Northeast Tennessee Valley Strategically Positioned for Growth
With its well-educated and trained workforce, low business and utility costs and an abundance of shovel-ready sites, the 15-county Northeast Tennessee Valley region offers a host of advantages for expanding and relocating businesses.
“The Northeast Tennessee Valley provides a really welcoming business climate, with 15 counties and their respective communities that operate as a true regional partnership,” says Alicia Summers, executive director of the Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association (NETVRIDA). “This gives us the ability to collectively market our superior assets, including skilled labor, diverse education offerings, transportation arteries, data communications connectivity and a hospitable quality of life.”
The region boasts a multifaceted economy that includes medical technologies, automotive suppliers, corporate headquarters, distribution facilities and a range of manufacturers.
“We are a close-knit group who work hard to make jobs happen here,” says Tommy Olterman, project manager for Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development. “Our location to the major markets makes us very attractive to companies to locate here and to expand.”
One such company is Japanese automotive bearing manufacturer Koyo. The company first located in Washington County in 2006, investing $27 million in a facility that produces tapered roller bearings used in vehicle axle and transmission systems. In November 2010, Koyo broke ground on a $30 million, 61,000-square-foot expansion projected for completion in 2011. The company plans to increase its local workforce from 60 to 125 employees over the next three years.
“The educational programs we have were key to Koyo’s decision to locate and expand here,” says P.C. Snapp, executive director of Washington County’s economic development board, noting that programs were tailored to meet the needs of the company and the Japanese families that located there.
Ideal for Expansion
Koyo is not the only company that has found recent success in its Northeast Tennessee Valley location. Plastics manufacturer Double H Plastics, which expanded its Pennsylvania- and Indiana-based operations to Morristown in 2008, and employs 100, thrives in the region. The GE plant in Morristown, which produces breaker boxes for commercial buildings, also recently expanded its operations.
The Bloomington, Minn.-based Donaldson Company, a worldwide provider of filtration systems and replacement parts for industrial and engine markets, announced plans to relocate three of its production lines from an out-of-state facility and expand its current facility in Greene County, investing $2 million. The expansion will create 85 jobs within the next two years.
Having a regional industrial association that works collectively to market community assets means that communities can take advantage of targeted advertising opportunities, exhibiting at national and international trade shows and putting the power of an unmatched utility – TVA – behind its efforts with site-location consultants and initiatives such as this year’s effort to target the suppliers and multipliers in the Toronto market, says NETVRIDA’s Summers.
“It all adds up to a global presence, resulting in jobs and investment for our region,” she says. “This region has a labor force of more than 300,000 skilled workers, meaningful incentives, a strategic transportation network and a can-do attitude that have created a strong and growing economy.”