Source: Times Free Press | Dave Flessner | November 15, 2018

TVA headquarters in downtown Chattanooga.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

In the birthplace of the Tennessee Valley Authority where President Roosevelt declared the New Deal agency “a remarkable success” 85 years ago, TVA leaders heralded the agency’s continued economic development during a record-setting year for new projects in 2018.

TVA’s economic development department worked on business additions or expansions valued at more than $11 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, up by more than a third from the previous investment peak reached in 2014.

Although the business additions and expansions added fewer jobs in fiscal 2018 than in the previous three years, outgoing CEO Bill Johnson said it was still one of the most successful years in TVA history. Over the past six years while Johnson has been CEO, TVA has helped recruit or encourage nearly $50 billion of new business investment in TVA’s 7-state region.

And fiscal 2019 is starting even stronger with the announcement this week that Amazon is locating a $230 million operations center in Nashville that will add more than 5,0000 direct jobs and 8,000 other indirect jobs — the biggest single job announcement in Tennessee history.

“It’s just another indication of the growth of the South,” Johnson told TVA directors during their quarterly board meeting. “We try hard to do as much economic development as we can and to take as little credit for it as we can. We always talk about our efforts in cooperation with our state, local and business partners we work with and our role in various transactions varies according to the needs of the prospect.”

Site Selection this fall named TVA one of its top 10 utilities for economic recruitment for the 13th consecutive year.

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