CONTACT: Dana Glenn FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TELEPHONE: 423-279-7682 October 9, 2019
NETWORKS Board Member, Staff Recognized by Tennessee Economic Development Council (TEDC)
BLOUNTVILLE, TN – A NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership Board Member and two staff were recognized at the annual Tennessee Economic Development Council (TEDC) Awards event, at its fall conference earlier this month.
Carolyn Ferrell, Vice President of HR and Community Relations for The Robinette Company, and past NETWORKS Board Chairman, was recognized as the 2019 TEDC Volunteer of the Year for her commitment to volunteerism in economic development projects across the region.
Carolyn has served the board in a variety of roles over the past six years, including Secretary-Treasurer, Chairman-Elect, and Chairman. During her two years as Chairman, NETWORKS totaled 19 projects worth more than $550 million in capital investment and 1,100 new jobs. Carolyn currently serves as the Immediate Past Chairman on the NETWORKS Board and has served on numerous other organizations’ leadership teams over the years.
“Carolyn has proven to be the go-to person for any organization, cause, initiative, event, or issue when it comes to workforce or economic development,” said CEO of NETWORKS Clay Walker. “In addition to her unprecedented service to the NETWORKS Board, she has also provided her talents to other community programs such as the Workforce Readiness Committee, Teacher Industry Day, Work-Base Learning, and the Workforce Investment Board.”
Ronnie Price, NETWORKS Economic Development specialist, received the 2019 TEDC Lifetime Member Award, recognizing the 36 years spent in economic development. Prior to his time at NETWORKS, Ronnie served as CEO of the Weakley County Economic Development Board for 13 years, and the Industrial Developer for the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board for 23 years.
Ronnie has served as President of the Tennessee Economic Development Council, Chairman of the Tennessee Economic Partnership Marketing Committee, Chairman of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Development Association, and is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council.
“Ronnie was one of the first economic developers I met when I moved to Tennessee about 17 years ago. We were the first two to arrive at a TEP dinner in Anaheim, so I got a chance to visit with him for a while before others arrived and I remember being impressed with him in that short amount of time. As the years went by, I’ve only grown more impressed and am so happy that he has joined our team where we are all learning and benefitting from his incredible knowledge about our profession. But it was the team from West Tennessee who nominated Ronnie for the Lifetime Membership Award,” said NETWORKS CEO Clay Walker. “He is truly as respected and accomplished and just plain liked as anyone in our field. He’s a professional at all times, but more importantly, he is a friend to all of us who get to do this incredible job. He makes us all proud to be economic developers and sets a high standard for which to aim.”
Clay Walker, CEcD, NETWORKS CEO, was appointed as the East Tennessee Director of the TEDC Board of Directors. TEDC is a statewide, non-profit organization created to unite the efforts of its members in furthering industrial development in the state of Tennessee. It promotes cooperation and understanding among the individual members of the council and the varied interests they represent.
“As a board, we encourage our staff to be active in professional organizations. Clay has been a longtime member of the Tennessee Economic Partnership Board, having chaired that group in 2017. I think it’s a great reflection on NETWORKS, as well as Clay, that he be asked to represent our region on the leadership team of TEDC,” said Bill Sumner, Board Chairman of NETWORKS.
TEDC is the statewide professional organization for people involved in economic development. The awards ceremony was held during the TEDC Annual Fall Conference which was held in Franklin, Tennessee this year.
NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership is the economic development organization serving the Northeastern Tennessee communities of Sullivan – including investor partners Bluff City, Bristol, and Kingsport – and Hawkins County. To learn more about NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, please visit networkstn.com.
Happy Economic Development Week!
Created by the International Economic Development Council in 2016, the goal of Economic Development Week (EDW) is to increase awareness for local programs that attract jobs, advance career development opportunities, and increase the quality of life in communities everywhere.
Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing information about different facets of economic development. First up, let’s learn about what we do here at NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership.
NETWORKS is the economic development organization (EDO) that represents Sullivan County, its cities of Bluff City, Bristol, and Kingsport, and Hawkins County’s Phipps Bend Industrial Park. When you break it down, our name is an acronym for Northeast Tennessee Works. We have a small but mighty team of five with expertise in project management, industry recruitment, marketing, workforce development, management, event planning, and existing industry management.
Our main focuses are the recruitment of new industry and retention (and growth) of existing industry. We do this in a multitude of ways – lead generation from targeted trade shows and industry conferences, connecting prospects and existing industry with funding sources, submitting RFPs for projects, and arranging consultant visits to name a few – and we work with many different partners, including local municipalities, local utilities, AEP, TVA, and TNECD.
2019 Robot Drone League
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – STREAMWORKS will host a Robot Drone League (RDL) this fall, September - December. Kick-off weekend is September 6th, 4 - 9 pm and September 7th, 12 pm - 6 pm. Teams of 6 - 8 students are encouraged to register as a group but individual registrations are equally supported. Individual students will be assigned to a team of 6 - 8 members near to their age group.
Teams will voluntarily meet either on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday from 4 - 8 pm and Saturdays from 12 - 6 pm. RDL will culminate with an end of season Championship Tournament on December 7th, 2019 and then an RDL showcase at the 2019 Model City LEGO Expo on December 14th, 2019.
No experience necessary, accepting age groups 7 - 15 years of age. Cost is $250. Transportation and food are not provided.
Creativity and innovation are key elements to advancing the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into the future. The RDL (Robot Drone League) challenge was designed to provide students with open-ended challenges that allow them to create and innovate using their hands and minds. Students then have the opportunity to develop real-world connections to what they are learning in the classroom. Working with robots in a collaborative game format can be a very powerful tool to engage students and enhance their math and science skills through hands-on, student-centered learning. Through participation in the RDL (Robot Drone League), students can develop the essential life skills of teamwork and collaboration, as well as the critical thinking, project management, and communication skills required to become the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers in our global society. The RDL “Tower Takeover” 2019 Challenge, presented by STREAMWORKS, is designed to inspire students to develop a lifelong passion for learning and interest in pursuing educational and career opportunities in STEM fields.
Please visit www.streamworkseducation.org for more information.
Based in Kingsport, Tennessee, STREAMWORKS is an educational non-profit program that delivers enhanced opportunities for students (grades K–12) to participate in exciting mentor and project-based programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills; inspire innovation; and foster well-rounded life capabilities.
Executive Director STREAMWORKS
Office: (423) 579.4083
Happy Economic Development Week!
Regionalism… what is it? We hear the word so frequently that it can lose its meaning. Webster defines regionalism as (a) consciousness of and loyalty to a distinct region with a homogenous population and (b) development of a political or social system based on one or more such areas. In our office, we define regionalism as “a collaborative culture that benefits us all.” We’re firm believers that with regional growth, we don’t get a smaller piece of the pie, the pie gets bigger.
Most folks are aware of our partnership with Hawkins County. Here are a few of the examples of how we work regionally:
Northeast Tennessee Red Carpet Tour – The NETN Red Carpet Tour is a 2 ½ day fam tour, where we roll out the red carpet for site location consultants. (If you’re new to
the economic development world, site location consultants connect companies and communities; it’s crucial for them to know everything that a community has to offer!) We visit Eastman, tour the RCAM and discuss its education system, share information on infrastructure and utilities, tour Aerospace Park, host a Songwriter’s Night with a Grammy-Award winning songwriter at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and wrap things up with a VIP experience at the iconic night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
We’re supported on this event by our friends at Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, Blount Partnership, Greene County Partnership, and the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP). Each organization has the opportunity to network and formally present their community story to event guests.
This event has received an award from the International Economic Development Council.
Tri-Cities Quality of Life Video – The Tri-Cities Quality of Life video was launched in May 2018 and was intended to be a gift to the region. Following the success of the award-winning NETWORKS Community Video, this video focuses strictly on how incredible the quality of life is in our region. All three Tri-Cities communities receive equal representation, with famous landmarks from surrounding Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia communities sprinkled in, as well.
If you are interested in having the NETWORKS logo bookends replaced with your company logo, please contact us for the licensing agreement.
Composites Coalition Partnership – We are partnering with Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley to co-host a Composites Coalition quarterly meeting on Wednesday, May 15, at RCAM. As the composites industry continues to grow in Tennessee, we want to ensure that our existing composites related companies have the support they need to thrive and that our community is positioned correctly to attract other composites companies.
Support of other EDOs – We are proud to support the work of other economic development organizations, including our friends at NeTREP. NeTREP has increased its focus on Outdoor Development and Talent Recruitment. Our Director of Marketing, Dana Glenn, serves on the Outdoor Task Force Steering Committee, as well as the Meet the Mountains festival planning committee. Our team also participates in Talent Connect – a fam tour for students that aims to connect college students with career opportunities in Northeast Tennessee.
Support of regional organizations – There are many regional initiatives throughout Northeast Tennessee. Examples include our strong partnerships with the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) and Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association (NETVRIDA). Our Director of Economic Development, Michael Parker, and CEO, Clay Walker, served on the STREAMWORKS Education2Employment planning committee, an event that we also sponsored.
Recently, our team has become increasingly involved with STREAMWORKS, a regional educational program that delivers enhanced opportunities for K-12 students to participate in project-based programs that focus on STEM skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities. We have sponsored Twenty Under 20 and a regional MATE competition, and will also sponsor the International MATE competition June 20-22. Clay sits on the organization’s board and also had the opportunity to present the marketing award at the regional MATE.