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.