From the desk of G.C. Hixson . . .
"TEAR DOWN THIS WALL"
This month it has been twenty-seven years since then President Ronald Reagan told Soviet President Gorbachev to "tear down this wall"! The event was in reference of course to the wall which separated East and West Germany. While not as historic, the same words are applicable in the field of economic development. Todays walls can and are identified not only by physical structures but by city limits, growth boundaries and service areas. Successful communities work to tear down those walls of separation and not to validate or strengthen.
City limits and other areas of jurisdictions do define service and economic areas. They should not however serve as a "DMZ" or an obstacle for coordinated growth. Successful middle Tennessee communities address their issues through coordinated agencies such as the JECDB. Expo/Event Centers, Full Service Hotels and infrastructure projects should be the vehicles that bring economic vitality for all citizens of Wilson County.
There is nothing wrong in competition between our jurisdictions and service providers as their stated goals are to advance the quality of life and available services to their residents and/or customers. It is when the competition becomes negative and uncooperative that it affects the success of the entire community. Our office represents the three cities of Watertown, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet as well as Wilson County. We have the great opportunity to work with dedicated leaders from not only these entities but those of the utility and service providers. Our charter and structure mandates this cooperation which has resulted in our successes.
Our community will continue its daily competition against other middle Tennessee communities for economic projects. Many of our competitors have a single chamber of commerce, effective dialogue between cities and service providers with a clear vision of their direction, a means to get there and a coordinated front. Others that venture out in competition alone are and will be at a competitive disadvantage.
The recent Father's Day brought back a discussion with my Dad. He said that to be successful in life, I would need to learn how to cooperate, work together and share respect to others even when I thought it was not the best decision. Someone was right when they said life's best lessons are learned from our elders. There are endless opportunities that this community has available if we would "tear down the walls". When we can improve our cooperation and share in the battles together our possibilities are endless.
Marangoni Tread North America announced recently Bob Majewski, owner of Sumerel Tire Service in Newport, Ky., has expanded his operation to now include the Middle Tennessee market area with the addition of a new state-of-the-art Marangoni retread facility in Lebanon.
Majewski said Wilson County Tire & Retreading brings to Middle Tennessee and the Nashville market the most advanced retreading system in the world by way of the Marangoni Ringtread system.
The new facility offers fleets new tires and retreading, as well as a mounted wheel program, drive-up service and pick up and delivery.
"We are pleased and excited to venture into the Middle Tennessee market with Marangoni Products," Majewski said. "We will bring our experience in remanufactured tires, attention to detail, high-quality service and the great attention we pay to our customers' needs that will further increase our customers experience with this great product. We have hired Rick Majewski who has years of retreading, fleet and service knowledge to run this operation. We would also like to thank the great community of Lebanon for the warm welcome and attention we have received in the short time of being open. Wilson County Tire has chosen the right area and product to go forward."
Bill Sweatman, president and chief executive for Marangoni, said, "We at Marangoni Tread North America are very pleased to welcome Wilson County Tire & Retreading to our dealer network. Bob and Rick Majewski bring a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience, high-quality products and customer service that will serve this market well."
Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Novamet Specialty Products Corporation officials announced the company's plans to locate its headquarters, primary office and manufacturing facility to Lebanon. The company's relocation to Wilson County represents an investment of $8.6 million and will create 43 new jobs over the next four years.
"When a global company like Novamet chooses Tennessee as its home base, it underscores the unique advantages that help our state stand at the forefront amongst competitors around the world," Hagerty said. "Novamet is sure to be a terrific addition to the corporate landscape of Wilson County. I appreciate the company's decision to locate here and welcome them to our great state."
"The people of Novamet are excited about relocating to Tennessee and being a part of the thriving, yet comfortable, community in Lebanon and participating in the bright future we believe lies in store for it," Novamet CEO Jeff Peterson said. "We are proud to bring a number of highly skilled workers from New Jersey and jump start our transition here in this wonderful community. We are grateful to the leaders here in Lebanon, Wilson County and the state of Tennessee for facilitating our transition in multiple ways."
With operations currently in Wyckoff, N.J., Novamet will relocate its headquarters, primary office and manufacturing facility to Lebanon. The company has purchased the former Toshiba manufacturing facility in the Lebanon and plans to develop the site into a center of manufacturing businesses.
The facility is located on 97 acres of land and is approximately 500,000 square feet. Novamet will have 350,000 square feet available for further development.
Novamet produces more than 60 different products including tightly-sized powders, metallic flakes for paints and electronic applications, coated materials and specialty oxides for industries throughout the world. With distribution centers in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia, the company specializes in custom designed products for myriad applications.
Currently, Novamet's highly refined materials are used in the production of fuel cells, catalytic converters for engines to reduce pollution, batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, electronic insulating materials for cell phones and cell towers, as well as in various other applications requiring the specific morphological and/or chemical properties sought by highly advanced manufacturers.
The Joint Economic & Community Development Board of Wilson County along with the Cities of Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown had the opportunity to showcase the community to an international audience of decision makers at the 2014 ICSC RECon show in Las Vegas, Nevada held May 18-20.
RECon is the world's largest retail real estate convention offering a global audience of retail real estate professionals and offered an unparalleled opportunity to make deals, attend educational sessions and network with their peers in the industry. Attendance this year exceeded 33,000 retail real estate professionals with more than a thousand of the world's leading developers, retailers, lenders and brokers exhibiting.
Yet again, the ICSC RECon show was a success. Looking around the convention hall there were site plans on every table, conversations were about new deals as retailers and developers are preparing for a measured expansion in the coming years.
Mt. Juliet will soon be home to popular entertainment and pizza restaurant Chuck E. Cheese in south Mt. Juliet. The new restaurant, located next to HH Gregg and near the new Gander Mountain store on Providence Way, will be about 14,000 square feet and should be open within a year.
The restaurant's concept is a sit-down pizza restaurant, complemented by arcade games, amusement rides, an animatronic show, and other diversions, such as climbing equipment, tubes, and slides - all mainly directed at younger children. The brand is represented by Chuck E. Cheese, an anthropomorphic mouse.
The company was founded as Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre by Nolan Bushnell in 1977, officially being labeled as the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade.
PFG Customized Distribution, one of four operating segments within the holding company Performance Food Group, is expanding its Support Services Administration building in Lebanon, TN. The mirror addition to the current building will double its size from 20,000 to 40,000 SF, allowing all 130 office associates to be back under one roof again, including the corporate logistics department. It will allow the associates to spread out again. Lack of space had required several associates to share offices and had forced the company to convert storage space and conference areas into offices. The expansion makes room for new associates that will be necessary over the next few years, as the company supports its growing network of distribution centers that currently stands at nine.
PFG Customized Distribution specializes in serving large casual dining, fast casual and quick service restaurant chains throughout all 50 states and more than 40 countries. The Kenneth O. Lester Co. d/b/a PFG Customized Distribution traces its roots to 1930 when Kenneth O. Lester Sr. paid $286 for a small retail produce business in Alexandria, TN consisting of a ¾ ton truck and goodwill. In the 1960s, under the leadership of his son Kenneth O. Lester Jr., the company migrated from retail to the newly emerging away-from-home eating industry known as food service. In the late 1980s, Ken Lester Jr. led the company in a merger with the newly formed Performance Food Group and as chairman of the holding company took PFG public in 1993. Tom Hoffman guided PFG Customized Distribution as CEO from 1989 to 2011. Steady leaders, conscientious associates and growing customers have seen the sales of this segment going from $100 million in the early 1990s to over $3 billion today.
L&W Engineering will expand its current operations in Lebanon, Tennessee. The automotive parts manufacturer will invest $23.6 million to add onto its existing facility in Lebanon, as well as develop a new Lebanon property creating 210 new jobs.
L&W Engineering is expanding due to volume increases attributed to businesses with OEMs. The company produces stampings and welded assemblies for the automotive industry. L&W Engineering currently operates in Lebanon with 315 employees. That facility will require an expansion of approximately 30,250 square feet to accommodate two new large automotive stamping presses and associated equipment and employees.
Additionally, L&W Engineering will develop a new, but existing facility, in Lebanon. In total, these expansions will bring L&W's total Tennessee employment to 525 employees, a 66 percent increase over three to four years.
Information and application information for current and future employment opportunities should be accessed through Tennessee's State Workforce Development System (the Nashville Career Advancement Center).
We are very excited to have finally launched our new website design after almost nine months in development! You'll find that our new website makes it faster and easier for users to navigate. The new site is also easier for us to manage and update. In partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, we have also incorporated a much improved searchable buildings and sites database that now includes site specific demographics and maps. And most importantly the new site is now mobile friendly. Be sure to check it out at www.doingbiz.org
and we welcome your feedback in order to continue improving this useful tool.
Southern Bank of Tennessee hosted an open house and official ribbon cutting ceremony at its new Lebanon branch located just one block east of Hartmann Drive located at 1213 West Main Street. The full-service branch is designed with the customer in mind.
Southern Bank of Tennessee is a full service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and corporations. The business philosophy consists of providing a high level of customer service with experienced community bankers and local decision-making.
The $160 million-asset bank is headquartered in Mt. Juliet, and in addition to Wilson County, also has offices in Rutherford and Anderson Counties.
Tecnotiles Inc. will be locating their new US Operations in Lebanon, Tennessee. The company will lease a 90,190 square foot facility on 824 Maddox Simpson Parkway in the South Perimeter Industrial Park. Tecnotiles Inc. is a joint venture formed by Italian tile finishing firms of Tecnoceramica Srl and Uptiles Srl who will provide tile finishing services to the U. S. based ceramic and porcelain tile manufacturers.
The new company will open for operations during the summer with two product finishing lines. Their services will include the cutting, grinding, glazing and lapping services in the production of trim and tile mosaics. Tecnotiles Inc. will have an initial staff of twenty employees but is projected to grow to over 60 employees over the first three years of operations. Their investment will total over $3 million during the first phase of the project.
Company representative Francesco Gualdi of Tecoceramica said that Lebanon and Wilson County met their locational requirements as it provided access to tile manufacturers in the United States with many of those being in the state of Tennessee. Gianpalo Bernardi of Uptiles said that the new location provided a competitive workforce and faster distribution times from production to the marketplace.
Mr. Lewis Burris of 5Bravo Construction of Lebanon, TN will be the firm responsible for facility modification. Further information on Tecnotiles can be found by visiting www.tecnotiles.us