeBord. “Many small, for-profit businesses qualify, regardless of the type of business.”

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been a tough 16 months for small businesses, especially those located in rural areas,” said Abouelata. “We are here to help navigate the application process through construction so small businesses can become energy independent and control their costs.”

Solar Alliance charges a nominal fee for its grant writing services which can be applied in the form of a credit during the construction phase.

For information, contact Harvey Abouelata at habouelata@solaralliance.com

About Solar Alliance

Solar Alliance is a purpose-driven company whose mission is fostering energy independence and promoting sustainable solutions that preserve the environment. The company partners with businesses, utilities, contractors, and other entities to propel economic development, promote environmental stewardship, and spur energy independence.


Video: Take a quick look at Knoxville's Tern Club (The Knoxville News-Sentinel)

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CBCW’s Christa Rosenberg handles lease of new downtown Knox co-working space for female entrepreneurs

July 13, 2021 | Knoxville, Tenn — Coldwell Banker Commercial Wallace announces the lease of an office space at the Langley Building, 520 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 601, Knoxville, TN 37902.

The transaction was handled by Christa Rosenberg for her client, Aught LLC, the driving force behind co-working spaces and cultivated community for women entrepreneurs in Knoxville. Formerly Girl Boss Offices, this concept has been hugely popular with the organization’s West Knox location. Aught is now expanding to downtown Knoxville and beyond.

Founded in 2019 by Erika Biddix, the organization seeks to redefine female entrepreneurship while connecting women with resources to accelerate their success. This downtown location adds 16 available desks to the existing 14 in Cedar Bluff. Franchise opportunities are now open nationwide.

Aught and Rosenberg, representing Coldwell Banker Commercial Wallace, are committed to supporting women entrepreneurs and both recently served as co-sponsors for the event “Let Her Speak Presents: Seeing the Superhero in You!” This sold-out event, which also included a networking Happy Hour at Maple Hall, was in the form of a virtual workshop to help women see the superpowers within themselves. https://www.letherspeakus.com/

For more information about leasing options, contact Christa Rosenberg at 865-309-4950. To learn more about Aught membership options or to apply for co-working space, visit https://www.aughtentrepreneurs.com/.

Magma Equities acquires 146-unit multifamily community in West Knoxville for $15.425 million

Manhattan Beach, CA (July 13, 2021) – Multifamily investment firm Magma Equities (“Magma”) in partnership with Viking Partners has added to its Tennessee portfolio with the acquisition of Greentree Homes Apartments, a 146-unit garden-style community in Knoxville for $15.425 million.    

The property, which will be rebranded as The Abigail, benefits from a prime location at 4831 E. Summit Circle in West Knoxville, one of Knoxville’s most affluent neighborhoods.  Located within five miles of Downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee, the neighborhood’s elementary, middle and high schools are among the most highly rated in Knox County.    

Despite the numerous demand drivers, the eight-acre wooded property has suffered from a lack of institutional-quality ownership and has largely remained unimproved since being constructed in 1974.  This has impacted both rent growth and occupancy, which was 88 percent at closing, according to Magma Equities Founder and Managing partner Ryan Hall.

“We will immediately address deferred maintenance issues as well as bring on Elmington Property Management, which manages all of our properties in Tennessee, to improve property-level operations,” said Hall, whose Los Angeles-based investment firm owns more than 700 units in Tennessee.  “We will then embark on a thoughtful renovation program in the Fall.”

When completed, Hall believes The Abigail will be well positioned as a high quality, yet more affordable alternative to the higher-priced rental product in the West Knoxville submarket.

Dennis Harris of The Kirkland Companies represented both parties to the transaction.

About Magma Equities

Manhattan Beach, CA-based Magma Equities (http://www.magmaequities.com) is a diversified real estate organization focused on re-positioning Class A & B apartment communities throughout the country. We strive to maximize returns for investors while providing our residents with homes that are environmentally friendly, efficient, and state-of-the-art. Investment decisions are based on our successful experience in the past, and more importantly, our vision for the future.

About Viking Partners

Viking Partners (https://www.vikingpartnersllc.com/) is a private equity real estate investment firm focused on the acquisition, turnaround, and disposition of value-add real estate throughout the country. Since its founding in 2008, Viking Partners has completed more than 70 property acquisitions valued at over $925 million on all asset types including office, multifamily, retail, and industrial/flex. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Viking Partners is currently seeking acquisition opportunities for value-add and stabilized properties with a transaction range of $10 million to $60+ million.

Country Roads Axe Co. brings first self-pour tap wall to Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, TN (July 13, 2021) – Country Roads Axe Co. has partnered with iPourIt, Inc., a leading provider of self-pour technology, to bring the first self-serve tap wall to Pigeon Forge, TN.

Located in Sevier County, one of the country’s fastest-growing tourism destinations and home of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood, Country Roads is the first axe throwing concept to offer advanced projected targets with special games and customizable graphics, as well as a full-service dining experience.

Guests can skip the line at the bar and serve themselves using an RFID-enabled wristband to activate the taps and track their tab. The 24-tap draft system offers a rotating selection of both domestic and local craft beers, ciders, seltzers, and more.

Owners Brandon Disney, Chad Preston, Chuck Preston, and Todd Boggess recognized an opportunity to bring a completely new and unique experience to Pigeon Forge and began looking into self-pour technology as a complement to their high-tech indoor axe throwing concept.

“We’re beer drinkers and hate waiting at the bar so when we saw self-pour technology, we started doing research and realized there was nothing like it in town,” shared Disney. “Our beer dispense partner recommended looking at iPourIt and we were sold on the system design and the fact that they develop their own technology and software in the USA instead of buying it from overseas like other providers.”

The dining menu is provided by West by God CoalFired Pizza, another project for co-owner Boggess. It features gourmet, made from scratch coal-fired pizzas including favorites like the Pizza Party, pepperoni drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey Sauce, and the Boggey Bomb, meat lovers style with local bacon jam.

Diners can watch the axe throwing activities from “Almost Heaven,” a special mezzanine that overlooks the rest of the venue. Those who are throwing can opt to try ninja stars and knives in addition to the traditional axes. Meeting and event space and group discounts are also available.

With iPourIt self-pour tap wall technology, operators can differentiate their business while increasing alcohol revenue, reducing labor needs, and enhancing customer experience. The latest GEN 4 platform is loaded with tools and features that are perfect for venues like super quick check-in speeds, automated pricing specials, and real-time inventory management.

Country Roads Axe Co. is located at 137 E Wears Valley Rd Suite 3, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

About Country Roads Axe Co.

Country Roads Axe Co. is the hottest and most technologically advanced family entertainment venue in Pigeon Forge. The never-before-seen axe throwing experience features digitally projected targets, iPourIt’s self-serve draft beverage system, a full-service bar, and gourmet dining by West by God CoalFired Pizza. All of these unique concepts come together in a 7,500 square foot space to create an experience unlike any other in the Smoky Mountains. Visit countryroadsaxeco.com for more information.

About iPourIt, Inc.

iPourIt, Inc. is America’s leader in self-serve beverage dispense technology with over 7,300 taps installed, 215 million ounces poured, and 260 locations in operation. The team of self-pour experts partners with operators and entrepreneurs to create fun and interactive experiences in restaurants, venues, taprooms, and beyond. iPourIt technology is proven to increase alcohol revenue, simplify labor needs, and enhance customer satisfaction. Visit ipouritinc.com for more information.

Follow iPourIt, Inc. on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Fort Sanders neighborhood street cleaning planned for successive July weekends

Taking advantage of most University of Tennessee students being off campus during mid-summer, City crews will be cleaning the streets in Fort Sanders next weekend (July 17 and 18) and again the following weekend (July 24 and 25).

“Fort Sanders is a dense neighborhood with a very high demand for on-street parking, so it’s most effective and most convenient to the residents to sweep the streets when UT is out of session and there are fewer residents, fewer cars,” City Parking Systems Manager Mark Elliott said.

“We appreciate the help and understanding of the summer residents in making this successful. This will benefit the neighborhood. We’ll clean the streets and parking lanes – everything from dirt and leaves to litter to oil drippings.”

The weekend work will occur July 17-18 on north-south streets and on July 24-25 on streets running east-west in the Fort Sanders area.

Traffic is expected to continue to flow on the affected streets during the project. However, temporary short-term closures may occur as needed due to safety protocols. During the project dates and times, parking will not be allowed, and towing will be enforced on the affected streets.

North of Cumberland Avenue, the north-south streets included in the project are those between Cumberland Avenue and Grand Avenue, including 12th through 23rd streets and including James Agee Street.

East-west streets are those parallel to Cumberland Avenue from White Avenue to Grand Avenue, including Clinch, Laurel, Bridge, Highland and Forest avenues, and on Grand Avenue between 11th and 23rd streets.

South of Cumberland Avenue to Lake Avenue, a smaller but similar area is being cleaned, between Volunteer Boulevard and Melrose Place.

Both weekends’ project hours will begin Saturday at 6 a.m. and will end Sunday at 6 p.m.

Temporary no-parking signs will be posted at least 48 hours in advance of the street maintenance work.

Attached are maps showing the affected streets and the dates when they will be cleaned.

City celebrates $4.8 million grant for additional electric buses

The City of Knoxville has been awarded a $4.8 million federal grant for additional electric transit buses.

The Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program supports transit agencies in purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses and other transit vehicles that use advanced technologies to provide cleaner, more energy efficient transit service in communities across the country.

“This will go a long way in helping KAT transition to an all-electric fleet,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “With each new electric bus, we are reducing our carbon footprint. We are moving closer toward our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions associated with City operations by 50 percent by 2030 – and a communitywide reduction of 80 percent by 2050.”

As KAT's oldest diesel buses age, they are being replaced with state-of-the-art electric buses that, according to the Argonne National Laboratory, are about three times more fuel-efficient than a standard diesel bus (13 MPGDE vs. 4.4 MPG).

Knoxville Area Transit plans to use these federal funds, coupled with some local dollars, to add six additional electric buses to its fleet. This means the City could have 18 electric buses on area routes by the end of 2022.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to improve our fleet and help meet the City's sustainability goals with this continuing transition to all electric vehicles,” said Isaac Thorne, the City’s Director of Transit. “Our KAT passengers are excited about this move to all-electric, and so are we."

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty and Rep. Tim Burchett supported the City’s application for this grant.

“Knoxville Area Transit provides an important service for folks in Knoxville, which is why earlier this year I asked the Federal Transit Administration to give KAT’s Low-No application grant full consideration,” Rep. Burchett said. “I’m glad this grant was awarded to our community so KAT can modernize its fleet to be more efficient and environmentally friendly.”

KAT's goal is to have the entire 71-bus fleet running on electricity in about eight years.

For more information on the Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant program, visit www.transit.dot.gov/lowno.

Food City continues to grow and expand hiring 1,200 new associates

Food City is proud to have celebrated the opening of several new store locations and store expansions this year, along with the continued growth of their GoCart curbside pick-up and in-store food service options, such as to-go meals.  These events have resulted in the creation of a number of new area jobs. 

On Wednesday, July 14th, Food City will be hosting a company-wide hiring event to include both full-time and part-time positions.  The company is planning to hire 1,200 friendly, smiling faces in key customer and food service positions at store locations throughout their operation area and their Distribution Center.  The positions include, both entry-level positions and experienced, skilled positions, such as meat cutter, cake decorator, and retail management, as well as various warehousing/distribution positions, including truck drivers. 

Food City is a family owned and operated company that offers a generous benefits package to their associates including competitive salaries, comprehensive training, healthcare coverage with medical and dental plans, 401(k) with a 3% company match, vacation accrual, vision coverage, and company paid life and disability plans, and Employee Stock Ownership Plan. In addition, to these great benefits, Food City also offers advancement opportunities to associates who wish to progress within a growing company.

Interested candidates, can apply online at FoodCity.com or visit any Food City store to complete an application. Make plans to attend the event at your local Food City to find out how Food City is so much more than a grocery store.

84 Lumber to host hiring event in Knoxville, offering $840 sign-on bonus for candidates who receive an offer

EIGHTY FOUR, PA. (July 8, 2021) – 84 Lumber, the nation’s largest privately held building materials supplier, is launching a recruitment effort to fill immediate openings at retail stores in the Knoxville area. The company will host a Hiring Event on July 13th from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its Knoxville retail location (5802 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37921).

At the event, job seekers will learn more about the company culture and get the opportunity to be interviewed for open positions in the area that include manager trainee (MT), forklift operator, and lumberyard associate. Qualified applicants may receive an offer of employment during the event. Candidates who attend the event and then get hired as a result of it are eligible for a one-time $840 sign-on bonus

“84 Lumber is seeking to fill 15 open positions in the greater Knoxville area, including at our locations in Knoxville, Jefferson City, and Sevierville to add to our team of more than 100 employees in the area,” said Rob Woodrow, divisional vice president at 84 Lumber. “We’re growing along with the growth in the construction industry – here in Knoxville and across the nation. We’re looking for people seeking a fresh start.”

Woodrow went on to detail the openings in the region:

  • Manager trainees (MTs) hired by 84 Lumber enter an intensive, one-on-one, on-the-job training program that teaches them about the company’s business and puts them on a path to become a future leader within the enterprise. Starting compensation for manager trainees is $40,000 per year.
  • Forklift operators and lumberyard associates need no prior experience and perform essential functions behind the scenes – from management of supply shipments to operation of heavy equipment. These associates can expect a starting pay of up to $14 per hour based on experience.

“We are a family-owned company, which means we are committed to helping our employees build and cultivate a career with us. In fact, 95% of our store managers started in our manager trainee program,” Woodrow said. “As we see it, 84 Lumber recruits individuals with a can-do attitude, a willingness to work hard, and a desire to learn. Once we find these people and they join the company, we teach and train them and find ways for them to grow with us.”

Woodrow added that 84 Lumber expects it might find the right fit from all types of candidates – an individual with no construction experience, military veterans ready to embark on their next career challenge, or people with some previous work experience who seek to redirect their career. 

Candidates interested in participating in the Hiring Event are asked to pre-register. To sign up, go to 84 Lumber’s Hiring Page and complete the form. Once you are registered, you will receive an email from 84 Lumber with the link to apply for the desired position. To save time, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for positions online before they attend the event.

NOTE: 84 Lumber continues to follow CDC safety guidelines with regard to COVID-19. We ask that those attendees who are not yet fully vaccinated wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

To learn more about 84 Lumber, follow the company on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  

ABOUT 84 LUMBER

Founded in 1956 and headquartered in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, 84 Lumber Company is the nation’s largest privately held supplier of building materials, manufactured components and industry-leading services for single- and multi-family residences and commercial buildings. The company operates nearly 250 stores, component manufacturing plants, custom door shops, custom millwork shops and engineered wood product centers in more than 30 states. 84 Lumber also offers turnkey installation services for a variety of products, including framing, insulation, siding, windows, roofing, decking and drywall. A certified national women’s business enterprise owned by Maggie Hardy Knox, 84 Lumber was named by Forbes as one of America’s Largest Private Companies in 2018 and one of America’s Best Large Employers in 2019. For more information, visit 84lumber.com or join us at Facebook.com/84lumber and linkedin.com/company/84-lumber.

Arrow Exterminators opens four new offices

ATLANTA (July 7, 2021) – Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators recently opened four new offices in Blue Ridge, GA, Peachtree City, GA, Knoxville, TN, and the south Mobile area of Alabama.  These offices will help us better serve these communities and the surrounding areas, and they will also help accommodate recent growth and provide career advancement opportunities for Arrow team members. All four offices will service residential homes with a focus on pest and termite control along with wildlife services in select locations.

“Being a family-owned and operated company for 57 years, we strongly value family and community,” said Emily Thomas Kendrick, Chief Executive Officer. “Our passion is one of the key components of not only providing exceptional service to our customers, but also being involved in the communities where we serve.”

Tim Pollard, President and Chief Operating Officer, continues, “Because of our recent growth over the past year, we saw a need in these markets for residential pest control services; whether it be an existing location we already service, or expanding into a new area, we are excited to roll out the welcome wagon to our customers.  These new offices provide a unique opportunity for Arrow Exterminators to firmly root itself in the Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee markets.  What a great way to kick off the start of our new fiscal year!”

Three Roots Capital receives $1.8M from U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide access to capital in economically distressed communities 

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – This week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury awarded $1,826,265 in COVID-19 relief funds to Three Roots Capital (Three Roots) as part of its CDFI Rapid Response Program (CDFI RRP). Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Three Roots will use these funds to make loans and investments across East Tennessee and greater Central Appalachia, helping support job-creating small businesses, place-making commercial real estate projects and community facilities.

In total, the U.S. Treasury awarded $1.25 billion to 863 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. These CDFI RRP grant funds will help recipients build capital reserves and loan-loss reserves, along with providing financial products, financial services, development services and other operational activities in their communities. Three Roots received the maximum award amount given and will use the capital to increase the size of the Three Roots Capital Impact Fund, which is a pool of capital from which it will make equity investments in addition to loans.

Three Roots has a history of providing access to capital for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and projects in rural or low-income areas of East Tennessee and Kentucky. Since its founding in 2016, the CDFI has deployed over $74.5 million of capital, which has created or retained 1,564 jobs and developed 528,732 square feet of real estate. With Three Roots’ support and guidance, small businesses like Southeastern Packaging Technologies have thrived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and rural, job-creating companies have continued to have positive impacts in their communities like Outdoor Venture Corporation in McCreary County, Kentucky. 

“I founded Three Roots in direct response to the chronic need for more investment capital in central and southern Appalachia and in the broader Southeast. This award allows us to continue to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities throughout the region,” said Three Roots Capital Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Grady Vanderhoofven. “CDFIs play an integral role in helping to lift economies, especially in times of need like this pandemic. We are honored to receive the maximum amount of this CDFI RRP award. Receiving these funds helps us continue to do what we do best: providing capital, connections, business coaching and collaboration in our region.”

Three Roots anticipates the CDFI RRP funds could be used to help address an access to capital gap identified by Techstars in their Assessment of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of the Greater Knoxville Metropolitan Area. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee recently announced the upcoming launch of a Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator in Oak Ridge-Knoxville, which will foster the growth of 30 startups over three years. 

About Three Roots Capital 

Three Roots Capital (Three Roots) is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and as a Community Development Entity (CDE). Because Three Roots is a CDFI, banks that make loans to, grants to, or investments in Three Roots may be eligible to receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit. Three Roots maintains its CDFI certification by making loans and/or investments to companies and projects located in low and moderate income (LMI) census tracts and by providing operational and technical assistance to companies and projects located in such areas. As a CDE, Three Roots is eligible to receive an allocation of federal New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) and to participate in and facilitate NMTC transactions.

Green Llama introduces new line of plastic-free, eco-friendly household cleaners

JOHNSON CITY, TN—June 3, 2021--Green Llama, LLC, a startup out of Johnson City, TN, is on a mission to reduce single-use plastic and carbon emissions with effective, non-toxic cleaners. The company launched online sales on May 1, 2021.  

The difference in Green Llama is in its form. Instead of selling cleaners in a plastic bottle, the company provides all-purpose, glass, and bathroom cleaners in pod form. Simply drop the pod in a spray bottle and add water from the tap. The ingredients are biodegradable, non-toxic and naturally occurring or naturally derived. They are scented with essential oils for a touch of aromatherapy. It’s a truly eco-friendly cleaner that eliminates the need to purchase more throw-away plastic bottles.

The idea for Green Llama was born more than a year ago when Kay Baker, an occupational therapist, was cleaning her home. Baker was tired of buying new plastic bottles every time she ran out of cleaner; a light went on. After a lot of research, testing and many different recipes, she created the formulas for Green Llama. 

“I am passionate about the environment and reducing waste,” Baker said. “I love our products because they make it simple to cut out plastic in the home.”

Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem with an estimated 46,000 pieces of floating plastic per square mile of our oceans. This wreaks havoc with an estimated 1 million sea bird and 100,00 marine mammal deaths annually directly from plastic. With increased awareness, individuals can make a big difference, starting in their homes.

 “We are trying to reduce the amount of single use plastic while also decreasing the energy cost of shipping water around the country,” Baker explained. “Each ready-made cleaner you buy from the store is more than 90% water. Since you already have water in your home, I removed it.”

Green Llama estimates if each household in the United States bought one single pod instead of a single-use plastic bottle, we would save 128 million plastic spray bottles from the landfill.

Green Llama currently sells kitchen, bathroom and all-purpose cleaning pods; sample packs are also available. The company also sells reusable glass bottles for those who have already recycled their plastic bottles.

To learn more or to purchase, visit greenllamaclean.com.

Kindred Healthcare, Tennova Healthcare and UT Medical Center announce opening of Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital 

KNOXVILLE, TN (June 22, 2021) – Kindred Healthcare, Tennova Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) today announced the opening of Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital, located in the new Tennova Health Park at 1250 Tennova Medical Way.

The new 57-bed hospital, with all private rooms, will focus on acute rehabilitation for patients who suffer from stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, complex neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, multiple trauma, amputation and other injuries or disorders. The first patients are expected to be seen later this month.

The 68,000-square-foot, two-story rehabilitation facility will feature therapy gymnasiums outfitted with the latest technology in therapy devices including augmented reality balance training, therapy bionics, and a full body exoskeleton. It will have large multidisciplinary gymnasiums equipped for all therapy services as well as a therapeutic courtyard with exterior amenities, such as a golf chipping range, pickle ball and cornhole.

There is also a dedicated traumatic brain injury unit complete with monitored rooms, specialized beds and patient lifting equipment, and separate therapy and dining spaces. The hospital will also have a unit exclusively for stroke patients, and private, family-friendly rooms with sleeper chairs. Patients will have access to an apartment setting where they can practice daily living tasks before they return home; and pet therapy and community re-entry programs will help ease the transition back to home. For more information about Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital, visit www.knoxvillerehabhospital.com.

“We are excited about this milestone achievement for our community as this collaborative effort was a result of many hours and hard work for all parties involved. This initiative reinforces our mission with our focus on excellence in quality, service and access,” states Tony Benton, Tennova East Market Chief Executive Officer. “Through this joint venture, we are now able to better serve this population with advanced therapies and resources to help them regain quality of life. It has been an honor to work alongside Kindred and The University of Tennessee Medical Center. We are excited to see the continued growth at this location.”

“It is truly rare and unique when competitors can come together to create a collaborative solution that better serves the needs of our patients and the East Tennessee community,” said Joe Landsman, president and chief executive officer of UTMC. “Our patients will directly benefit from this enhanced coordinated delivery of the high-quality, efficient healthcare services throughout the care continuum from when they first enter our system at our medical center through their rehabilitation at Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital and throughout their recovery.”

Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital expects to serve more than 1,200 patients each year. The average length of stay for patients is approximately two weeks. The facility design has been implemented at several Kindred rehabilitation hospitals throughout the country with significant success in enhancing patient outcomes and improving their quality of life.

“We are pleased to open Knoxville Rehabilitation Hospital in partnership with Tennova Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Medical Center—two of the region’s leading healthcare providers,” said Russ Bailey, President, Kindred Rehabilitation. “The new hospital will offer the community increased access to quality care with a team of therapists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to providing high-quality inpatient rehabilitation services and passionate advocacy for patients that enhance the lives of individuals throughout East Tennessee.”

Free legal advice clinic for veterans July 14th

The Knoxville Bar Association would like announce that the Veterans Legal Advice Clinic event will once again be held in person at the Knox County Public Defender’s Office, starting on July 14. 

Any veteran seeking legal help is encouraged to attend the Legal Advice Clinic for Veterans on July 14, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Current CDC guidelines will be followed regarding indoor social distancing and masking for those who are not vaccinated.  Those wishing to wear a mask are welcome to do so regardless of vaccination status.

Veterans who are not able to attend the clinic in person are encouraged to continue to use the telephone clinic option.  Preregistration is required for telephone clinic and veterans are asked to call Legal Aid of East Tennessee at (865)637-0484 to preregister.

This is a general advice clinic with a wide variety of legal issues, including family law, landlord/tenant, bankruptcy, criminal defense, consumer protection, contract disputes, child support, and personal injury, among other issues.

Free Legal Advice Clinic for Veterans

Date of event

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Time

12 Noon – 2:00 P.M.

Location

Knox County Public Defender’s

Community Law Office

1101 Liberty Street

Knoxville, TN 37919

Attorneys will be available to provide consultations in legal issues such as:

  • Landlord/tenant
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal defense
  • Consumer protection
  • Contract disputes
  • Estate Planning
  • Child support
  • Personal injury
  • General Legal Issues

The Veterans’ Legal Advice Clinic is a joint project of the Knoxville Barristers, the Young Lawyers Division of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA), KBA/Barristers Access to Justice Committees, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, the University of Tennessee College of Law, Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, and the local VA office. 

Apex Bank announces grand opening of South Knoxville office

Knoxville, Tenn. Apex Bank will celebrate the Grand Opening of its South Knoxville office with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Knoxville Chamber on July 9, 2021 at 10:00am with festivities taking place from 9AM until 6PM. The office is located at 7570 Mountain Grove Drive, Knoxville, TN 37920.

“We are thrilled to have our doors open, and expand our presence in Knox County, and introduce the Apex Bank brand, and our competitive services to the residents, and business owners of this lively community,” stated Leslie Ford, office manager at the South Knoxville office. “With our relationship-based banking philosophy, Apex Bank is focused on giving back to the community, as well as a highly-regarded level of service, meeting personal and business banking needs. We are so proud of our team, and look forward to celebrating and supporting our community.”

The grand opening will feature food, the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, door prizes, games, reveal of the winners of the Apex coloring contest and more.

Apex Bank delivers high-quality financial services and actively looks for opportunities to engage with local communities to build strong relationships that promote economic stability and growth. Apex Bank currently operates 17 offices across Tennessee, in addition to its Knoxville-based national mortgage-servicing center, where the bank purchases residential and commercial mortgages throughout the country. To learn more about Apex Bank and its commitment to education and community outreach, email press@apexbankcom. Apex Bank is a member of the FDIC.

Axle Logistics new building officially opens

Knoxville, Tenn. – Axle Logistics new headquarters is open, representing a $13 million investment that helps stretch downtown to the north. The 1920s-era building, originally a car dealership, is now a state-of-the-art logistics headquarters from which the movement of goods is coordinated across the U.S. as well as in Canada and Mexico.

“The new facility has helped our team with renewed energy,” said Axle cofounder Jon Clay. “Just as importantly, it has helped us recruit. We’ve added 70 new positions already this year.”

Cofounder Drew Johnson put it this way: “The new space and the amenities it offers us creates the proper setting for our growing team. It fits our culture perfectly”

The project was given a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes incentive, commonly called a PILOT from both the City of Knoxville and Knox County. It was also approved by the Industrial Development Board.

"We appreciate Axle Logistics selecting Knoxville, creating jobs here, and adding to the vibrancy of our city and our neighborhoods," Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. "It's an added bonus that Axle shares our love of historic places and has brought back into reuse a century-old building that has long sat vacant."

“Knox County is a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Axle Logistics saw that when they chose to open their new headquarters here and I know they will help us prove that to the many qualified logistics students graduating from the state’s flagship university. I hope their success and growth continue.”

With an eye to the future, Axle has already purchased an adjoining building.

Axle Logistics is a growing Knoxville company with a focus on providing safe, reliable, advanced logistics services. That includes truckload, less than truckload (LTL), intermodal, and warehousing to customers throughout the continental U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Axle has been repeatedly named to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list and has been recognized as both a Top Workplace and a Top Freight Brokerage firm.

The new headquarters project was managed by Conversion Properties, was designed by Design Innovation Architects, and built by Denark Construction. 

Marc Nelson Denim opens Florida location

Knoxville, TN - Knoxville fashion house Marc Nelson Denim has expanded, opening a second location in the Tampa Bay area. “The Studio” store and showroom will feature men’s accessories and products, Marc Nelson brand denim, and bespoke clothing.  

Situated in a historic house at 716 E. Lime Street in the garden district of Lakeland, Florida, The Studio was designed to provide a unique experience for Marc Nelson Denim customers. Local artist Aaron Corbitt was commissioned to create artwork for three rooms that offer different facets of Marc Nelson Denim: the Johnny Cash Room, housing the Marc Nelson line of denim; the Bob Marley Room, where bespoke tailoring takes place; and the Muhammad Ali Room, where customers waiting to be fitted can watch sports television on custom leather chairs made to look like boxing gloves. Antique furniture and fixtures contribute to the private club environment, and customers will be invited to linger and enjoy a glass of whiskey with owner and designer Marcus Hall.

“We are focusing on appointment only, one-on-one visits with our customers,” said Hall. “We help them find pieces that fit not only their bodies, but their personalities.”

The Knoxville native is looking forward to the expansion. “We want to help gentlemen in Lakeland and the surrounding areas feel their best,” said Hall. “We are excited to join the Lakeland community and hope to be here for years to come.”

About Marc Nelson Denim

Founded in 2010 by Marcus Hall in response to the off-shoring of the American denim industry, Marc Nelson Denim is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based designer clothing brand emphasizing high-quality fabrics, customizable fit and small-batch production. Focused on the customer experience, the company’s trademark red slash signifies the brand's approach to duality: Southern comfort with a contemporary edge. Marc Nelson Denim has locations in Knoxville, Tennessee and Lakeland, Florida.

Shifting the Approach to Healthcare Real Estate Management

In the dynamic, competitive healthcare landscape today, healthcare providers are constantly challenged to operate more efficiently.  The “balancing act” between continuous growth, high-quality care, cost containment, and streamlining operations is a daunting task. In the midst of these challenges, many health systems, physician practices, and other providers overlook the significant potential for strategic and financial opportunities that lie within their real estate portfolios.

Real estate continues to be, and will always be, a critical component in the delivery of healthcare. With most healthcare providers owning or leasing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of square feet of real estate, it comes as no surprise that real estate and facilities typically equate to one of the largest assets on the balance sheet and one of the largest expenses on the income statement. Transitioning from the tactical, day-to-day operational approach to real estate property management, to a more holistic approach rooted in organizational strategy can empower healthcare leaders to utilize a more strategic, business-minded approach to leverage real estate to achieve broader strategic objectives.

While traditional healthcare property management functions like maintenance and work orders, vendor coordination, and building rules and regulations,  are certainly imperative to the successful management of a healthcare facility, they are often tactically focused without consideration of bigger picture strategic and operational considerations across the overall portfolio of properties. Expanding to an all-encompassing portfolio management approach to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats offers a competitive advantage in a versatile environment to those who capitalize on critical operational and strategic opportunities related to real estate.

There are a number of key elements in effective portfolio management including strategic alignment, portfolio tracking and reporting, relationship management, enterprise facility management, and regulatory compliance. To learn more, download our white paper, “Healthcare Real Estate Portfolio Management: Shifting the Approach to Healthcare Real Estate Management.”

For more information on RTG insights and solutions, visit the RTG Innovation Center.

About Realty Trust Group

Realty Trust Group, LLC (“RTG”) is a real estate advisory and services firm offering a full spectrum of real estate services including advisory, development, transactions, operations and compliance.

Since 1998, RTG has helped hospitals, physician groups, and property owners navigate the rapidly changing industry with growth strategies that gain market leadership as well as enhance patient and physician experiences for better delivery of care. Our philosophy is to provide innovative solutions to the complex and challenging issues found in today’s healthcare real estate market. These solutions include strategic campus and facility planning, portfolio optimization, portfolio monetization, project development, leasing, acquisition and disposition services, portfolio management, regulatory compliance and many other ideas and services. For more information about RTG and our innovative healthcare real estate services, visit www.realtytrustgroup.com, Facebook, LinkedIn, or call 865-521-0630.

Tennessee Memory Disorders Foundation to launch July 1

June 30, 2021 – Knoxville, Tenn. – Dr. Monica Crane, a board-certified geriatrician and founder of Genesis Neuroscience Clinic, will launch the non-profit, Tennessee Memory Disorders Foundation (TMDF), on Thursday, July 1 to address the increasing number of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s “2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report,” there are an estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s dementia. As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s increases, so does the need for healthcare providers, caregivers, research and education.

TMDF will seek to aid in meeting those challenges. 

“First, TMDF will train and mentor students, healthcare professionals, and community advocates to become future providers and leaders in memory disorder care,” said Cheryl Rice, President of the TMDF board of directors. “Second, the non-profit will promote health through raising awareness of the need for research and participation in research trials designed to shed light on these devastating diseases that disproportionally affect older Americans. In addition, TMDF – through its charitable clinic – Genesis Neuroscience Clinic, will provide direct patient care on a sliding fee basis.”

According to Crane, TMDF will use its donations to compensate interns while promoting the non-profit’s mission into every step and decision made regarding the mentoring program.

“Genesis Neuroscience Clinic’s mentoring program allows a diverse group of undergraduates a direct pathway into medical school,” said Crane. “The clinic gives opportunities by providing these paid leadership roles with the goal of giving students the best hands-on clinical experience they can have in addition to guidance on how to apply and be admitted into medical school.”

To donate to TMDF, visit tmdf.org/donate/ or mail to 1400 Dowell Springs Blvd #340, Knoxville, Tenn., 37909.

ETMAC, Knoxville Chamber release 2021 Military Economic Impact Report 

The Knoxville area’s military installations and activities generate an estimated $2.98 billion in economic impact each year, according to a study conducted by the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council (ETMAC), in cooperation with the Knoxville Chamber. Data for this study was collected in 2019 and updates the previous study completed in 2017 which showed an impact of $1.8 billion.

The study calculated the monetary impact of the active duty, guard, and reserve components of the US Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The study takes into account the annual payroll of active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian personnel, expenditures for construction, supplies, services and materials, indirect jobs resulting from military personnel and military contracts given to area businesses and other factors like retirees’ pay and veterans’ benefits.

“ETMAC completes this economic analysis to provide business and civic leaders a discernable look at the significant contribution that the military and defense programs make to the economy of East Tennessee,” said BG Geoff Freeman, US Army, retired, and President of ETMAC. “Because the military is one of the major drivers of economic activity in our area, in terms of direct and indirect jobs, supplies and services, and costs to maintain, train and operate facilities, our hope is that business and civic leaders will consider policies and actions that support and help retain this valuable resource in East Tennessee.”

The economic impact – measured for the year Fiscal Year 2019 is as follows:

Veteran’s Benefits: $816,460,118 million

Active Duty/Guard/Reserves: $327,057,646 million

Dept. of Defense Contracts: $1,378,009,000 billion

Military Retirees: $458,373,672 million

Total: $2.98 billion

The analysis uses the U.S. Department of Defense methodology to measure activity within 50 miles of Knoxville. The largest installations from an economic standpoint were the McGhee Tyson Tennessee Air National Guard Base and the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, TN Army National Guard. Also, more than 9,000 + military retirees live within the 50-mile radius. Several organizations rank Tennessee in the “top ten” most desirable places for military retirees, based on such factors as: the state's cost of living, taxes imposed by the state, city, and county, the availability of a military base and veterans administration facilities, primary care facilities, dentists, shopping stores, banking services, senior citizen services, as well as having a variety of recreational activities.

“It is always important to recognize and honor the contributions of our local military units,” said Freeman. “We hope this report will encourage local businesses to take special care of the many men and women who serve our country, and recognize how important they are to our national defense, as well as our local economy.”

Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe announce Flex-N-Gate to expand Blount County operations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Flex-N-Gate officials announced today that the company will expand its operations, creating 91 new jobs in Blount County.

Flex-N-Gate, an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplier, specializes in manufacturing plastic, metal, lighting and mechanical assemblies. The company will invest $5.5 million to upgrade and expand its Rockford manufacturing facility and increase production in lighting materials.

Flex-N-Gate has been manufacturing automotive parts since the 1960s. Headquartered in Urbana, Ill., Flex-N-Gate currently employs approximately 185 people at its Rockford location and 23,000 throughout the world. For employment inquiries please go to www.Flex-N-Gate.com.

Over the last five years, TNECD has supported nearly 70 economic development projects in East Tennessee, resulting in 9,000 commitments and $2.5 billion in capital investment.

“Supporting the companies in our automotive sector is key to the success and growth of Tennessee’s economy. I’m pleased to have Flex-N-Gate expand its Rockford operations, and I thank them for creating over 90 new jobs in Blount County.” – Gov. Bill Lee

“Tennessee is home to over 900 automotive suppliers, and since last year we have seen more than $2.3 billion invested in the automotive sector. At TNECD, we are focused on doing all that we can to support these companies so that when they are looking to grow, Tennessee is the clear choice. Thank you, Flex-N-Gate, for choosing Tennessee.” – TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe

“We would like to thank the state of Tennessee and Blount County for making Rockford the best place to locate this project. Flex-N-Gate looks forward to continued growth and job creation in partnership with TNECD and Blount County.” ­– Bill Beistline, Flex-N-Gate executive vice president of Metals and Procurement

“TVA and Maryville Electric Department congratulate Flex-n-Gate on its decision to expand in Blount County. It’s always an exciting day when we can celebrate a company’s commitment to continued growth in the Valley, and we are proud to partner with the Blount Partnership and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to support Flex-n-Gate’s business success.” – John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development

“It’s no surprise to me that Flex-n-Gate is making a $5.5 million investment in Blount County to expand their operations and create 91 new jobs. Tennessee, especially Blount County, is a great place to do business. We are grateful to Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe and local officials for securing these jobs and this investment.” – Sen. Art Swann (R-Maryville)

“In Blount County, part of our mission has always been to help our existing companies expand and grow. We are grateful that Flex-N-Gate has the confidence to make this investment in our community.” ­– Rep. Jerome Moon (R-Maryville)

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The 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 Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.

Big Kahuna Wing Festival becomes strategic gateway to World Food Championships

One of Knoxville’s most anticipated food events, the Big Kahuna Wing Festival, is back and has been named a Super Regional Qualifier for the world’s largest Food Sport event, World Food Championships (WFC). 

Through this regional gateway program, the event will qualify five local Knoxville cooks to compete at WFC’s 9th Annual Main Event, November 5-7, in Dallas, Texas, where more than $300,000 in prize money is up for grabs.

“The Big Kahuna Festival is personally one of my favorite events to attend annually, and we’re happy to be able to welcome them back as a regional qualifier for cooks and chefs who want to compete on a global stage,” said Mike McCloud, WFC President and CEO. “These strategic qualifiers not only highlight the great local cuisine from America’s diverse regions, but they end up giving passionate cooks a chance at WFC to develop life-long friends who share the same passion and purpose of food through competition.”

The September 5th Big Kahuna Wing Festival is expected to fill Downtown Knoxville with its flavorful and alluring aroma of hot wings on the barbie. The festival will feature over 15,000 pounds of wings to be enjoyed by attendees and then ranked by WFC’s E.A.T.™ certified judges.

Any E.A.T.™ certified foodie who is interested in putting his or her taste buds to the tests and judging some of the best wings in the South can apply here. If you’re not E.A.T.™ certified yet, simply take WFC’s online certification course at www.wfcfoodjudge.com to become eligible.

The WFC 2021 qualifying event –– which will be held at the World's Fair Park Performance Lawn located between the Sunsphere and 11th Street –– is currently accepting cooking team applications here. Participating teams will be whipping up their best wing recipes for a chance to take home the event’s $10,000 prize purse and “Tennessee’s Best Wings-2021” bragging rights.

VIP tickets go on sale July 5th, while General Admission tickets will be available August 5th. Tickets are available at https://www.bkwfestival.com/ticket-info/. 

More information on the Big Kahuna Wing Festival can be found at https://www.bkwfestival.com/. 

In the meantime, stay up-to-date on all things Food Sport, follow the World Food Championships on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships).

About Big Kahuna Wing Festival

This year, the 8th annual Big Kahuna Wing Festival celebrates the creation of the “Buffalo Wing”, which has become a national food icon. Invented in 1964 at the world famous Anchor Bar by Teresa Bellisimo, the popularity of the chicken wing has made it America’s #1 appetizer. Last year alone over 20 billion wings were consumed by Americans, 1.25 billion on Super Bowl weekend alone.

The Big Kahuna Wing Festival has become one of the best culinary events in the region. Last year the festival drew over 8,000 attendees who enjoyed over 100 different sauces from 40 different teams representing restaurants, cooking teams, businesses, and The University of Tennessee Culinary Institute. Attendees and visitors come from all over the region. All for the love of the “Buffalo Wing” and to raise money for charity.

About World Food Championships

The World Food Championships (WFC) is the highest stakes food competition in the world. This multi-day, live event culinary competition showcases some of the world's best cooks who compete for food, fame and fortune in 10 categories (Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Dessert, Recipe, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup and Steak). In 2019, more than 450 culinary teams from 11 countries and 42 American states competed in WFC’s Main Event. In August, the 10 Category Champs went head-to-head for a $100,000 bonus that determined a new World Food Champion in a TV special called The Final Table: Indianapolis. While contestants have to earn their way into WFC by winning a Golden Ticket at a previous competition, potential judges are welcome to take WFC’s online certification course that explains the E.A.T. methodology. Certified judges then request and receive available seats at the next scheduled WFC event. Click here to learn more about getting certified.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: Knoxville-area SERVPRO franchisees recognized for outstanding achievement

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