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VOL. 42 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 25, 2018

Belmont, Columbia State announce partnership

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Belmont University and Columbia State Community College have announced a partnership that allows Columbia State associate degree students to earn a bachelor’s of business administration degree from Belmont’s Jack C. Massey College of Business.

Eligible students must earn a Columbia State associate degree in business administration by completing the transfer coursework developed and approved by both institutions. Through this agreement, Columbia State students who meet stated requirements can be granted early admittance into Belmont’s Massey College of Business.

The degree completion program is open to any Columbia State business student.

MTSU, Chinese partner launch Ginseng Institute

Middle Tennessee State University and its primary research partner in China have agreed to create a joint ginseng institute that will study, develop and promote Tennessee-grown herbal products for sale in Asia and other emerging markets.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Miao Jianhua, director of the Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, signed the agreement during McPhee’s barnstorming trip through China that has taken him also to Beijing, Hangzhou and Changsha.

The new International Ginseng Institute, with MTSU professor Iris Gao serving as its American director, will spin off from the Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research at MTSU, which will continue to work with the garden on other projects.

Miao said the garden plans to spend $30 million for the construction in August of a new lab at the Nanning complex to support the effort. The garden has been designated one of China’s top 10 research facilities in funding priority.

Ginseng, an over-the-counter supplement used to boost the immune system, was one of the first herbs from traditional Chinese medicine to be widely used. It is popular with those suffering from colds or flu or whose immune systems are suppressed, such as cancer patients.

Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina are the top three states among the 19 that can legally harvest and trade ginseng in the U.S.

Metro Arts picks artists for Art WORKS

Twelve Nashville artists’ works will be added to the city’s Public Art Collection as part of Metro Arts’ Art WORKS initiative. They are John Baeder, Paul Collins, Robert Durham, John Guider, Katherine Krebs, Marilyn Murphy, Michael Ray Nott, David Piñeros, Mandy Rogers Horton, Elizabeth Sanford, James Threalkill and Thaxton Waters.

Metro Arts will choose works from these individuals to install in public locations of the Metro Office Building.

These selections complete Metro Arts’ “40 for 40” campaign, the first phase of the Art WORKS initiative, marking the 40th anniversary of the agency’s founding and launched with prior selections that are slated to be added to the Historic Metro Courthouse later this year. Art WORKS acquisitions will join the 50 pieces in Metro’s Public Art Collection, purchased and managed through the percent for public art funding set forth in the city’s public art guidelines.

Asurion recognized for customer service

Nashville-based Asurion has been awarded a 2018 Confirmit ACE award in the voice of the customer category.

Asurion, a global technology solutions company, was honored for enhancements to its digital service channels based on direct customer feedback, which improved the customer experience and Net Promoter Score.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Asurion was honored with a Confirmit ACE award for achievement in customer excellence.

Confirmit’s ACE Awards program honors companies’ commitments and distinct contributions to achieving universal customer excellence. Receiving a Confirmit ACE Award demonstrates Asurion’s dedication to listening to the voice of the customer to identify ways to enhance the customer experience.

Brentwood High wins PSA contest

A team from Brentwood High School has won the viewer-voted Tennessee Together Teen public service announcement competition.

The contest is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The video produced by Garrett Linney, Matthew King, Nicholas Walter, Ramesh Adabala, Taggart Nadasdi, Barrett Hall, Jacob Trauscht and Bethany Foust features a striking presentation of the Pledge of Allegiance framed in the context of the opioid crisis.

“We knew we would get a lot of great submissions, but this one really blew us away, and it’s clear that the Brentwood High School entry connected with voters as well,” says Marie Williams, commissioner for mental health and substance abuse services.

“We asked teens to learn more about the opioid crisis, talk about the issue with their friends, and create short videos. All seven finalists and everyone who submitted videos should be proud of their work.”

Additional hemp applications accepted

In effort to broaden the opportunity and impact of the industrial hemp program for farmers and industry, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is reopening the application period for industrial hemp grower and processor licenses through June 1, 2018.

Applicants wishing to participate in the pilot program must submit an application, license fees, and required documentation, including a signed memorandum of understanding. At the end of the growing season, program participants are required to submit an agronomic report regarding the industrial hemp produced.

TDA has approved 170 applications from producers, which is more than double the number of applications approved in 2017. Producers have the option to cultivate up to 3,416 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018.

Of the approved applicants, 152 are focused on growing hemp for oil, 9 for fiber, 5 for seed production, and 1 each for tea, greens, protein powder, and health.

In 2017, 79 growers planted 130 acres of hemp, 64 growers planted 225 acres in 2016, and 44 growers planted 660 acres in 2015. Information

State metrology lab officially opens

The Julius T. Johnson State Metrology Laboratory at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is now open.

The expansive, state-of-the-art laboratory includes the most current equipment and testing capabilities to ensure fairness in commerce. Businesses that depend upon certified scales, meters, and temperature measuring devices significantly benefit from the services that are available.

The building was constructed to meet the stringent environmental conditions necessary for accurate metrological determinations. With more than 11,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, the lab is designed to support the testing and calibration of mass from 1 milligram to 7,000 pounds, volume from 5 gallons to 1,500 gallons, grain moisture measurements, and thermometry.

State announces drinking water loans

Two Middle Tennessee communities have received drinking water loans from the state.

The City of Lebanon will receive $1,000,000 for a distribution system improvements project for the Seay Hill Water Booster Station.

The project is funded with a 20-year, $800,000 loan with an interest rate of 1.81 percent and $200,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

Waverly will receive $273,375 for a water meter replacements project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $218,700 loan with an interest rate of 1.29 percent and $54,675 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

“Clean water is vital to every Tennessean and these loans help communities make the updates they need to ensure access to this important resource,” says Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Shari Meghreblian.

Lebanon will also receive a traditional drinking water loan, a $300,000 for a distribution system improvements project for the Seay Hill Booster Station. The project will be funded with a 20-year loan with an interest rate of 1.81 percent.

Cumberland Consulting earns workplace award

Franklin-based Cumberland Consulting Group has been selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.

Cumberland Consulting Group is a health care consulting and services firm.

This is the company’s sixth consecutive year on the prestigious list, which identifies and recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry based on employee survey results.

Since Cumberland’s first appearance on the list in 2013, the firm has more than doubled its employee base and has expanded its service offerings beyond consulting and into managed services for clients in the payer, provider and life sciences markets.

Better Mortgage comes to Tennessee

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company, has announced its launch in Tennessee.

This launch comes as the firm sees growing adoption among first-time homebuyers in popular Metros, like Nashville and Memphis.

“I’m excited to be launching in Tennessee, which represents yet another state where so many of its residents could benefit from a 21st-century mortgage,” says Vishal Garg, CEO.

“Solutions like our Verified Pre-Approval Letter and our Better Offer empower homebuyers by giving them the edge they need to succeed in markets like Nashville, which is growing more and more competitive.

“Tennessee is actually our top 4 most requested state from potential borrowers,’’ he adds.

Pivot Point achieves best workplace status

Brentwood’s Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco Company, has been selected as one of Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare.

“As a company, one of our highest priorities is to take care of our employees and make sure they have the support they need, both professionally and personally,” says Rachel Marano, managing partner at Pivot Point.

“It’s an honor to be included on Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare list, because it means we’ve succeeded in making this a company where people want to spend their careers.”

Pivot Point Consulting has also been named one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by NABR for the past four consecutive years, was ranked in the top three for Best in KLAS HIT Implementation & Staffing Support in their Software and Services report for 2015/2016 and 2017.

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