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ECD Week Day 3

Two Words to Our Volunteer Team Members:  Thank You

As part of Economic Development Week, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership would like to thank the many volunteers for their invaluable service to our communities and region.  One of the best aspects of an economic development career is that it enables you to work closely with community leadership.  We rely on this leadership more than you might know.

Our Board of Directors is the group with whom we work most closely.  Having a board with representation from the public sector along with various private business sectors gives us direction that takes many perspectives and considerations into account.  It gives us a holistic, scrutinizing strategic plan and scope of work.

We also work with the Sullivan County IDB, Bristol IDB, Kingsport EDB, and Hawkins County IDB.  The collective and individual relationships are of great value to us as economic developers and citizens.  Most importantly, they help ensure that well-thought-out, responsible decisions are made.

So, we say thank you to the men and women who help guide our efforts.  You receive no pay, very little thanks, and a whole heap of responsibility and demands on your time.  Please know that your participation is of great value and appreciated greatly.  Thank you for being such important members of our team!


Other Economic Development Week Posts - Who We Are & What We Do  •  Workforce

ECD Week Day 2

We're kicking off day two of Economic Development week with discussion on possibly the hottest topic in economic development right now - workforce.  Why is workforce such a critical component of economic development?  When competing for projects that could lead to new jobs and added investment into a community, economic development organizations (EDOs) aren't just competing with the community next door, but internationally.  Having a skilled workforce helps a community remain competitive in a global marketplace, and having local access to workforce development programs gives communities a major advantage.


Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM)

The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) is the branded outreach of Northeast State Community College. Focused on advanced manufacturing training, the programs and services offered through the RCAM are designed to develop the 21st century workforce.  The RCAM offers programs for industry specific training, college credit, and even programs for K-12 students that offer exposure to different career opportunities in the manufacturing field.  The RCAM also offers apprenticeship training programs for Electrical Systems Technicians, Electromechanical Technicians, HVAC Technicians, Lubricators/Oilers, and Mechanical Systems Technicians.  Employers can work with the RCAM to customize apprenticeship programs based on the needs of employees.

University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UTCIS)

The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UTCIS) focuses on consulting, training, and connection.  Local Solutions Consultants assess company needs and provide only services that are value added.  Training courses taught by subject matter experts are provided on topics related to manufacturing and service-oriented businesses.  Connections are made between companies, communities, entrepreneurs, and appropriate resources.

Alliance for Business & Training (AB&T)

The Alliance for Business & Training, Inc (AB&T) is a community based not for profit corporation.  Its mission is to create and sustain a workforce development system which promotes Economic Development; meets employer needs and is responsive to changing labor market demands, community economic growth and participants' job skills.  Workforce development services facilitated through the AB&T include on-the-job training, incumbent worker training, and customized training opportunities.


ACT Certified Work Ready Communities Initiative

ACT's Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) initiative was created to make our country more competitive and close the skills gap.  The program starts at the grassroots level, by providing a community-based framework that links workforce development to education, aligns with the economic development needs of communities, regions, and states, and matches individuals to jobs based on skill level.  A major component of this program is the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).  Current, transitioning, and emerging workforce can earn this portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual's WorkKey skills in reading for information, applied math, and locating information.

In the state of Tennessee, communities are encouraged to certify industrial sites through the Select Tennessee Certified Sites Program.  The reasoning behind this is to minimize risks and remove the guess work that comes with locating a new site for a potential facility relocation or expansion.  The CWRC initiative is a similar concept.  A company can confidently locate in our community knowing that there is a skilled workforce capable of meeting their needs.


How you can support workforce development in Sullivan County

Support the WCRC initiative.  It's easy, takes two minutes, and can be done by clicking here.  By choosing "recognize," you are not obligating your company to anything; it simply shows that your company sees the value in the program and supports it.  If you would like to use the NCRC in your hiring proccesses, please select "recommend."

Sullivan County has successfully attained 78% of its business support goal and 48% of its overall goals.



To learn more about workforce training, click here.  To learn more about Sullivan County's workforce profile, click here.  

Visit tomorrow to learn more about the role of the volunteer in economic development.

The NETWORKS- Sullivan Partnership 2016 Annual Report is now available!  It can be viewed below or accessed directly here.  Hard copies of the report are available at the NETWORKS office.


ECD Week Day 1


Today kicks off an exciting week for the NETWORKS team and other economic development professionals around the World – Economic Development Week! EDW was created by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2016 to increase awareness for local programs that assist in job creation, promote and advance career opportunities, and increase the quality of life. In the spirt of celebration, we will be sharing some information each day this week to better explain the ins and outs of the economic development profession.

Who We Are

NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership is the joint economic development agency for Sullivan County, Tennessee and its communities of Bluff City, Bristol, and Kingsport. Additionally, NETWORKS handles the marketing and recruitment activities for the Phipps Bend Industrial Park in Hawkins County, Tennessee. The staff here at NETWORKS work with many economic development partners from around the area, and are often referred to as our extended staff. Our extended staff includes representatives from the City of Bristol, the City of Kingsport, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board, and the Tri-Cities Airport.  We also work closely with the Tennessee Department of Economic Development (TNECD) and the Tennessee Economic Partnership (TEP). 

What We Do

Our name - NETWORKS - represents everything we do and all that our region has to offer. Northeast Tennessee works for existing and new business and industry. Sullivan Partnership represents a a collaborative partnership among Sullivan County and its three primary communities. The NETWORKS team is equipped to assist companies in reaching strategic goals. NETWORKS offers existing and new business/industry programs for all companies, regardless of size or scope of business. Our team also assists companies with asset maintenance coordination, small business loans, consultant visits, contract negotiations and deal closings.

Meet Our Team

Clay Walker

Clay Walker, CEcD

NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

  Mike Head Shot

Michael Parker

Executive Project Manager
NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

Brian Ritz Headshot

Brian Ritz

Project Manager
NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

  Dana Glenn headshot 1

Dana Glenn

Administrative & Marketing Coordinator
NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

Tom Anderson 2

Tom Anderson

Director of Economic Development
City of Bristol

  april eads

April Eads, CEcD

Business Development Manager

corey shepherd headshot

Corey Shepherd

Business Development Specialist
City of Kingsport


Tully headshot 2014 718181

Lynn Tully, AICP

Development Services Director
City of Kingsport

rebecca baker headshot

Rebecca Baker

Executive Administrative Coordinator
Hawkins County IDB



Our Brand

The NETWORKS brand is "Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day."  Along with being among the first in the state to see the sun rise each morning, Sullivan County is a community of innovation.  Milestone firsts in the state include:

          ⚫ First county to certify multiple sites under the Select Tennessee Program
          ⚫ First county to offer free community college tuition
          ⚫ First public utility to offer one gigabit broadband service (BTES)
          ⚫ First to be certified as a connected community as a county
          ⚫ First to create a comprehensive advanced manufacturing facility as a public/private partnership
          ⚫ The birthplace of country music


Learn More


Today's introduction was brief, but we'll be back each day this week to go into greater detail about different topics related to economic development, including workforce, incentives, and the role of volunteers and partner organizations.  In the meantime, you can learn more about NETWORKS and our region by perusing our website our by viewing our community video.  It's a 3:40 summary of some of the best things our region has to offer.


NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership Listed Among Expansion Solutions Top 5 for Aerospace Sector


BLOUNTVILLE, TN – NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, the economic development organization serving Bluff City, Bristol, Kingsport, and Sullivan County as well as marketing and recruiting for Phipps Bend Industrial Park in Hawkins County, Tennessee, has been recognized as one of the most desirable destinations for aerospace and aviation companies to consider when looking for a new location by a national site selection magazine.

Expansion Solutions magazine, based in Hoover, Alabama, announced its 10th annual “Top Five” Awards of Excellence earlier this month. These awards recognize economic development organizations which have shown exceptional progress and potential in the area of development across seven specific categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Aviation/Aerospace, Food Production & Processing, Inland Ports, Logistics, Ports, and Warehouse/Distribution.

“This type of third-party validation can be a significant boost to our marketing and recruitment efforts, because it offers an independent opinion in support of what we are out there telling consultants and companies,” said Clay Walker, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership CEO. “Aerospace is one of our top targets and is a very hot, growing sector. It is also a highly desirable and competitive sector, so anything like this that can give you exposure and credibility is a welcome arrow in our quiver.”

 The Top Five Awards of Excellence recognize economic development organizations that have shown exceptional progress in development, according to a press release from the magazine. The locations were chosen because of the support system offered to businesses, as well as recent activity and potential growth that can be created in each area. Strategic locations, pro-business climates, investments made in improving infrastructure and the availability of buildings and sites were among the top deciding factors in choosing these locations.

“It’s kind of an obvious thing that Aerospace Park at Tri-Cities Airport is our crown jewel differentiating advantage that we use in marketing to aerospace companies,” Walker said. “But our business case for this sector goes well beyond just an incredible site. The aviation program at Northeast State Community College, the recent growth at companies such as Bell Helicopter, Wysong Helicopters, DEC Technologies, and Aviation Accessories, plus Eastman’s aviation division, all help to generate interest from similar companies.”

Aerospace Park is a 166-acre park, with a 21-acre tract that is a Select Tennessee certified site, that has several points of access to Tri-Cities Airport’s 8,000-foot runway. Walker touted the airport’s executive director, Patrick Wilson, and director of trade and business development, Mark Canty, as well as the involvement of Richard Blevins, who heads Northeast State’s aviation program, as integral players in the region’s future in growing this sector.

NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership joins these partners as attendees and exhibitors at various trade shows. It also markets to site selection consultants who are known to work aerospace and aviation projects and seeks editorial content and advertises in aviation magazines and site selection magazines’ aerospace/aviation-focused issues.

“We have some great partners and a tremendous product,” Walker said. “Now it’s just a matter to continuing to work this sector and tell our story to the right people. We’re making progress and I am optimistic we are going to see this sector enjoy a great deal of growth in the upcoming years.”

Patrick Wilson, Executive Director of Tri-Cities Airport, was pleased to hear of the recognition and praised the partnership between Bell Helicopter and Northeast State Community College, as it benefits the aerospace industry cluster for the entire region.

"The Tri-Cities Region has long been home to a vibrant and successful aerospace industry cluster, said Wilson.  “The flagship of that cluster, Bell Helicopter, employs over 500 maintenance technicians at their Piney Flats location in Sullivan County. In an effort to maintain a continuous supply of skilled employees, Bell has recently assumed an advisory role in Northeast State Community College's new Aviation Maintenance Technology program"

Mark Canty, who markets Aerospace Park and works closely with NETWORKS, stated that having runway access on a property, like Aerospace Park does, is a unique and desirable quality.

"Aerospace Park is the premier destination in the southeastern United States for aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), passenger to freighter (PTF) conversions, manufacturing, completions, or any other activity requiring direct airfield access at a world-class commercial service airport," said Canty.

To learn more about NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, go to networkstn.com.

To learn more about Aerospace Park, go to triaerospacepark.com.

To learn more about Northeast State Community College, go to northeaststate.edu.

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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, Domtar, Teleperformance, Home Shopping Network, Bristol Motor Speedway, and many others by locating a facility in Sullivan County!


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  10368 Wallace Alley St., Suite 1, Kingsport, TN 37663
PO Box 747, Blountville, TN 37617

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