Phillips Flies the Friendly Skies with Gov. & VIPS
Wolfsburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt & Munich
By: Pat Hunter
December 10, 2008
On October 20th, Loudon County Economic Development Agency (EDA) Director Pat Phillips was nowhere to be found and his assistant Kathy Knight stood in for him at an important joint Loudon County Commission-Loudon City workshop meeting to discuss a tax break for Industry X. Kathy Knight stood at the podium and she nervously made her pitch to give Industry X a tax break and standing by her side was Mayor Doyle Arp, EDA Chairman. Mum was the word with the EDA staff and Chair, Mayor Doyle Arp about naming Industry X or revealing the whereabouts of Pat Phillips.
At long last the cat's out of the bag. At Thursday’s Dec 4th Loudon County Economic Development Agency (EDA) holiday luncheon meeting held at the Wharf Restaurant in Loudon, EDA Director Pat Phillips shared a tidbit of information with the Board of Director about his recent trip. There were many matters to discuss including “Germany Auto Suppliers Trip.”
EDA President-Director Pat Phillips disclosed that he was one of 40 VIPS that accompanied Governor Bredesen on a Trade Mission trip to Germany. The purpose of the trip was to meet with officials of Volkswagen AG and to make suppliers aware of Tennessee’s business climate. The visit came in the coat tail of Volkswagen’s announcement in July 2008, that Chattanooga would be the site of an automotive assembly plant, which would produce a car designed for the North America market.
EDA Director Pat Phillips, the Governor and others (VIPS) visited the headquarters of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany. The trade mission took place on Oct. 22-28 with a tour of the Volkswagen facilities and a Berlin reception hosted by Volkswagen Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn. Following the visit to Wolfsburg, the delegation toured other automaker suppliers in the communities of Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich.
Pat Phillips described the experience as being in awe. Perhaps when Phillips lands back on earth, he can share the cost of travel and hotel accommodations. Each delegate and sponsoring organization was responsible for the cost of the trip. The EDA is funded primarily by Loudon County, Lenoir City and Loudon City taxpayer funds. Phillips and the EDA Board is hoping to land a deal with an auto supplier, which adds to speculation to the recent pitch to increase the acreage price at Centre 75, a mostly empty industrial-business park located in Loudon.
Participants in the trade mission include:
Governor Phil Bredesen
Tennessee Economic Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber
Bill Adams, Tennessee Valley Authority
Tom Ballard, U-T Battelle, ORNL
LaDue Boldin, mayor, Grundy County
Andy Burke, Regional Alliance for Economic Development, Blountville, Tenn.
Joe Conner, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Nashville, Tenn.
Roger Cook, H&M Construction, Jackson, Tenn.
Bryan Daniels, Economic Development Board of Blount County
Kim Denton, Oak Ridge Economic Partnership
Gary Farlow, Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce
Ted Hackney, Industrial Board of Coffee County
George Halford, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce
Trevor Hamilton, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Jack Hammontree, McMinn County Economic Development Authority
Ron Hammontree, Tellico Reservoir Development Agency
Leslie Henderson, The Roane Alliance
Brock Hill, mayor, Cumberland County
Beth Jones, Southeast Industrial Development Agency
Stephen Kulinski, Gresham, Smith and Partners
Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce
Ron Littlefield, mayor, City of Chattanooga
Bob McCain, SSOE, Incorporated
Janet Miller, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Howell Moss, mayor, Marion County
Allen Neel, East Tennessee Economic Development Agency
Billy Ray Patton, mayor, Rhea County
John Payne, Franklin County Industrial Development Board
John Pelham, mayor, Warren County
Patrick Phillips, Loudon County Economic Development Agency
Claude Ramsey, mayor, Hamilton County
Gregg Ridley, mayor, Bledsoe County
Pete Sain, Sain Construction Co.
Mark Smith, Miller, Martin, LLC
Alicia Summers, Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association
Joe Thrasher, Volkert and Associates
Tom Trent, Boult, Cummings, Conners and Berry, Nashville, Tenn.
Richard Venable, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership
Nathan Ward, Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board
Sam Wills, EMJ Corporation
Walt Wood, Shelbyville-Bedford Co. Chamber of Commerce
The cost of travel and hotel accommodations is the responsibility of each delegate and their sponsoring organization.