Special Services

TVA Testimonials

Glasgow Spray-Dry - Glasgow, Kentucky

When Billy Joe Williams, a manager of the Mid-America Dairymen cheese and dry-milk-solids plant in Glasgow, Kentucky, learned that his facility was going to close, he decided to try to purchase one division of the company. "The cheese part of the operation had never done very well, but the dry-milk-solids part was very profitable," Williams recalls. "I knew if we could maintain operation of the plant we could really grow the business."

Williams had heard that TVA offered low-interest loans to manufacturers, so he called on Tom Henne in TVA Economic Development's Kentucky office for help. TVA provided $300,000 in Economic Development Loan Fund financing and teamed up with the National City Bank of Louisville, the Barren River Area Development District, and the City of Glasgow to help Williams and his wife, Debbie, purchase the plant in 1996 for $1.35 million. The couple renamed the company Glasgow Spray-Dry Inc. Today, it employs nearly 100, generates $30 million in annual sales, and has expanded into a second facility.

"We couldn't have made the financing work without the help of TVA," says Williams. "We feel fortunate to have been able not only save jobs, but add new ones."

Franklin County Quality Council - Franklin County, Alabama

When extended drought conditions forced Alabama's Franklin County Water Board to ration water in 1999, Vice Chairman Steve DeFoor decided to approach the county's legislators for funds to build a water treatment plant to prevent future water shortages.

Everyone he explained the idea to was receptive, DeFoor says, but couldn't help. "They weren't able to respond to my idea because our county didn't have a community development plan. It was then I realized we couldn't get help on a lot of issues because the communities within Franklin County didn't have a single strategic vision. I knew that the TVA Quality Communities program was working will in Cullman County, Alabama, so I asked TVA to help us too." With the help of TVA and TVA Community Development Specialist Phil Scharre, Franklin County created a quality council composed of a broad cross-section of community leaders, and held a series of meetings at which residents shared their hopes, dreams, and concerns. TVA then condensed the collected recommendations, which the quality council turned into the Franklin County 2000 and Beyond Strategic Plan. "We couldn't have done this program without the help of TVA. They were outstanding at keeping us focused and helping us find our own answers," says DeFoor. "Thanks to TVA, we have a plan now that will help us build that water treatment plant, but more importantly, we've come together as a county."

Blairsville Airport Regional Industrial Park - Union City, Georgia

In 1998, an affordable five-year EDLF loan from TVA helped George's Union County Development Authority (UCDA) transform 197 acres of land near Blairsville, Georgia, into the new Blairsville Airport Regional Industrial Park. But before the loan could be approved, TVA Technical Services provided the essential three E's-economic research, engineering services, and environmental review. The Technical Services staff provided the initial site engineering and conceptual design for the park. An environmental study assessed the project's potential effects in a number of categories, including land use and transportation; noise; terrestrial and aquatic ecology, animals, and rare species; wetlands, floodplains, farmlands, and surface water; archaeological resources and historic structures; socioeconomic conditions; aesthetics; wastewater; air-pollution emissions; and solid and hazardous wastes. "It really is a fine report," says Tom Murphy, Executive Director of the UCDA, who was also able to use the TVA study to get state environmental approval. "That saved us time and money with the state, and because of the thoroughness of the report we can go after future federal funds without any additional environmental reviews."

Regional Business Technology - Incubator, Cookeville, Tennessee

Kevin Liska's specialty is building new businesses without buildings. Thanks to funding from TVA, USDA Rural Development, Tennessee Tech's College of Business and Center for Manufacturing Research, and participating chambers of commerce, Liska is able to share his entrepreneurial expertise and computer savvy with organizations and fledgling businesses in the Tennessee Valley.

Liska is the director of TVA's first "virtual incubator"-the Regional Business Technology Incubator (RBTI). Although the incubator is headquartered at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, the small businesses being nurtured and built are spread throughout some of the Valley's most rural areas. RBTI operates through a network of satellite locations that are video-and Internet-linked to the operation hub. Tenants pay $125 per month for a virtual business site at satellite incubators, which are located in rural high schools, town hall, libraries, and chambers of commerce. The small fee gives e-entrepreneurs access to computers, software, shared equipment (like digital cameras), and training, including innovative instructional CD-ROMs developed exclusively for incubator tenants.

Since its launch in August 1998, RBTI has helped more than 82 rural entrepreneurs and reached hundreds of other community members through its free seminars. "The virtual incubator concept is a great way for small communities to create jobs without a large financial investment," says Liska. "Plus, this approach allows rural communities to strengthen their local infrastructure with emerging business technologies. Virtual incubators open all new possibilities and opportunities without the bricks and mortar usually associated with building a business."