Explore the mountains of possibilities…

Pictured is the Bristol Motor Speedway, located in the Northeast Tennessee Valley.

It's 13 counties long and 340,000 workers strong, each one of them trained to meet the needs of modern industry.

Welcome to the Northeast Tennessee Valley. Beloved by tourists for scenic mountains and breathtaking valley views, it is also one of the southeastern United States' most strategic business locations.

We believe success starts with an intelligent, highly productive labor force, said Alicia Summers, director of the Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association ( www.netvaly.org ).

We have strong right-to-work laws here, and over 15,000 people actively seeking long term employment, she said, commenting on local absentee and turnover rates that are some of the lowest in the nation. That's one more reason our work force continues to set benchmarks for quality and productivity.

Couple top notch employees with a tax philosophy that's fair, consistent and equitable when considering a move to the Northeast Tennessee Valley. Here your business faces no unitary tax. There is no sales tax on manufacturing equipment (machinery purchases actually permit credits toward other taxes). And no tax on finished goods.

Now, add a virtual and physical infrastructure that makes it easy to access information, obtain raw materials, and distribute finished products.

Our digital, broadband, and fiber-optic networks are amount the most advanced available to the American business community, said Summers. My own association, for example, offers a site selector database program that enable us to make information on sites and buildings around the region available with a mouse click. From listings of land or building in specific counties, to buildings of a certain size or land with a certain number of acres, to the square footage of the buildings, their proximity to interstates and rail, and the availability of utilities at the site it's all available.

The region's member counties Carter, Claiborne, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington in Tennessee; Lee County, Virginia; and Avery County, North Carolina are all classified as Foreign Trade Zones with Port of Entry status. Both Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads serve the region, and six interstate highways – I-81, I-40, I-75, I-77, I-26, and I-181 – crisscross it.

Infrastructure aside, abundant, reliable, low cost power is another way Northeast Tennessee Valley business location translates into higher profits.

Our rates are attractive, and the incentives we can offer new and expanding manufacturers can further reduce electric power bills by 30 percent below the national average, Summers noted, adding that natural gas is available throughout the region with virtually unlimited capacity. Natural gas and oil wells are now in place in Northeast Tennessee.

That's certainly been an attraction for hundred of automotive “cluster” industries that have located in Northeast Tennessee including Exide, in Bristol; Hutchinson in Church Hill; TRW in Rogersville; Superior Industries International in Johnson City; Cooper Standard in Surgoinsville; Mahle in Morristown; DTR in Tazewell and Greeneville; Specialty Tires of America in Erwin; and HUF in Greeneville.

We know that company officers are seeking the most value for their investments dollars, said Summers, and higher profit margins can be made here. We're the only area in the U.S. offering full college scholarships to every high school graduate wanting to attend college locally, so we can provide a work force ready to function in technology-based businesses. We have technology schools strategically located throughout the region whereby every citizen/business has easy access to training opportunities. Combine that with our tax policy, infrastructure and energy cost advantages, and our location in the very center of the South. You'll find the Northeast Tennessee Valley is North America's most attractive business location.

For more information on the Northeast Tennessee Valley, go to www.netvaly.org or call Alicia Summers at 423.323.1203 (email: netvaly@preferred.com ).