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Q&A with TNECD Project Manager Victoria Hirschberg


Posted on: Tuesday - Oct 1, 2013

TNECD’s team of project managers is responsible for out-of-state business recruitment to Tennessee. Each member of the project management team works in specific sectors, allowing him or her to develop deep knowledge and robust contacts. We’ll spend some time getting to know each of our project managers in the coming weeks and find out more about them and their specialties. First up is Victoria Hirschberg, who works with clients and communities within the chemical sector.

Andy Levine, president of Development Counsellors International and Jeff Finkle, president of International Economic Development Council present TNECD’s Victoria Hirschberg and Clay Banks with the economic development industry's first ever 40 under 40 award.

Q: What makes the chemical sector an attractive area for investment right now?

A: The chemical sector is a growing industry that contributes approximately $555 billion dollars annually to the U.S. economy. Because the sector is highly diverse, a wide net can be cast in terms of investment opportunities. For example, processed chemicals and chemical products can be used within agriculture, pharmaceuticals, paint, plastics, and other industries. In addition to manufacturing and processing, the chemical sector includes distribution, transportation, storage, and packaging for the end-user.

Q: What is the current state of Tennessee’s chemical industry?

A: Tennessee has witnessed steady growth in the chemical manufacturing sector due to a healthy cluster of existing companies throughout the state and an evolution in technology and processes. More than 25,000 Tennesseans currently work in the chemical manufacturing sector. The state has both large companies like Eastman as well as numerous small to medium sized companies that are highly specialized. In May 2011, Cleveland, TN and Kingsport-Bristol, TN-Bristol, VA ranked in the top 10 for the highest concentration of chemical technicians.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was on hand when Eastman Chemical announced in May 2013 that the company would invest $1.6 billion in its Kingsport site and add 300 new jobs during the next seven years. Eastman plans to invest in new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, increased warehouse capacity, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus.

Q: Why should chemical companies invest in Tennessee?

A: Tennessee has a well-established chemical manufacturing sector with ample opportunity for new partnerships and available sites that fit the locational requirements for a chemical manufacturing operation. With several universities and institutions offering top chemical engineering and customized programs, the chemical sector in Tennessee is supported by a highly trained and skilled workforce. Additionally, Tennessee has a favorable business climate, central location, resources, and infrastructure, all making for an attractive opportunity to be found within the chemical manufacturing sector.

Q: As a Project Manager, how do you provide support to chemical companies looking to invest in Tennessee?

A: As a Project Manager, I work with our economic development partners and community leaders throughout Tennessee in order to understand our communities’ strategic advantages and available products. TNECD also works closely with partner agencies such as the TN Department of Environment and Conservation and the TN Department of Transportation to ensure a seamless, safe and positive environment for both our citizens and potential chemical manufacturing operations.