From the desk of G.C. Hixson . . .
"Are we There Yet?"
Many of us either as a child or parent has spoken and/or heard this immortal question. While it is always comforting to know ones beginning and ending in many areas of our lives and work it is not possible. Such is the case in the field of economic development.
A look at our economic history certainly gives us a roadmap to the past but certainly not our final destination. It was only a century ago that successful companies rose to the top of their industry by owning their natural resources. It was finally simple for one to understand the growth and success of companies in the steel, coal, oil and other natural product industries. These companies became hugely successful by prioritizing their business components by controlling their base products, having available capital for growth and finding cheap but available labor. This trend held true even as little as 50 years ago when it was estimated that 73% of the top US Companies owed their position to largely managing their operations in that priority.
In many cases these large industrial giants required labor forces performing hard routine tasks with readily available workers. For many of us we observed this through our parent’s eyes or experienced it personally in our early years of work. Things however began to change in the 1960’s as companies like IBM, Kodak and others began their growth with employees that were then being defined as “creative talent”. By the year 2010 this category had increased to an estimated level of 33% of the workforce. The demand for this employee has now increased to where more than half of the top 50 companies have defined their employees as being talent based with three of the largest being Apple, Microsoft, and Google. It is no doubt that over the past 50 years the US economy and its employees have shifted decisively and is now reliant upon human talent.
So what is the correct path to follow? Certainly our education systems must continue to adapt their programs to the changing needs of its employers. These programs must contain the ability to produce “technical” skills for our advanced manufacturers and “talent or creative skills” for all other professional employers. I believe that our community has made a good start into this arena by agreeing to establish the College of Applied Technology in Wilson County. I commend both the Wilson County Board of Education and the Tennessee Board of Regents. Our task now is to both promote and to form working partnerships between our industries, our school systems and our community. It is a great addition to our education system but not our final destination.
Human talent will continue to lead successful companies as they change their demands for employees. It will be the one element that defines successful regions and communities of the future. And while we may not be able to ever answer the question of “are we there yet” we will know that our directions are correct and our journey will be successful.
Governor Haslam, Commissioner Hagerty Announce Under Armour, Inc. to Create 1,500 New Jobs in Mt. Juliet
New Distribution Center Brings More Than $100 Million Investment in Wilson County
NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Under Armour, Inc. officials announced today the company will build a new one million square foot distribution and warehousing facility in Beckwith Farms in Mt. Juliet. Under Armour, a global leader of performance apparel, footwear and accessories, will invest more than $100 million and create 1,500 new jobs in Wilson County over the next five years.
"We want to welcome Under Armour to Tennessee and thank the company for choosing to invest and create 1,500 new jobs in Wilson County," Haslam said. "Under Armour's decision to build a new distribution and warehousing facility in Mt. Juliet is another example of the business-friendly climate our state offers to companies around the world, and brings us one step closer toward our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs."
"Under Armour is an innovative, globally-renowned brand whose cutting-edge products are consistently seen on everyone from the world's greatest athletes, to youth sports teams, to Tennesseans across the state," Hagerty said. "Tennessee's advanced transportation and logistics infrastructure paired with the state's superior workforce will certainly aid in Under Armour's future success. I appreciate the company's decision to locate and invest in Mt. Juliet and for further enhancing the extraordinary momentum behind the Tennessee brand."
"Under Armour's mission is to make all athletes better, and that begins by building a great team and providing best in class service for our customers," Under Armour COO and President of Product Kip Fulks said. "We take immense pride in partnering with Governor Haslam, Commissioner Hagerty, and the many other state and local officials who have joined our commitment to this mission and who have worked tirelessly to establish the ideal business climate in which everyone can flourish."
The Mt. Juliet facility, scheduled to open in early 2016, will be Under Armour's third distribution facility in the United States, with the original warehouse in the company's hometown of Baltimore, Maryland and the other location in Rialto, California. Under Armour also operates two Under Armour Factory House retail destinations in the state, located in Nashville and Sevierville.
"On behalf of the citizens of Mt. Juliet, it is my privilege to welcome Under Armour to our city," Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty said. "We are very pleased that Under Armour has chosen Mount Juliet as its new location and will be creating 1,500 new jobs. Mt. Juliet is consistently ranked as one of the most business-friendly cities in the state, and we believe Under Armour will have great success here."
"What an awesome opportunity to have such a quality company move into our area," Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said. "Wilson County has been blessed to have attracted so many jobs for its citizens. Thank you to all those who have made this happen."
"TVA and Middle Tennessee Electric congratulate Under Armour on its decision to select Mount Juliet as a new distribution center location," TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. "We are proud to be partners with the state of Tennessee, the Joint Economic Development Board of Wilson County, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Juliet and Wilson County officials to welcome and support Under Armour as a major new employer in the Tennessee Valley."
Sellars Park held a ground breaking recently on a new site in Mt. Juliet. The plans include an 8,500 square foot new Sellars Funeral Home location as well as a two-story 13,000 square foot retail center. The site situated on approximately 3 acres is located on North Mt. Juliet Road directly across from Sellars Funeral Home's former location.
While designed by Mike Manous with Manous Design, the building contractor is Cliff Carey General Contractors. For leasing information on the retail availabilities please contact Judd Sellars at 615.289.4742
Innovation, robust population growth and rebounding job markets define Tennessee's cities on the rise and our community is proud to have Mt. Juliet recently named a "city on the rise" by economic research website Nerd Wallet out of San Francisco, CA. Mt. Juliet ranked as the No. 4 fastest growing city in Tennessee. Nerd Wallet had previously ranked Mt. Juliet as the third best city for home ownership in Tennessee.
Mt. Juliet had an increase of 23 percent in its working-age population from 2009 to 2012, and averages 180 new businesses a year in the city. Mt. Juliet saw an increase of nearly 4,000 people in that timeframe. Mt. Juliet's ranking also included a 10.1 percent growth in median income.
A Wilson County technical training center to be operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents at the old Lebanon High School vocational building which has been vacant along with the entire old Lebanon High building on Harding Drive since the school opened a new campus in 2012 could be open for students in January.
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Wilson County will start with three student programs: welding, computer information technology and nursing. Plans are to build up to eight programs of study.
The Wilson County School Board approved a 20-year lease for the vocational center for no money with the Board of Regents to pay operating costs.
Adult students generally attend 30 hours a week for a semester. Semesters run January through April, May to August and September into December. Cost now averages $1,142 a semester.
The agreement allows for six spots to be reserved for certain courses that Wilson County high school students can take as part of a dual enrollment program starting in spring 2015. The students accepted would attend for a specific period of time at no cost.
The building will require minor renovation with cleanup that is scheduled to begin after receiving occupancy.
B&G Foods has signed a lease for more than 445,000 square feet in the Park 840 Logistics Center just off of State Route 840 in Lebanon. B&G Foods will occupy 68 percent of the space, with Nutro Co. of Lebanon, TN currently leasing the other portion of the building.
B&G joins several other companies located in the area, including Amazon Fulfillment Center, Genesco Distribution and Permobil.
B&G Foods distributes product lines, including Mrs. Dash, Ortega, Cream of Wheat and Bear Creek Country Kitchens, as well as household products Static Guard and Kleen Guard.
Choo Choo and Cherry, a children's boutique, has opened its doors on Main Street in Watertown. The owner, Ruby Clemmons, moved from Tampa with her husband and found her home in Watertown. In addition to the opening of Choo Choo and Cherry, she works as a real estate agent for Crye-Leike in Mt. Juliet.
Choo Choo and Cherry is stocked full of primarily handmade clothing for children. Handmade by Ruby, of course - she has a fleet of machines for any job right there in store. She specializes in custom children's clothing, though she has more of a focus on girls. Ruby's goal for her storefront is to give Watertown an inexpensive yet high quality alternative to shopping in retail stores.
Not only does Ruby have a brand spanking new storefront to play with, she's also got an active Facebook account that she uses to announce weekly deals, new items and new materials she will be working with. In fact, she has operated as a web-based company up until now, so it's not hard at all to find something you like. Check her out on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as her website at www.choochooandcherry.com
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in September for the renovation of the Lebanon Square. Upon completion, the renovation will feature a roundabout and four parking quadrants. The first item on the list for construction is the roundabout which should be done before Thanksgiving. The project is scheduled for completion by June 2015.
Lochinvar, LLC announced the upcoming expansion of its world headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee. The project will add 74,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage capacity, as well as an extended office area and a significantly enhanced engineering facility that is twice the size of the current space.
The company's continued growth has not only increased the footprint of its headquarters facility, it has also impacted the size of the Lochinvar team. Over the last three years, Lochinvar has added an average of 25 new positions per year.
"As business continues to grow and an increasing number of our products are manufactured here at company headquarters, this development is a strategic step to ensure that we can meet demand and satisfy our expanding customer base," said Eddie Goodwin, president and chief operating officer of Lochinvar.
The expansion construction kicked off on September 22, 2014, with expected completion in January 2016. Operations at headquarters will experience minimal disruption during the construction period. BACAR Constructors, Inc. is the general contractor of the expansion project.
Lochinvar opened its 380,000 square foot Lebanon operation in 2001. The facility, which includes manufacturing, offices, product engineering development and testing labs, and the Lochinvar University training facility, employs approximately 500 people.