Eastman Chemical Celebrates Groundbreaking In Kingsport

Friday, November 1, 2013

Eastman Chemical Company will be transformed into a 21st century company with construction of a new corporate headquarters in Kingsport, Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers said Tuesday.

The company broke ground on the 300,000-square-foot facility and plans to invest $1.6 billion in a larger, multi-year expansion. Dozens of political leaders, including Governor Bill Haslam, and a number of community officials were on hand for the ceremony.

The corporate headquarters will be in the Eastman baseball field, which is across the street from the current corporate headquarters. The buildings will be connected with a walkway over Wilcox Drive.

Mr. Rogers said Eastman has come a long way since it separated from Kodak.

“It’s been a journey,” he said. “It’s tough to go from a manufacturing arm of a large monopoly to be an independent company that has to have its own external relationships. There was a lot of learning that had to go on. The culture had to continue to evolve to stay competitive, and you can see the example of Kodak of what happens when you don’t.”

Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

The state pushed hard to keep the expansion and the corporate headquarters in Northeast Tennessee. The company looked at expanding other facilities around the world, but the state provided millions of dollars in incentives, including a $20 million FastTrack grant and $10 million in funding for the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which trains Eastman employees.

The company has promised to create 300 jobs in Tennessee.

“I think this is the biggest investment per job in the history of Tennessee to make sure Eastman stays,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said.

Governor Haslam said the education investment in the project is crucial. He is pushing to increase vocational training across the state and the center works with industry and Northeast State Community College to train skilled manufacturing workers.

The governor said he knows the investment in the expansion is a lot of money, but 7,000 jobs in Tennessee can be traced back to the company.

“If jobs are going to be created, companies like Eastman are going to have to stick their neck out and put capital at risk,” he said.

Virginia Delegate Israel O’Quinn said the investment Tennessee made is regional and will benefit his state’s residents as well.

“There are people that drive as far as two hours to come work here,” Mr. O’Quinn said. “For us in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, state lines are fairly invisible. You have people in Southwest Virginia who drive to Eastman for work, and you have people in East Tennessee who drive to Southwest Virginia for work.”

Construction is expected to be completed in 2015. The building will house 850 Eastman employees.

The company also plans to expand the manufacturing facility over the next several years.

Mr. Rogers said the jobs created will be in manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, human resources and finance.


Alexander Says “Persuader” Rule Halted By District Court Is Welcome News For American Workplaces

Senate labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander on Monday said the district court’s preliminary injunction halting the administration’s “persuader” rule is “welcome news for American workplaces.”   “In boxing, you call this the old one-two,” Senator Alexander said. “The administration’s first strike at the American workplace was its fast-tracked ambush election process that ... (click for more)

ndp Announces Staff Promotion And New Hire

Daniel Fell, president and CEO of ndp (formerly Neathawk Dubuque & Packett), a full-service advertising agency with offices in Virginia and Tennessee, announced Monday that Grace Viertel has been promoted to senior art director. She was previously an art director. Ms. Viertel joined ndp in 2008, and won silver and bronze awards in the "highly competitive" Richmond Show. ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

Volkswagen To Spend Up To $14.7 Billion To Settle Allegations Of Cheating Emissions Tests And Deceiving Customers On 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 ... (click for more)

General Bell: Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center - And Response (4)

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pat Summitt’s Dash

In 1996 a woman named Linda Ellis wrote one of life’s most beautiful poems. Called “The Dash,” its first two verses read like this: “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. “He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what ... (click for more)