E-newsletter Vol. 12


April 2006

ORNL Provides our Region with a Competitive Advantage

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) day trip provided Sullivan County officials and business leaders with insight to the abundance of opportunities awaiting our area through ORNL Economic Development and Partnership programs. ORNL is about science and intellectual property. Now under the management of UT-Battelle, these programs:

  • Encourage Tennessee businesses to use the laboratories for testing and research;
  • Assist with the startup of new businesses through technology licensing and research partnerships;
  • Give Tennessee entrepreneurs access to ideas for cutting-edge businesses and new markets; and
  • Aide businesses with identification and implementation of solutions to technical problems that threaten the profitability of the business.
  • Right: Dr. Terry Payne, director of economic development for ORNL, talks with the group about automotive research.

    Attendees received a first-hand glimpse to see how years of government-investment at ORNL can be used to assist our area businesses and attract new businesses.


    Not only can businesses utilize the facilities and researchers, but they can also take advantage of the $270 million ORNL spends annually through procurement opportunities. Dr. Terry Payne, director of economic development for ORNL, will address these procurement opportunities and other exciting advancements potentially available to our area at the NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership board meeting on Thursday, April 20. For more on the trip, view the Kingsport Times-News article.


    Sullivan County continues to lead the area in median household income

    Median household income provides a good measure of a region's income because it is the middle of the spectrum. Average income can be skewed from an excess of high incomes or low incomes. By using the MHHI measurement you can more accurately reflect the income of an area. Sullivan County is increasing the gap from area counties as a result of a large number of successful manufacturing companies and our concentration of health care employees. With this demonstrated advantage, Sullivan County is working to close the gap on the state MHHI. Part of NETWORKS’ mission is to exceed the state MHHI and approach the U.S. MHHI by recruiting new businesses with higher quality jobs and helping our existing companies be more successful.



    The FISH! is coming to Bristol, thanks to the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. The FISH! is a nationally recognized program that encourages businesses to reinvigorate their employees, their work environment and productivity. The one-day seminar shows organizations how to bring more passion, focus, commitment and fun to work through a philosophy adopted from fishmongers, who despite a difficult work environment, found ways to bring remarkable energy, commitment and creativity to their work. Click here for more information on this excellent seminar for work force development.


    The Career Fast Track Program is a unique partnership among Northeast State Technical Community College, area high schools and industries to help meet regional needs for a highly qualified workforce. The dual enrollment program allows high school seniors to attend Northeast State during the second half of their senior year to take technical courses not available in high school. After completing four fundamental courses in electromechanical technology, eligible students may apply for a paid co-op experience at one of the participating industries while continuing to work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree and full employment with attractive salaries and benefits. The first class is made up of 20 students representing seven area high schools. This innovative effort enables students in high school to complete between 12-15 hours of college level credit in a technical education program prior to their high school graduation.


    The Career Fast Track Program enhances basic reading, writing, and math skills and provides a qualified applicant pool for the region’s business and industry. Successful program participants will be eligible for jobs that pay $35,000-$60,000 annually.


    “It is exciting to see how the cooperative efforts of our community, colleges, employers and human resource businesses find solutions to provide the best work force possible.” NETWORKS Staff


    Northeast State, in cooperation with Stewart and Associates, has provided a new component to the Fast Track Program. This is a pilot project introducing the 20 participants to the importance of developing communication and personal skills.


    The “Who We are Counts” program is a leadership seminar typically offered to executives in the business world. Mr. Jeff Brunson, Stewart and Associates' representative and instructor, adapted the program for these young people. Kathy Coleman, director of Northeast State’s Advising & Assessment Center, said, “Many of these students were unaware of the importance of presenting themselves in a professional manner.” Emphasis was placed on understanding the impact of non-verbal communication with employers and/or potential employers.


    In addition to the "Who We are Counts" curriculum, students toured local industries to learn more about the employment opportunities available in the Northeast Tennessee region. Coleman assisted students with college orientation, administrative paperwork, financial aid and scholarship applications, and career planning. She was very enthusiastic about the students’ participation and eagerness. A measure of the program’s success will come this fall when these students return to Northeast State to complete the requirements for the Associate of Applied Science degree. The transition from high school to college can often be overwhelming. However, these students have an advantage over most entering freshman. They will have completed 50 percent of the requirements toward the Associate of Applied Science. The cooperation and continued efforts of President William Locke and Northeast State are making a difference and ensuring that a qualified work force is and will be available for existing and new businesses.



    The efforts of major stakeholders in the housing options initiative are yielding some preliminary results. Almost 2,000 lots and/or homes are being considered for potential development. These possible developments range from affordable to elite housing options (including sites/homes on golf courses, rivers, and lakes). This diversity in housing options at a good value emphasizes that Sullivan County is a great place to live and work. City development officials, our Chambers of Commerce and developers are all taking an active part to enhance the housing opportunities in the Sullivan County area.



    Some of the region’s biggest companies, as well as buyers from all levels of the government, will assemble on April 20 in the Tri-Cities to look for business opportunities with small, minority and women-owned businesses. In an effort to bring economic growth to small and diversity-owned businesses in Northeast Tennessee, the Department of Economic & Community Development (ECD) has selected the Tri-Citites region to host the first Tennessee Business Matchmaking conference.

    This newly created program matches small, minority, and women-owned businesses with private and public sector buyers who have real contracting opportunities, and it schedules them to meet in 15-minute appointments. Never before has an event like this been made available to businesses in the Tri-Cities and Northeast Tennessee. In one day, a small business owner can meet buyers from all levels of government, including the Tri-Cities Chattanooga, Knoxville, the state of Tennessee and the federal government. For a complete list of buyers or to register for Tennessee Business Matchmaking, visit www.tnecd.gov/matchmaking


    Featured Property

    Leitner Building

    · Two floors (2nd and 3rd) measuring approximately 20,000 square feet


    · 24-hour security on site


    · Class A office space in newly renovated building


    This property is located at 340 Edgemont Avenue in Bristol, Tenn. The two floors available (2nd and 3rd) in this newly renovated building offer premium office space. Large open space, conference rooms, break rooms and phone switching rooms are also available. This property features lighted parking with 24-hour on-site security. For more information, contact NETWORKS at 423-279-7681 or inquiry@networkstn.com.

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