For the third year in a row, Tennessee’s transportation system ranks as one of the best in the nation, according to CNBC 2012 study “America’s Top States for Business.”
The report notes Tennessee ranks fourth-best in the U.S. in the category of transportation and infrastructure and is the only state topping the list that has no transportation debt.
Relatedly, economic development publication Business Facilities in its annual 2012 “State Rankings Report” has named Tennessee No. 1 in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength, also for a third consecutive year.
As to the CNBC ranking, many states carry transportation debt and must allocate a large portion of their funds to interest payments, the study notes.
“This is significant as we are the only top-ranked state without any transportation debt,” Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said in a release. “The next state on the list without debt was ranked 19th. Tennessee is a ‘pay as you go’ state and TDOT will continue to do our part in upholding Gov. Haslam’s vision of running an effective and efficient government.”
The CNBC report scored all 50 states on 40 measures of competitiveness, including the vitality of each state’s transportation system. Tennessee also ranked well in the categories of business friendliness and cost of living. This is the sixth year the news network has performed the study.
Regarding the Business Facilities report, Tennessee earned additional top 10 honors for economic growth potential, job growth, business and education climate, transportation infrastructure, data center hubs and Race to the Top.
“Our strategic focus on the automotive sector has yielded a substantial return for Tennessee and created a magnet for growth, as Tennessee’s many strategic advantages make our state the most compelling location for business expansions and relocations in the U.S.,” Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, said in a release.
Nashville-based automotive suppliers Gayle Technologies and Quality Filtration and Woodbury's Global Industrial Components will next week join four of their peers from around the state on a state-sponsored trade mission to the PAACE Automechanika trade show in Mexico City. Check out the details here.
Middle Tennessee's efforts to fill its shortage of IT workers — 1,200 at last count — is getting some priceless national pub courtesy of Fast Company's Alissa Walker. Included in the piece is a challenge for local executives from local tech entrepreneur Nicholas Holland about changing the ways they run their businesses. His message: Let go of the reins and focus more on results.
"Right now, there's a lack of resources so everyone is trying to entice and incentivize the same tech pool," he says. "Larger firms, especially in Nashville, like healthcare firms have the ability to throw a lot of money at the problem, but many workers are looking for other things like a fuller career path, or an ecosystem that supports their personal lives."
HT: Matt Largen
State officials are reworking their FastTrack incentives contract langauge to include the option of recovering money from companies who don't follow through on plans and promises to create a certain number of jobs. Andrea Zelinski at TNReport has the details.
“It has taken us the better part of the last 18 months – obviously with a lot of other things going on – to work through the process of determining what legal precedent and black letter law would allow,” he said.
Nashville is the country's 10th-best U.S. city for business and careers, say the writers and researchers of Forbes, who crunched big chunks of data on a dozen economic development and quality of life factors. (Check the methodology here.) Raleigh, N.C., is second on the list and Austin is one spot higher than Music City. The next Tennessee city on the list, Knoxville, is 31st.
Representatives of the three chambers of commerce merging in Williamson County have launched a CEO search and taken several other steps, including the first steps toward a future office space, to complete their process. The groups also have launched a website to update members on their progress.
"The transition team expects to have the Plan of Merger finalized by late summer," said Brad Dunn, chair of the 16-member Transition Board of community volunteers guiding the unification. "The three boards will be asked to approve the plan, which will pave the way for the membership of each of the three Chambers to vote on unification."
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has approved a $7.5 million grant to the producers of the "Nashville" television show that ABC will begin airing this fall. ECD officials said the reimbursable grant will be based on the actual qualified expenditures made in Tennessee to local vendor or residents. Making the show, which is being produced by ABC, Lionsgate and Gaylord Entertainment, is expected to employ more than 350 crew members.
"We are taking a new approach to one of Tennessee’s strongest and most unique businesses, the entertainment industry," Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said. "Gov. Bill Haslam has made a concerted effort to fold the film and music sectors into our department and make them a part of the state’s regular economic goals and initiatives."
With the help of two consulting firms, state economic development officials have developed a program that will help cities and towns properly prepare real estate sites to compete for relocations and expansions.
“In our day-to-day work with site selection consultants and corporate officials, we hear over and over again the importance of demonstrating our readiness for new business investment and expansion,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “The Select Tennessee Certified Sites Program provides a roadmap to ready sites for potential investment. This program is an innovative new way to take Tennessee to the apex of site locations and show the world that Tennessee is ready for business.”