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NETWORKS board member and staff receive statewide recognition

From staff reports • Oct 9, 2019 at 10:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership board member and two staff members were recognized at the annual Tennessee Economic Development Council Awards event at its fall conference earlier this month.

Carolyn Ferrell, vice president of Human Resources and Community Relations for The Robinette Company, and past NETWORKS board chairman, was recognized as the 2019 Tennessee Economic Development Council Volunteer of the Year for her commitment to volunteerism in economic development projects across the region.

Ferrell has served the board in a variety of roles over the past six years, including secretary-treasurer and chairman. During her two years as chairman, NETWORKS totaled 19 projects worth more than $550 million in capital investment and 1,100 new jobs.

“Carolyn has proven to be the go-to person for any organization, cause, initiative, event or issue when it comes to workforce or economic development,” said NETWORKS CEO Clay Walker. “In addition to her unprecedented service to the NETWORKS board, she has also provided her talents to other community programs such as the Workforce Readiness Committee, Teacher Industry Day, Work-Base Learning and the Workforce Investment Board.”

Ronnie Price, NETWORKS economic development specialist, received the council's 2019 Lifetime Member Award, recognizing the 36 years spent in economic development. Prior to his time at NETWORKS, Ronnie served as CEO of the Weakley County Economic Development Board for 13 years, and the Industrial Developer for the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board for 23 years.

Price has served as president of the Tennessee Economic Development Council, chairman of the Tennessee Economic Partnership Marketing Committee, chairman of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Development Association and is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council.

“Ronnie was one of the first economic developers I met when I moved to Tennessee about 17 years ago," Walker noted. " ... As the years went by, I’ve only grown more impressed and am so happy that he has joined our team where we are all learning and benefiting from his incredible knowledge about our profession. But it was the team from West Tennessee who nominated Ronnie for the Lifetime Membership Award.”

Walker was appointed as the East Tennessee Director of the Tennessee Economic Development Council Board of Directors. The council is a statewide, non-profit organization created to unite the efforts of its members in furthering industrial development in the state of Tennessee.

“As a board, we encourage our staff to be active in professional organizations. Clay has been a longtime member of the Tennessee Economic Partnership Board, having chaired that group in 2017," said Bill Sumner, board chairman of NETWORKS.

NETWORKS is the economic development organization serving the Northeastern Tennessee communities of Sullivan — including investor partners Bluff City, Bristol and Kingsport — and Hawkins County. To learn more about NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, please visit networkstn.com.

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