Stop covers wide range of businesses; tour to finish Saturday
KNOXVILLE – Tennessee House and Senate Democrats spent all of Friday in Knoxville speaking to business owners throughout the city as their statewide jobs tour explored emerging career fields.
“All of the companies we visited would either not exist or not be nearly as successful without the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “Their workforces and their partnerships with local businesses make up the economic hub of this area.”
Tour members started the day at Wright’s Cafeteria, as owner David Wright and Councilmember Brenda Palmer outlined issues facing Knoxville neighborhoods and small businesses. The group then met with industry leaders at the Knoxville Chamber to discuss bureaucratic hurdles to starting and expanding local businesses.
“Tennessee ranks at the bottom of the country for entrepreneurship, in part because new business owners often get overwhelmed by the bureaucracy facing entrepreneurs in our state,” said State Senator Andy Berke. “State government needs to be fostering entrepreneurship through a streamlined startup process.”
Tour members then visited with Elizabeth Eason of Eason Architecture and Cortney Piper of Piper Communications to discuss the growth of sustainability careers and the widespread application of sustainable building practices.
In the afternoon, members met with Mike Twine of G2 Engineering, a minority-owned business that works with ORNL and other federal agencies to produce a wide range of products and services, including mobile disaster-relief offices that are scheduled to go into production for the U.S. government.
Officials then concluded the day at Quality Label and Tag, a small business with about 15 employees that prints product labels for companies across the country.
The weeklong jobs tour concludes today in Putnam, Smith and Sumner counties.