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Roane Alliance Increases Impact in 2017, Prepares for Hurdles in 2018

February 1, 2018

The Roane Alliance will release its 2017 Annual Report Wednesday, February 14.  Armed with all new marketing materials and a marketing plan, the Roane Alliance spent the year focused on its mission “to create an environment and unified voice that promotes job creation, economic development, enhanced quality of life, and education and workforce development.” 

“2017 saw the national economy rebound in ways that were somewhat historical,” said President/CEO Wade Creswell, the Roane Alliance. “Roane County experienced record-low unemployment throughout much of the year which is great news for so many residents to have gainful employment.  But, many remain under employed so our economic development focus shifted from bringing more jobs into our area to bringing better jobs to our area, which also meant preparing our sites to make us more competitive.”

The Industrial Development Board received more than double the prospect activity compared to recent years with a 10% increase in capital investment, higher paying jobs and double the average number of jobs per industry.  By working to provide flatter sites and providing an organized and prepared presentation of its sites, the Alliance set themselves apart and ended up on the short list for quite a few new or expanding industries.  By early 2018, one of the certified sites in Roane County will provide 17 pad-ready acres. The Alliance believes this will put the county on an even shorter list to acquire a new industry no one of Roane County’s certified sites.

There was also a new marketing campaign for the Roane County Visitors Bureau, with their first-ever tourism campaign – Soak in Roane.  Beginning with a media blitz in March, the campaign included television, print and digital ads, theatre commercials, newsletters, a Soak in Roane photo contest, and billboard. 

“The campaign had impressive results, with increases across the board – from 24% more visitors to to a 366% increase in email contacts, and more than ever engagement from our social media followers,” said Alliance Vice President Pam May.

In addition, the a first-ever visitors guide was published to highlight local attractions, dining options, annual events and more. The guide is also being used as a recruiting piece for retirees throughout the country and makes its debut in welcome centers across Tennessee in early 2018.

The Chamber also experienced a shift in how they reach their members and potential new members – with 54 ambassadors - more than double from the previous year.  The ambassador team was able to reach more businesses as well as give back to the community through a giving back program they launched on their own.  The Chamber’s website traffic also increased, reaching an all-time high of 115,166 pages viewed, with ½ of those views being Chamber member information.

Education Matters, a program of Roane Chamber, saw a considerable jump in the number of Tennessee Scholar graduates over the previous year resulting in a more than 23% increase. Since 2007, Roane County has honored 1,178 TN Scholar graduates with a steady positive trajectory for the future.

“We are very proud of the work the Alliance accomplished in 2017 and we hope everyone will read the full report on our website.  But we can’t rest – Roane County has one of the biggest hurdles we have ever had – a six-year decline in population.” said Creswell.  “And the Alliance  must work to reverse that trend because no matter how well we market Roane County, it has become very challenging to convince new businesses to locate here because of their concerns about available workforce.  This issue, above all others, is what will, or should guide the discussions going into this election year.”

To view the 2017 Roane Alliance Annual Report, visit or call 865.376.2093 to request a copy.

The Roane Alliance is the comprehensive resource in anything and everything concerning businesses, tourism and economic development in Roane County, which includes the Industrial Development Board, Visitors Bureau and Chamber, and programs such as Education Matters and Retire Roane.  Our mission is to create an environment and a unified voice that promotes job creation, economic development, enhanced quality of life, education and workforce.  To learn more about the Roane Alliance please call 865.376.2093 or visit