The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

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Page 47 of 65

"Our young professionals are all about live-work-play in close proximity to each other," she adds. "Knoxville is also an attractive location from an economic standpoint and a wonderful place to raise a family. Forbes magazine rated u s A mer ic a's second-most affordable city as of March this year. The Brookings Institute recently released a list of the top 300 metro areas for economic growth—we're 99th: our state capital, Nashville, is 86th." Automot ive a nd med ica l e q u ipm e nt c on s t it u t e t h e bu l k of greater K nox v i l le's manufacturing and R&D, Rice says. Siemens has a presence there; another local company, ProNova, manufactures cyclotrons that are used in proton therapy solutions. "We're just 28 miles from t h e O a k R i d g e N a t i o n a l Laborator y, and its director, T hom Mason, is cha i r ma n of ou r re g ion a l e c onom ic development initiative. Carbon fiber technology is probably the most up-and-coming industry here, especia lly as it relates to t he automotive industr y, because automakers want their vehicles lighter, to comply with f uel reg u lations. That's our most obvious connection to the Oak Ridge Labs. We have some other amazing corporate headquarters here, companies that have started here and grown here. We have an economy that's both diverse and stable, so we're able to work with many types of businesses. Capital is coming into the area. Investors like the fact that we grow our own, corporate citizenry, whether a small startup or an international operation." nearby Oak Ridge, a $313 million investment that will create 620 jobs. CVMR's goal is to quadruple its production capacity over the next three years. Another major announcement was Cirrus Aircraft's decision to build a "customer experience center" nex t to K nox v i l le's McGhee Tyson Airport. The $15 million facility will become the headquarters of all Cirrus Aircraft sales, marketing and customer experience operations, and will bring in 200 jobs. "Proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory was a huge factor in CVMR's decision," says Rhonda Rice, Executive Vice President of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. "The Cirrus facility will be where pilots and owners can come to finalize customization of their aircraft, and from which Cirrus will generate deliveries, training and support. The Cirrus project will bring individuals of high net worth into the Knoxville area and will let us showcase our amenities and make them aware of the favorable tax and business climate, as well as our quality of life." R ice notes that Knox ville attracts businesses with its mild, four-season climate, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a 1,000-acre urban wilderness in the heart of downtown. 'Knowledge Workers' Look to Knoxville The small but mighty city of Knoxville, in eastern Tennessee, has emerged as one of the economic leaders of the mid- South. The mild climate, business- friendly environment and overall convenience of the Knoxville metro area attracts the aerospace and automotive industries, as well as medical technology and other life sciences industries. Knoxville is also the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and home of the University of Tennessee's flagship campus. The latest big economic news out of the Knoxville area is that CVMR, a Canadian mining and metal refining company, has moved its headquarters to Downtown Knoxville, Tenn. Courtesy: Laddy Fields Ultimate Software headquarters in Weston, Fla. t wo ex pa nsion projec ts i n Brevard County. Stiles expects other corporate expansions to be announced in the near future. "It's hard to be anything less than wildly optimistic about Florida's economic future," she says. "We need to be sure we have the workers in place to attract the business we want to attract. We're still relatively young in our economic development. Tourism and agriculture will always be the underpinning, but since the recession our economy has diversified more and more." 46 the LEADER | September/October 2015 SOUTHERN REGION REPORT | SPONSORED FEATURE

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