Top consultants get red carpet treatment during race weekend in hopes of bringing new jobs to region


SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- As the cars race around the short track at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, up in a suite regional economic development leaders will be racing to land a win for our region.

They’ll host representatives from top consulting firms that companies hire when they’re thinking about expanding or relocating. Each consultant could have dozens of projects. The consultants’ jobs are to find the perfect site for a company.

“We’ve brought in some of the top site location consultants in the world frankly,” Clay Walker, CEO of Networks Sullivan Partnership said.

This is Networks fourth year of hosting the “Red Carpet Tour.” Walker said the whole weekend can cost anywhere between $40,000 and $60,000.

“I honestly cannot think of anything we do where we get more bang for the buck than our Red Carpet Tour,” Walker said.

Walker said these consultants get invited to the biggest events in the country- Super Bowls, PGA Championships, so BMS is crucial to getting them here.

“Many communities of our size don’t have something like this to bring in the type of site location consultants who we bring in each year,” Walker said.

Walker said during this race weekend, the consultants will enjoy dinner with local and state officials, tours of Eastman and the airport; they’ll also meet with leaders from area businesses. Several top ranking state economic development leaders will also be at the Red Carpet Tour.

“It’s a full day of real meaty business items and then you show them the recreation and the fun, and there’s nothing more fun than BMS for the night race,” Walker said.

Walker said close to 1,000 jobs have been created as a result of the Red Carpet Tour.

“The largest project that came from this red carpet event, that we can directly trace to the red carpet event is Agero, the call center that opened in Bristol,” Walker said.

Walker said before the red carpet event, the Tri-Cities was not on that company’s radar.

Walker said Agero brought nearly 600 new jobs. He said Home Shopping Network and Leclerc Food have also expanded here as a result of the tour, bringing a combined 305 jobs.

Networks is funded in part by taxpayer money. Walker said the total cost of the is paid for in part by grants and Networks picks up about 50 percent of that total bill.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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