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Nashville Council Approves $500K Film Incentive Package for ABC’s ‘Nashville’

Press release from Tennessee Watchdog; September 11, 2013:

Spoiler alert! Nashville officials finalize taxpayer money for ABC series

NASHVILLE — If you attended Tuesday’s Nashville Metro Council meeting hoping for a debate on whether government has a rightful place subsidizing ABC’s “Nashville” with taxpayer money, you left disappointed.

If, however, you attended the meeting hoping for spoilers resolving last May’s season-ending cliffhanger, you got precisely what you wanted.

As expected, the 40 council members unanimously rubber stamped Mayor Karl Dean’s plan to give half a million dollars in taxpayer money to the network series, in exchange for it to continue filming on location.There was no vigorous debate, despite an earlier promise from council member Ronnie Steine, who co-sponsored the resolution.

In fact, Steine introduced the resolution and got passage in fewer than three minutes. A star-struck Steine giddily talked about lead actress Connie Britton, who plays Rayna James. In the first season’s cliffhanger, Britton’s character wrecked her car, leaving it unclear whether she would survive.

“I don’t think we can get a bigger bang for our buck. Just as a spoiler alert, as it pertains to downtown filming for those who watch regularly, apparently Rayna James did survive,” said Steine, eliciting intense laughter among the council.

As Tennessee Watchdog previously reported, state officials already gave the show’s second season $12.5 million in taxpayer money as long as it filmed on location. Dean, meanwhile, promised taxpayer money for the same purpose — but he made the promise before he could finalize it.

As series Executive Producer Steve Buchanan said at a Budget and Finance Committee meeting this week, the season’s fifth episode is already filming in the city.

At that meeting, committee members’ only concerns involved how best to verify that a majority of episodes are filmed on location, as promised, and whether the show’s security and catering vendors are based in Nashville.

About 6.5 million people watch the show every week. Steine and other city officials believe the show will lure tourists, thus paying off with increased economic benefits.

Buchanan told Tennessee Watchdog he’s not sure what the show would have done had council members decided against subsidizing it.

“This particular request comes from the studios — Lionsgate. The studios are the ones paying for the production. I can’t answer your question. That is for the studio to answer,” Buchanan said.

Calls seeking comment from the Los Angeles-based Lionsgate Studios were not returned.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org.

Haslam Announces UBS to Establish Shared Services Center in Nashville

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 28, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean along with UBS officials announced today the company will establish a shared services center in Nashville. The announcement, representing a $36.5 million investment by the company, will create 1,000 new jobs over the next five years.

“It is exciting that UBS – one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies – is making this significant investment in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We are grateful for the high quality Tennessee jobs the company is creating. Companies can choose to do business anywhere in the world, and it says a lot for Tennessee and Nashville that UBS wants to be here.”

“Tennessee’s No. 1 ranking for job growth in the Southeast is only further enhanced by the added momentum of today’s 1,000 job announcement,” Hagerty said. “Our internationally competitive state provides global companies like UBS with an ideal location, a skilled workforce and attractive business climate which, in turn, allows companies to offer high-wage employment opportunities to Tennesseans. I appreciate UBS’ further investment in our state’s robust business services sector and congratulate the company on its latest success.”

UBS currently provides operations support in Nashville through over 200 employees in addition to its full service Wealth Management office. The new UBS Nashville Business Solutions Center will offer expanded business services in support of their wealth management and investment banking divisions.

“Expanding our presence in Nashville is the right business decision for UBS,” Kathleen Lynch, chief operating officer, UBS Group Americas and Wealth Management Americas, said. “The new UBS Nashville Business Solutions Center is part of our global strategy to continuously improve our efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of our clients and shareholders.”

“The decision by UBS to bring 1,000 quality jobs to Nashville speaks to the skilled workforce in our area and the high quality of life here,” Mayor Dean said. “I welcome UBS’ Shared Services Center to Nashville and am proud that our city is increasingly being recognized as the premier location for global companies to centralize their operations.”

“A $36.5 million investment and the creation of 1,000 new jobs is outstanding news for Tennessee,” U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. “I want to thank UBS and its employees for their commitment to the Nashville area and congratulate them on their latest success.” Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, added, “Governor Haslam and his economic development team continue to attract high quality jobs to Tennessee, and I could not be more proud to join them in welcoming UBS to Nashville.”

“We are excited that UBS has chosen to expand in the Nashville region,” Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz said. “As a financial services industry leader, UBS is creating high‐quality jobs as well as making a significant investment in our region. Our team looks forward to continuing to support the company’s workforce needs as it grows.”

“Congratulations to UBS on their continuing growth and announcement to expand in Nashville,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “TVA is privileged to be an economic development partner with the State of Tennessee, Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership to assist new investments and job creation by global companies like UBS.”

Haslam, Dean Tout Free Community College for Nashville Grads

Both Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean were on hand Monday morning at Nashville State’s southeast campus for the announcement of a new program offering free community college and technical school tuition to all Metro public school graduates.

The initiative, called “nashvilleAchieves,” makes Davidson County the twenty-sixth in the state to offer high school seniors such a deal under a larger umbrella organization called tnAchieves. That organization was started five years ago by Randy Boyd, a Knoxville pet supply mogul and higher-ed adviser to Gov. Haslam.

Boyd spoke at Monday’s event, urging Metro businesses and community members to donate time and money to the program.

The tuition subsidies, which will be especially geared toward low-income and first-generation college goers but open to all graduates, will be paid for with a mixture of public funding and private donations.

According to a press release from Mayor Dean’s office, nashvilleAchieves has already tallied up $1 million in donations from corporate and nonprofit sources while the city plans to commit $750,000 over the next two years.

Speaking to reporters following the announcement, Dean described the programs as “especially meaningful” because it allows the county to “make it possible for every graduating high school senior to go to community college.”

“The city’s future is dependent upon us being a city that produces and attracts college graduates,” he added.

Increasing access to higher education statewide has been a top priority for Gov. Haslam’s administration. During his remarks Monday, Haslam said that only about a third of Tennesseans currently hold an advanced degree and he hailed tnAchieves as a valuable way to raise that number.

“tnAchieves has a proven record of providing the support that ultimately leads to increased post-secondary access, retention and completion,” Haslam said in prepared remarks, adding during a post-event press conference, “The better graduates we produce, then the more businesses are going to want to say ‘we want to be here.’”

Haslam has announced a goal, the so-called “Drive to 55,” to raise the number of state residents with an advanced to degree to 55 percent by 2025. Right the number number is around 32 percent, the governor has said.

Feds Accept Nashville-Area Bus Rapid Transit Proposal

Press release from the Nashville Metro Transit Authority; August 12, 2013:

NASHVILLE – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has given the green light to officials at the Nashville Metro Transit Authority (MTA) on their quest to pursue federal funding for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed Amp Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which will connect East and West Nashville.

MTA was notified late last week that it has provided sufficient information to enter the project development phase as outlined under FTA’s Small Starts grants program. Successfully completing project development will put the Amp on track to be recommended for up to $75 million in federal funding.

“This is a major step forward for the Amp,” Mayor Dean said. “Being accepted into project development is essentially the FTA saying we’re on the right track with our project and they want to help us get to a point where it can be recommended for federal funding. We have been planning this project since 2009, and this is evidence that the FTA is pleased with the steps we’ve been taking and the process we’re going through. This confirms that this is a viable transit project for Nashville and it’s going to change the way people travel in our city. We are no longer just talking about the problem of looming traffic congestion; we are on a path to do something about it.”

Earlier this year, the Metro Council approved $7.5 million in Mayor Dean’s FY 2014 capital spending plan to cover the next stage of engineering for the Amp, and those funds were contingent on acceptance into project development. The funds will now be available to MTA to complete final design and engineering. Once the work is completed, another series of community meetings will be held to continue to seek public input on the plans. Ultimately, the project details will be submitted to FTA in an application for the federal funding to cover a substantial portion of the project’s cost.

In the letter to the transit authority, FTA outlined the project’s next steps and recognized that many of them have already been completed by MTA. For example, the MTA board and city leaders have already selected the “locally preferred alternative” or transit mode – BRT. Plus, it has been adopted into the region’s long range transportation plan as required.

The designation of project development gives MTA and the city “pre-award authority” to incur costs for activities prior to the approval of federal dollars for the Amp. The FTA letter outlines what type of activities may be completed for reimbursements, such as final design and engineering. Other activities, such as work for evaluating utility relocation needs and real property acquisition, are listed as well.

The Amp will be Nashville’s first full service BRT system with dedicated transit lanes. The 7.1 mile route will stretch from Five Points in East Nashville to St. Thomas West Hospital.

It will function much like light rail or a subway with off-board ticketing, real-time travel information, and sleek rapid transit vehicles with double doors that open at level with station platforms to allow multiple passengers to board at once.

“The goal of this project is to change the way people in Nashville use public transit in our city by making it a real alternative to a car,” said Paul J. Ballard, Chief Executive Officer for Nashville MTA and the Regional Transportation Authority. “Residents in all parts of the city and region will benefit from this project. If we can make the first full-service BRT line with dedicated lanes successful, then we can expand the concept to other areas, and that is our ultimate goal.”

In East Nashville, the Amp station will be near East Nashville Magnet School on 10th Street. Amp vehicles will travel on Main Street to Woodland Street, stop at the LP Field station near the existing Park & Ride, go over the Woodland Street Bridge to 5th Avenue North next to the Music City Central downtown transit station, travel down 5th Avenue North to Church Street, and on to Broadway/West End making stops at stations near the Frist Center, The Gulch, Vanderbilt University, Centennial Park, Acklen Park, Elmington Park, Cherokee Park, and St. Thomas West Hospital.

For more information about Nashville’s rapid transit project, visit www.nashvillemta.org, http://www.nashvillemta-amp.org/AMP-Current-Status-Nashville-MTA.asp or http://thetransitalliance.org/amp the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee website.

Haslam Announces ARAMARK to Open Nashville Service Center

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; July 17, 2013:

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with ARAMARK officials and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean today announced the creation of a new ARAMARK Business Services Center in Nashville. The center will create more than 1,000 new jobs over the next three years and represents an investment of approximately $20 million in Davidson County.

“We are grateful to ARAMARK for the significant number of job opportunities created by the new Business Services Center and the company’s continued investment in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “It is a strong vote of confidence when companies that are already doing business here make key decisions to expand and grow their operations in Tennessee. The success of existing businesses plays a critical role in our goal to be the no. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“ARAMARK’s decision to launch a new business services center in Middle Tennessee underscores Tennessee’s momentum in job recruitment that is unmatched in the Southeast,” Hagerty said. “Tennessee is demonstrating every day why we are now No. 1 in the Southeast for job growth, personal income growth and GDP growth. I want to thank ARAMARK and its management for making this valuable investment in Tennessee.”
“This new Business Services Center will play a pivotal role in providing exceptional service to our clients,” CEO and President of ARAMARK Eric Foss said. “We are pleased to grow our already substantial presence in Tennessee and Metropolitan Nashville.”

“ARAMARK’s creation of more than 1,000 new jobs in Nashville speaks to the deep and talented workforce in our city and the high quality of life that supports our robust economy,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. “I welcome ARAMARK’s Business Services Center to Nashville and am proud that our city is increasingly being recognized as the premier location for global companies to centralize their operations.”

ARAMARK is a global leader in delivering food, facility and uniform services for businesses, schools and universities, hospitals, stadiums and various other institutions. The new Business Services Center will consolidate and centralize certain financial and human resources services that are currently dispersed across the company’s North American operations.

ARAMARK is in the process of securing its new facility in southeast Davidson County and plans for the Business Services Center to be operational by year-end.

“Our goal is to start hiring as soon as possible and bringing employees onboard to train as we finalize our site preparations,” said Brian Gabbard, ARAMARK Vice President, Global Business Services.

ARAMARK officials said the company evaluated several locations throughout the country where it has operations before deciding on Nashville. “We felt that the strong local employment base along with other key factors made Metropolitan Nashville the ideal site for our new Center,” Gabbard added.

“Congratulations to ARAMARK on their continuing growth and announcement to locate in Nashville,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “TVA is pleased to be an economic development partner with the State of Tennessee, Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to assist new investments and job creation by global service companies like ARAMARK.”

“We are excited that ARAMARK has chosen Nashville for their new shared services center.” CEO and President of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Ralph Schulz said. “The thriving economy of the Nashville region and our skilled workforce creates a perfect environment for ARAMARK’s continued success. This project will have a significant impact on our entire region and our team looks forward to working with ARAMARK as they make move to their new location.”

ARAMARK is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. and employs more than 250,000 associates across 22 countries, including more than 3,200 in Tennessee. The company has several facilities throughout the state and provides food, facility and uniform services to more than 9,000 Tennessee clients including, University of Tennessee, Meharray Medical College, American General Insurance and Lifeway Christian Resources.

Work will transition to the new Nashville center over the next 36 months as the center grows its local operations. Job seekers interested in opportunities at ARAMARK’s new Business Services Center can submit resumes or seek additional information by emailing ARAMARKJobs@outlook.com.

National Education Reformer to Build System of Nashville Charter Schools

Press release from the Office of Mayor Karl Dean; Jan. 25, 2012:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean and the Tennessee Charter School Incubator announced today that national charter school leader Todd Dickson has been recruited to Nashville to start a network of high-performing charter schools in 2014.

The Incubator will host Dickson as its senior fellow for two years while he finalizes his plans to create a charter management organization of eight to 10 college-preparatory public charter schools focused on measurable outcomes. The schools would be located in Nashville, and Dickson intends to submit a charter application to Metro Nashville Public Schools to open at least one school in 2014.

Dickson, executive director of Summit Preparatory Charter High School in California, is well-known for educational successes with economically, ethnically and racially diverse populations. In 2010, Newsweek magazine named Summit Prep as one of the top 10 transformational schools in the country, and the school’s model was also highlighted as an education solution in the highly acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman. Since 2007, some 96 percent of Summit graduates have earned acceptance to four-year colleges.

“Securing a highly sought-after leader in education reform like Todd is an outstanding achievement for the Tennessee Charter School Incubator and the city of Nashville,” Dean said. “Of all the places Todd could have gone, we are pleased that he has chosen Nashville to launch his charter management organization. I commend the great work of the Incubator and others to position Nashville as a top destination for those leading innovation in education.”

Mayor Dean helped launch the Tennessee Charter School Incubator in 2009 to recruit high-quality charter operators to Nashville and Tennessee. Dickson is the first national charter leader to participate in the Incubator.

“After reviewing options in other states, such as California and Colorado, I knew that Tennessee was where my wife and I wanted to be,” Dickson said. “One of the key factors in our decision was the Incubator’s fellowship offer. The opportunity allows me to develop my network and provides me with the resources and support I will need to launch my charter management organization in 2014.”

Dickson will join the Tennessee Charter School Incubator in July. The Incubator will provide training, resources and support for Dickson as he builds his professional network and develops plans for his charter management organization.

“Thanks to Mayor Dean’s extraordinary leadership in education reform efforts, the climate is right for charter schools in Nashville,” said Greg Thompson, CEO of the Tennessee Charter School Incubator. “Rebecca Lieberman, our director of talent recruitment, is leading the effort to recruit top performers like Todd to Tennessee. We firmly believe that we must have the right leadership in place in order to launch and support high-quality charter schools.”

About the Tennessee Charter School Incubator

As the first statewide charter school incubator in the country, the Tennessee Charter School Incubator was launched with one purpose: to close the education achievement gap in Tennessee by supporting the creation of high-quality charter schools in Memphis and Nashville.

Founded in 2009, the Incubator has an ambitious plan to launch 22 new, high-performing college-preparatory charter schools in Nashville and Memphis by 2015 and to provide support services to existing high-performing charters in these markets. The Incubator believes the quality of these schools will not only set a baseline for what should be demanded of all public schools in Tennessee, but also serve as a catalyst for additional aggressive reforms across the state. For more information, visit www.charterexcellence.org or follow the Incubator on Twitter @TNCSIncubator.

Gaylord, Dollywood Teaming with State of Tennessee, Nashville Metro on Snow Park

Press Release from Gaylord Entertainment and the Dollywood Company, Jan. 19, 2012:

Two of the biggest names in Tennessee tourism are teaming up to bring a major family entertainment zone to Nashville. Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) and Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Company have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a 50/50 joint venture to develop a 114-acre family entertainment zone adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The Dollywood Company will serve as the operating partner. Phase one of the project is a yet unnamed approximately $50 million water and snow park, the first of its kind in the United States. A late 2012, early 2013 groundbreaking date is expected with the park opening slated for summer of 2014.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean joined Dolly Parton and Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer, for Gaylord Entertainment at today’s announcement at the Grand Ole Opry House at Gaylord Opryland.

“Tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee, generating more than a billion dollars in tax revenue annually and employing more than 170,000 Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “This project will be a welcome addition to the wide variety of attractions and destinations across our great state, and I applaud the collaboration and spirit that has led to this announcement.”

“Music City has become a travel destination unlike any other in the country,” Dean said. “The addition of this family entertainment complex near Opryland adds a critical missing piece to our tourist offerings. It provides a unique leisure attraction that will further enhance our already booming hospitality industry, which is one of our city’s top private sector employers.”

The water and snow park will anchor the project which offers room for future expansion. The park will provide a mix of high energy water activities for the summer season and designated snow activities for winter play. Once open, first year attendance is projected at 500,000, a large portion of which will come from out of state, bringing in substantial tourism revenue to Tennessee and Nashville. Dollywood expects to employ 450 full- and part- time employees.

This proposed attraction furthers Gaylord’s focus on growing the leisure side of its business and continuing to drive revenue through its top-notch entertainment attractions throughout the year. The Dollywood Company is responsible for managing Dolly Parton’s Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, as well as her dinner theatre attraction, Dixie Stampede. Annually, these attractions attract approximately four million visitors and have won some of the industry’s most coveted awards including “world’s best theme park” and “America’s most beautiful water park.”

“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” Dolly Parton said. “I am confident that partnering my Dollywood Company with a great company like Gaylord will create something truly special. We’re all working on new types of entertainment to do in the daytime and nighttime for the whole family so we bring new folks to the area year round.”

“We are thrilled by the prospect of bringing to Nashville a family focused entertainment center with one of the preeminent theme park owners and operators in the country,” said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer, for Gaylord Entertainment. “I am confident this proposed attraction, which will be a destination not only for our hotel guests but also for the entire Nashville community, will meaningfully enhance our transient and leisure strategy by providing a fun, family environment at the doorstep of the Opryland Hotel. With Dolly Parton’s country music legacy and strong ties to Nashville, we can think of no better partner for this venture than Dolly’s Dollywood Company.”

“We hope that some other developers with great ideas will join us for phase two of this project. We’re saying the water and snow park are the first phase, but who knows, if we see some great ideas we could be developing the entire zone by the time the snow and water park open. Wouldn’t that be great for Nashville and the state,” Parton said.

“We are in the early stages of planning and will make certain that any project we pursue is done so under the appropriate economic conditions and provides adequate returns for our shareholders,” said Reed. “We are reserving approximately 35 acres for expansion and complimentary regional attractions and we have been working closely with state and city officials to ensure we have the proper infrastructure agreements in place for the project to move forward. We are looking forward to working on the next steps of this project and to it becoming a valuable part of the Nashville tourism community.”

Based in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park which operates nine months a year (late March through December) and offers more than 40 rides and attractions; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. A family-friendly vacation destination, Dollywood also includes the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country, voted America’s “Must-See Waterpark.” Dollywood offers all-inclusive vacation planning with a variety of overnight lodging options. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com.

Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., owns and operates Gaylord Hotels (http://www.gaylordhotels.com), its network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts and the Grand Ole Opry (http://www.opry.com), the weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for 85 consecutive years. The company’s entertainment brands and properties include the Radisson Hotel Opryland, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM-AM. For more information about the company, visit http://www.GaylordEntertainment.com.

ServiceSource Expansion Announced

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, Dec. 29, 2011:

New Jobs Created in Nashville Sales Center

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean along with company officials announced today that ServiceSource® (NASDAQ: SREV), the global leader in service revenue management, is expanding its Nashville Sales Center and regional headquarters. The expansion at ServiceSource’s current downtown location will create hundreds of additional new jobs and represents a multi-million dollar investment over the next three years.

“ServiceSource’s announcement today is further confirmation that existing industries are crucial to economic development in our state and essential to helping reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Haslam said. “I appreciate ServiceSource’s growing commitment to Tennessee resulting in more jobs and additional investment in Nashville.”

“We’ve found that existing industries are a significant source of job creation for our state, and ServiceSource’s expansion is proving this to be true once again,” Hagerty said. “In my discussions with ServiceSource leadership, it is clear that the company recognizes the attractive business climate Tennessee offers, and ServiceSource’s additional investment is a vote of confidence in our state and its citizens.”

“Nashville continues to be a great business partner, with a large pool of potential employees with the education and skills that ServiceSource requires,” Mike Smerklo, chief executive officer, ServiceSource, said. “We are excited to move forward with our plans for expansion in Tennessee.”

ServiceSource’s Nashville Sales Center opened in January 2008 and has grown substantially in just four years. The company currently employs almost 500 people in Nashville and occupies nearly 85,000 square feet of office space. The expansion will add additional square footage to the building located on 4th Ave. and Church St. in the heart of downtown Nashville. The newly created positions will include those in accounting, finance, information technology and sales. Expansion plans and hiring are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2012.

“ServiceSource has been growing in Nashville since the company arrived here and has become an integral part of the downtown business landscape,” Dean said. “ServiceSource’s expansion will add hundreds of high-quality jobs and help build our educated workforce – two essential ingredients to the vibrancy and continued growth of our city.

“We’re pleased that Middle Tennessee continues to attract high-quality, technically focused jobs,” Ralph Schulz, president and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said. “It is a testament to the vibrancy of our region’s economy that an industry leader such as ServiceSource has continued to expand their operations here.”

As the pioneer and leader of the service revenue management industry, ServiceSource works to increase recurring revenue for leading hardware, software, healthcare and life sciences companies.

ServiceSource is headquartered in San Francisco and serves clients in more than 100 countries and 35 languages through its two sales centers in Denver and Nashville in the U.S. and its three sales centers abroad in Dublin, Ireland; Liverpool, United Kingdom; and Singapore.

About ServiceSource

ServiceSource is the global leader in service revenue management, partnering with technology-based companies to optimize maintenance, support and subscription revenue streams, while also improving customer relationships and loyalty. ServiceSource helps customers increase service revenue contract renewal rates, on average, by over 15 percentage points and, in some cases, up to 44 percentage points. ServiceSource delivers these results via a cloud-based solution, combining its Service Revenue Performance Suite™ of applications with dedicated service sales teams, leveraging a proprietary Service Revenue Intelligence Platform™ of transaction data, benchmarks and best practices. ServiceSource offers its service revenue management solution on a unique pay-for-performance business model that enables a success-driven, shared-risk partnership. The Company is headquartered in San Francisco, and manages service revenue performance for customers across the globe in more than 35 languages.

For more information on ServiceSource, visit http://www.servicesource.com. To connect with ServiceSource, visit us at our Power of Renewal blog or on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd.

 

IQT, Inc Moving HQ to Nashville — Expects to Bring 900 Jobs

Press Release from the Office of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, June 9, 2011:

Customer Relationship Company IQT to Establish U.S. Headquarters at 300 2nd Avenue South

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today joined with Alex Mortman, co-CEO of IQT, Inc to announce the company will establish its U.S. headquarters and create a customer relationship and technical services center in downtown Nashville.

The company expects to hire more than 900 people over the next five years and occupy approximately 60,000 square feet of space at the C.B. Ragland Building at 300 2nd Avenue South. IQT is a leading provider of customer relationship management services and e-commerce solutions for Fortune 500 companies in the technology and telecommunications industries.

“Most of us are unfamiliar with the company’s name, but it’s highly likely many of our sales, service and technical support questions for technology companies have been handled by the people at IQT,” Haslam said. “I’m pleased these technically-focused, good paying jobs are being created in Tennessee. IQT is helping us make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“IQT is a vibrant, technology-focused company that has found a perfect home in Nashville, a vibrant, technology-focused community,” said Mayor Dean. “I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome 900 new jobs for Nashvillians and another development boost for SoBro, a fast-growing downtown neighborhood.”

“Nashville and Tennessee are the right fit for our growing company,” said Alex Mortman, IQT co-CEO. “We’re looking for smart, educated, technology savvy people to provide the best customer service in our industry and we believe Nashville is the right place for our company to grow its business.”

“IQT has developed a reputation for solving complex problems for client companies when it comes to customer interaction,” said Commissioner Hagerty. “Business leaders know developing and managing customers is the single most important challenge they face and the type of technically-trained workforce IQT will develop in Tennessee will have a significant impact on our economy. We’re grateful to our partners in the Mayor’s Office, the Nashville Chamber and TVA for making this project happen.”

“Nashville’s business community welcomes a global market player like IQT,” said Jim Wright, chairman and CEO of Tractor Supply Company and co-chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership 2010 economic development initiative. “Our region’s entrepreneurial spirit has proved that taking care of customers is the quickest path to business success and IQT is a classic example of that story. I’m convinced the company will be a valuable addition to our corporate community.”

Mortman says IQT has begun the search for candidates to fill a wide range of positions, from customer-facing service agents with post-secondary education and technical skills to people with supervisory, training and human resources experience to senior executives with backgrounds in finance, operations and enterprise technology.

Mayor Dean said incentives offered to the company at the local level will include a one-time grant to IQT for each job created as well as an economic development grant from the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) to offset initial start up costs. Legislation is expected to be filed with the Metro Council within a few days. Commissioner Hagerty said the project will likely qualify for statutory tax credits and a FastTrack Job Training Assistance grant.

In addition to its U.S. operations, IQT also has business units in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Applicants interested in exploring careers with IQT can find out more in the “Careers” section at the company’s web site, www.iqtsolutions.com.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd.

About IQT

IQT is a leading provider of integrated customer care, business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT staffing solutions to Fortune 500 enterprises around the globe. Our state-of-the-art contact centers provide comprehensive customer care services in multiple languages including French, English and Spanish. IQT’s redundant technology platform includes a fully integrated suite of multimedia functions including IVR, ACD, Web, e-mail, text-chat, fax, voice relay, and self-service. IQT deploys teams of certified systems engineers to develop and implement cutting-edge software applications for our clients. Our IT professionals work on-site to provide technical training, assess and address systems requirements and provide 24×7 troubleshooting and problem resolution.

For more information, go to www.iqtsolutions.com.

Bredesen Busy Traveling, Lecturing, Promoting Health Policy Book

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen remains zip-lippped about what’s in the state’s deal with Amazon.com, although he has plenty to say about what he’s been doing since leaving office, which is traveling the country making speeches, mostly about health care.

“I’m not retired. I’m not vegetating,” Bredesen said. “I’m very active and trying to figure out how I can best use the next few years.”

Bredesen was at a campaign event Saturday in support of Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who is running for re-election.

Nashville is still home base for Bredesen, but since leaving office in January he has traveled to various locations, from Chicago to Florida to the West Coast, to speak. He has primarily talked about health care, including one joint appearance with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but he has also spoken on the state’s experience recruiting international businesses like Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie.

One domestic business recruitment with Bredesen’s brand on it, however, remains a point of controversy in the state. Amazon is building two large distribution centers in and near Chattanooga. The Internet sales giant is making a $139 billion investment, offering 1,400 jobs and comes in with the agreement that it will operate without collecting sales taxes as a retail outlet would.

A couple of key lawmakers have cried foul, presenting legislation to force Amazon to collect the tax, but that effort has met resistance and even a threat from Amazon that it might pull out if forced to collect. Lawmakers have even asked the state’s attorney general to weigh in on their effort. The bill has been deferred to 2012.

Among lawmakers’ questions have been to what degree the agreement with Amazon has even been in writing.

“I’m just not commenting on stuff that’s going on like that right now,” Bredesen said. “We had an understanding with Amazon, and it was really Matt Kisber (former commissioner of Economic and Community Development) who did all the detail work on the thing.

“I think it was the right decision. I think the current governor thinks it was the right decision to get them here. I think they will be an important piece of the economy.”

The Bredesen administration made the deal after Bill Haslam was elected governor in November but before Bredesen left office. The most widely reported explanation for the arrangement has been that Bredesen told Haslam the state could either grant Amazon the ability to avoid collecting the tax or see the company go a few miles down the road and build its facility in Georgia. The same issue has played out in other states. Bredesen wanted the jobs in Tennessee, and Haslam has publicly said the state will honor the commitment.

Bredesen said there were compelling reasons for striking such a deal.

“Part of what appealed to me about Amazon was I worked real hard to get some of the knowledge-based jobs that require a college education, where you’ve got good salaries and so on,” Bredesen said. “A lot of the Amazon jobs are a little different from that. They’re working in a warehouse. We need those jobs, too.

“There are a lot of people in this state who just need a job with a good company with good benefits, and they’re not going to go back to college to do it.”

When asked last week where the attorney general is on the Amazon issue, Sharon Curtis-Flair, spokeswoman for Attorney General Robert Cooper, said, “We’re working on it,” but she offered no elaboration on a potential opinion or when it might come.

Bredesen said getting a well-respected company like Amazon to build in Tennessee at a time when jobs are hard to come by seemed like the right deal to make. He was asked about the precedent, however, of setting up that arrangement, since Amazon is already making overtures of building even more distribution centers in Nashville or Knoxville.

“I think the governor has got to figure that out,” Bredesen said. “But in the scheme of things, if an Amazon were to be located here, ultimately these tax issues are going to be solved by the Congress.”

Haslam has also said no single state should have to work out the issue of collecting sales taxes on online sales. The issue is complex. Amazon is based in Seattle. Company officials point to the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution and say the existence of a “fulfillment center,” as Amazon is building, does not create substantial presence, known as nexus, to qualify as a point of sale.

“The two facilities happened on my watch, I think we made the right decision, I think the governor has backed that up, and how he treats the next two or three is up to Gov. Haslam,” Bredesen said.

As for the former governor’s travels, they’re the kind of speaking engagements one would normally expect after the publication last year of Bredesen’s book, Fresh Medicine — How to Fix Reform and Build a Sustainable Health Care System.

“I had a lot of requests to do that after the book came out in the fall, and you really can’t do it as a sitting governor,” Bredesen said. “You can’t take off and go to California for a few days and give speeches.”

He said the topic in such settings is beginning to move more toward the future of the health care system, rather than just reaction to the health care reform law. Bredesen’s book is due for a paperback version this fall.

“I’m up to my eyebrows in health care,” Bredesen said.

The event with Jeb Bush was a health care discussion held by the venture capital group Health Evolution Partners, where they had a “D” and “R” program, with Bredesen the “D” as a Democrat and Bush the “R” as a Republican.

Bredesen said he has put the notion of trying to serve at the federal level on health care policy on the shelf, adding that when it came up it was probably given more attention than it deserved. He also said Saturday he has no intention of running for the Senate. Bredesen was at one time considered a candidate to be President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, which ultimately went to Kathleen Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas.

So for now, Bredesen is doing the speech-making tour and deciding what’s next. Bredesen was mayor of Nashville for two terms from 1991-99 and governor for two terms from 2003-2011.

“When I left the mayor’s office, after I left on Saturday, on Monday morning I was setting up my desk in a new office,” he said. “I’ve said this time, don’t do that, when you’ve got one more good career in you. Get a little space. Get some of these speeches done you wanted to do. Do a little writing, and let things gel a little bit.”

Bredesen said former first lady Andrea Conte now “enjoys being out of the line of fire,” and she’s doing a lot of the same things as her husband is.

“She’s been out and active and around doing different things, giving talks to different groups. She is spending serious time in the garden, and we’re having a great time right now,” said former governor Bredesen.

Mike Morrow is a correspondent for TNReport.com, a not-for-profit news organization supported by donors like you.