TVA Exceeds Economic Development Goal Despite Recession
January 12, 2010
Despite a slow economy, TVA’s economic development efforts helped produce $4.2 billion in capital investments across the Tennessee Valley, exceeding the agency’s goal of $3 billion for fiscal year 2009.
TVA also helped to attract and retain nearly 26,000 jobs over the period that ended Sept. 30. Wages for many of those positions are higher than the average for the Southeast.
“TVA is always looking for strategic initiatives to support regional, state and local economic development partners in their efforts to create and retain jobs and investments,” said TVA Senior Vice President for Economic Development John Bradley. “It’s a commitment we take very seriously.”
TVA provides economic development services in three broad areas: business recruiting and development assistance, business resources and technical services such as engineering and design.
“Our approach is totally community-based,” said Tim Weston, manager of regional development and field operations for TVA. “We help local economic development entities put on their best faces.”
TVA’s partners include power distributors, regional and local economic development associations, state agencies, chambers of commerce and community leaders.
“We want those agencies to think of TVA first when a potential client calls or comes to town,” Weston said. Weston and a team of 1
4 TVA field representatives in seven regional offices help companies create and retain jobs and make capital investments in communities across the Tennessee Valley region. The field staff works with the local officials to put together a specific plan for each community. TVA lends its expertise in several ways, ranging from financial to building Web sites.
In 2009 TVA was named among North America’s best power companies for economic development for a fourth year in a row by Site Selection Magazine, a nationwide publication for the commercial real estate and development industry.
Weston said the biggest challenge is the economy.
“We’ve spent more time this year on community preparation and retention and consolidation of existing jobs than we have spent on new projects,” he said.
TVA is always looking for new ways to support existing businesses, such as the Valley Investment Initiative. The incentive program, offered by TVA and local power distributors, provides financial incentives to existing power customers in targeted business sectors that contribute to economic development in the region.
“This is one of the few programs of its kind in the utility industry,” Weston said. “It can be a deciding factor in helping companies choose which plants stay open and which ones close during tough times.”
On a larger scale, TVA helps attract major corporations to the region through a database of ideal locations known as megasites with at least 1,000 developable acres, access to major highways, railways and other desirable features. Originally designed to attract automotive manufacturers, the program is now available for any industry that needs to quickly find an optimal location.
Of eight megasite locations currently listed in the database, five have been sold to Severstal Columbus, PACCAR, Toyota, Volkswagen and Dow Corning/Hemlock Semiconductor. The five companies plan to create more than 6,000 jobs along with a capital investment of $5.5 billion.
For more information on TVA’s economic development efforts, visit www.TVAed.com.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 157 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville (865) 632-6000