TVA’s Chris Berryman Looks to the Future of Transportation Manufacturing

Looking aheadAs part of our “Next Stop, the Future” series, we recently explored how OEMs are making vehicles lighter, smarter, and more independent of their drivers.

Chris Berryman, TVA’s target market specialist for transportation-related manufacturing, shared more insights in a recent interview with Area Development magazine.

Berryman described the lightweighting trend in vehicle production.

To meet government-mandated fuel efficiency standards, OEMs will use lighter materials – such as aluminum and carbon fibers – to make cars.

This trend opens investment and expansion opportunities in automotive and other sectors: research and development, automotive supply, and aluminum manufacturing.

Here’s what you need to know about bringing the future of automotive research, manufacturing and supply to your community:

Know This Now

  • The TVA region – already America’s second-largest auto-manufacturing region – has the right assets to lead in lightweighting: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, four OEMs, and 3,000 auto suppliers


Announcing a New Professional Learning Lab Webinar Series: Changing Face of Manufacturing Impacts Manufacturing and Economic Development

2015 TVAED_TVW_Color [Converted]-01TVA has an affiliation with the Professional Learning Laboratory, a network of professional economic development trainers and their guests, that offers webinars on topics specifically designed for the economic development practitioners, their staff, and supporters. The webinars are offered at a discount for individuals or groups through the TVA registration link below:

Webinar: Changing Face of Manufacturing Impacts Manufacturing and Economic Development

Presented by: Julian Keith Loren, GE Software

Moderated by: Eric Canada, Blane Canada

Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Time: 1:00 P.M. Central; 2:00 P.M. Eastern

Run Time: 90 minutes (60 minutes for presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A)

Register Now

Discussions about the changing face of manufacturing are growing in volume. New forces are leading to a world that’s smart and connected — what some refer to as the Internet of Things (IoT). This webinar is for Economic Development Professionals and Manufacturers.

In manufacturing, (Industrial Internet of Things/IIoT) sensors in industrial machines and the products they make are combining with software via the Internet to produce a coming tectonic shift that changes manufacturing and economic development. This is not an Apple watch monitoring your heart rate. This is a world in which the battery in your car reports back to the manufacturer in real-time about its operating health and environment via the Internet to reduce service requirements, improve performance, and provide valuable input into the next generation battery. A world where by tightening the loop between engineering design, production processes on the plant floor, and the service organization, manufacturers can reduce errors, increase flexibility in how they manage late-stage engineering changes, reduce work-in-process, and, ultimately, accelerate new product introductions. And, being able to stay connected to a product after the point of sale gives manufacturers a “digital umbilical cord,” allowing interaction with products whenever and wherever. (more…)

Southern Manufacturing Multiplies Opportunities

2015 Happy New YearWe recently launched a new series, “Next Stop: The Future.” For several weeks, we’ll explore trends shaping the future of economic development.

Today, we explore the importance of spotting potential future investment trends.

Manufacturing: Healthy in the South, but the service sector may be the next great job wave.

Business forecasters following America’s manufacturing sector like what they see in the South. The region’s business advantages – like proximity to customers and suppliers – continue to drive manufacturing growth. In addition, according to the Reshoring Initiative, the American South accounts for more reshored jobs than the rest of the country combined. With 23,914 reshored jobs, the South is way ahead of the U.S. region that is in second place. The Midwest has seen 9,674 reshored jobs from 2010 to 2014, according to the Reshoring Initiative.

Randle Report and Southern Business & Development editor and publisher Mike Randle, points to a growing manufacturing sector since 2010. In calendar year 2013, there were 410 projects announced of 200 jobs and/or $30 million in investment. That is a 21-year record. In calendar year 2014 there were 375 big manufacturing deals announced in the South.

Automotive leads the way, but the South’s aerospace manufacturing footprint (52 projects in the South in 2014) is the fastest growing manufacturing sector in the region. What’s more, the American South over the past decade has captured about 40 percent of the nation’s foreign direct investment (FDI). (more…)

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Best Solutions Exist Close to Home

building for the futureWe recently launched a new series, “Next Stop: The Future.” For several weeks, we’ll explore trends shaping the future of economic development.

Today, we explore how to prepare a future-ready workforce.

Why Does Workforce Matter?

“There is no doubt that the single most important factor for economic success in the future will be a talented, dynamic workforce,” according to the International Economic Development Council. “Companies increasingly look to talent and education levels during their site selection process.”

Therefore, Valley-area economic developers must have a plan for how they’ll develop and market high-caliber workforces.

Do This Now

How can you help build a local workforce that will attract prospects, encourage expansions, and retain existing business? Several experts recommend some practical tips.

Be a Bridge: Be the bridge between local companies and community workforce development organizations. Poll companies to identify their needs. Then, advocate for aligned training programs. It is also important to share your findings and work closely with your State economic development agency. (more…)

Google Searched, Found Its Next Data Center Site in the Valley


Big news this week from TVA: Google™ will build its newest data center on a TVA IMG_1378 copysoon-to-be retired coal plant site in North Alabama. Energy availability and reliability were major factors in this $600 million project, which will bring 75+ jobs to the Valley. There will be positive impacts for this area and the Valley for years to come.

After a global search, Google selected Widows Creek, a 350-acre TVA property in Stevenson, Alabama, to locate its fourteenth data center worldwide. Soon Web power will surge from a property that has produced coal power since 1952. “Google could have located their next data center anywhere in the world, but chose this site. What began as a power generation site facility will now become a data center harnessing the power of the Internet to connect people all over the world,” said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson.

“This is a big day for TVA,” continued Johnson. “Our partnership with the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Jackson County Economic Development Authority helped bring an innovative, global technology company to the Valley.” (more…)

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