Governor Haslam’s Monthly Column
One of my top priorities is to make Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and a key part of our jobs strategy is to encourage and support the growth and expansion of existing Tennessee businesses. Nearly 75 percent of new jobs created in Tennessee last year resulted from companies growing here. In recent weeks that trend has continued with a number of exciting jobs announcements.
On May 29, I joined U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, Congressman Phil Roe and Eastman Chemical Company Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers to announce the company’s $1.6 billion investment that is expected to create 300 new jobs in Kingsport. The project is not only a major expansion of a Tennessee business, but it also solidifies Eastman’s legacy in our state. The expansion is expected to be complete in seven years as Eastman will celebrate 100 years as a Tennessee business.
The economic impact of that one company already is reflected in the fact Eastman has about 7,000 employees in Northeast Tennessee, which is more than half of the company’s total number of employees worldwide. And as big as the Eastman expansion will be, we have also recently announced several other projects, which will have significant impacts on our communities. Alcoa is expanding to meet the demand for aluminum sheet for automotive production, a $275 million investment over three years that will add 200 jobs upon completion, along with 400 jobs during construction.
Two expansions are in Morristown. Team Technologies officials announced they will add 200 jobs to their manufacturing facility with an $11 million investment. Team Technologies is a leading contract manufacturer of dental, medical, cosmetic and industrial products. While it has divisions and companies throughout the United States, the headquarters and main production facility is in Morristown.
Additionally, Sonoco Flexible Packaging announced will expand its facility in Morristown with an investment of $9.7 million, creating 26 new jobs. Sonoco has operations in 30 countries.
Van-Rob Manchester recently announced it will add 104 jobs to its manufacturing facility. Van-Rob is a supplier to major automobile manufacturers. The Van-Rob announcement will result in an investment of $16.8 million in Coffee County. VIAM Manufacturing in Manchester announced an expansion creating 75 jobs on a $9 million investment.
In Middle Tennessee, NHK Seating of America announced plans to expand its facility in Murfreesboro, representing a $6.8 million investment, creating approximately 94 new jobs.
In Nashville, Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced an expansion and relocation of its global administration offices, going to the Fifth Third Center downtown, investing several million dollars and creating approximately 50-60 jobs.
In Union City, Williams Sausage Company announced it will add 148 jobs on an investment of $3 million.
RCTENN is expanding in Gallatin with a $1.3 million investment creating 45 new jobs. Other expansions recently announced include TransCard in Chattanooga with 69 jobs; Xtend Healthare Advanced Revenue Solutions in Hendersonville with 48 jobs; and Gerdau in West Knox County with about 40 jobs.
While we continue to focus on existing Tennessee companies and are proud of the results we’re seeing, we continue to also aggressively recruit outside businesses to Tennessee.
We’ve changed our legal system to make it more predictable for businesses both existing and new. We’ve updated our workers’ compensation system to streamline the process and make it better for employees and employers.
We understand the importance of keeping our foot on the gas when it comes to job creation in Tennessee, and we’ll continue to do our part to make Tennessee the most attractive place in the country for investment.