Regional leaders announce Innovation Valley 2.0

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The leaders of Innovation Valley, Inc., have announced a new plan called Blueprint 2.0 that charts the course of the regional initiative for the next five years. Here’s the official news release issued yesterday. More information will follow in the coming days on

Knoxville, TN — Since 2008 the Innovation Valley region has netted over 10,000 new jobs and acquired more than $1 billion in capital investment. On Wednesday the Innovation Valley board and partners debuted Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0, the organization’s strategic plan to build upon these successes and guide regional economic development over the next five years.

“The resiliency of the Innovation Valley region following the recent economic recession and the growth we’ve experienced since is due in large part to the efforts of our economic development teams and the support of our investors,” said Thom Mason, chairman of the Innovation Valley board. “Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0 provides direction on how we can continue leveraging the assets of our region to support existing industry and capitalize on future economic development opportunities.”

Developed through insight gained during in-depth conversations with area business leaders and elected officials as well as using information gathered from surveys completed by key focus groups, Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0 expands on the organization’s previous five-year plan and provides guidance on achieving future growth.

“We have made considerable progress during the last five years,” said Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber. “Our efforts have attracted new companies such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Volkswagen to the region, supported the expansion of companies such as ADT Home Security and Republic Plastics, and played a role in the region’s consistent recognition in national publications as an exceptional place to live and work. In today’s global economy, it’s vital that we continue to support this collaboration and showcase our strengths.”

Acknowledging the advantages offered by the regional initiative, Blueprint 2.0 identifies five target recruitment clusters Innovation Valley is especially equipped to support including advanced technology and manufacturing, corporate services, creative media services, energy, and transportation.

“These target clusters encompass industries that are well suited to benefit from the resources available in Innovation Valley,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development at the Knoxville Chamber. “We will still pursue opportunities outside of these clusters, but our primary focus will be aggressively pursuing businesses within these five areas, understanding that they represent the best potential for creating and retaining jobs in our region.”

To encourage the recruitment, retention, and expansion of businesses inside the targeted clusters, the plan also recommends several strategic priorities which include implementing aggressive business recruitment and retention programs, building the Innovation Valley brand, developing and retaining a talented workforce, continuing support of entrepreneurialism and innovation, and promoting sustainability.

“These priorities create the framework for our efforts,” said Lawyer. “Their implementation will impact the region’s ability to attract and retain businesses inside the clusters and ultimately affect the success of our overall economic development initiative.”

The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley is the regional economic development initiative of the Knoxville Chamber.  Recently named the #1 area in the United States for green growth by Brookings Institution, the Innovation Valley is home to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, the Y-12 National Security Complex, Scripps Network Interactive, Pilot Flying J, and many more world-class businesses. To learn more, visit

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