Despite recent challenges, the economic outlook in East Tennessee is sky high.
It’s no exaggeration to say businesses are taking flight in Blount County, Tennessee – some of them quite literally – thanks to a culture that encourages and rewards innovation and an unparalleled quality of life that makes it easy to recruit and retain top talent.
Cirrus Aircraft, one of the country’s most successful manufacturers of general aviation airplanes, has major operations at McGhee Tyson Airport.
Arconic, known for creating breakthrough metals for the aerospace, automotive, construction and other industries, is located in Alcoa. The company’s alloys and other products can be found in aircraft, vehicles and building facades everywhere.
They’re not the only Blount County companies shaping the future. Despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the region maintained economic momentum.
Making Moves In Blount County
Investing up to $1 billion in Maryville to produce electric vehicle components.
Expanding in Alcoa, investing more than $100 million and adding 200 jobs.
Building a state-of-the-art fulfillment center and creating 800 jobs.
Clayton Homes, the country’s largest builder of manufactured and modular homes, is headquartered in Maryville. The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is a major builder of traditional homes, as well.
Consumer products company Newell Brands has major operations in the region. It has a global presence and a portfolio of household-name products. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the nation’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory, is located minutes away.
Cirrus Aircraft has steadily grown its Vision Center at McGhee Tyson since arriving in 2016. The center has grown from 16 employees to more than 200 today. It handles the SR Series aircraft as well as the Vision Jet.
“The Vision Center campus is an aviation experience unlike any other and is the hub to all our customer activities,” says Stephen Deucker, vice president of Cirrus and general manager of the Vision Center. “It is the home to state-of-the-art flight training, factory-direct service, design and a world-class new aircraft delivery experience. Customers from around the world visit this growing campus of buildings and hangars at McGhee Tyson Airport and receive personalized services and an introduction to the ‘Cirrus Life.’”
Companies in Blount County benefit from Tennessee’s low business costs and business-friendly regulatory environment. At the local level, cooperation among the county and its municipalities is common.
Companies also find a number of workforce development initiatives and a deep pool of skilled labor, with many businesses filling out their workforce with talent from universities, such as The University of Tennessee and Maryville College.
Pellissippi State Community College is adding the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center, a joint project with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville.
The 51,000-square-foot center will help meet the demand for highly skilled, college-educated employees. It will include space for Pellissippi State’s computer information technology, culinary arts, electrical engineering technology and electromechanical engineering programs.
Like many other businesses, Cirrus found that Blount County checks all the boxes.
“Cirrus Aircraft and our guests love this area for all the same reasons locals love living here,” Deucker says. “We enjoy the lakes, rivers and mountains around us as well as all four seasons. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise and offers an impressive array of amenities for those who enjoy city life.”