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Why Corporate Headquarters Flock to the Franklin Area

Williamson County creates the ideal environment for corporate headquarters.

By Bill Lewis on December 14, 2020

Williamson County TN
Franklin / Jeff Adkins

Mitsubishi Motors and Spirit Airlines are as different as two businesses can be, but they both left their longtime locations and moved to Williamson County for reasons that would be familiar to CKE Restaurants Holdings, tech company Thnks and others that have made the same decision.

Williamson County checks all the boxes for those companies when it comes to factors like the location, the business environment, a skilled workforce and a quality of life that makes recruiting and retaining top talent easy.

More than 6,000 local industry employers call Williamson County home, and more than 40 companies have their headquarters here. A dozen of the 25 largest publicly-traded companies in the Nashville region are in Williamson County.

Relocating from California to Franklin in 2019 allowed Mitsubishi to focus its efforts on a companywide reinvention and take advantage of the area’s vibrant technology skill set while also realizing cost savings through Tennessee’s business-friendly work environment, company executives said at the time of the move.

Williamson County TN
Franklin / Spirit Airlines

Joining Nissan

The move from California to Franklin unites Mitsubishi with Nissan North America, its sister company in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, the world’s largest automaker alliance. Nissan moved its headquarters from California in 2006 and now is one of Williamson County’s most prominent employers.

Mitsubishi is investing $18.25 million and bringing 200 headquarters positions to Williamson County.

After a national search, Spirit Airlines selected Williamson County as the new home of its operations control center, which had been in South Florida.

The project represents an investment of $11.3 million. Spirit will relocate more than 240 positions and create 100 additional jobs in Williamson County.

Spirit’s operations control center directs operational control over all Spirit flights. The facility will contain a robust technology infrastructure. Spirit is the seventh-largest commercial airline in the country.

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Unbeatable Advantages

Williamson County offered the company an unmatched combination of geographic location, a favorable business climate and quality of life, says Ted Christie, president and CEO of Spirit Airlines.

The region “clearly came out on top in a nationwide search,” he says.

Another recent arrival is Thnks, a technology company that provides a digital platform that enables enterprise teams to send gestures of appreciation that strengthen their business relationships and drive revenue growth. The company relocated its headquarters from New York to Williamson County in 2020, creating 50 jobs over the next three years.

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“With the combination of talent and business environment, we couldn’t have found a better location for our headquarters,” says Brendan Kamm, Thnks co-founder and CEO.

Williamson County is a destination for relocating and expanding large public companies like Spirit, Mitsubishi, Mars Petcare, Nissan and others, but it’s also attracting privately held enterprises. Of the 87 companies from Tennessee on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest growing privately-held businesses, 28% call Williamson County home, says Nathan Zipper, a member of the Williamson, Inc. recruitment team. “Thanks to our highly educated workforce, our exceptional public schools, and the fact that we’ve created a community where people want to live, work and play, Williamson County has become a destination for corporate headquarters and operations centers,” he says.

Williamson County TN
Franklin / Jeff Adkins

Opportunity for All

Talented, creative and diverse employees and business owners are Williamson County’s greatest asset and the key to its continuing prosperity, and local leaders are amplifying the message that the county holds opportunity for all.

Their efforts include inclusion workshops and other resources offered by Williamson, Inc., programs by the Women in Business organization and efforts by Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and others who actively reach out to members of the military and recruit military retirees to the county.

“If the climate of a workplace or community makes people uncomfortable being themselves, you lose the richness that diverse perspectives and background experiences create,” Anna Lisa Roberts, Williamson, Inc.’s economic development manager, says of the inclusion workshops the organization offers.

How Williamson County Creates A Healthy Community

Inclusive Culture

Each workshop is designed to help employers identify programming/ training to access talent by identifying companies with robust inclusion programs.

“We mean to be a resource now and in the future for those working to create that inclusive environment,” Roberts says.

As one workshop speaker noted, Roberts says, “it’s important to create a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work.” 

Women in Business, another initiative of Williamson, Inc., offers programming designed to foster professional and personal growth.

“We connect through events to build strong relationships with other female professionals who live or work in Williamson County,” says Abby Bass, senior director of event planning for Williamson, Inc.

Williamson County TN
Franklin / Williamson County Schools

Recruiting Veterans

Reaching out to active duty military personnel, their families and retirees is an initiative Mayor Moore is happy to take on.

“Our military veterans are highly trained professionals with many job skills. Their discipline and work ethic are important ingredients for a successful transition from military life to civilian life and a great opportunity for businesses to capture these talents,” he says.

If you’d like to learn more about the Williamson County area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williamson County, TN

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