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 Happy Economic Development Week! 


NETWORKScheck JPGThe halfway point of Economic Development Week falls on our monthly board meeting date.  What better time to celebrate the NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership Board?

The NETWORKS board is a volunteer board with appointments made by Mayors.

Voting Board Members

  • Chairman: Carolyn Ferrell - Robinette Co
  • Vice Chairman:  Bill Sumner - Bell
  • Secretary/Treasurer:  David Wagner - Bank of Tennessee
  • Jerry Caldwell - Bristol Motor Speedway
  • John Campbell - AccelNow
  • Mayor John Clark - City of Kingsport
  • Michelle Denise - City of Bristol
  • Mayor Margaret Feierabend - City of Bristol
  • David Golden - Eastman
  • Lea Powers - City of Bristol
  • Mayor Richard Venable - Sullivan County
  • Mayor Irene Wells - Bluff City
  • Eddie Williams - retired

Ex-Officio Board Members

  • Dr. Michael Browder - BTES
  • Jeffery Dykes - BrightRidge
  • Jeff Fleming - City of Kingsport City Manager
  • Dr. Gary Lilly - Bristol City Schools
  • Dr. Jeff Moorhouse - Kingsport City Schools
  • Evelyn Rafalowski - Sullivan County Schools
  • Dr. Sam Rowell - Northeast State Community College (RCAM)
  • Andy Shaffron - AEP
  • Bill Sorah - City of Bristol City Manager
  • Clay Walker - NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

Many thanks to the men and women on our board who work tirelessly to support economic development efforts in our region.  We appreciate you all!


In case you missed it:  Day One - Who We Are  •  Day Two - Regionalism  •  Day Three - Board Appreciation  •  Day Four - How We Market  •  Day Five - Existing Industry


Happy Economic Development Week!  

MRO Americas 2019

Although it's only one piece of what economic developers do, many assume that recruitment is the bulk of our work.  Here are some of the initiatives that we use to share the message that we are Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day.

Red Carpet Tour – As we discussed on Tuesday, the Northeast Tennessee Red Carpet Tour is a 2 ½ day fam tour where we roll out the red carpet for site location consultants.  Site location consultants connect companies with communities, and it is imperative to stay on their radar.  Agero is one of many examples of a project landing in our community because of the Red Carpet Tour.

Tradeshows – Our team attends a few tradeshows each year among our targeted industry sectors, in partnership with Tri-Cities Airport and Aerospace Park.  Tradeshows not only provide an opportunity to increase brand awareness, but are used to collect new leads, follow up on existing leads, visit with existing industry (and their corporate headquarters' staffs), and meet with consultants focused on the aerospace industry.  More information about our tradeshow activity, specifically at MRO Americas, will be highlighted in the May issue of The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia.

TEP – We have been members of the Tennessee Economic Partnership (TEP) since 2014.  Through strategically planned networking events, TEP generates leads and business relationships with key prospects and consultants to attract jobs and investment to Tennessee.  Our CEO, Clay Walker, was Chairman of the organization in 2017 and remains heavily involved.

Print & Online Advertisements – While we continue to scale back the amount of print advertising we invest in, we strategically place ads in publications such as Site Selection Magazine and Livability Tennessee, which is sponsored by TNECD.  We often receive a spotlight or have team members quoted in various trade publications and advertise in those, as well.

With 43% of US adults receiving news online or on social media, we realize the importance of online ad placements.  Each year, we place a higher emphasis on online advertisements in the same publications we work with for print advertising.

Videos – We’ve produced two videos and plan to release more this year.  Our first video, the now-viral NETWORKS Community Video, highlighted our community’s pro-business culture, robust education system, transportation infrastructure, available industrial properties, and quality of life.  The video is updated each year.  It received an award from SEDC.

The Tri-Cities Quality of Life video was released a little under a year ago and was intended to be a gift to the region.  This video focuses strictly on the quality of life assets primarily located in the Tri-Cities with famous landmarks from surrounding Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia communities sprinkled in.  This video is our gift to the region, and the logo bookends are interchangeable with the logo of any interested company or organization.  So far, this video has received an Addy Award from AAF Northeast Tennessee.

Both of these videos are used by numerous organizations to sell our community.  We couldn’t be prouder of the impact they’ve made and the community pride they’ve inspired.



Conferences - We typically attend conferences with site selectors in attendance (the application-required Site Selectors Guild, for example).  The world of economic development is ever-changing, and being able to learn not only trends but what consultants like to see on websites and RFPs, is invaluable.  Conferences also provide an incredible opportunity to network with consultants.

Success Files – Later this month, a spotlight on the aerospace cluster in Sullivan County will air on Success Hosted by Rob Lowe.  The segment will air on national television, including stations like Fox Business News, reaching 100 different markets and over 45% of US homes.  This opportunity came to fruition after a competitive application process.

In case you missed it:  Day One - Who We Are  •  Day Two - Regionalism  •  Day Three - Board Appreciation  •  Day Four - How We Market  •  Day Five - Existing Industry


Friday, March 29, 2019                                                                                         

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         

Ricardo Alvarez
Anita’s Snack Foods
Cell: (310) 633-1949
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Anita’s Snack Foods breaks ground on $2 million expansion 
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Chamber held a groundbreaking ceremony for Anita’s Snack Foods today on a $2 million expansion at their location at 2300 Tri-Cities Crossing. 
The California based company opened their doors in Kingsport in July of 2018. Employment has grown from 20 jobs less than a year ago to 85 jobs today. They anticipate those numbers continuing to grow. 
“We want to continue growing the business in order to supply great tasting products to our customers, grow employment and serve the communities in the Tri Cities area,” Anita’s Snack Foods President Ricardo Alvarez said. 
This expansion will add 40,000 square feet of additional warehouse space. Anita’s currently has two lines operating 5 to 6 days a week. They are installing a third chip line that will be operational by mid to late May of 2019. 
“I am happy that the Kingsport Economic Development Board, in conjunction with the City of Kingsport, has been able to work with Anita’s Snack Foods to provide them with the much needed expansion of 40,000 square feet of warehouse and refrigeration space,” Kingsport Economic Development Board chair Craig Denison said. “This allows them to use the freed up space within the existing facility to increase their production capacity to service their customers. They have increased the production output of the facility and increased the number of employees almost from the beginning of taking over this facility and we look forward to the completion of this expansion so that they can continue on this path of growth.”
“It is great for Kingsport to see positive growth in our community,” Kingsport Chamber Board chair Lori Payne said. “Anita's Snack Foods is a leader within their own industry, and even more of a leader in our community. We are thrilled for Anita's Snack Foods to grow and expand here in Kingsport. We look forward to seeing their success and growth for many years to come.”


Happy Economic Development Week!  


IMG 3372On the final day of Economic Development Week, we’re discussing the backbone of economic development – existing industry.  While existing industry doesn’t tend to receive the attention that new job announcements receive, expansions account for the majority - as much of 80 percent - of new jobs created.

We understand the importance of existing industry support.  Here are a few examples of existing industry assistance that we provide.

Regular existing industry visits – Members of the project management team routinely meet with existing industry representatives.  The visits provide an opportunity for our team to stay in the loop and learn more about current company needs and pain points.  Whether its support for expansion, a connection to a workforce development agency, assistance scheduling a meeting with TNECD representatives, and anything in between, our staff is passionate about supporting our existing industry and ensuring they have all of the tools necessary to thrive.

FIRST – In 2014, NETWORKS launched the FIRST program. The program’s name is derived from the values on which it is built – Focus, Innovation, Results, Synergy, and Together – as well as an appropriate title of the economic development community’s prioritizing existing business and industry services.

Services and activities offered by the FIRST program include: one-on-one visits, group meetings that build a support system of economic development and workforce resources as well as peers for management and HR professionals, meaningful surveys and data collection (that offer results and useful information to our corporate citizens, not just from them), and various initiatives that address common issues among our major employers.

Special events – In 2018, existing industry representatives from Sullivan and Hawkins counties hopped on a charter bus and visited Oak Ridge National Lab.  The tour, led by Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, was tailored to the industry sectors represented in the group.  As a result of this visit, multiple local industries now utilize resources provided by the lab.

We continue to research and pursue special events that are valuable for our existing industry partners and ways to provide them at zero cost to those partners.

If you are looking to get plugged into our existing industry network and opportunities, please contact Ronnie Price at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In case you missed it:  Day One - Who We Are  •  Day Two - Regionalism  •  Day Three - Board Appreciation  •  Day Four - How We Market  •  Day Five - Existing Industry





CONTACT:           Clay Walker                                                                                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TELEPHONE:       423-279-7681                                                                                       September 21, 2018

EMAIL:                 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


BLOUNTVILLE, TN – NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership is excited to announce two staff position changes. 

Dana Glenn, formerly Administrative and Marketing Coordinator, is now the Director of Marketing and Business Development.  She will continue to lead the organization’s marketing efforts, including branding initiatives and video production, and will add project management to her duties.  Glenn will also lead FIRST, the organization’s existing industry program.

Before joining NETWORKS, Glenn served as the Administrative and Marketing Coordinator for the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development (KOSBE) and completed an internship at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from East Tennessee State University and is currently completing coursework through Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute.  

Glenn serves as President of PEAK – Kingsport Young Professionals and sits on various boards in the community, including United Way of Greater Kingsport and Branch House Family Center.  She is a member of the Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Class of 2017 and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Kingsport.

“I am thrilled to continue my career at NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership,” said Glenn.  “I look forward to taking on more responsibility in project management as well as continuing to build upon our highly successful brand of Where Tennessee Begins Its Business Day.”

Michael Parker, formerly Executive Project Manager, will now serve as the Director of Economic Development.  Parker is responsible for attraction/recruitment initiatives, including business retention and expansion.  Among his duties, Parker also leads the Northeast Tennessee Red Carpet Tour, an IEDC award-winning annual familiarization tour that offers site location consultants an opportunity to experience the Southern hospitality and pro-business culture Northeast Tennessee offers.

Parker joined the NETWORKS team in 2011 as an intern and has played an integral role in the organization’s successes since.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from East Tennessee State University. 

He is a 2014 graduate of LEAD Bristol and continues to assist with the organization’s Economic Development Program Day.  Parker and his wife, Morgan, recently welcomed their first child, Lillian.

“I am excited to be given this opportunity to continue serving my community in this capacity,” Parker said.  “Northeast Tennessee is a great community with so much to offer, and I feel honored to be able to represent it on a daily basis.”

“It has been a pleasure having Dana and Michael on the team and seeing them grow professionally while making tremendous contributions to our region.  I am excited to see all that they will accomplish in their new roles,” said Carolyn Ferrell, Chairman of the NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership Board. 

“Dana and Michael have done exceptional work during their respective tenures at NETWORKS and our leadership believes in building an organization that people can potentially stay with their entire careers. That means, among other things, providing opportunities for advancement,” CEO Clay Walker said. “In Dana’s case, that meant moving into a role of more responsibility by filling a position that recently became open and in Michael’s case, it was a slight restructure that really wasn’t difficult for us, but created both a reward and affirmation for the work he has done for the past seven years as well as a real growth opportunity for him.”

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.




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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