Morristown/Hamblen County designated a Valley Sustainable Silver Community

Morristown/Hamblen has been designated as a Valley Sustainable Silver Community in Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) economic development program.  The Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce recently completed the program sponsored by TVA and developed and administered by consultant Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA.)  “This takes Morristown and Hamblen County’s economic development marketing efforts to prospective and existing sustainably-focused companies to a whole new level,” said Marshall Ramsey, President of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Valley Sustainable Communities Program, now in its second year, was initiated by TVA Economic Development as part of its community preparedness offerings to assist communities in evaluating existing sustainable programs, cataloging their sustainable assets, and increasing future commitments to sustainability.  The goal of the program is to document a community’s assets and increase the likelihood that they will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies looking to invest in new or expanded locations.

Representatives from City and County government, Morristown Utility Systems, the school system and Walters State Community College, as well as area businesses and industry, all worked closely with the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce during this process.  Many programs were identified that contributed to Morristown’s Silver rating.  One such initiative is Morristown’s vision plan, Ambition 2030, which includes sustainability goals related to land use and transportation.  Also, courses offered by Walters State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology related to sustainability assistance.

“We are proud that Morristown/Hamblen County has successfully completed the Valley Sustainable Communities Program,” said Del Boyette, President/CEO of Boyette Strategic Advisors.  “The silver level designation recognizes that a community has community-wide sustainability initiatives in place, with programs available to support the existing business community and promote economic development.”

Sustainability has become a key issue for economic development organizations and communities as more corporations have demonstrated an increasing commitment to sustainability.  More than 90 percent of corporate real estate executives who responded to a CoreNet Global survey on sustainability said that it is a consideration in their company location decisions.  The typical reasons for this corporate commitment are reduced operating costs for increased profitability and greater employee satisfaction.

“This program is the first of its kind to connect the dots between corporate America’s commitment to sustainability and its impact on economic development, which ultimately will ensure that our communities are more prepared to compete in global markets,” added John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development.  “We are seeing that more and more companies have an increasing business emphasis on sustainable operations, and are adding this component to their RFIs as they search for a community where they can locate, grow, and enhance their company and employee sustainability commitments.”

Thirteen communities were designated as Valley Sustainable Communities in 2013, and an additional 12 communities were recognized at a luncheon in Nashville on December 4th.  Morristown sustainable community team members Veronica Snyder, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair; Pete Barile, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair-elect; Deborah Stevenson-Brown, Executive Director, Keep Morristown Hamblen Beautiful; and Jodi Barnard, Business Development Specialist, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce were on hand to accept the Silver Level Award.

“Morristown and Hamblen County have been very successful in attracting new business and industry over the years,” said Ramsey.  “We are very proud to be recognized by TVA for our efforts toward sustainability, and we anticipate that this designation will increase our community’s overall competitiveness.”

Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce * 825 W. First North Street * P.O. Box 9 * Morristown, TN 37815 * 423-586-6382 * 423-586-6576 fax