Discover Tennessee

The Volunteer State has built a brand based on quality craftsmanship.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Monday, June 1, 2020 - 11:39
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From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River, Tennessee stands out as a center of culture, entertainment, natural beauty and innovation.

 

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Red Collar Pet Foods

Barking up the Right Tree

A specialty pet food manufacturer is expanding its pawprint in Tennessee. Red Collar Pet Foods, a leading manufacturer of premium and private-label dog/cat food and treats, is expanding its headquarters in Williamson County, a $3.65 million investment that will add 30 jobs to its 50-person workforce over the next five years. The Franklin facility currently supports six other Red Collar locations across the U.S. Red Collar received $90,000 in grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development as part of the expansion.

Pilot Project

Tennessee is increasingly becoming a location of choice for technology companies. One of the recent arrivals is Pilot.com, a San Francisco-based company that develops bookkeeping software that caters to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Pilot.com chose Nashville for its new account management headquarters, creating 450 jobs. Company officials attributed the decision to locate in Nashville to the growing tech and startup scene coupled with a strong group of accounting professionals generated by the region’s accounting and financial management schools.

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Michael D. Tedesco

Energetic Exhibits

Tennessee had a major role in the Manhattan Project, a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons.

The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge highlights scientific developments and the history of the Manhattan Project in the region.

The 18,000-square-foot museum, which moved into a new $1.5 million space in 2018, includes numerous hands-on exhibits, a rotating exhibit gallery and the famous Van de Graaff generator. The museum includes two 800-square-foot classrooms and a large theater with a stage.

Plugged into Tennessee

Tennessee is home to some of the world’s most recognized consumer appliance brands, including Electrolux, Mitsubishi Electric, Monogram Refrigeration LLC, Thomas & Betts, LG Electronics and Whirlpool.

Tennessee offers a number of advantages for appliance and electrical manufacturing, including a ready supply of skilled workers and access to major U.S. markets.

More than 17,800 Tennesseans manufacture household appliances, lamps, lighting fixtures, motors, transformers, switchboards and batteries at over 140 establishments. Exports in the appliance and electrical sector from Tennessee reached nearly $1.5 billion in 2019.

One of the newer entrants to the state is LG Electronics, which cut the ribbon in July 2019 on a 1 million-square-foot home appliance manufacturing facility in Clarksville, where the company is now producing washing machines for the U.S. market. The $360 million factory employs more than 550 workers.

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flickr.com/tennecd

Staying Hungry and Thirsty

The Volunteer State’s deep roots in agriculture have cultivated a diverse and growing food and beverage industry that includes names known around the world.

Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel and Little Debbie are homegrown, brand name products created in Tennessee. Today, the state is home to more than 1,600 food and beverage production establishments that employ more than 40,000 workers.

Knoxville-based Bush Brothers & Company is best known for its Bush’s Best brand baked beans. Bush’s produces about 80% of all the canned baked beans consumed in the U.S. The company’s yearly sales surpass $400 million. Mars Inc., Keurig Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Tyson Foods, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and McKee Foods are just a few of the globally known companies with operations in Tennessee.

McKee Foods recently announced a major 15-year, $500 million investment in capital projects in Collegedale. The expansion is estimated to create 480 new jobs.

Led by Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel, Tennessee exported $455 million in beverage products in 2019.

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Bryan Allen/The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The 4-1-1 on Tennessee 

  • Beautiful Spaces: Whether it’s biking, hiking, fishing or camping, you can enjoy the outdoors at one of Tennessee’s 141 state parks and natural areas, which offer more than 1,300 miles of trails and 80 waterfalls as well as 11 national parks, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • A Strong Hand: The state has parlayed a winning combination of affordability, low business costs, a prime location, superior transportation infrastructure and a high-quality workforce into a $365 billion economic juggernaut. Among its advantages: no personal income tax on wages and salaries, a long history of fiscal responsibility and the lowest state debt per capita in the country.

  • Talent-Rich: Tennessee provides a deep pool of skilled talent to meet the needs of employers in the state. The groundbreaking Tennessee Promise offers two years of community college, tuition-free, to qualifying high school graduates.

  • International Flavor: The world is beating a path to Tennessee’s door. Tennessee has more than 1,000 foreign-based businesses that have invested over $40 billion in capital and employ nearly 150,000 Tennesseans.

  • Crossroads of Innovation: Fueled by major research assets that include the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee supports technology-driven innovation that is taking place in every corner of the state. ORNL’s staff of more than 5,000 in Tennessee includes more than 3,200 scientists and engineers.

  • Accelerated Growth: Tennessee is located in the heart of the Southeast “Auto Alley.” The state is home to three major assembly operations – General Motors in Spring Hill, Nissan in Smyrna and Volkswagen in Chattanooga – and more than 910 suppliers.

  • Easy Reach: More than 75% of the nation’s major markets are within a day’s drive of Tennessee, offering access to eight interstates, several major river ports, international and regional airports, and extensive rail service. Anchored by the FedEx World Hub in Memphis, the state is a logistics powerhouse, home to 16,700 distribution-related establishments.

  • Promoting Prosperity: The state’s concerted effort to promote growth in rural communities is paying dividends, including more than $8 billion in investment since 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.