(EDITOR’S NOTE: Brandon Bruce, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Cirrusinsight and Knoxville’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, presented the following list of Knoxville’s #1s in a speech at the recent Muse Knoxville luncheon. It’s pretty impressive.)
In 1980, The Wall Street Journal called Knoxville “a scruffy little city.” What the writer would see today is a beautiful and thriving Knoxville. We live in a city and region that is truly world class.
We’re #1 in national parks with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in America.
We’re #1 in lifestyle media with Scripps Networks Interactive, RIVR Media, Jupiter Entertainment, NorthSouth Productions, and more.
We’re #1 in homebuilding with Clayton Homes.
We’re #1 in movie theaters with Regal Entertainment Group.
We’re #1 in travel centers with Pilot Flying J.
We’re in the #1 state for growth and innovation in education with programs like Tennessee Promise.
We’re #1 in recreational boating with over 20 manufacturers including Brunswick and Malibu.
We’re #1 in church management software and online giving with Ministry Brands.
We’re #1 in pursuing novel detection and treatment for cancer with companies including ProNova and Provectus and EDP Biotech.
We’re #1 in 3D printing with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Local Motors, and more.
We’re #1 in outdoor recreation with the Urban Wilderness, Ijams, and hundreds of lakes, rivers, and parks.
We’re #1 in nuclear safety and security with Y-12, Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation, and more.
We’re #1 in jewelry e-commerce with Jewelry Television.
We’re #1 in pet products with Radio Systems Corporation.
We’re #1 in public power with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
We’re #1 in important things that start with the letter B: beans (Bush Brothers), bacon (Benton’s), breweries (more than any other city in Tennessee), and barbecue (too many great places to list).
According to Forbes, we’re the #2 happiest city to work in right now, but based on all of the above, I’d say we make a strong claim to #1.
As we celebrate springtime in Knoxville with the Big Ears Festival, the Dogwood Arts Festival, the International Biscuit Festival, Earthfest, Outdoor KnoxFest, and the Rossini Festival, we can be sure that Knoxville is a pretty great place to live and call home. In fact, we’re #1.