Cleveland City Council
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Several business and local government groups are combining their planning for the arrival of Volkswagen at Enterprise South in Hamilton County.
Mayor Tom Rowland said the Southeast Tennessee Development District possibly will help the entire region, including some of North Georgia, with planning.
“We need to plan together, city, county, state and the development district,” Mr. Rowland said Monday.
Cameron Fisher, chairman of the board of directors for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, told the Cleveland City Council on Monday the VW task force includes representatives from builders, real estate companies, city and county school systems, law enforcement and others. It holds its first meeting Thursday.
“It’s no secret we need to be proactive,” Mr. Fisher said.
Two weeks ago council members called for coordination among all the local groups planning to lure VW’s suppliers to consider Bradley County.
“You cannot go after this potential economic windfall passively,” said Guy DeLoach, assistant professor of business administration at Lee University. Mr. DeLoach said he has 20 years’ experience working with auto industries, including relocating suppliers.
“I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings,” he said, but the community will need more than a billboard on Interstate 75, as local leaders discussed last week.
“When it comes to relocating tier one or tier two suppliers, it comes down to packaging, strategic thinking, site logistics. So I would encourage you to think carefully about where you spend your money,” he said.
Tier one suppliers are those that provide final equipment directly to the auto manufacturer, according to industry sources. Tier two suppliers are those that make components for tier one suppliers.
Bradley County can’t take getting those companies for granted, Mr. DeLoach said. Communities within 100 miles, including Huntsville, Ala., also are competing for them, he said.
Grant Henley, assistant professor of German at Lee, told the council that language and culture will be big factors in luring those companies.
“We think very differently from our friends and colleagues in Germany,” he said. “We think differently about business.”
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...