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Green success: MTIDA meeting

By MARK MCGEE - mmcgee@t-g.com
Posted 6/10/23

Green tea. Green apples.

Not the typical refreshments for a meeting, but there was a reason for the unique choices.

Shane Hooper, president/CEO of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, was …

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Green success: MTIDA meeting


Green tea. Green apples.

Not the typical refreshments for a meeting, but there was a reason for the unique choices.

Shane Hooper, president/CEO of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, was standing on Frank Martin Road across from the construction workers at the Duksan plant and explained the choice of refreshments was symbolic. He pointed out to the crowd of approximately 20 people, brought together by the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA), that the 119-acre site was once just green grass.

Hooper stressed that the MTIDA is the best friend you can have in economic development, especially with the development of successful site visits.

Hooper, Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham, and Kelly North, director of existing business development for the partnership, made presentations.

“Economic development is a team sport,” Hooper said speaking above the construction noise in the background. “First of all, things like this are not possible with the support of the municipalities. It takes everybody.

“One of the first things you have to do is talk about your community and share the good things of your community at site visits. People want to know what they are moving into. They want to know where they are going to live and where their employees are going to live.”

Hooper outlined to the group the highlights of the community such as Tennessee Downs, Uncle Nearest Distillery, one of the top eight airports in the state as well as a top five aviation program with the addition of Middle Tennessee State University. North also introduced facts about Shelbyville and Bedford County in the areas of employment and education.

The meeting was the first stop on a tour of the area by the MTIDA on Wednesday morning. Kendrick Curtis, assistant executive director of MTIDA said the entourage included nine representatives who work with economic development in cities and counties, three officials each from the state and TVA.

Overton County, Franklin County, Giles County, Cookeville, Trousdale County, Dickson County, and Wilson County were among the representatives.

Some members of the group asked Hooper for advice. He was happy to help them.

“It is a competition (to attract a new industry or business),” Hooper said. “How good are you? I used to be a football coach and the competitive person in me does not allow me to do things halfway.

“We are going to go all out, at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I want to win. I know you all are in competition with us, and I don’t mind sharing my ideas with you because you might be smarter than I am, but you will not outwork me. I will hit you and I will hit you hard.”

Also present were Scott Johnson, a Bedford County commissioner and a member of the partnership board, Carroll O’Brien, also a member of the partnership team, and Ted Cox, director of Bedford County EMS, and Dylan Cox from EMS.

Curtis sang the praises of Hooper and his staff.

“Shane knows what he is doing, “ Curtis said. “I knew the activities here. I knew it would show well for this meeting.

“Shane’s detail level is exceptional. His relationship and personability levels are fantastic. It takes a wide range of expertise to be able to fit together all of the pieces that are needed. He hits them all.”

Curtis also emphasized the importance of organizations like the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership in economic development.

“The success that Shane has had, and the results don’t happen naturally or on their own,” Curtis said. “It takes activity. It takes leadership. It takes purpose. It takes mayors and other elected officials invested in it and you can see the results.”

The other stops for the group were in Coffee County, Marshall County, and Lincoln County.

Graham emphasized the importance of economic development, an area that was a key part of his campaigns.

“My slogan was ‘A Better Bedford’,” Graham said. “Education, public safety, and infrastructure that leads to jobs were the main points in my campaign. Infrastructure that leads to jobs is economic development.

“I felt like we needed a next-generation economic development engine. We needed structure which the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership provides. And we needed talent like Shane Hooper.”