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Automotive Suppliers


Automotive Suppliers Strength in Sullivan County

  • The labor shed has more than 3,500 people employed in the automotive equipment manufacturing industry.
  • There has been a 17% growth in automotive equipment manufacturing jobs in the past three years.
  • The labor shed hosts more than 1,200 machinists.
  • 11 automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are located within 300 miles of Sullivan County:
    • 113 miles- BMW  (Greer, South Carolina)
    • 146 miles- Toyota  (Buffalo, West Virginia)
    • 158 miles- Toyota  (Georgetown, Kentucky)
    • 185 miles- Volkswagen  (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
    • 211 miles- Ford  (Louisville, Kentucky)
    • 211 miles- Ford - Truck Assembly Plant  (Louisville, Kentucky)
    • 217 miles- General Motors  (Bowling Green, Kentucky)
    • 224 miles- Nissan  (Smyrna, Tennessee)
    • 250 miles- General Motors  (Spring Hill, Tennessee)
    • 258 miles- Honda  (Marysville, Ohio)
    • 258 miles- Toyota  (Huntsville, Alabama)
  • Sullivan County's labor shed features more workers in the following industries than the average US labor shed:
    • 594% more motor vehicle steering and suspension component manufacturing
    • 207% more motor vehicle body manufacturing
    • 182% more transmission and power train manufacturing
    • 136% more motor vehicle gasoline engine and engine parts manufacturing
    • 92% more motor vehicle brake system manufacturing
  • Business Facilities ranked Tennessee the #1 state in the nation for Automotive Manufacturing Strength in 2013.
  • Tennessee exported $6.7 billion of transportation equipment in 2013.
  • Sullivan County is located in a Foreign Trade Zone.


Skilled Labor

  • Less than 3.5% of employees in Sullivan County are members of a union.
  • Tennessee is a right-to-work state.
  • In Sullivan County's labor shed, over 3,500 people are employed in occupations relevant to the automotive industry.
  • Breakdown of skilled labor:
    • 4,898 Maintenance and Repair Workers    Chart showing Sullivan County, TN workforce numbers compared to the US average
    • 2,356 Electricians
    • 1,377 Welders
    • 1,209 Machinists
    • 774 Industrial Machinery Mechanics
    • 680 Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters
    • 674 Sheet Metal Workers
    • 362 Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters
    • 321 Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Operators
    • 319 Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters
    • 317 Coating, Painting, and Spray Machine Operators
    • 214 Tool and Die Makers
    • 145 Millwrights
    • 139 Plating and Coating Machine Setters
    • 130 Rolling Machine Setters
    • 53 Forging Machine Setters


  • Engineering Talent (Our labor shed is home to the following numbers of engineers):
    • 924 Industrial Engineers
    • 776 Mechanical Engineers
    • 696 Civil Engineers
    • 544 Electrical Engineering Technicians
    • 397 Electrical Engineers
    • 271 Industrial Engineering Technicians
    • 227 Chemical Engineers
    • 195 Health and Safety Engineers
    • 154 Mechanical Engineering Technicians
    • 79 Materials Engineers


Electric Power

  • We are served by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and AEP (American Electric Power, an S&P 500 Company)
  • The average industrial rate for electricity in Tennessee is one of the top-10 lowest rates in the United States
  • TVA is one of the largest operators of electric transmission in the US with an approximately 16,000-mile (26,000 km) corridor of transmission (13,000 miles (21,000 km) of which is greater than 161kv).
  • TVA's power mix as of 2012 is 11 coal-powered plants, 29 hydroelectric dams, three nuclear power plants (with six operating reactors), nine simple cycle natural gas plants, and five combined cycle gas plants. In 2012 coal generation was about 32% of total, nuclear 34%, hydro 9%, and (owned) gas 11%.
  • AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile (63,000 km)-network that includes 765 kilovolt ultra-high voltage transmission lines, more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.



  • Interstates 81 & 26 Intersect in Sullivan County
  • Sullivan County is served by 2 Class I Railroads - CSX & Norfolk Southern
  • Tri-Cities Regional Airport
    • Served by Delta Airlines, US Airways, and Allegiant Air
    • Nonstop Access to: Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, and St. Petersburg
    • Primary Runway - 8,000' x 150'
    • Upgraded Instrument Landing System
    • More than 200,000 passenger boardings per year

Click here for more on Transportation


Construction Costs

  • According to RSMeans Construction Cost Data, Sullivan County is less expensive than the following:
    • $22/sq. ft. less expensive than the US average to build a manufacturing facility and $16/sq. ft. less to build a warehouse
    • $9/sq. ft. less expensive to build a manufacturing facility than in Nashville and $6/sq. ft. less to build a warehouse than in Nashville
    • $11/sq. ft. less expensive to build a manufacturing facility than in Atlanta and $8/sq. ft. less to build a warehouse than in Atlanta
    • $13/sq. ft. less expensive to build a manufacturing facility than in Lexington, Kentucky and $10/sq. ft. less to build a warehouse than in Lexington, Kentucky
    • $15/sq. ft. less expensive to build a manufacturing facility than in Cincinnati, Ohio, and $11/sq. ft. less to build a warehouse than in Cincinnati, Ohio


Workforce Training

  • Northeast State Community College has the following programs at their Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing:
    • CAD/CAM
    • Engineering Technology
    • Industrial Electronics
    • Industrial Production
    • Industrial Technology
    • Mechanical Engineering Technologies
    • Welding


  • The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) in Sullivan County is a public-private workforce training center.  The 26,000 sq. ft. facility is funded by Eastman, Domtar Corporation, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, City of Kingsport, State of Tennessee, and Northeast State Community College.  The RCAM offers programs in the following fields pertinent to the automotive cluster:
    • Electrical Technology
    • Electromechanical Technology
    • General Technology
    • Machine Tool
    • Welding/Metal Fabrication

    Additionally RCAM offers Job Specific Pre-Employment and On-The-Job Training, testing and assessments, as well as space to setup mock industrial lines on which to train workers. 


  • The Regional Center for Automotive Programs in Sullivan County
    • Prepares individuals for employment in the auto-body and painting industry


Research and Development

  • The University of Tennessee is part of the Automotive Research Alliance between these 7 universities: Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State, Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Alabama at Birmingham, Kentucky, and Tennessee
  • Additionally, the University of Tennessee has a Transportation Research Center
  • Virginia Tech has a Transportation Institute which focuses on the following: Virginia Tech Center for Vehicle Systems & Safety, Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory, Vehicle Terrain Performance Laboratory, Performance Engineering Research Laboratory, Intelligent Transportation Laboratory

Support Services

  • 67 Machine Shops
  • 23 Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturers
  • 13 Tool and Die Companies
  • 10 Electroplating, Polishing, and Anodizing Manufacturers
  • 9 Metal Coating and Engraving Manufacturers
  • 9 Sheet Metal Work Manufacturers
  • 7 Plate Work Manufacturers
  • 4 Machine Tool Manufacturers
  • 3 Cutting Tool and Machine Tool Accessory Manufacturers
  • 3 Rolled Steel Shape Manufacturing
  • 3 Alumnium Rolling, Drawing, and Extruding

  • Low Natural Disaster Risk

    • According to usa.com, Sullivan County has a 34.60 Tornado Index which is much lower than the US average of 136.45 and Tennessee’s average of 175.35
    • According to usa.com, Sullivan County has a 0.16 Earthquake Index compared to a US average of 1.81.


    Additional Information

    Source of Business and Labor Numbers:  Troy University

    Our Community

    Sullivan County, Tennessee is home to companies and attractions known around the world.  Browse our website to learn all the reasons you should join Eastman, Bell Helicopter, Domtar, Teleperformance, Home Shopping Network, Bristol Motor Speedway, and many others by locating a facility in Sullivan County!


      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      10368 Wallace Alley St., Suite 1, Kingsport, TN 37663
    PO Box 747, Blountville, TN 37617

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