Industry is doing well in Hamblen County and the future looks even brighter, the president of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce said this week.
“To say the economy is robust is an understatement,” Marshall Ramsey, chamber president, said.
Ramsey made his comments during the work session of the Hamblen County Commission where he gave an update to commissioners on how industry is faring today in the county and future possibilities.
Ramsey said there are 109 industries currently in Hamblen County with 14 of those companies being international companies. Collectively, they pay more than $5 million annually in taxes to the city and county, he said.
Over the last 10 years, there have been more than 3,500 jobs created in Hamblen County with more than $1 billion in investment.
But, he said the chamber decided to look at other communities.
“How does that compare to other communities in similar size?” he asked.
He said he and other chamber officials decided to look at Cleveland, Tennessee in Bradley County, which has a population of around 30,000 more people.
In 2019, Bradley County had 200 jobs created with an $88 million investment.
“For any community, that’s pretty good...” Ramsey said. “We had a little bit better than that.”
Hamblen County in 2019 saw 501 jobs invested with a $169 million investment, he said.
The job creation is expected to continue, Ramsey said, with a list of companies coming in over the next five years that have told community leaders they would be coming.
He said predictions call for 2,490 jobs created and a $490 million investment over the next five years.
Ramsey said potential companies who have been talking to community leaders could also bring in another 670 jobs and $130 million in investment, on top of the already promised jobs and investment.
Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, who was at the meeting, said a lot of the credit belongs to the community buying in and the “team we have with Marshall as the captain.”
“It’s a team effort,” he said. “We embrace being a community that makes things. That’s who we are.”
He said community leaders in the past had a vision to invest into publicly owned industrial land, instead of letting it be handled by private landowners, and because of that there has been a payoff.
He said privately owned land is driven by profit margins, while publicly owned industrial parks are driven by job creation and investment.
“There’s not many communities that have publicly owned land,” he said.
Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney agreed that past decisions have led to the job growth today.
“Those kind of numbers are not based on just a few years of work, but several years,” he said.
Chesney said he thinks the community is going to see consistent growth and a better quality of life in the upcoming years as industry continues to move in.
“These are good times and we’re reaping the benefits and we plan to manage those benefits to keep going,” he said.