Press Releases

Southeast Tennessee ‘Jobs Base Camp’ Coordinator Named

Press Release from the State of Tennessee,  July 8, 2011:

Former Executive for AT&T to Lead Economic Development in Region

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today named Chattanooga business and civic leader Patsy Hazlewood as regional director of the “jobs base camp” serving a ten county region in Southeast Tennessee for the department. The post was created in April as part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Jobs4TN initiative and will be based in Chattanooga.

“I’m pleased to have someone the caliber of Patsy Hazlewood joining our economic development leadership team,” said Commissioner Hagerty. “She has the experience and skill to serve Tennessee businesses as a single-point-of-contact for state services and to align communities in the region behind a unified job creation strategy.”

“I’m grateful to Governor Haslam and Commissioner Hagerty for giving me the opportunity to join the ECD team,” said Hazlewood. “There are many forward-thinking and innovative companies in Southeast Tennessee and our office will do its best to help them grow and create new jobs.”

Hazlewood comes to ECD with more than 30 years in the telecommunications industry, first with BellSouth and later with AT&T. Her most recent position with AT&T was assistant vice-president for legislative and external affairs for southeastern TN.

Hazlewood is a native of Fayetteville, TN and a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. She is a director/organizer of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, headquartered in Chattanooga. She is a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and still serves on that board, as well as the boards of United Way, the Enterprise Center, and the Stadium Corporation. She is the vice-chair of the Speech and Hearing Center board, and chair-elect of the Community Foundation board. In 2009, she was the first woman to be elected president of the Chattanooga Rotary Club in the organization’s 96-year history.

In her current role, she will serve as one of nine ECD regional directors serving in regions across Tennessee and will hold responsibility for state economic development efforts in Hamilton, Marion, Grundy, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Meigs, Bradley, McMinn and Polk counties.

The “jobs base camps” were created in April as part of Governor Haslam’s Jobs4TN initiative. In addition to serving as a “point-of-contact” for Tennessee companies seeking state services, Hazlewood will lead efforts to combine local economic development efforts into a single, cohesive strategic plan for the region, will identify and gather information about “shovel ready” sites in the region, will align local workforce development boards with state initiatives and will seek out additional sources of funding for economic development efforts in the region.

Additional information about the regional “jobs base camps” is available on the ECD web site at

Press Releases

New Regional ECD Directors Named

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, June 8, 2011:

ECD Team Members to Lead Regional “Base Camps” and Recruit Companies to TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner (ECD) Bill Hagerty today announced the selection of eight new regional directors as part of the reorganization of ECD resulting from the Jobs4TN initiative. The new regional directors will serve as the primary point-of-contact for Tennessee companies seeking state assistance with expansion or with accessing state services. In addition, Haslam and Hagerty also announced members of ECD’s national project management team, the division within ECD responsible for the recruitment of new companies to the state.

“We have selected a seasoned team of business and economic development professionals to implement our Jobs4TN program,” Haslam said. “As we move to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, this team will be an important part of our success in reaching our goals.”

“I’m very excited by the caliber of people joining our team and the willingness of our top ECD staffers to take on more responsibility,” Hagerty said. “These are the ‘go-to’ people companies both inside and outside Tennessee will rely upon to make projects happen. This team, and our collaborative approach with state and federal agencies, will become a key source of competitive advantage as we advance the Governor’s aggressive job growth agenda.”

ECD’s regional directors will reside in each of the nine regions outlined in the Jobs4TN plan and will have primary responsibility for working with existing companies, aligning workforce development strategies and developing a regional strategic plan. The regional directors include:

Northeast Tennessee – Former real estate executive Allen Borden, a Tennessean relocating from Beech Mountain, NC, will represent ECD in the region. Borden is a former real estate broker who has generated more than a million dollars in annual sales in addition to founding an investment company with $165 million under management. He also served as director of economic development for the city of Knoxville under former Mayor Victor Ashe and was an executive vice president for the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

East Tennessee – Kirk Huddleston will represent the Department in Knoxville and the surrounding region. He is the former director of corporate and community development for Blaine Construction Corporation and worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, Scripps Networks, Denso and others. Huddleston has also served as chair of the Metro Knoxville Airport Authority.

Southeast Tennessee – The director of this region will be named at a later date.

Upper Cumberland – Former ECD specialist Rebecca Hargrove Smith will represent the agency in the upper Cumberland region. A graduate of the University of Tennessee and the Nashville School of Law, Smith administered the Three-Star program in 14 counties and previously worked in a senior role within local government affairs.

Northern Middle Tennessee – The region extending from Nashville north will be represented by former Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores COO Reggie Mudd. Rising through the ranks from store manager trainee to COO, Mudd’s tenure with the company coincided with Cracker Barrel’s expansion from 28 to 320 stores. A graduate of Centre College in Kentucky, he has extensive experience managing commercial, industrial, residential and historical properties. Mudd is also a member of the Gallatin Economic Development Advisory Board and the board of Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

Southern Middle Tennessee – Current ECD Three-Star Director Jamie Stitt has been named regional director of Southern Middle Tennessee. A graduate of Illinois State University, Stitt has been responsible for the development and implementation of community development strategies in more than 90 Tennessee counties as part of the Three-Star program. Prior to joining ECD in 2007, Stitt was director of Joint Economic and Community Development for Marshall County where she focused her efforts on new business creation.

Northwest Tennessee – An ECD veteran since 1993, Blake Swaggart has been a jobs development specialist since 1996 and was previously an economic development analyst with the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has a master’s degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as economic development certification from the University of Oklahoma. Swaggart has experience successfully developing projects in Shelby, Lauderdale, Dyer, Lake, Obion and Tipton counties.

Southwest Tennessee – Cary Vaughn comes to ECD from his position as president and CEO of the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to taking a leadership role at the chamber, Vaughn was president and CEO of Covenant Staffing Solutions in Memphis and was vice president of sales for a national technology company where he supervised a team of 28 managers generating more than $30 million in revenue. A graduate of Lambuth University and the Moench Center Leadership Institute at Belmont University, Vaughn led Millington’s move to the highest certification level in the Three-Star program.

Greater Memphis – J. Edward (Ted) Townsend III is the co-founder and former COO of arGentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc of Memphis, a privately-held bio-pharmaceutical company involved in the licensing, development and commercialization of therapies for auto-immune and ophthalmic diseases. During his tenure, the company successfully raised $2 million in capital from angel and institutional investors. A graduate of the University of Memphis, Townsend also served as executive vice president and managing partner of Agile Minds, LLC, a consulting firm in health care and life sciences and currently sits on the board of directors of arGentis and Life Science Tennessee.

Project Management

In addition to the regional directors in charge of Tennessee’s “jobs base camps,” Governor Haslam and Commissioner Hagerty also named the following members of ECD’s Project Management team, responsible for the recruitment of new industry to Tennessee:

Lori Odom will serve as the team leader of the Project Management Team. Odom has been with ECD since 2004 and was formerly director of international development. During her tenure, Tennessee successfully recruited the Office of the Consulate General of Japan and opened the Tennessee-China Development Center in Beijing. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Odom has led Tennessee trade missions to Canada, China, Europe and Japan.

Gina Brown currently works as a jobs development specialist at ECD with responsibility for projects in the Middle Tennessee region. She has been with ECD since 2008 and has successfully managed large scale investments such as Loews Hotels Shared Services Center, 3M and Asurion and currently manages projects representing more than $150 million in potential capital investment in Tennessee. Brown is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

John Butler is currently an international projects specialist for ECD with responsibility for handling foreign direct investment projects in Tennessee and manages a portfolio totaling more than $500 million in potential capital investment in the state. He was formerly vice president of international development for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and managed export policy for the state of Tennessee during the mid-90’s and is a graduate of the University of Westminster-London.

Toby Compton comes to ECD from the Office of the Mayor in Nashville where he has served as legislative director since 2007. A graduate of Lipscomb University and Cumberland University, Compton advised Nashville’s mayor on legislative issues in the Tennessee General Assembly as well as a broad array of municipal boards and commissions. He gained recognition for his management of Nashville’s Emergency Operations Center during the flood of 2010.

Brenda Pfeiffer is currently a national recruitment specialist for ECD, having successfully managed more than 100 economic development projects since 2007 with capital investments totaling more than $500 million. Prior to joining ECD, she worked as economic development director for Hickman County where she successfully recruited more than 500 new jobs and $125 million in new capital investment. She is a graduate of Oakland University in Rochester, MI and in 2004 graduated from the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

Press Releases

National GOP Political Operative, Equity Firm Founder Named to Run TNECD

Press Release from Gov.-Elect Bill Haslam, Jan. 9, 2011:

Hagerty Committed to Haslam’s Goal of Making State No. 1 Location for High Quality Jobs

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam today announced Nashville business executive Bill Hagerty as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Hagerty has extensive business experience and brings a depth and breadth of knowledge to business recruitment in Tennessee that is critical to Gov.-elect Haslam’s goal of making the state the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

“Having someone of Bill Hagerty’s caliber at the helm of Economic and Community Development is a tremendous advantage for Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Our state has some unique opportunities, and his experience will help us take advantage of them. I am extremely pleased that he will be a member of our team.”

Hagerty was a founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Company, LLC, a merchant bank and private equity firm.

Before founding Hagerty Peterson, he worked with Trident Capital, L.P., a private equity investment firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, and with the Boston Consulting Group, an international management consultancy. Hagerty has served in a number of executive positions during his career including CFO, COO and CEO of both U.S. and international companies.

Hagerty worked on the White House Domestic Policy staff during the George W. Bush Administration as a member of the President’s Council on Competitiveness. He also served as a National Finance Chairman for Romney for President in 2007-2008.

“I’m honored that Gov.-elect Haslam has asked to me to serve Tennesseans, and I look forward to the opportunity to support Bill Haslam’s mandate to grow and create jobs in this great state,” Hagerty said. “Gov.-elect Haslam is a terrific leader. He is assembling a spectacular Cabinet and staff, and I am both excited and humbled to join his experienced team.”

Hagerty is married to Chrissy, and they have four children. They attend St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville.

Press Releases Considers Opening Tennessee Shipping Centers

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, Nov. 29, 2010:

Negotiations Underway for Fulfillment Centers in Chattanooga and Bradley Co., TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today confirmed the state of Tennessee is in discussions with Seattle, Washington-based, Inc about locating two fulfillment centers in Tennessee, one at the Enterprise South Industrial Park in Chattanooga and the other along State Route 308 in Bradley County, Tennessee. If negotiations are successful, the two projects would represent a combined investment of more than $164 million dollars to create more than two million square feet of distribution space and up to 1,400 new jobs over a period of years.

We are working diligently with officials to work through outstanding issues on this project, said Governor Bredesen. It is my hope that we can bring these discussions to a successful resolution and create a large number of jobs for the people of Tennessee.

There has been lots of speculation in the media in recent weeks about who we might be working with on this project, said Commissioner Kisber. Because of the need to move forward at the local level on PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of tax) agreements in multiple communities, we felt it was important at this time for policy makers at the state and local level to know who were in discussions with.

Commissioner Kisber has been leading a team which includes Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, Gary Farlow, president and CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Cleveland and Bradley County and Trevor Hamilton, vice president, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce in discussions with, Inc. All parties have pointed out a number of procedural steps must be completed involving the state, the county commissions and the local city councils before the project is a go.

This is not a done deal, Mayor Littlefield said. In addition to the PILOT agreements, there are a number of other issues to work through at the state and local level, but we have high hopes of firming up Amazons investment in the next few weeks.

Amazon would make a great addition to our local economy, said Mayor Ramsey. This is a complex project. We couldn’t have gotten this far without Hamilton County, Bradley County, the city of Chattanooga and the respective chambers from both communities working together to make this much progress in a short period of time. Well keep working together to make sure the opportunity becomes a reality for our citizens.

Even though this is not yet a done deal, Bradley County is taking the necessary steps to finalize its local commitment to the company, said Gary Davis, mayor, Bradley County. I am very pleased the county commission decided in workshop session to place the proposed PILOT agreement, industrial access authorization and the FastTrack grant authorization on the consent agenda for next Mondays meeting. To my knowledge, this is the first PILOT agreement ever placed on the consent portion of the agenda and it clearly reflects the level of cooperation, understanding, and trust we have all worked hard to establish between the Administration, the Bradley County Commission, and the Industrial Development Board.

Amazons presence will mean important opportunities for good jobs, said Ross Tarver, chairman, Bradley/Cleveland Industrial Board. A project this far-reaching has many components and takes time to finalize. We could not have gotten to this point without a dedicated and focused regional team working together and our city, county, chamber and state are to be commended.

The Amazon project has come together very rapidly over the past couple of months, said Trevor Hamilton, vice president, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. The company has a very ambitious construction timeline, so reaching resolution on the remaining issues is very important if were to be successful in winning this project.

Press Releases

Kisber Sees Washington Co. Koyo Expansion as Sign of Improving Economy

State of Tennessee Press Release, Nov 19, 2010:

Japanese Automotive Supplier Announces $30 Million Expansion in East Tennessee

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today congratulated the employees of Japanese automotive supplier Koyo Corporation USA in the wake of the company’s announced expansion of its manufacturing facility in Washington County, Tennessee. Koyo Corporation Vice President Steve McCullough announced the company’s plan to invest $30 million to add 61,000 square feet of space to its Tennessee-based manufacturing facility and to expand the facility’s workforce to 125 employees.

“Koyo has been an important part of Tennessee’s leadership position in the automotive industry and a great example of our state’s strong economic ties to Japan,” said Commissioner Kisber. “In an industry that’s beginning to recover from the recession, Koyo’s success is a cause for optimism and a tribute to the productivity and quality of the Tennessee workforce.

Commissioner Kisber said with its investment, Koyo will qualify for statutory incentives like the FastTrack Infrastructure Development Program and the FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program.

“Our continued growth in the USA automotive market is a testament to the quality and dedication of all of our associates,” said Koyo Vice President Steve McCullough. “2009 was a tough year for everyone but Koyo has positioned itself to take full advantage as the auto industry starts to rebound. Koyo’s Washington County plant is an integral part of Koyo’s Long Term Strategy and Growth.”

Koyo Corporation USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of JTEKT Corporation, a world leader in the production of steering systems, drivelines, bearings and machine tools. JTEKT is one of the world’s largest automotive component suppliers and the company’s Koyo USA subsidiary is a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier to Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, Daimler Chrysler, and BMW

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. 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 or