Posted on: Tuesday - Nov 24, 2015

By: Commissioner Randy Boyd

Well, I am slightly annoyed. I had hoped for a lot of drama leading up to breaking last year’s job commitment record, but we accidentally blew by the mark! Last year we hit a historic high of 24,221 job commitments, but I am happy to report as of today we have a new Tennessee record: 24,262!!  I am so proud of our team at TNECD and all of our stakeholders across the state. We are Team Tennessee and we have just had our best year ever!

But, it’s not over! We are now 97.05% of the way to our goal we set at the beginning of the year of 25,000 jobs. Only 738 jobs away and we will be celebrating again.

While we count down the jobs and celebrate the numbers, we should know that in every case there are superstars who work tirelessly, oftentimes for a year or longer, to make each of these announcements happen. This past week’s announcements are no exception.

Last Wednesday, Sleep Solutions and Services (S3) announced plans to locate new call center operations in Columbia, creating 137 new jobs. S3 is a medical software and support company that employs web-based technology with live support to clients with respiratory medical conditions, such as sleep apnea. TNECD Regional Director Clay Banks was the lead on this project and says it was a great success story where we worked in partnership with the Maury Alliance and the city of Columbia to help an existing company. Staying in frequent contact with all parties throughout the yearlong consideration, Clay also connected S3 with TVA to ensure the company had every opportunity to find success with all development programs.

The following day, Valley Packaging Corporation, a corrugated containers supplier and manufacturer, announced it would open a new state-of-the-art facility in Giles County. Project lead Tommy Burns says TNECD partnered with UTCIS, the Pulaski-Giles County Economic Development Commission and TVA to search and locate suitable sites throughout the duration of the project which began in January 2014. The company found its best fit in Pulaski and will create 75 new jobs over the next five years.

On Friday, we celebrated Lifetime Products, a blow-molded plastic products manufacturer. Lifetime will locate new manufacturing and distribution operations in Knox County, creating 500 new jobs. The Knox County facility will produce the company’s water sports and outdoor children’s playset lines. TNECD Project Manager Bryan Farlow notes there were five key partners who worked seamlessly together for 13 months and although site criteria changed frequently throughout the process, TVA, the Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Utilities Board, Norfolk Southern and TNECD staff found creative solutions to every hurdle they faced along the way.

Each of these projects represents a big win for the state of Tennessee, our citizens and our workforce, and no one agency can do it alone. A big thanks to our team members and the communities that helped and contributed throughout the process.

Go Team Tennessee!