Northeast Tennessee Valley Businesses Embrace Innovation
Congratulations are in order.
A number of companies in the Northeast Tennessee Valley are experiencing success thanks to recent growth or rapid expansion. Many of the companies – from entrepreneurial startups to international corporations – are flourishing and growing fast because they embrace innovation.
One such company is wireless handset remanufacturer Touchstone Wireless, which formed in Bristol in 2005 as a merger of two local startups, both of which started out of garages. Touchstone has grown to 700 employees and occupies 102,000 square feet of manufacturing space. It was recently acquired by Fortune 500 wireless support and distribution company Brightpoint, whose clientele includes major wireless companies such as T-Mobile. The Brightpoint acquisition could bring even more jobs to the region.
“The combination of our companies provides Touchstone with access to greater resources, from logistics and distribution to repair and recycling,” Touchstone Wireless chairman and co-founder Allen Hurley says. Touchstone is one of the top employers in Bristol, and Hurley says the company prides itself on developing green technology.
This Deal is Electric
Another Northeast Tennessee Valley innovation success story is Exide Technologies, which also has a manufacturing base in Bristol and recently contracted with Chrysler to begin shipping advanced electric-car batteries to the automaker.
Revved and Ready
In Johnson City, a family-owned metal fabrication manufacturer, JD Squared, relocated from Florida two years ago. The company utilizes skilled machinists to create high-tech automotive parts for the NASCAR racing industry. Because of their business ties to NASCAR, owners Bob and Kim Hughes point out that having their company in Johnson City is ideal because of its close proximity to Bristol Motor Speedway.
Heavy Dose of Fiber
Meanwhile, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services is an electric, telephone, Internet and cable provider that helps nurture others in the area by recruiting new high-tech industries and helping support businesses that have recently relocated or expanded. BTES began an aggressive marketing campaign in January 2011 to recruit more businesses to Bristol.
Mike Browder, BTES chief executive officer, says the high-speed Internet technology company has started to heavily promote Bristol through national trade publications, trade shows, media conferences and technology-based websites.
“We’re doing this with a big splash,” Browder says. “We’re going to show everybody who we are and what we look like. Bristol is a really high-tech community with full fiber access and an extensive electricity system. We need to start letting that be known.”