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VOL. 45 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 5, 2021

4 Nashville ‘bottlenecks’ make US Top 100 list

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Six Tennessee bottlenecks for trucks – including four in Nashville – have made the top 100 of most congested traffic locations, the American Transportation Research Institute reports.

“Tennessee is at the crossroads of the country, and increasingly that intersection is being choked by congestion,” says Tennessee Trucking Association President Dave Huneryager. “Despite the pandemic, trucks continued moving and delivering their critical loads, but their jobs were made more difficult by these chokepoints.

“Continuing roadway construction in Nashville and Chattanooga certainly contributed to these rankings, but the fact that there were still significant bottlenecks in our highway system even though people drove less is proof positive that we need to continue investing in infrastructure to make our roads and bridges safer and more efficient.”

The 2021 Top Truck Bottleneck List measures the level of truck-involved congestion at more than 300 locations on the national highway system.

The analysis, based on truck GPS data from more than 1 million freight trucks, uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location.

ATRI’s truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT’s Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.

The six Tennessee bottlenecks are:

No. 7: Chattanooga: I-75 at I-24

No. 13: Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)

No. 35: Nashville: I-40 at I-65 (East)

No. 53: Chattanooga: I-24 at US 27

No. 77: Nashville: I-65 at I-24

No. 88: Nashville: I-65 at Vietnam Veterans Parkway

“For decades, ATA has been sounding the alarm about how the condition of our highways is contributing to congestion – which slows down commerce, contributes to pollution and reduces safety. ATRI’s bottleneck report highlights where our most critical issues are and should be a guide for policymakers at the state and federal level,” says American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “The cost of doing nothing is always higher than the cost of fixing these problems and we cannot wait any longer to address this mounting crisis.”

Smith launches Russell Street Ventures

Entrepreneur and former CMS Innovation Center director Brad Smith is creating Russell Street Ventures, a firm focused on launching and scaling innovative health care companies to serve some of the nation’s most vulnerable patient populations.

RSV will launch new companies and partner with existing companies to help scale their operations. Over the next 6 to 12 months, RSV plans to launch or help scale 2-3 companies.

All of the companies will serve high-needs and vulnerable patient populations or innovate in other ways that simultaneously improve quality and lower health care costs, the company states. At least one of RSV’s new companies will focus on rural health care.

Smith returns to Nashville after serving as director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, senior advisor for value-based transformation to the secretary of Health and Human Services and deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Before his federal government service, Smith was chief operating officer of Anthem’s Diversified Business Group and the co-founder and CEO of Aspire Health, which was acquired by Anthem in June 2018. He also served former Gov. Bill Haslam as economic and community development commissioner and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty.

Ascend opens new operations center

Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, will open a new regional operations center in Murfreesboro occupying 18,000 square feet of the three-story building at 1524 Williams Drive.

It is Ascend’s first regional operations center and marks the next stage in the company’s decades-long presence in the Murfreesboro and Rutherford County markets. Ascend has been serving the area since 1988, opening its first branch at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro. Ascend now operates six branches in Rutherford County, four of which are located in Murfreesboro. The company opened its newest Murfreesboro branch at 3250 Memorial Blvd. in June.

The new operations center can comfortably accommodate up to 100 employees, allowing Ascend to better serve area business and member needs. The facility will be used as a talent recruitment and training hub, as well as offices for business development, branch operations, information technology and mortgage banking staff.

TSU joins IBM-HBCU Quantum Center

Tennessee State University announces that the institution is a member of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center.

TSU has joined the nation’s first quantum education and research initiative for historically Black colleges and universities. The aim of the center is to help students and faculty build skills in quantum computing and increase diversity and inclusion in the field.

TSU is one of 10 newly added institutions that comprise the 23 HBCUs that have joined the Center to date. As part of the initiative, TSU will have access to IBM quantum computers on the cloud, as well as opportunities for joint collaboration on research, education and community outreach programs.

Established in September 2020, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It emphasizes the power of community and focuses on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy and special projects.

HCA named a World’s Most Ethical company

Nashville’s HCA Healthcare has been recognized for the 11th time by Ethisphere as one of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies.

HCA Healthcare is one of only seven honorees in the Healthcare Providers category.

Ethisphere is a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

“We are honored to again be recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company and owe it all to our incredible colleagues, especially those working on the front lines,” says Sam Hazen, chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare. “This acknowledgement underscores that, even when faced with a threat to public health and safety like that of a pandemic, we are committed to doing what’s right for our people, our patients, our communities and other stakeholders.”

Despite the pandemic, HCA Healthcare has not laid-off a single employee due to the virus, and in April, it instituted a pandemic pay program, which allowed the organization to continue to pay more than 127,000 colleagues, even when their hours were affected by the significant decrease in patients visiting hospitals across the country. Additionally, HCA Healthcare hospitals do not bill patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19, whether they have insurance or not, for testing or hospital care related to the treatment of COVID-19.

In 2020, HCA Healthcare donated more than $45 million to community organizations and provided charity care, uninsured discounts and other uncompensated care at a cost of $3.4 billion.

DevDigital growth rate increases 20% in 2020

DevDigital, a national software development firm based in Nashville, has announced it experienced a growth rate of 20% during 2020 and increased its workforce by 11%, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founding partner and chief executive officer Peter Marcum transitions to board chairman, Bryan Huddleston is tapped as the firm’s new CEO and Brittany Wegusen steps up as chief operations officer.

“We’re investing in our team at every level, with a transition to new executive leadership as we expand to accelerate our digital product businesses,” Marcum says. DevDigital’s team includes over 130 employees in Nashville and Vadodara, India. The firm has completed over 2,000 projects for more than 1,000 clients, from startup entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies, and became a Certified Google Cloud Development Partner in 2020.

With Huddleston as CEO, Marcum will shift his focus to oversight at DevDigital, and growth as managing partner at Kernel Equity, the equity firm DevDigital launched in 2016.

Titan Cloud buys Australian firm

Titan Cloud Software, based in Franklin, has announced that it has acquired Australian firm Environmental Monitoring Solutions.

The move is the latest in a series of growth milestones for Titan Cloud and will enable the company to expand its portfolio of wetstock management solutions and accelerate the company’s expansion in non-U.S. markets.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Russell Dupuy will maintain his leadership role within the company as managing director of EMS. The company will retain its name and brand while integrating operationally and from a product perspective with Titan Cloud.

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