About six months after he took the job, Allen Borden will be leaving his post as the director of the Northeast Tennessee jobs base camp and will assume the role of statewide director, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced Friday afternoon.
Borden, now located in Nashville, will oversee the nine regional jobs base camps established by Gov. Bill Haslam’s Jobs4TN economic development plan, announced earlier this year. Borden will serve as the point-of-contact for all nine regional directors and ECD’s sister agencies throughout state government.
Iliff McMahan Jr. will join ECD as the new Northeast Tennessee regional director from his most recent post as assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Prior to his work in state government, McMahan served two terms as county mayor for Cocke County.
In addition to the staffing change, Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty also released nine regional strategic plans outlining how ECD’s field staff will lead new economic development efforts in their regions, support existing networks of local organizations and serve as an effective conduit between the department and regional stakeholders. Jobs base camp regional directors and their staffs created the strategic plans through a variety of outreach efforts, stakeholder meetings and consensus building activities.
Each strategic plan is unique to its region yet common themes emerged, including enhancing communication amongst economic development partners, sharing best practices, reaching out to existing businesses and partnering with area stakeholders. The plans will continue to be reviewed and revisited with local partners on a regular basis.
Northeast Tennessee’s plan, a 10-page document, says ECD’s regional staff collected information regarding economic development priorities throughout the region over the past 120 days.
“By utilizing current countywide strategic plans as well as priorities provided by local economic developers, a regional priority list was developed,” the report said. “As Governor Haslam’s Jobs4TN plan rolled out into the region, it became evident there were four key strategies that needed to be included in the region’s strategic plan: recruitment, existing business outreach, innovation and workforce development. The region’s recruitment efforts will focus on six sectors in which the region has a competitive advantage: automotive; business services; chemical products and plastics; healthcare; transportation, logistics and distribution services; and advanced manufacturing and energy technologies. ECD’s regional staff and its regional and local economic development partners will work together to market the region to both site selection consultants and corporate leaders in these target sectors.”
The plan also said the region will focus on an existing business outreach program; enhancement of the innovation ecosystem; and creating a mechanism for local businesses and industry to communicate employment needs throughout the region. Specific action items include partnering with other local economic development organizations to develop a marketing plan for the region by April; meeting with the Top 100 employers in the region by April; and develop a network of angel investors and mentors to support entrepreneurs by April.