Press Releases

ECD Announces Pilot Program to Encourage Microenterprise

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development; February 9, 2015:

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is launching “LiftTN: Microenterprise,” a pilot program to expand microenterprise development across the state. The program—funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—is aimed at helping businesses that have five or fewer employees expand. $400,000 in total grant money is being awarded over a two-year contract to these five grantees:

  • West TN: altShops through Communities Unlimited ($100,000)
  • East TN: Mentor-Protégée Program through Knoxville Chamber of Commerce ($50,000)
  • Middle and Statewide: Incubator Without Walls Expansion Program through Nashville
    Business Incubation Center ($200,000)
  • Community-based Program: Sonneschein Green Initiatives (SGI) Marketplace in Hohenwald ($25,000)
  • Youth: TN Code Academy for Youth ($25,000)

“I am extremely pleased TNECD can participate in this pilot program,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “Encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship is an important piece of a robust economic development strategy, as entrepreneurs choose to stay here and invest in our state, which ultimately helps create jobs and sustain long-term community growth.”

In order to determine the grant recipients, TNECD—through its office of federal programs and the Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO)—held four meetings across the state in January and February 2014. The purpose of those meetings was to gather information regarding unmet needs of microenterprises from agencies and organizations that work with small, women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, rural and urban core businesses as well as youth entrepreneurs.

“Through the five selected programs, microenterprises will have access to invaluable services and opportunities that will improve lives and communities,” TNECD’s BERO Director, Wisty Pender, said. “’LiftTN: Microenterprise’ is unique because of the diverse nature of the programs involved. All five engage in a wide range of activities that will serve as a template for possible future expansion of this pilot program.”

“When HUD encouraged us to use more Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to support economic development, we decided to focus on microenterprise businesses,” TNECD’s Director of Federal Programs, Brooxie Carlton said. “It’s exciting to use some of our CDBG funds in this new way because it allows us to serve very small businesses across Tennessee. The goal is to continue the program beyond this two-year pilot period, ultimately expanding it throughout the state.”

Communities Unlimited will use the grant funds to operate the altShops program in the Bolivar and Somerville downtown areas. The altShops program is a business incubator program for popup retail shops that recruits business owners and assists them with startup costs, leasing of commercial property and other technical assistance The altShops program will fund three microenterprises in Bolivar and three microenterprises in Somerville.

The Knoxville Chamber will use the funds to operate the Propel, a mentor-protégée program in cooperation with the respective chambers in Knox, Roane, Blount, Jefferson and Anderson Counties. Propel will pair protégés (microenterprises), which are relatively new to business with mentors who are established business leaders. In addition to a mentor, each protégé will receive coaching and technical assistance.

Growth Enterprises Nashville will use their grant to expand the capacity of the Incubator Without Walls (“Virtual Incubator”), a program that provides virtual business incubation. Participants in the Virtual Incubator will receive one-on-one business counseling, as well as location-based training classes.

Center for Holistic Ecology currently conducts the Sonnenschein Green Initiative (SGI) that promotes ecologically friendly business activity in the Hohenwald community and surrounding areas. The grant money will allow SGI to establish and operate the Hohenwald Marketplace, a place for local vendors to operate and sell services and goods.

The TN Code Academy will use grant funds to expand the reach of its TN Code Academy for Youth, a program that conducts one-day workshops, camps and classes to further learning and increase interest in computer science and programming for students between the ages of 12-18. The grant will allow TN Code Academy to offer “Apps and Entrepreneurship”, teaching youth not only how to make an app, but how to monetize what they create.

Press Releases

Haslam Announces 135 Job Expansion at Federal-Mogul in Rutherford Co

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 27, 2014:

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Federal-Mogul officials announced today the company will invest $6.2 million to expand its current distribution facility in Smyrna, Tennessee and create 135 new jobs in Rutherford County.

“We are thankful for Federal-Mogul and their continued investment in our state and the new jobs they are creating in Middle Tennessee,” Haslam said. “When companies like Federal-Mogul choose to reinvest here, it speaks volumes about our workforce and the quality of Tennessee-made products, and today’s announcement is another step toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Tennessee continues to set itself apart as a global leader in the automotive industry,” Hagerty said. “Major automotive manufacturers like Nissan, Volkswagen and General Motors support a robust pipeline of more than 900 automotive manufacturers and suppliers located throughout our state. I am pleased Federal-Mogul will continue to be a part of why Tennessee has been named the No. 1 state in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength an unprecedented four years in a row, and I appreciate the new jobs they are creating in our communities.”

“Federal-Mogul is pleased to continue investing in Smyrna,” Paula Silver, Federal-Mogul’s vice president of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, said. “We have a dedicated and hard-working team here that takes pride in distributing high quality products for our customers. We are excited to grow our Smyrna operations and create more job opportunities.”

Federal-Mogul is expanding its existing Worldwide Aftermarket Distribution Center in Smyrna, due to the recent purchase of part of Affinia’s product line. Affinia is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of automotive replacement products.

As part of this expansion, Federal-Mogul will increase its Smyrna footprint from 600,000 square feet to 800,000 square feet. This larger warehouse and distribution capacity will allow the facility to become more productive.

“Today’s announcement of 135 new jobs by Federal-Mogul is great news for the Town of Smyrna and Rutherford County,” Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said. “The Town of Smyrna continues to experience positive job growth and we thank Federal-Mogul for their confidence in our community for this additional investment.”

Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation is a leading global supplier of products and services to the world’s manufacturers and servicers of vehicles and equipment in the automotive, light, medium and heavy-duty commercial, marine, rail, aerospace, power generation and industrial markets. The company’s products and services enable improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and enhanced vehicle safety.

“TVA and Middle Tennessee Electric congratulate Federal-Mogul on its announcement to expand in Smyrna, Tennessee,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “We are pleased to partner with the state of Tennessee, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, and city and county officials to assist Federal-Mogul’s additional investment to create new jobs.”

In addition to its Smyrna location, Federal-Mogul has operations in Smithville and Sparta, Tennessee. In total, approximately 1,000 people are employed at Federal-Mogul’s three Tennessee locations.

People interested in applying for these new jobs in Smyrna should contact Missy Rogers, human resources manager, at

Press Releases

Haslam Announces TTI Floor Care Expansion in Cookeville

Press release from the office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 25, 2014: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with TTI Floor Care North America officials today announced the company will invest in its Cookeville facility by adding additional manufacturing capacity to introduce new product lines and support existing product transfers. TTI Floor Care North America will create 211 new jobs in Putnam County, nearly doubling its workforce over the next five years.

“I want to thank TTI Floor Care for expanding its Cookeville operations and providing more than 200 jobs to Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “When a company chooses to increase its presence in Tennessee, it speaks volumes to others about our business-friendly environment, and this announcement supports our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

As TTI Floor Care’s operations expand and product lines are moved to Cookeville, the company plans to return portions of their production capacity from China and Mexico.

“The percentage of Tennesseans working in the manufacturing sector is 1.3 times the national average, and this figure underscores our state’s unbeatable manufacturing momentum and workforce capability,” Hagerty said. “TTI Floor Care is one of the many successful global companies located in Tennessee, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the company’s efforts to bring high quality manufacturing jobs back to Tennessee and for further investing in our state.”

TTI Floor Care North America is one of the largest floor care manufacturers in North America and home to Hoover, Dirt Devil and Oreck vacuum cleaners. The Cookeville facility supports the company’s manufacturing, assembly and distribution operations, and
will receive extensive building upgrades and infrastructure improvements through the expansion. TTI also maintains a call center at the Cookeville location.

“We are extremely pleased to expand our operations in Cookeville, which will support our leading position within the North American floor care market,” Simon Lawson, president of TTI Floor Care North America, said. “The Cookeville facility provides us with a number of advantages including a skilled, tenured workforce and a central location for shipping to a majority of the U.S. quickly and efficiently. We want to express our appreciation to Cookeville, Putnam County and the state of Tennessee for supporting our expansion in the Cookeville area.”

“This is a great day for Cookeville and the Highlands region,” Dr. Bob Bell, chairman of the Industrial Development Board of Cookeville, said. “These are good, well-paying jobs that will provide economic opportunity for numerous families in the area. On behalf of the Industrial Development Board, I wish TTI Floor Care many years of continued success.”

“TVA congratulates TTI Floor Care on its announcement to invest and create jobs in Cookeville,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development, said. “TVA and Cookeville Electric Department are pleased to assist TTI through our partnership with the state of Tennessee, the Industrial Development Board of Cookeville, and the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber.”

TTI Floor Care North America develops and manufactures vacuum cleaning products and floor care appliances including upright vacuum cleaners, carpet washers, hard floor cleaners and hand-held vacs. The company sells its products through a network of retailers to customers in the United States.

Interested persons can visit to learn more about available positions.

Press Releases

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