Tag Archives: jobs

Roane Alliance 2018 Annual Report

{Pam May – Interim President & CEO, The Roane Alliance}

Much of the work the Alliance does is behind the scenes or promoted outside the county, making it a challenge for residents to really know what the Alliance does or who we are. Each year the Alliance publishes an annual report, providing a snapshot of the prior year’s projects and accomplishments. In addition, this year’s report also provides details about the Alliance and its staff and how the team works to increase economic prosperity for Roane County and its residents.

The report is now available online at RoaneAlliance.org/report or for a copy call 865.376.2093

Here are just a few of the highlights from the report:

  • Roane County had the lowest unemployment since 2004, and within 0.1% of the national average;
  • There were 383 jobs grown in our industries, providing one of the largest net job growths in over a decade;
  • 143 Roane County graduates became Tennessee Scholars – a new record;
  • Every middle school teacher in Roane visited five participating industries through the Educators in the Workplace program, and not only a first for Roane but also for the state
  • Roane was awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Association of Retirement Communities (AARC);
  • Visitors spent $69.82M in Roane County, an increase of $2.33M over the previous year;
  • Chamber event attendance increased by 59%, with more than 1,500 Chamber members and customers coming out in support of other members;
  • Expansion and remodel of the K-25 Overlook – to be open very soon;
  • Watts Bar Lake was featured on Fox 43’s Knoxville Weekend and in a full-page editorial in Travel South Magazine;
  • Bradbury Community Club and the John Muir Fest were featured in Ohio Magazine; while
  • 1,474 social media posts promoted events and attractions throughout the year.

Roane County’s Certified Sites Still Top Prospects

{Pam May – Interim President & CEO, The Roane Alliance}

Since the program began in 2012, 55 sites across the state have become Select Tennessee Certified Sites. Out of those 55 sites, only nine sites have sold in the program’s seven years. 

Roane County has three certified sites out of the current inventory of 46: 

  • the 44-acre Cardiff Valley Road Site located in Roane County Industrial Park;
  • the 40- acre Jones Road Site located in Roane Regional Business & Technology Park; and
  • the 110-acre Development Area 6 Site located in Oak Ridge’s Horizon Center Industrial Park. 

The program was created to help communities prepare industrial sites for private investment and job creation.  By setting rigorous standards, Tennessee can ensure these sites are prime for development and can provide companies detailed and reliable information about those sites to help with the selection process.  In addition, opportunities have been available through grants to update these sites.  One of those was the Jones Road site that now has a newly constructed industrial grade road leading directly to the site and approximately 11 flat, pad ready acres that were graded to support the buildout of a facility up to 200,000 square feet. 

Having a certified site in your community does not guarantee the success of landing a prospect.  Qualifications for certification require at least 20 acres of developable land for industrial operations, documented environmental conditions and geotechnical analysis, existing onsite utilities or a formal plan to extend utilities to the site, and truck-quality road access.  But much more goes into selecting a site – location, community demographics, quality of life, workforce initiatives, and business climate are some of the most important. 

The Roane Alliance is optimistic, having seen an increase in interest for all three sites, since achieving certification.  The three sites have collectively been receiving around 15 prospect visits each year.  And interest in the Jones Road site continues to gain even more interest because of the addition of the road and pad ready acres.

Interest has also increased because of the relationships built with our economic development partners such as TVA and the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNECD).  Since many prospects and leads come through them, the Roane Alliance has been using the certified sites as a way to stay in the forefront of their minds.  Each quarter, those sites are highlighted in an email that has resulted in some quick replies about potential prospects.  One such prospect is currently considering Roane County, and though the business does not qualify for the Jones Road Site due to jobs and wage requirements we have set, it has led to interest for other sites, including Cardiff Valley. 

Standards for the sites have to be maintained and re-evaluated every three years to receive recertification.  This process ensures the most current and accurate information is available to prospects.   All three sites are due for recertification this year, and the Roane Alliance has begun the process for Cardiff Valley and Jones Road, while Oak Ridge City will submit for Horizon Center. 

To learn more about the Select Tennessee Site Certification Program please visit https://tnecd.com/sites/certified-sites/.

Visitors Spend Millions in Roane – Nov 2018

{Pam May – Interim President & CEO, Roane Alliance}

Visitors spent $69.82M in Roane County in 2017, based on the latest numbers from the U.S. Travel Association and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. This was an increase of $2.33M over 2016 and one of the largest increases in the past five years. In fact, visitor spending has increased by $7.63M just in the last four years, which is almost double the prior four years that only saw an increase of $2.75M.

How does this affect our residents? Every Roane County household would have had to pay $353 more in taxes last year without the $7.89M generated by visitors who spent money in Roane. In addition, 70 new jobs have been created in the hospitality industry since 2013, now totaling 490 jobs.

The state announced this year that tourism is the 2nd largest industry in Tennessee. Roane County has the perfect location, quality of life and assets to benefit more every year. One of the most successful marketing campaigns, Soak in Roane, continues to market Roane like never before, bringing in more events and more visitors. So next time you see an out-of-state license plate or know someone isn’t “from ‘round here” welcome them and encourage them to check out your favorite place to eat or shop because the longer they stay and the more they spend helps every Roane County household save money.

Ben Wilson – District 6 – Oct 2018

Benjamin Wilson was born in Roane County and has been a resident of Kingston his entire life. Wilson graduated from Calvary Baptist in Kingston and Roane State with a degree in Criminal Justice Investigations. Since graduating, he went into law enforcement and graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in 1993. In 2000, Wilson was hired by Wackenhut Services Inc (WSI) for the Department Of Energy and subsequently graduated from the National Technical Systems (NTS) in Albuquerque, NM. Wilson has served on the Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership Committee Voluntary Protection Program for DOE and is currently a captain with the security force in Oak Ridge under National Strategic Protective Services for the Department of Energy.

In 1993 Wilson married another local from Kingston, Stacey Russell. The Wilsons are proud to raise their three daughters, Sierra, Kaylee, and Abby in Kingston. Enhancing the growth of Roane County and providing a future for his three daughters are in large part the reason why Wilson decided to run for the commission. Wilson wants to ensure a fruitful future for the young sons and daughters of Roane County thru education, jobs, and industry. With gratefulness and humility, Wilson “looks forward to serving our citizens, and making a difference in our community.”