Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel on why Alcoa plant expansion is good news:
Alcoa Inc. announced plans last month for a $275 million expansion of its Blount County operation that will eventually add 200 jobs. The expanded rolling mill operation will supply light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for the automotive industry, officials said.
Automobile manufacturing and its satellites are a big driver of Tennessee's economy and one of the pillars of Gov. Bill Haslam's Jobs4TN economic development strategy. Tennessee boasts more than 900 auto suppliers and manufacturers. The emphasis on a robust automotive sector makes Tennessee's economy stronger.
The Alcoa expansion is but one sprout of the growing automotive sector in Tennessee. Volkwagen Group of America's Southeast Regional Distribution Center in the Roane Regional Business and Technology Park, just west of the Knox County line, has started operations, the Roane County News reported. The $40 million facility will employ at least 45, according to the Roane Alliance.
HP Pelzer Automotive Systems, a German parts manufacturer, plans to invest $28 million in a new 185,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at the Mt. Verd Industrial Park in Athens, Tenn. The company, which supplies acoustic and interior trim parts, will bring 200 jobs to the McMinn County facility.
VIAM Manufacturing Inc. recently announced a $9 million expansion of its North American headquarters in Manchester, Tenn. The manufacturer of floor, trunk and cargo mats will add 75 new jobs to its 487-employee workforce, the Tennessean reported.
And, of course, there are the "Big Three" automobile assembly plants — Volkswagen in Chattanooga, GM in Spring Hill and Nissan in Smyrna.
The Alcoa expansion is particularly welcome because the company previously announced it was permanently closing its mothballed smelting operation. ...
Over the past three decades Tennessee has grown into a major automobile manufacturing state. In 2012 Business Facilities, a corporate site selection publication, ranked Tennessee the top state for automotive manufacturing strength for an unprecedented third consecutive year. We encourage Haslam and his economic development team to continue traveling this road.
The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn., on why state government's information technology needs a reboot:
If you are a skilled information technology professional, the government of the state of Tennessee wants you.
But do you want it?
Amid the recent series of failed upgrades to computer systems across a number of agencies, there is a sense that agency leaders' minds just aren't in it.
How can that be, when virtually every sector, public and private, of the U.S. economy is working to become interconnected, faster, more adaptable and more competitive — all of which necessitates good information technology?
Tennessee state government, which has approximately 40,000 employees serving 6 million-plus residents, has some large data systems in place, and some operate smoothly and efficiently. But without steady, forward progress on modernization, our state will probably face a day of reckoning in the not-too-distant future.