VOL. 110 | NO. 38 | Friday, February 23, 1996
lj 10/5 cates
Three down, three to go.
Economic growth board holds third meeting in Oak Ridge
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Last weeks meeting of the Tennessee Board of Economic Growth marked the midway point for the group charged with developing a strategy for economic development into the 21st century.
So how have the proceedings been progressing?
"I think it is going very well, so far," said local board member William A. Dunavant Jr., who is also the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. "It has taken a couple of meetings for the group to really gel, but during this last meeting, I really started to see a consensus building."
The Tennessee Board for Economic Growth held its third meeting and fact-finding tour Feb. 12-13 in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to examine the roles of science and technology in the states economic future.
The board received an overview of the advancements of science and technology in the manufacturing industry and how they will apply to the states economic future, Dunavant said.
The board also surveyed cluster marketing strategies and discussed several possibilities for cluster markets in Tennessee, he said.
A cluster market is an area that has a concentration of many companies associated with a particular industry. For example, with the presence of FedEx and an abundance of warehouse space, Memphis is viewed as a cluster market for the distribution and shipping industry, he said.
The agenda for the meeting included a tour of the Center for Manufacturing and Technology and the Tech 2020 facility. Presentations were made to the group by Jim Reafsnyder of the U.S. Department of Energy and Dr. Lee Riedenger of the Governors Science & Technology Council.
The Manufacturing Means Jobs Initiative also was outlined to the group by Tom Ballard of the UT Institute for Public Service, Dave Beck of the Center for Manufacturing Technology and Mike Magill of the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The 10-member board, created last year by the General Assembly, is charged with the mission of promoting Tennessees pro-business initiatives and charting a course for economic growth in the areas of business, manufacturing and agriculture.
"Getting a grasp on a statewide perspective on growth strategy encompasses more than we expected," Dunavant said.
"Were really going to have to work at narrowing the issues down. Were all having to remember that were here to find out what will be good for the whole state of Tennessee, not just our individual areas," he said.
During its inaugural meeting in November in Nashville, the group adopted its mission statement and bylaws and established its operational format.
During its fact-finding tour of the Ned R. McWherter Center for Advanced Industrial Technologies in Jackson, Tenn., the board found that worker development will be one of the toughest issues the state must tackle.
The board reviewed its recommendations regarding this area during the Oak Ridge meeting. However, Dunavant declined any comment on the recommendations since they are still in final preparations before being forwarded to the governor.
Dunavant said the governor is given a report on the boards recommendations after each meeting, and each of these updates will be pulled together in a final report due in October.
During its next meeting, which will be April 11-12 in Chattanooga, the board will focus on the development of entrepreneurial industry and the availability of capital resources, Dunavant said.
The economic growth board was proposed as a replacement for the former Industrial and Agricultural Development Commission and approved by both the House and the Senate during the last 1995 session of the General Assembly.