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  • Chamber & WGU Tennessee Partner to Create New Scholarship Program

    by Nancy Eisenbrandt | Jul 02, 2015
    If you've been considering going back to school, this may be your year. As part of the Chamber's commitment to helping increase the number of adults in Tennessee with college degrees, we've partnered with Western Governors University Tennessee to offer a special scholarship opportunity to Chamber-member employees.

    The Nashville Chamber Complete College Scholarship program will provide 100 tuition scholarships of up to $3,000 toward the cost of the completion of any WGU Tennessee online degree program. To be eligible, applicants must have completed at least 12 college credit hours, and must be currently employed by members of the Nashville Area Chamber or other chambers in the Middle Tennessee region. They must also submit an essay about their reasons for going back to college, complete the admissions process for WGU Tennessee and participate in an interview with a scholarship counselor. Scholarships will be awarded based on considerations such as applicants' academic record, demonstrated financial need, readiness for online study and current competency.

    Chamber research shows a significant number of workers in this region have completed some college, but lack a degree or certification. This program directly addresses that challenge. A nationally accredited online university, WGU has helped thousands of adult students ...
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    Category: Workforce
  • Coalition: Amendment 3 Is a 'Hidden Tax' For Davidson County

    by Debby Dale Mason | Jul 02, 2015

    The Coalition for Fair Employment in Middle Tennessee, a group representing the employers of tens of thousands of workers in the building and construction industries, formed this week in opposition to the proposed Charter Amendment 3, an initiative which requires any builder or construction company working on a Metro-funded project with a budget of more than $100,000 to devote at least 40 percent of the project’s work hours to employees who live in Davidson County.

    Members of the coalition, which include the Nashville Area Chamber and a variety of engineering, architectural and construction organizations, are working to inform Davidson County voters on the proposed amendment's potential negative impact in terms of costs, construction delays and difficulty of enforcement.
    • Amendment 3 sounds good in theory, but in practice, would become a "hidden tax" on Davidson County taxpayers. Passage of this proposal would reduce the number of bidders on public projects in Nashville, add compliance costs for contractors, and lengthen the amount of time needed to staff and complete construction projects. All these factors would result in additional costs passed on to taxpayers.
    • If passed, the measure would be costly and difficult – if not impossible – to enforce. The proposal ...
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  • Get Involved and Lead the Way

    by Lindsay Chambers | Jul 02, 2015

    On Thursday, July 16, you're invited to spend your lunch hour with us and learn how you can become involved in Chamber initiatives in areas such as public education, economic development and business growth. We're again hosting Pick Your Place, our annual open house that encourages our members to engage in the work of the Chamber.

    Actively participating in your Chamber is a great way to maximize your membership while helping improve the business climate in Middle Tennessee. Our mission is to facilitate community leadership to create economic prosperity, and that leadership comes from our members who take roles in our committees, councils and communication interest areas.

    Pick Your Place is your opportunity to discuss your member benefits with Chamber staff in an informal setting and get new ideas for ways you can become one of Middle Tennessee's business leaders. The event will feature "big-picture" rooms, giving attendees the opportunity to sit down in small groups with Chamber leaders to discuss the role the organization plays in driving major community initiatives. These include:

    • Meet Chamber CEO Ralph Schulz
    • Economic development discussion with Courtney Ross, Chamber chief economic development officer
    • What is Business Studio? Learn about the Chamber's resources for small ...
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    Category: General
  • U.S.-Cuba Relations - What Does the Future Hold?

    by Lori Odom | Jun 29, 2015

    A quien madruga, Dios lo ayuda.” -- The early bird catches the worm

    Nearly six months ago, President Obama initiated a plan by which Cuba and the U.S. would restore diplomatic relations. In April, leaders of the two nations met face-to-face for the first time since the countries severed ties in 1961. For those who hope to find business opportunities in Cuba, the changes can’t come soon enough.

    “The next and ultimately final step in allowing American business will be lifting the 53-year trade embargo, which would allow full and unfettered investment in Cuba,” said Christopher Peake of Peake Communication, a Chamber member who frequently travels to Cuba for business. “The president has relaxed restrictions on some imports, travel and telecommunications, so those three businesses are beginning to take shape.”

    The island nation of 11 million has guaranteed access to health care, a higher literacy rate and a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Adjustments to the trade embargo have allowed more U.S. agriculture and medical supplies to flow into Cuba with hopes that increased relations could prove favorable for trade between the U.S. and other Latin American countries.

    Exporting primarily food and agriculture products, the U.S. ...

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  • Partnership Between Israel and the American South: From Mere Acquaintances to Best Friends

    by Lori Odom | Jun 25, 2015
    Guest post by John Scannapieco, International Business Council board member and co-chair of Baker Donelson's global business team

    Israel is the "startup nation." The country’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and focus on innovation have led to its rise in the global economy and its predominance in the Middle East. The economic emergence of the American South shares similar attributes to Israel; these states are fast becoming the economic engine for the United States. As Israel and the American South continue to grow, businesses have been looking to form new partnerships and expand trade and investment opportunities between the two regions. These relationships could become invaluable, especially in the event of a crisis.

    So where do Israeli companies usually look? They look in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley. Businesses in the American South routinely look to Europe and Asia. Based on my work with global companies, I know how often Israeli companies overlook the American South and, similarly, how U.S. companies often overlook Israel. Yet, each state in the South tells a unique story of economic growth and global opportunity that often goes unnoticed in international circles, but fits Israel’s growth trajectory well. For example, Georgia is home to many global ...
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  • Apply Today For the 2015 NEXT Awards

    by Lindsay Chambers | Jun 19, 2015

    Innovation drives our local economy and continues to grow our key industries. At the 2015 NEXT Awards, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center will recognize the entrepreneurs, creative class members and pioneers who are helping Middle Tennessee's economy advance to the next level.

    Who should apply?
    Privately held companies that are headquartered in the 10-county Middle Tennessee area are eligible to apply for a NEXT Award. Businesses that have demonstrated consistent, year-over-year growth in revenue and number of employees are ideal applicants.

    At the awards dinner on Thursday, Nov. 19, we will present awards in five industry categories: digital media/entertainment; health care; social enterprise/sustainability; technology; and products/services.

    Applications open Monday, June 22, and the deadline to apply is Friday, July 31. Visit to learn more about the awards and submit your application.

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  • Promoting the Tennessee-Japan Trade Relationship

    by Lori Odom | Jun 11, 2015

    Japan is Middle Tennessee’s largest foreign investor nation, with approximately 65 companies employing more than 15,000 people. The Chamber's International Business Council supports this economic pillar through our connection with the Japan-America Society of Tennessee (JAST), a nonprofit that promotes the prosperous bilateral relationship between Tennessee and Japan.

    In his role as JAST board chair, Chamber President & CEO Ralph Schulz will be playing a large role in JAST’s Annual Membership Weekend, to be held Friday and Saturday, June 26-27, in Nashville at Gaylord Springs Golf Links.

    Friday features a special evening exclusively for JAST members and their invited guests. The occasion serves as the Society's official welcome to newly appointed Consul General of Japan The Honorable Masami Kinefuchi and his wife, who arrived in Nashville in late April.

    Saturday morning is highlighted by the 2015 Invitational Golf Classic, a half-day of a friendly, yet competitive, 18 holes on one of Middle Tennessee's finest golf courses. Prepare for a great day of networking and prizes!

    If you are not a JAST member, it’s not too late to join and take part in this great series of events. For more information, check out or call 615-663-6060 or email

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  • Congratulating Our 2015 Nashville Emerging Leader Award Finalists

    by Alex Hughes | Jun 08, 2015

    Guest post by Stephanie Winn, manager of talent attraction and retention, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Today, we are pleased to announce the finalists for our ninth annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs). We created the NELAs to celebrate the many accomplishments of young professionals in Middle Tennessee, who are not only a significant part of our workforce, but who also contribute their time and talents to improving our community through their volunteer efforts.

    Each year, we see not only growth in number of applicants, but an increase in levels of talent and commitment to making our region a better place. Our applicant pool was incredibly competitive, and these finalists withstood the judging process.

    Please join us in congratulating the 2015 NELAs finalists!

    Architecture, Engineering & Construction
    William Radford, Lend Lease
    Kristi Schnell, Gresham, Smith and Partners
    Brittany L. Shepherd, Turner Construction Company
    Ashley T. Smith, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.
    Britnie Turner, Aerial Development Group

    Arts, Entertainment & Music Business

    Marcia Masulla, 12th & Broad - A Gannett Media Company
    Amanda Mazzo, Mazzo Media
    Brian O'Neil, Iconic Entertainment
    Ryan Rowland, Country Music Television
    Laura Williams, Regions Bank

    Business Services
    Matt Boeshore, eVolve Benefits
    Klay Lesko, Averitt Express
    Brian Lord, Premiere ...

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    Category: Workforce
  • Middle Tennessee Welcomes Three Expansions, $147M Investment

    by Courtney Ross | Jun 03, 2015

    Our region's momentum shows no signs of slowing. Over the past week, three companies have announced expansions in Middle Tennessee, investing more than $147 million and creating more than 300 new jobs.

    • TWB Company, LLC officials have announced plans to expand their current operations in Tennessee by locating a new manufacturing facility in Nashville. The auto parts manufacturer will invest $18 million in this new operation, creating 41 new jobs in Davidson County.
    • Interstate Warehousing plans to invest $24.7 million to add 160,000 square feet to their existing Murfreesboro facility, located on Joe B. Jackson Parkway. The project will support 122 new full-time jobs. Interstate Warehousing is among the top 10 cold storage warehousing companies in the United States.
    • Maplehurst Bakeries, LLC, a division of Weston Foods, will invest $102.8 million to build and equip a new 173,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lebanon. The facility will be located at Central Pike and 840 and create up to 147 new jobs in Wilson County. Founded in 1967, Maplehurst Bakeries produces frozen bakery products for in-store and food service bakeries.
    In addition, this week we learned that Tennessee is one of five states to receive the Gold Shovel Award from Area Development magazine, ...
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  • Flood Protection System Is a Wise Investment

    by Debby Dale Mason | Jun 02, 2015
    Five years ago, Nashville faced a crisis that tested our character as a city. We'll never forget the flooding that killed 10 people, damaged $2 billion worth of property and disrupted $3.6 billion in commerce.

    The work to mitigate future flooding throughout Nashville is addressed in our city's Unified Flood Preparedness Plan (UFPP). That plan, developed by Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon in 2013, looked at flood damage caused by the Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers and several of their tributaries, and identified 22 damage center locations that could benefit from flood damage reduction solutions. Since the implementation of the UFPP, our city has spent approximately $139 million on flood recovery and mitigation throughout Davidson County.

    As an organization that positions Nashville as an outstanding place to create jobs and prosperity, the Chamber supports the UFPP as an investment in our future. The economic loss throughout our city from a flood cannot be underestimated, particularly as Nashville is enjoying such robust growth. We know the implementation of this county-wide plan will occur over decades and cost millions of dollars, but it is a necessary investment in our city's long-term growth.

    As with any city founded along a river, we must always ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues
    Tags: flood