JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP) unanimously voted to dissolve and merge into another economic development group, the Northeast Tennessee Regional Hub (NETNHub).
The economic development organization did this in hopes of unifying the region into one voice.
“We see value in that,” said NeTREP CEO Mitch Miller. “We’ve seen great success in that and it’s not all of the weight on local government to carry out some of these initiatives. It’s really getting some private sector support behind it and this is a way to do it at a much greater scale.”
Miller thinks marketing the region as a whole opens the door to bigger businesses looking to relocate.
“The difference is just from a vision to encompass a much larger territory across the region and to try to scale a lot of the benefits that NeTREP has been doing across the whole region,” said NetHUB Treasurer Will Barrett.
Barrett, who is with the Bank of Tennessee, says the merger of NeTREP into the Hub means years of discussion now can result in action.
“With NeTREP folding into the Hub and joining forces is that we can really start on action,” said Barrett. “Once we start getting points on the board from a regionalism perspective, and seeing what we can do when we work together and scale together, I think that’s really going to help the trust and the cooperation.”
The vote Thursday is seen as significant with implications regionwide for years to come.
“We have to be very proactive,” said Miller. “My hope is that as we look about who we can become who we want to be. That we start resonating with a future generation that wants to call this region home. That can supply their skill set to our companies here that call this region home.”
NeTREP will officially disband on Feb. 28.
Employees paid by NeTREP will transition into NetHUB. This process will begin in early March.