Quarterly Newsletter

Community Stakeholders Report - Quarter Two - 2020

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From the Desk of the CEO

The Long and Winding Road to a Regional EDO


Along with the Rest of the World, Northeast Tennessee’s Plans Have Been Complicated by COVID-19, But We March on Towards a Better Way of Representing Our Region


Pardon my lifting from The Beatles for the title of this Quarterly Newsletter report. I’m sure many of you have also been watching a great deal of movies lately, as well as finding other ways to entertain yourselves through our social distancing (it feels weird to write that term without preceding it with a hashtag). I recently saw a movie called Yesterday, referring to the Beatles hit of the same name. (By the way, yes, I recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.) The movie is about a struggling musician who finds sudden stardom after an unexplained event that wipes the history of the British icons away from almost everyone’s memories but his, so he begins to share them with the world. That experience also has led me to listen to more Beatles music and, let me tell you, those songs are hard to get out of your head, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Coronavirus definitely made our most recent meeting with NeTREP’s leadership and staff difficult with some participants – including our facilitator – having to attend via Zoom. For those of us who were able to Come Together, masks and other social distancing measures made participation less than ideal. Still, under those circumstances, we managed to move forward, but not as far along as we would have liked.

Both EDO’s officers went to work determining conclusions along with volunteers from each organization on three aspects identified in our planning session: Structure, Scope, and Governance. My chairman, Bill Sumner, asked me to revisit the white paper, The Right Time for the Right Organization, which offered multiple pathways in those categories along with Funding, and put together a summary of my recommendations (which I have done).

A few days after our June 25 meeting, the Tri-Cities Business Journal ran a story detailing the plan Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable’s and Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy’s Blue Ribbon Task Force had put together in concert with the First Tennessee Development District Board of Directors.

We are all in touch with some of regionalism’s champions from the private sector to get their thoughts – or formal plan, which, to their credit, I would imagine they have in light of all the work and thought they have put into this – so that their views are understood and taken into account. Their input is beyond just providing Help to this effort; we need their insight, guidance, and participation and will throughout the life of the new organization, should the formation of one be the outcome of this work.

It appears to me that everyone’s focus is sharp and our priorities are in line with one another’s; it is simply a matter of working out the details when all Get Back together. We have made progress in our collaboration across Northeast Tennessee and, when appropriate, Southwest Virginia, apart from this effort over the years, fueling my faith that We Can Work It Out. We are far enough down this Long and Winding Road to believe we land where we should. And the work will be just beginning, it is exciting to work that the experience In My Life tells me will reap greater rewards for our region. It would be a terrible conclusion if we don’t come together now in some form or fashion because this road will have ended up going Nowhere… Man.


Oh yeah, and while I didn’t find a way to work these, in, when you get some time, revisit these classics:

All You Need is Love

Hey Jude

Eleanor Rigby

Here Comes the Sun

…You’re welcome.

Socially speaking

Upcoming Meeting - Networks Sullivan Partnership Executive Committee Meeting

Wednesday, Aug. 12th, 8am

This is an online event.

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Ronnie Price - Economic Development Specialist