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Business Pulse: 5/5/13
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While WCHS seniors were enjoying a magical time at their prom last weekend, students in San Bernardino, Calif., were experiencing a different sort of magic when it came to their prom. Their big dance had disappeared.
Students were literally all dressed up with no place to go thanks to a major mix-up at Bloomington High School. Students were told the prom was April 27, but facility reservations were made for May 4. Oops.
So when tuxedo-clad, limousine-riding students showed up for one of the biggest nights of their high school careers, they received quite a shock. Students reportedly made the best of the situation by listening to music from a laptop computer and finding a place where they could eat chicken strips. Actually, if the chicken strips were served with some of that tangy honey mustard sauce, it wouldn’t be that bad of a compromise.
Another odd, strange and curious story I found on the wire last week comes from St. Cloud, Minn., where a man is accused of pretending to be a member of the rock band Pink Floyd in order to get free medical care at a local hospital.
The man claimed he was Pink Floyd singer-guitarist David Gilmour and said he didn’t have health insurance. I would like to think hospital employees would ask for some form of ID, but apparently they were too busy falling all over this Gilmour impostor to care.
The man was treated and released, but not before posing for pictures and signing autographs. However, at least one person at the hospital was thinking clearly and flagged the man’s file as suspicious and a likely security risk.
When the man boldly returned for a follow-up visit, still claiming to be a member of Pink Floyd, he was confronted by police and admitted his lie. Now he’ll probably receive a hospital bill for $100,000.
What I don’t understand is why would a member of Pink Floyd be entitled to free health care? And why would anyone want to get their picture made with some guy named David Gilmour?
It’s not like getting your picture made with President Obama or a movie star like Harrison Ford who is easily recognizable. You’d have to constantly explain to everyone you showed the picture to that it’s David Gilmour. You know, from Pink Floyd. You know, the band that sang “Another Brick in the Wall.” You know, the song that goes like this … “We don’t need no education …”
Now for Business Pulse.

Jobs coming
to Manchester

Any time I can report positive job news for this area, I seize the opportunity. I realize it’s not McMinnville I’m talking about, but Manchester got a big boost Thursday when it was announced Viam Manufacturing is expanding its facility there and adding 75 jobs.
Viam says it’s making a $9 million investment to expand the Manchester facility where it manufactures floor and trunk mats for vehicles.
For those of you who may not know, Viam opened its first Tennessee facility in Manchester in 1998. Ten years later, the company moved its North American headquarters to Coffee County.
All of this shows how Tennessee is becoming a national leader in auto manufacturing. The car-related jobs keep coming.

Burke settles in
to new job

In chatting with interim director of economic development George Burke on Friday, I realize he has some keen insight into the job of industrial recruiter and into the Warren County community in general.
Because of his temporary status, George is in a unique situation. He can tell it like it is without fear of losing his job because he’s not going to be here on a long-term basis. And as a former industrial recruiter who enjoyed success here from 1985 to 1989, he knows what it takes to bring in jobs.
“I feel like I need to teach an economics class here all over again,” George said. “Economic development can’t be a war with sides taking shots and fighting against each other. It has to be a concert with all elements working together in harmony. It’s like a team sport. You have to play together to be successful.”
Burke has accepted the job on a temporary basis because the Industrial Development Board has been unable to find a replacement for Jeff McCormick, who resigned in October and left the job April 30. Of the 23 people who have applied, none have reportedly wanted to come in for an interview after doing more research on the community.
“This job is like a coaching job,” said Burke. “If you do well, you move up the ranks and move on to bigger communities where you can get more pay. The people here want to find someone who has experience and who has been successful, but it’s not necessarily going to happen.”
Just like football coach Nick Saban isn’t going to agree to coach at Warren County High School, George says a successful industrial recruiter isn’t going to come to Warren County. As some of you may recall, George parlayed his success in Warren County in the late 1980s into a job as industrial recruiter in Clarksville.
He talked about being the industrial recruiter when Warren County landed Calsonic and Bridgestone. He said some people were lukewarm about getting Calsonic, now Yorozu, because the company never projected more than 200 jobs. Now the local plant has around 1,500 employees and continues to grow.
Burke sees the same type of potential with Miniature Precision Components, which started local manufacturing in January 2012. MPC is already in the process of a 50,000-square-foot expansion.
Burke said the key to economic success is not just landing jobs, but landing companies that provide good-paying jobs so people have disposable income. He says a company that wants to provide 100 jobs at minimum wage is really not doing much of a service to the community.
“Those jobs don’t build houses and those jobs don’t bring nice restaurants,” said George. “People wonder why there are so many $6 Chinese buffets here. It’s because those are the types of restaurants this economy supports.”
I’ve said for years and years, our Warren County Commission needs to devote more money to economic development. Finally I’ve found someone who agrees with me. It’s George Burke.
“Money spent on economic development doesn’t increase taxes,” said George. “It will increase your tax base, which will in turn lower taxes.”
Burke certainly seems to know his stuff when it comes to economic development. And he knows how tough the job of industrial recruiter can be. He says whoever gets the job will find themselves in a tight spot. If they are new to the area and don’t know anyone, they also won’t know who to trust and who they can talk to candidly. Then they are expected to produce great results.
“It’s the community that wins and loses,” said Burke. “The recruiter is really just a manager. It doesn’t matter who is in this job if the community is right, and it doesn’t matter who is in here if the community isn’t in harmony.”

New restaurant
coming to town

When Yamato closed its doors but its owner continued to pay rent on the building, it sparked my curiosity. Last week I finally found out why.
Allen Yang is taking over the location formerly occupied by his brother at Plaza Shopping Center. He is completely remodeling and says he learned much from his brother’s mistakes with Yamato.
“You don’t make a huge investment in a location and then turn it over to someone else to run,” said Allen. “That’s what he did. He hired some people to run it for him and he was hardly ever here.”
Allen says he is going to be a hands-on owner with his new restaurant that will feature Asian cuisine. He says it will be a combination of Chinese and Japanese food and it will not be a buffet.
“I’ve found most customers want fresh-made food and they only want one plate of it,” said Allen. “Why have 100 items when most people know what they want and only eat two or three of them. Food prices are too high to offer quality food on a buffet.”
In doing his remodeling, Allen says he doesn’t plan to use all the space available in the building. His goal is to have a restaurant that seats 60. That way he can provide first-rate service and ensure everyone gets their food quickly.
“If customers wait too long for their food, they get mad,” said Allen. “I know if I have to wait 30 minutes for my food, I’m probably not going back.”
He said that’s one of the problems that struck Yamato. The restaurant was swamped when it first opened and that’s when all the employees were still learning. Some customers experienced long waits the first couple weeks and didn’t return.
It seems like Allen has the right idea and I like his plan to offer a broader menu than Yamato did. I’ll provide more information when he gets up and running.

Muncey inducted
into Hall of Fame

Here’s an accomplishment I’d like to trumpet. Warren County resident Steve Muncey was inducted into the Truck Drivers Hall of Fame last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He earned the distinction for – get this – 40 years and 6 million miles without an accident.
“The goal is to be safe any time I’m behind the wheel,” said Steve. “The miles have taken care of themselves.”
Steve drives for Batesville Casket and runs a regular route that takes him through Mississippi and Texas. He can be on the road for a week at a time. He says it’s a job he truly enjoys.
“I have friends all over the country and I love meeting different people,” said Steve. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I had uncles in this line of work when I was little and they’re the ones who got me interested.”
Steve was among five truck drivers in this year’s Hall of Fame class. Business Pulse would like to give Steve big thanks for his commitment to keep the roads safe for all of us.

Lisa Ballew opens
Klassy Kuts

There’s a new place to get your hair cut in Morrison. It’s Klassy Kuts and it’s operated by hair styling veteran Lisa Ballew, who has 25 years of experience.
Lisa is excited about her new business, which opened Saturday at 241 S. Fair Street. She offers cuts for the entire family and also does colors, perms, and eyebrow waxing. She plans to add tanning and nail services in the future.
In addition to her new business, Lisa is relatively new to the area. She’s been here since August, having relocated from Nashville. She really likes the area and being able to relax in a more quiet atmosphere.
Klassy Kuts business hours are Tuesday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 931-314-7758.

Drew Barrett
donates copier

I don’t know if this donation will help the Pioneer football team score touchdowns this year, but it will make life easier for WCHS football coach Tommy Johnson.
Friendly, neighborhood office machine guru Drew Barrett has donated a copier to the WCHS football program. The donation is a big asset because prior to getting the copier, football coaches would have to walk to the front office to make copies. Anyone who is familiar with WCHS knows the campus is laid out in such a way that the front office is nearly in Morrison.
I see great things in store for the Pioneer football team this year and a season that could approach six or seven wins. The copier could come in handy to make copies of all the great stories that will appear in the Southern Standard this fall.

Wilkins graduates
Mechatronics II

Through the years, James Wilkins has done a little of everything. He’s owned and operated Custom Stereo Designs for 23 years for all your car stereo and electronic needs. He’s also the owner of Audio Experts for your home theater needs.
Along the way, James has found time to maintain a full-time job at Accu-Router as a CNC service technicians. He’s also found time to take the Mechatronics courses at Motlow and next weekend he will be a member of the first graduating class of Mechatronics Level Two.
The great thing about the Mechatronics program that’s really gaining steam at Motlow and WCHS is it prepares students with the job skills they need to enter the manufacturing workforce.
“His position at Accu-Router allows him to widely utilize the technology skills acquired through Mechatronics,” said Accu-Router president Todd Herzog. “It is an ideal learning platform for industrial careers.”
I’m glad to see the Mechatronics program producing such positive results. In a highly competitive workforce, this is a program that’s giving our local students an advantage. It can also be a key tool in getting a company to locate in Warren County because we are producing graduates with the job skills they need.

That’s all folks

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