New Call Center Set For Johnson City

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Festiva Hospitality Group representatives on Tuesday announced the company has opened a call center in Johnson City.  The announcement represents an investment of $1.1 million and will create 100 jobs in Carter County.

“We are thankful for Festiva Hospitality Group’s decision to locate in Johnson City and the investment in our state and its citizens,” Gov. Haslam said.  “I’m certain the company will find a welcoming home in Tennessee and the Tri-Cities area as we continue our work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.” 

“Festiva Hospitality Group is another great addition to the state,” Commissioner Hagerty said. “In this globally competitive economic environment, Tennessee’s business-friendly reputation continues to be an attractive choice for companies.  I am pleased Festiva recognizes this and has chosen to include our state in its path to success.”

The Asheville, N.C.-based vacation ownership company is owned by Festiva Adventure Group and employs approximately 900 people worldwide. The new inbound/outbound call center is housed in the Borla facility at 500 Borla Drive in south Johnson City. Festiva manages and operates a wide array of resorts throughout the United States and Caribbean, as well as a fleet of luxury yachts.

Festiva cites the metro area’s strong labor pool and the willingness of state and local officials to help establish operations successfully as primary keys to its decision to locate in Johnson City.

“This community has long embraced call centers,” Mike Ross, director of marketing, Festiva, said. “So when the opportunity came to find a home that would support growth, Johnson City was an easy decision.”

“It has been wonderful to work with Mr. Ross and Festiva Hospitality Group in bringing new jobs to our region,” Tom Anderson, president, Carter County Tomorrow, said. “Through collaborative efforts and multi-jurisdictional cooperation, Mitch Miller of Washington County Economic Development Council, Alicia Summers with the state of Tennessee, and Carter County Tomorrow have worked together for a common solution for job creation.”

“This project has many positives,” Mitch Miller, executive vice president, Washington County Economic Development Council, said. “A company with growth potential is bringing jobs to the area. They’ve settled in a facility, Borla, that could become a hub for data centers and light manufacturing. And part of the reason they’re here is because of the cooperative approach taken by multiple local governments who had the best interests of the metro area’s economy in mind without respect to city or county lines.”

“I’m pleased to see these jobs being created in Johnson City,” Johnson City Mayor Dr. Jeff Banyas said. “It’s particularly gratifying to see an existing building become a site of new job creation, and to see the cooperative spirit that multiple local governments, economic development officials and the State of Tennessee took in helping make sure this project succeeded.”

“Carter County welcomes Festiva. We are excited to have this new company and the employment opportunities it provides for our citizens. I am impressed with Mr. Ross’s drive, as well as, his commitment to a rapid expansion of the operation. Both of us look forward to a very lengthy and prosperous community partnership,” said Leon Humphrey, Carter County mayor.

Festiva is currently seeking qualified candidates to help expand their Johnson City operations. Interested candidates should contact Mike Ross at mross@festiva.travel.

 


Jermaine L. Swafford Named CSX Vice President Regional Transportation-Southern Region

Jermaine Swafford, a native of Hamilton County, has risen through the operations ranks at CSX since he joined the company in 1998.  From an assistant trainmaster in Russell, Ky., to his most recent position as division manager in Atlanta, Mr. Swafford has consistently demonstrated team-focused and results-driven management, according to the company officials.   "Under ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Business Calendar For Feb. 28-March 6

March 2015   SA/28 24Hour Generator at Mad, Bad, and Dangerous 3:00 p.m. Girls Preparatory School: 205 Island Ave. 24Hour Generator is a new event designed for enterprising high school girls across the region. Hosted by The Company Lab (CO.LAB) and held as part of GPS’s inaugural  Mad, Bad, and Dangerous  event, 24Hour Generator ... (click for more)

Deputy Beaten After Vehicle Crashes In His Yard Sues Officers

A man who was mistakenly beaten by officers who had been pursuing a pickup truck that crashed into his home has sued Hamilton County and the officers for $700,000. Aaron Lucas Shelton and his wife, Heather Nicole Shelton, filed the suit in Circuit Court. Aaron Shelton is himself a deputy sheriff. It names Curtis Brian Killingsworth and unknown officers who allegedly took part ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)