State gets strong reports on business growth
by Kevin Brooks State Representative
Sep 15, 2013 | 627 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kevin Brooks
State Representative
Kevin Brooks State Representative
Business expansions

on a steady rise

across Tennessee

I am honored to join with my fellow House of Representatives lawmakers and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community to announce numerous major business expansions from all across the state. With these expansion projects, thousands of jobs will be created along with millions of dollars invested into local Tennessee communities.

Some of the most prominent of the recently announced expansions include:

1. UBS Financial Services, Davidson County: The global financial services firm has chosen to expand its Nashville operations and has committed to invest $36.5 million and create 1,000 new high-wage jobs.

2. Gap Inc., Sumner County: Located on Gap Boulevard in Gallatin, the global retailer will expand its Sumner County distribution center over the coming months, creating 90 new jobs and investing $35 million in the community.

3. Dot Foods, Dyer County: Dot Foods, the nation’s largest food redistributor, will invest $24 million and create 157 new jobs in Dyersburg and surrounding areas.

4. Surface Igniter LLC, Blount County: Earlier this month, Surface Igniter LLC pledged to relocate its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Maryville, investing $108 million and creating 108 new jobs.

5. Miller Industries, Greene County: The towing equipment manufacturer will invest $1.8 million in its new expansion in Greeneville, creating 58 new jobs.

For more information about these expansions and to view other industry announcements from across the state, visit the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development website at

State agency provides

assistance to Tennessee

small business owners

Created by the General Assembly in 2010, the Office of Small Business Advocate (OSBA) is the primary contact for Tennessee small business owners who need assistance with specific business issues or have general questions about state agencies, regulatory compliance, or other business-related topics.

In addition, if a small business owner feels that his or her business has been subject to unfair enforcement actions by a state agency, the business owner can seek assistance and relief from the OSBA.

With 97 percent of the companies in Tennessee being classified as “small businesses,” the Office of Small Business Advocate provides an invaluable resource to business owners across the state, providing help and information to the entrepreneurs who are the backbone of creativity and job production in Tennessee.

To contact Tennessee’s Small Business Advocate, Lauren Plunk, call 615-401-7806 or email her at

House lawmakers

announce 2013 Reward

School recipients

Recently, House lawmakers announced that multiple schools across the state have been named as part of the 2012-13 Reward School program by the Tennessee Department of Education. The designation means the schools are in either the top 5 percent of all schools in the state for annual academic growth or the top 5 percent for overall academic achievement.

The Reward School program spans 52 districts across the state and includes 169 total schools.

House leaders praised the news, thanking teachers, administrators and students for all their hard work in achieving the important educational goals.

The 2012-13 Reward Schools made their impressive accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw consistent gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) testing. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the Reward Schools led the way in overall school performance.

A complete list of Reward Schools can be found at:

House Speaker Beth Harwell

hosted 2013 Right Women,

Right Now Summit

House Speaker Beth Harwell hosted the 2013 “Right Women, Right Now” Summit on Sept. 9-10 in Nashville. Harwell, who works fervently to identify, train and support women for elected office, led the Summit’s efforts to find and recruit strong women leaders from across the nation.

Harwell joined with women leaders from other states to host the event, including Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin, and Secretary of State Kim Wyman of Washington.

While women represent more than 50 percent of the total population in the U.S., the number of women of both parties in statewide elective office positions is 75, or 23.1 percent. Only five governors (10 percent) are women. Within the United States Congress, the numbers are even lower, with the total number of women of both parties accounting for only 18.3 percent of the total legislative body.

Additional details about the “Right Women, Right Now” organization can be found by visiting

Tennessee to expand

“Drive To 55” initiative

This month, Gov. Bill Haslam is joining with House lawmakers to expand the state’s “Drive to 55” education initiative, a program which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with some sort of college degree to 55 percent by the year 2025. The initiative will work hand-in-hand with the recent launch of Western Governors University Tennessee, an online school which seeks to expand access to higher education for all Tennesseans.

WGU Tennessee offers accredited degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and various health professions.

Differing from most brick-and-mortar institutions, WGU Tennessee uses an innovative learning model called competency-based education. Instead of earning a degree based on credit hours or time spent in class, students must demonstrate their knowledge of required subject matter through rigorous testing procedures.

According to the 2010 Census, 1 in 5 Tennesseans over the age of 25 have some college experience but no degree, a number WGU Tennessee hopes to change.

For more information about WGU Tennessee and the ‘Drive to 55’ initiative, visit or call 1-855-948-8495.


(Editor’s Note: Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, represents the 24th Legislative District. He and his wife, Kim, are the parents of two children — Zach and Elizabeth, both of whom are Lee University students.)