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VOL. 42 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 28, 2018

Auto parts firm picks Antioch for HQ

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LKQ Corporation has opened its North American headquarters in Antioch.

LKQ Corporation, with operations in Europe and Taiwan, is a provider of alternative and specialty parts to repair and accessorize automobiles and other vehicles.

The headquarters is located at 5846 Crossings Blvd.

“We are very excited to have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility encompassing over 102,000 square feet, where we will bring together all of our centralized operations and over 700 employees under one roof. We know it will help us better serve our sales branches, our aftermarket and recycled parts facilities and, most importantly, our customers,” says Justin Jude, LKQ’s president of North American wholesale operations.

LKQ offers its customers a broad range of replacement systems, components, equipment and parts to repair and accessorize automobiles, trucks and recreational and performance vehicles.

Two MNPS schools earn LEED certification

Two Metro Nashville Public Schools have been recognized for energy efficiency and sustainability efforts under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards for school construction.

Eagle View and Rosebank Elementary Schools were awarded LEED “Gold” level and LEED “Silver” level certifications, respectively.

“By constructing to LEED principles, we help to ensure students and staff have safe, healthy and sustainable places to learn and work,” said David R. Proffitt, architect and executive director of Facilities, Maintenance and Construction. “MNPS believes it is the right thing to do for our schools, our children and our teachers and staff.”

Eagle View and Rosebank are now among 13 other MNPS facilities obtaining LEED certification. Eagle View joins Tusculum Elementary School as the only two K-12 schools with LEED Gold designation in a public school system in Tennessee.

MNPS has a practice of, and is mandated, to use the same guidelines of U.S. Green Building Council to create new facilities with the Silver LEED designation as a minimum.

Along with cost-savings and educational benefits of such facilities, it helps to increase efficiency and the high-performance for buildings.

LEED is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.

Developed by the USGBC, it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods that aim to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

Slatery: State settles with debt buyers

Tennessee has joined 42 states and the District of Columbia in reaching a $6 million settlement with Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC, one of the nation’s largest debt buyers.

Herbert H. Slatery III, the state’s attorney general, announced the settlement.

Debt buying involves buying and selling overdue debts from creditors and other account owners. Often purchased for pennies on the dollar, debt buyers seek to recover the full balance from consumers through collection attempts by phone and mail. Debt buyers, including Midland, also take consumers to court. However, they are often unable to afford attorneys to defend the allegations and cases result in default judgments, hurting credit and putting their wages in jeopardy of being garnished.

The settlement resolves the States’ investigation into Midland’s collection and litigation practices. Much like the conduct witnessed during the mortgage crisis, the agreement settles claims that Midland signed and filed affidavits in state courts in large volumes without verifying the information printed in them, a practice commonly called robo-signing.

Change Healthcare buys PokitDok assets

Nashville-based Change Healthcare has acquired intellectual property and other key assets from PokitDok, Inc.

With advanced software, IP, and the PokitDok team, Change further extends the capabilities and technology leadership of the Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network for payers, providers and independent software vendors.

The integration of key PokitDok APIs into the network will add new capabilities for digital health, telemedicine and other new, disruptive care models that support value-based, patient-centric health care.

PlayMaker study provides key health data

PlayMaker Health of Franklin has released new data showing home health and hospice providers in the South and West have higher average lengths of stay than other regions of the country.

The nation as a whole has seen an overall reduction in average lengths of stays, according to the report.

“As providers prepare to face some of the most comprehensive reimbursement changes within the history of the industry in the form of Patient-Driven Groupings Model, they require visibility into the trends that will affect how they plan for strategic growth in the years ahead,” says Ginger Voss, vice president of Strategic Partnerships with PlayMaker Health. “Evolving patient mix and understanding the available opportunities in the market allows business leaders to develop a data-driven approach to sustained success.”

In home health, there continues to be wide differences among geographical regions in average length of stay with the South having a Q2 average length of stay of 80.4 days vs. 62.4 in the West, 57.2 in the Midwest, and 49.0 in the Northeast.

All regions have seen a decline in average length of stay over the past four quarters. The study notes it will be imperative for home health agencies to evaluate their individual patient population to understand how these regional differences impact them under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model.

Vanderbilt opens new collaborative space

The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering has opened dedicated space in Medical Center North for more than two dozen cross-disciplinary collaborations advancing health care techniques.

The newly designed 7,000-square-foot suite with a mock operating room and large work space is expected to expand collaborations among engineering professors, physicians and students in engineering and medicine. Previously, VISE was a “virtual institute” with no physical home.

“This is the manifestation of what a great university committed to scholarly research and outstanding teaching does to change the world,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos says. “The excitement and bold vision of our faculty and students engaged in research here is truly affirming of our university’s mission.”

Benoit M. Dawant, director of VISE and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, credited the collegiality of the Vanderbilt faculty for the past three decades for the formation of VISE.

“Before 2010, when the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering was created, we had developed a network of collaborators who were successful, but the effort – as a whole – needed more organization,” he says.

“As we developed a critical mass of expertise in the area of interventional processes, we developed more visibility on campus, and VISE moved up from an initiative to an actual institute in 2015.”

A small sampling of the technology demonstrations during the open house included: robots for trans-nasal surgery and for bladder tumor resection; a guidance system for cochlear implantation; a magnetic, flexible endoscope; a guidance system for liver surgery; use of coffee grounds to enhance accuracy in sinus surgery; and the “CleOpATra” surgical video system.

2019 economy strong, slowdown possible

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee has issued a study predicting sustained economic growth in the state and in the U.S in 2019, but with some apprehension.

“The economy is in good shape and continues to expand, but job gains could slow as a result of a plateau, which has occurred throughout the country,” says Matt Murray, associate director of the center and project director for the 2019 Economic Report to the Governor of the State of Tennessee, which includes a special section examining federal tax cuts and tariffs.

The state’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product grew by 2.7 percent in 2018, two-tenths of a percentage point behind overall US growth.

The state’s labor market reflects in a record low unemployment rate. However, the fading effects of federal tax cuts and increased spending, along with rising interest rates and brewing tariff wars, are likely to mean slower growth in coming years.

“This is by no means a recessionary outlook,” Murray adds. “But the growth we are projected to see in 2019 is at a slower rate than what we saw in the years leading up to the state of recovery in which we currently operate.”

The state should see non-farm jobs grow by 1.4 percent in 2019, slightly slower than the 1.8 percent pace of job growth in 2018.

This means nearly 43,000 new jobs for Tennesseans in 2019. The state’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product should rise 2.6 percent next year. Tennessee’s expected economic growth will largely mirror growth in the national economy.

Agriculture Enterprise funds aid Midstate

Three Midstate businesses have received grants provided by the Agriculture Enterprise fund.

Clark Lumber of Macon County will use the funds to expand production capacity, Nash Family Creamery in Bedford County will add a creamery and Shop Springs Creamery in Wilson County will also add a creamery.

A product of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, the fund is an incentive program that supports Governor Bill Haslam’s priority of job creation and economic growth by facilitating agricultural development. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

Ford Rangers will get Hankook tire

Hankook Tire, with its American headquarters in Nashville, announces it is supplying the 2019 Ford Ranger with two original fitments for the midsize pickup, continuing its partnership with Ford Motor Company.

The Ranger will come standard with Hankook Tire’s Dynapro HT [Pattern RH12], with the available option of the more off-road focused Dynapro AT-m [Pattern RF10].

The Dynapro HT is a premium highway all-season tire optimized for longer tread wear and improved snow traction and features a wider footprint for better grip under all driving conditions.

Powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine paired to an efficient 10-speed automatic, the Ranger’s body features a high beltline that emphasizes strength, while a raked grille and windshield provide an athletic appearance – designed to aid in aerodynamics and reduce wind noise.

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