Memphis Daily News Chandler Reports Nashville Ledger
» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
The Ledger - Est. 1978 - Knoxville Edition

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 45 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 14, 2021

TN population up 8.9%, 16th in US

Print | Front Page | Email this story

The Tennessee State Data Center reports the state’s resident population grew to 6,910,840 over the past decade, according to the 2020 Census results.

The gain of 564,735 people equates to an 8.9% increase since 2010.

The Data Center is housed in the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. Researchers at the center analyzed the data released last week.

Tennessee ranked as the 16th most-populous state in the nation, an increase of one position from 2010. It trails No. 15 Massachusetts by 119,077 people and leads No. 17, Indiana by 125,312.

The new count of the state’s residents was released along with congressional apportionment results which, as expected, show that Tennessee retains its current allocation of nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That figure has held since 1980.

The state’s population increase over the past 10 years is smaller than gains seen in the previous two decades. During the period from 1990 to 2000, the state added more than 812,000 people, an increase of 16.7. Between 2000 and 2010, Tennessee added almost 657,000 people for an 11.5%.

“Although our growth rate was slightly lower last decade, the 2020 population counts did exceed the pre-census estimate of an 8.3% increase,” says Tim Kuhn, director of the Tennessee State Data Center. “We have to wait to learn more, but we are very thankful to Tennesseans who completed the census and to the public and private leaders across the state who helped promote a complete count of our residents.”

LSI to open call center in Knoxville

Lending Solutions, Inc., has announced it will establish new operations in Knoxville.

The company, which operates call centers for over 300 financial institutions, will create 265 jobs in Knox County.

LSI will invest $2 million to open the center which will operate primarily as a training center for new employees. Once trained, the new employees will be approved to work from home.

LSI was founded in 1994 and is a provider of lending center services and consulting programs for financial institutions across North America. LSI provides 24-hour lending and member services to over 300 of North America’s premier credit unions, banks and mortgage companies.

“We are so excited to be coming to Knoxville,’’ says Mark Johnson, LSI founder and majority owner. “The opening of this office represents a lot of work by a lot of people, both at LSI and here in Knoxville. This training center represents the future of LSI as a gateway for many Americans in today’s new skill-based economy.’’

Adds Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, “Any time an out-of-state company chooses to invest here, it reaffirms what we already know – that Knoxville is a great place to live and work. LSI has a strong reputation for getting engaged in the communities where it operates, so I know the company and its employees will make a positive impact here.”

LSI is headquartered in Elgin, Illinois.

Mayor’s budget supports electric buses

A public hearing for Mayor Indya Kincannon’s proposed budget will be held Friday, May 14 at 5 p.m.

Kincannon’s budget for next year includes Knoxville Area Transit’s continuing transition to all-electric buses, doubles the number of city-owned public charging stations for electric vehicles, and installs charging banks at city facilities to allow more electric cars to be integrated into the fleet.

KAT hopes to have its entire 71-bus fleet running on electricity in about eight years. KAT’s first 12 electric buses will soon be on their way. The first one is already off the assembly line, and all 12 will arrive in Knoxville by fall 2021.

Kincannon is also committing more than $4 million to stormwater infrastructure, including $550,000 in new capital to improve drainage and proactively address water quality.

“There were skeptics who scoffed when we said we would cut greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2020,” Kincannon says. “But we did it. And now, we’re working toward out next goals – a 50% reduction by 2030 for city operations and an 80% communitywide reduction by 2050.

Leveraging insight from the Mayor’s Climate Council, the budget includes $15.3 million in direct city support for KAT, including $1.2 million for matching grants as KAT continues to convert its fleet to all-electric buses.

Another $150,000 in Mayor Kincannon’s budget would fund additional public electric vehicle charging stations and install charging banks at the City County Building and at the Public Works Service Center.

There are now 21 public charging ports. In another year, that number is expected to be 45, with most of the new ports going into downtown parking garages and city parks.


Knoxville tops in SE for solar investing

Knoxville is the top city in the Southeast for investing in solar power, thanks to Knoxville Utilities Board’s investment in 502 MW of solar through TVA’s Green Invest program.

And although no funding is required in the upcoming fiscal year, the city is partnering with KUB to support a community solar project at Knoxville’s Public Works Service Center, 3131 Morris Avenue, just north of Interstate 40.

“This happens to be a highly visible location,” Mayor Indya Kincannon says. “At some point in the near future, passing motorists on I-40 will glance at the large solar array and understand that Knoxville is committed to sustainability.”

“KUB is delivering on its promise to make Knoxville a renewable energy leader, and TVA is helping KUB make the community one of the top cities in America to go green,” says Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination & Renewables.

TVA has chosen Origis Energy to develop a 200-megawatt solar farm in Clay County, Mississippi, to support Knoxville’s renewable energy needs. KUB’s investment in the project helped enable 50 megawatts of new battery storage technology that will increase power grid resiliency.

Origis Energy will supply solar energy through a long-term power purchase agreement via TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest program. Origis will develop, build, own and operate the plant using industry-leading land stewardship techniques.

KCDC to aid young adults leaving foster care

The Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation has secured 25 vouchers through a new federal housing grant to assist young adults ages 18-24 who have aged out of the foster care system.

The organization recently applied for the Foster Youth to Independence grant, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and earned funding based on KCDC’s track record of Section 8 housing success and its working relationship with the Department of Children’s Services.

“The Foster Youth to Independence vouchers allow us to serve an especially vulnerable population and offer young people a path to achieve self-sufficiency,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley says. “The Section 8 team at KCDC has developed a strong relationship with the local Department of Children’s Services, which is necessary for this program to work effectively since DCS makes the referrals directly to KCDC.”

The program is similar to the Family Unification Program vouchers, which KCDC qualified for in 2018 through a competitive process. The housing agency’s 100% leasing rate in the relatively new FUP enabled KCDC to earn the grant award for FYI.

The FYI vouchers can subsidize appropriate housing for up to three years for young adults who are homeless or at risk to be homeless after exiting foster care. Under the terms of the program, youth also will be provided supportive services such as basic life skills and educational and career counseling.

Partnership invests in RT Lodge

A local partnership of Knoxville hospitality owners has invested in RT Lodge to preserve the history of the iconic property located on the Maryville College campus.

RT Lodge encompasses 7 acres and has served for decades as a special place for gatherings and events with a historic lodge, natural grounds and award-winning dining.

The partnership, Morningside Lodge, LLC, has pledged to oversee the lodge, restaurant and grounds in a way that honors its place in the East Tennessee community. Built as a home by Susan Wiley Walker in the early 1930s, its original name was Morningside. Walker bequeathed the property to Maryville College, which has served as steward since 1950.

The staff of RT Lodge, including general manager Gary Doyle and chef Trevor Stockton, will remain in their roles, and the restaurant, lodge and event spaces will stay open throughout the transition.

The RT Lodge also will welcome leadership from Beth McCabe Holman, founder of The McCabe Company and prior senior event manager for Blackberry Farm. Other local investors include Annie and David Colquitt, Knoxville residents and owners of The Swag resort in North Carolina.

Highway Transport recognized for safety

Highway Transport, based in Knoxville, has earned the Responsible Care Partner of the Year Award from the American Chemistry Council.

Rick Lusby, Highway Transport’s vice president of safety, holds the Responsible Care Partner of the Year Award. Highway Transport received this honor for its outstanding safety.

Responsible Care is the chemical manufacturing industry’s environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. The 2021 Partner of the Year Award recognizes an ACC partner with superb performance and safety records in the distribution, transportation, storage, use, treatment, disposal and sales and marketing of chemicals.

“To be recognized as Responsible Care Partner of the Year twice in three years is an honor and reflects the level of commitment displayed by our family of employees and drivers,” says Lusby, vice president of safety. “Being a leading example of safety in an industry where responsibility matters is an emphasis for Highway Transport. As we continue to grow and expand our services and solutions, safety always will be our foundation.”

Highway Transport became a Responsible Care® Partner in 2005 and previously was recognized as Partner of the Year in 2019, just after the bulk chemical transportation company celebrated 70 years of service and safety in 2018.

Maryville’s Banks unveils Payroll Vault

Business owner and accountant Saralyn Banks announced the launch of a payroll services firm — Payroll Vault, based in Maryville.

Payroll Vault introduces a new model for offering payroll services founded on a client-focused, technology-driven approach. The firm differentiates itself from its competitors by offering a highly simplified payroll process that offers a level of personalized service and availability that national chains do not.

“Payroll Vault is very different from other national brands, and I’m so excited to bring it to our community says Banks, CPA and Payroll Vault owner. “We’ve taken advantage of the latest web-based technologies to move the payroll process completely online. Our system is secure, simple, and offers a level of real-time, personal service that others cannot.”

Payroll Vault offers a convenient, remote option for payroll processing. The solution alleviates business owners from investing in costly payroll software and risking non-compliance by managing payroll themselves. By handing payroll over to a team of experts, business owners also free up a lot of time that can be better spent growing their business.

Banks purchased a Payroll Vault franchise from founder Sean Manning, CPA, after witnessing the success and client loyalty within other Payroll Vault firms.

TAC Insight launches new product

Knoxville-based software company TAC Insight has announced its newest integration for the Fast-Weigh ticketing, dispatching and bulk material management platform.

All ticketing and order data can now be integrated seamlessly with Avalara tax compliance software, providing bulk material producers the option to fully automate tax handling across their entire Fast-Weigh system.

Fast-Weigh’s new Avalara integration allows users to streamline tax compliance by removing the need to select tax codes for individual orders or dispatches. As the user adds products to an order, Avalara will determine the appropriate tax and assign corresponding tax codes automatically, removing tedious steps and allowing more members of your team to manage orders without having to worry about tax rates.

New construction of homes up in Knoxville

More than a quarter, 25.7%, of single-family homes for sale in America during the first quarter were new-construction homes, according to a new report from Redfin.

That’s up from 20.4% a year earlier and represents the highest share on record.

Both Knoxville and Nashville placed in the Top 10, the report says.

In El Paso, 53.2% of single-family homes for sale in the first quarter were newly built—the largest share of the 82 U.S. metropolitan areas in Redfin’s analysis.

Metros must have had populations of at least 750,000 and at least 50 sales of newly built single-family homes in the first quarter to be included in Redfin’s analysis.

The other metros in the top 10 were Boise (46.7%), Houston (35.5%), Raleigh (34.5%), Baton Rouge (34.1%), Albany, New York (33.7%), Nashville (31.9%), Charlotte, North Carolina (31.6%), Oklahoma City, OK (30.8%) and Knoxville (29.6%).

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS: Nashville Editon