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Staff file photo / The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee campus in downtown Chattanooga is environmentally designed with glass windows that allow sunlight to warm the building, cutting down on heating costs. In the center of the building is a courtyard with tables and a fountain. Gardens and walking trails are also scattered throughout the campus.

A decade after building a shining city on a hill in downtown Chattanooga, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is preparing to add a little more shade to its shiny corporate headquarters.

Tennessee's biggest health insurer is planning to install new shades and a pavilion in its corporate campus outdoor areas to encourage workers to use the outdoor facilities even during hot sunny days. More than 4,000 BlueCross employees or contractors work at the $299 million corporate campus the company built atop Cameron Hill in 2009.

The Chattanooga Industrial Development Board, the city agency which owns and leases back the BlueCross headquarters to grant the private insurer property tax breaks on the facility, granted permission for the shading additions for the BlueCross campus this week.

"Essentially we're putting some additional shading and workspace areas in our courtyard so employees can take better advantage of the space throughout the year," BlueCross spokesman John Hawbaker said.

The shades are in addition to 10,000 solar panels BlueCross is also installing this year on five of its corporate office buildings and on top of the Cameron Hill and Gateway parking garages to generate 4.3 megawatts of electric energy.

 

Chattanooga-based Covenant Transport wins Mike Russell Trucking Image Award

Covenant Transport was one of four recipients of the American Trucking Association's Mike Russell Trucking Image Award this week in San Diego, California.

The Chattanooga-based trucking company was the only motor carrier recipient of the award that honors trucking's champions of image, professionalism and safety, and recognizes individuals and groups that use innovative approaches to improve the image of the trucking industry.

"The Mike Russell Trucking Image Award is one of the highest honors we've received to date," said Joey Hogan, president and chief operating officer of Covenant Transport Services.

Covenant Transport started the Tomorrow's Truckers program in 2015 in an effort to bring awareness of the trucking industry as a career to high school students around the Chattanooga region. As the program grew, Covenant sought an industry partner in the ATA to help bolster its reach to a broader national audience. Today, the Tomorrow's Truckers program is part of a national effort to educate young people on the benefits of a career in trucking.

 

Dick's Sporting Goods studies future gun sales

Edward W. Stack, chief executive of Dick's Sporting Goods, said in an interview this week that his company had destroyed over $5 million in military-style, semi-automatic rifles and was reviewing whether it would continue to sell guns in its more than 720 stores.

"So many people say to me, you know, 'If we do what you want to do, it's not going to stop these mass shootings,' " Stack told CBS. "And my response is: 'You're probably right. It won't. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don't you think it's worth it?'"

Stack said that he and his wife, Donna, have been weighing the moral consequences of selling firearms patterned on the AR-15 and other military-style weapons since the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The couple had learned that the gunman had bought a gun in a Dick's store. Although that firearm was not used in the Parkland shooting, which left 17 dead, Stack and his wife met with survivors in Florida.

In April 2018, Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest firearms sellers in the United States, said it planned to destroy the military-style rifles it had agreed to take off its shelves weeks after the shooting.

 

Shoe brand Allbirds to open 20 more stores

Online shoe brand Allbirds plans to more than double its store count next year, hoping to reach shoppers who want to touch and try on its wool shoes.

The company said Tuesday that it plans to open 20 stores in 2020, bringing its total number of stores to about 35 by the end of the year.

Allbirds said it can't ignore stores since most footwear sales are still happening there. Plus, the staff in stores can explain the unusual materials used in its shoes, such as wool, tree fiber and sugar cane.

"The idea of being able to touch, feel and understand the quality of what we're putting into our products is pretty important," said Allbirds co-CEO Tim Brown.

Founded five years ago, Allbirds's shoes have found their way onto the feet of tech CEOs and movie stars. (Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is an investor.) The company opened its first store a year after launching in its hometown of San Francisco.

The store expansion will bring it into cities where it's never been, including Atlanta, Dallas and Denver. Allbirds said all its U.S. stores have been profitable within two months of opening.

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