Press Releases

General Mills Expanding Murfreesboro Plant

State of Tennessee Press Release, Sept. 29, 2010:

Governor Bredesen, Commissioner Kisber, Locals Applaud Move to Create 80 New Jobs

NASHVILLE — Governor Phil Bredesen and Commissioner Matt Kisber, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today joined with Rutherford County elected and chamber officials in congratulating General Mills, Inc of Minneapolis, Minn. for the company’s decision to invest $100 million in the expansion of the company’s production facility in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Company officials say the plant, which manufactures products for General Mills’ Yoplait brand, will add approximately 80 jobs.

“I’m very pleased to have one of the world’s most respected food companies growing and thriving in Tennessee,” said Governor Bredesen. “This expansion is not just an endorsement of Tennessee’s business climate, but in the quality and productivity of the workforce in Murfreesboro.”

“We’ve worked hard to make Tennessee’s business climate one of the best in the U.S.,” said Commissioner Kisber. “When the sixth largest food company in the world chooses Tennessee to grow their business, it means our state is an integral part of a global brand.”

General Mills product brands are well known to consumers around the world and in addition to Yoplait, includes Pillsbury, Green Giant, Cheerios and Betty Crocker. The company has more than 30,000 employees worldwide and its products are marketed to more than 100 countries on six continents around the world.

“General Mills has been a wonderful corporate citizen of our community for many, many years,” said Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg. “The addition of 80 new jobs to our community will be a strong addition to the local economy.”

“Rutherford County is fortunate that we’ve had such strong partnerships which worked together to make this project a reality,” said Norman Brown, chairman, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. “The state of Tennessee, the city of Murfreesboro, Destination Rutherford, TVA and Murfreesboro Electric each brought important skills to the table and helped make this an easy decision for General Mills.”

“TVA was pleased to be a part of the team that helped put this project together,” said John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development. “Our strong working relationship with local distributors like Murfreesboro Electric demonstrates the importance of working together to create and retain jobs for our customers in the Tennessee Valley.”

The Yoplait line of products is a $1.5 billion business for General Mills and is America’s leading yogurt brand. Products include Yoplait Original yogurt, Yoplait Light and Go-Gurt yogurt for kids. In addition to being a long time corporate citizen of Rutherford County, the General Mills facility in Murfreesboro has also participated with General Mills plants around the world in innovating new safety measures to reduce the stresses and strains which accompany employee lifting and an employee-led sustainability program in Murfreesboro resulted in energy, water and waste cost savings of more than $86,000 for the company in 2009.

About General Mills

One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

Press Releases

IB-Tech Opening Mount Pleasant Automotive Plant

State of Tennessee Press Release,, Sept. 08, 2010

Japanese Auto Parts Manufacturer to Create 385 Jobs, Invest $50 Million in Maury County

Nashville – Governor Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber, along with company officials, today announced that IB-Tech, a subsidiary of Japanese-owned auto parts manufacturer Imasen Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., will open a production facility in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. IB-Tech will invest $50 million to manufacture high quality seat adjusters, creating 385 jobs in Maury County.

“This announcement by IB-Tech further strengthens Tennessee’s reputation as a world-class manufacturing hub with a productive, educated workforce,” said Governor Bredesen. “IB-Tech will be a welcome addition to the Maury County economy, and I appreciate their investment in our state and its citizens.”

“IB-Tech’s decision to open a Mount Pleasant facility is a great testament to the special relationship we share with Japan, which is by far Tennessee’s largest foreign direct investor with $14 billion invested in our state’s economy,” Commissioner Kisber said. “We remain committed to helping new and growing international companies put down roots in our state and helping them succeed as a result of our strong business environment and workforce.”

IB-Tech will start production planning in 2011 with full production in 2012. The facility will be located in the former Avantech building at One Timco Drive in Mount Pleasant. Clinton Gilbreath of CB Richard Ellis represented IB-Tech in the search for an appropriate facility in Middle Tennessee.

“We are excited about opening a facility in Maury County,” John Freundner, assistant vice president of administration for IB-Tech said. “The location, support from community leaders, solid workforce and great facility in Mount Pleasant was key in our selection process.”

“We’ve been working on this project for some time now,” Maury County Mayor Jim Bailey said. “It takes a lot of people to get a deal like this done; I’m proud of the way the State of Tennessee, TVA, the City of Mount Pleasant and Maury County all worked together to get this project across the goal line.”

“IB-Tech’s announcement of a new manufacturing facility is great economic news for our area,” said John Bradley, TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development. “TVA and local service providers, such as Mount Pleasant Power System, are pleased to be on the economic development team with city and county leaders to assist companies as they locate and grow.”

In addition to seat adjusters, Imasen Electric produces automobile lamps, relays and window regulators. Imasen Electric is an independent Japanese auto-parts manufacturer holding a large share of the market for automobile seat adjusters. The company manufactures a variety of products for the automotive industry and serves clients such as Honda and Mitsubishi. This will be their second manufacturing facility in the United States, with one previous operation in Bucyrus, Ohio.

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

Business and Economy Transparency and Elections

Candidates Back Bredesen’s Asia Trip

Gov. Phil Bredesen is scheduled to leave Friday for Asia on an economic development mission, and he can be sure he has the support of all four of the major contenders who want his job.

The three Republican candidates for governor — U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey — expressed their support this week for Bredesen’s travels. Democrat Mike McWherter, who has wrapped up the Democratic primary, also backs the venture.

It’s no secret why they like what the governor is doing. They all want to produce more business and more jobs for Tennessee. Bredesen can help build relationships that will help the next governor, who will need all the economic help he can get.

Bredesen is completing his second term and cannot run again.

Bredesen, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber, Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr and International Investment Director Lori Odom will represent the state on the nine-day trip.

They will participate in the Shanghai World Expo where they will help host an investment roundtable for Chinese businesses. They will meet with Tennessee companies in Hong Kong and visit the American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Asia trip is part of a long-term effort under Bredesen to build trade relationships on the continent. Tennessee opened an office in Beijing, China, in 2007.

Haslam and Ramsey have traveled on China trips before with Bredesen. Wamp is very supportive, although he makes the point that such trips always need transparency so taxpayers know what is being done on their behalf. McWherter says he would like to see the concept extended to India.

Wamp points to concrete examples of the kind of fruits that can emerge from foreign relations, and they’re not just from Asia.

“We’ve attracted significant outside investment. I know, because the Germans are all over East Tennessee, and I love it. I helped bring ’em here,” Wamp said.

Wamp, the 3rd District congressman from Chattanooga, was referring to the major investments of Volkswagen, the car maker, and Wacker Chemie, which manufactures polycrystalline silicon, used for solar panel construction.

Haslam often says he can sell Tennessee to businesses looking for a place to set up shop.

“The governor is the chief salesperson for the state,” Haslam said. “And the best way I know to sell something is to do it face to face, and so when there’s a chance to have a real reward because of that, yeah, I think the governor himself does need to go there. That’s true whether it’s for an existing business in the state who’s looking at expanding here, and it could be true if you go halfway around the globe.”

Haslam traveled with the governor to China two years ago and said the state has made some solid steps there. Haslam also noted the impact from Europe by Germany.

“Those efforts we’re making, I would not pull back on,” Haslam said. “We’ve had conversations with the governor and others in the administration on, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, how we could have a smooth handoff on all those important relationships.”

Ramsey made the China trip in October 2007 and said he saw the benefits of having a presence there.

“It’s two things. I wouldn’t mind Chinese companies coming here and locating here, but even more important, making sure we have that export market into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey, from Blountville, noted that his Senate district includes Eastman Chemical Co., which has a large presence in China. He also noted that Tennessee company FedEx has a huge China presence.

“Both of those are Tennessee-based companies, so obviously everything we do affects jobs in Tennessee, and I’ll continue that,” he said.

McWherter, son of former governor Ned McWherter, pointed to past efforts that have paid off in Tennessee.

“There are 40,000 jobs in Tennessee right now as a result of the initiatives that Gov. Lamar Alexander made and my father followed through on in Tennessee,” McWherter said. “They built a foundation in Japan, and we got 40,000 jobs out of that.

“That is something we need to be doing now, and frankly I think we need to be looking at India as well. I think those are all areas that are very fertile for recruiting industry into this state. So as governor, I assure you I will have a major focus in following up with the foundation Governor Bredesen is laying over there.”

Wamp said Bredesen can certainly make the case to Tennesseans that what he’s doing in foreign markets has been worth the effort. He also points to the value of relationships built by other prominent Tennesseans, including former Sen. Howard Baker, who was ambassador to Japan in 2001-2005. Another is former Sen. Jim Sasser, who was ambassador to China in 1995-99. But Wamp says the principle of transparency will always be important.

“You need to be real specific as to what, why, how much, and what the benefits are,” Wamp said. “Be as transparent as possible before you ever commit those resources.

“The governor has an obligation to taxpayers and the public, through the media, to say what the connections are, how much this is, and what the returns are. Just lay it all out. We live in a global economy. If you want our state to be the most dynamic economy in America, and I do, and I will make it that way, foreign markets are very important.”

Wamp said some competitive elements of attracting business, such as not revealing too much information to a competing state, would have to be considered.

Press Releases

Bredesen, Kisber & Farr Departing for Asia

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, May 6, 2010:

Shanghai Expo Hosting 70 Million Visitors, State Leaders to Promote Trade with Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today announced plans to attend the 2010 Shanghai World Expo to promote trade, investment and tourism between the state of Tennessee and China. The state of Tennessee is a sponsor of the U.S. Pavilion for the event, which is expected to host 5-6 million of the more than 70 million visitors to the Expo which opened May 1, 2010 with the theme “Better City, Better Life.” Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr and International Investment Director Lori Odom will also accompany the delegation.

“Our state’s participation in the Shanghai World Expo is a unique opportunity to educate visitors from around the world about Tennessee, its quality of life and its business climate,” said Governor Bredesen. “Our state’s relationship with Chinese business and government leaders continues to grow and Tennessee’s participation is an important signal that our state is ready to expand business ties.”

Tennessee’s participation in the Shanghai World Expo is an important bookend to the Chinese government’s decision to participate in the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair, the first time following the Cultural Revolution the Chinese government agreed to participate in a world event. The purpose of Tennessee’s participation in the Shanghai World Expo is to build relationships and expose Expo visitors to the Tennessee “brand,” eventually leading to additional investment, job creation and tourism.

“Since 2007, when Tennessee opened its office in Beijing, business opportunities between Tennessee and China have grown steadily,” said Commissioner Kisber. “We believe there are important opportunities for Tennessee companies to sell to Chinese customers, creating new job opportunities for Tennesseans and greater profits for companies.”

Governor Bredesen and Commissioner Kisber will depart for Shanghai on May 14, 2010 and return on May 22, 2010. During their visit, the Tennessee delegation will tour the U.S. and Chinese pavilions at the invitation of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and co-host an investment roundtable for Chinese business leaders interested in entering the U.S. market with the China Investment Promotion Agency.

Following the Shanghai portion of the trip, the Governor and Commissioner will meet with Tennessee companies operating in Hong Kong and then meet with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to explore business opportunities for Tennessee companies there, primarily in infrastructure development, I/T and telecommunications, consumer goods, industrial machinery and energy.

Press Releases

Bredesen & Co. Entice Another Solar Company With Tax-Incentive Package

State of Tennessee press release, 21 Jan. 2010:

Confluence Solar Will Develop $200 Million Facility and Create 250 New Jobs in Clinton

NASHVILLE– Governor Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today joined senior leaders of Missouri-based Confluence Solar to announce that the company has selected Clinton, Tennessee as the home of their new manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility.

The facility will produce premium quality mono-crystal silicon ingots for photovoltaic solar power generation. The company’s HiCz™ brand products increase the efficiency of solar cells by 15% or more, helping manufacturers of solar panels generate electricity more efficiently at a cost equivalent to or better than can be done using multi-crystal silicon ingot.

“Two years ago, we set upon a strategy to make Tennessee a significant player in the solar industry,” said Governor Bredesen. “Since then, we’ve seen more than two billion dollars in capital investment, more than a thousand jobs created, and, with the development of the Solar Farm and existing solar companies located in West Tennessee, we have truly created a statewide solar footprint. The announcement today by Confluence Solar is further proof that Tennessee is recognized as a leader in renewable energy and that a new economic engine is emerging in our state.”

“Tennessee’s nationally recognized business climate and their focused solar strategy along with Clinton’s close proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the new Solar Institute made Tennessee the perfect location for our facility,” said Tom Cadwell, CEO and co-founder, Confluence Solar. “The number of solar industry leaders establishing operations here and the intellectual energy surrounding solar technology provides our company, current investors, and future investors with the confidence that Tennessee is the place Confluence Solar needs to be.”

“When both Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie, AG announced plans to locate in our state, we said Tennessee would be looking to expand the solar industry throughout the value chain,” said Commissioner Kisber. “The announcement today by Confluence Solar is proof that strategy is working and that Tennessee is now a major player in a growing industry.

The company will develop its facility on a 25 acre site in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park on Frank Diggs Drive. Initial plans call for a 200,000 square foot building. With its investment, Confluence Solar will qualify for statutory incentive programs including FastTrack Job Training Assistance, FastTrack Infrastructure Development, the Tennessee Jobs Tax Credit and the Super Jobs Tax Credit among others.

Governor Bredesen and Commissioner Kisber were joined at the announcement by Confluence Solar’s co-founder John DeLuca, PhD, as well as Jim Highfill, the company’s chief operating officer. Dr. DeLuca, began his career in nuclear materials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the early 1970s and has more than 35 years of experience conducting research and development with 25 years experience specifically focused on silicon research. Highfill has 22 years of silicon manufacturing experience designing, developing and operating silicon manufacturing facilities throughout the world, including the start up of two overseas silicon manufacturing facilities.

“Confluence Solar’s investment represents an important step in the solar value chain that is growing across the Tennessee Valley,” said John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development for the Tennessee Valley Authority. “TVA and local service providers, such as Clinton Utilities Board, are pleased to partner with state and community leaders to assist companies as they grow and thrive.”

“We’re appreciative to Confluence Solar for this investment in Anderson County,” said Mayor Rex Lynch of Anderson County. “We’re committed to doing our best to provide this cutting edge company with a world class workforce.”

“Confluence Solar could not have chosen a better community in which to locate,” said Clinton Mayor Scott Burton. “Confluence Solar will make Clinton, Tennessee an important center for new solar technologies and will provide good paying jobs in the process.”

About Confluence Solar, Inc.

The company was founded in 2007 by silicon industry veterans with the purpose of bringing premium quality, low-cost single crystal silicon as a platform for high efficiency cell design to solar cell manufacturers. Learn more about the company at