In recent years Tennessee has been on everybody's radar. In fact, from July 2008 to February 2009 alone, Tennessee landed more than $3 billion in new investments. And in 2006, the state was awarded a Silver Shovel in our premiere report.
Industries with major new capital projects include advanced manufacturing, automotive assembly, food processing, semiconductors, telecommunications, and call centers. Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation's plan to build a $1.2 billion polysilicon production facility at Commerce Park in Clarksville was one of the biggest projects of the year. "State and local officials worked hard to assure our needs were met," commented Rick Doornbos, Hemlock Semiconductor's president. "The state's business climate, the superb site in Clarksville, and a productive work force made this the right decision for us." The polycrystalline silicon is used in the manufacture of solar panels.
ServiceSource, a California-based sales company, made a similarly based decision when it chose to expand into Nashville. The company is investing $10 million in a new 30,000-square-foot call center that will house some 200 workers. "When a successful West Coast business decides to open its largest service center in Nashville, it makes a statement that we have the vital combination of skilled workers and low business costs," said Matt Largen, director of business recruitment for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
In the food-processing industry, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is investing $50 million for a new facility in Knoxville. The Vermont-based company is purchasing a 334,000-square-foot building in the Forks of the River Industrial Park. When fully operational, the plant will employ 360 people.
And, needless to say, Volkswagen's decision to build its North American plant in Chattanooga represents a major milestone for the company as well as the state and region. This is one of four "Projects of the Year" highlighted in this feature. According to Dr. Jochem Heizmann, a member of the managing board of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for group production, "The automobile will always be an essential part of the American way of life. Despite the present situation on world markets, the U.S. market will recover, and Volkswagen will be ready when that happens."