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From the Top: Selling Memphis 101

Through growing up in Oklahoma and spending my young adult life in Texas, I learned the value of pride for where you come from. In Oklahoma, people are humble and respect the land, and in Texas - well, you ‘don’t mess with Texas.’ But what about us Memphians? What do we boast about our city when we are with out-of-town friends and family? 

In my former professional life, it was easy: Memphis music, food and great hangouts. Now, as President and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, it’s still about the music, food and events, but it’s also about what this city has to offer - it’s talent, water and leadership.

In mid-January, while meeting with New York City-based business executives, I also met with many national media outlets to discuss doing business in Memphis. And I’ve got to tell you, with each meeting came a new sense of pride for this city that I call home. Three major things have gone untapped in our community. We have an abundance of talent, water and young leaders looking to make a difference in our city. 

Traditionally, Memphis has been a center for logistics and distribution. However, in recent years we have a seen the majority of projects in our pipeline come from the advanced manufacturing industry. With Memphis’ large number of young people and the work of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW), we’ll see 2,000 skilled manufacturing workers and 1,000 skilled logistics workers come through the program in the first year. We cannot emphasize enough the value of being able to guarantee a skilled workforce for prospective companies when it comes to the war for jobs.

Tweet: #Memphis is the "Logistics Leader" in air cargo, according to @bizfacilities magazine. #MEMBrags

Another key factor in attracting these advanced manufacturing companies is Memphis’ water supply. The Memphis Sands aquifer contains 99.8 trillion gallons of water - if you moved that above ground, it would cover the entire Shelby County and rise to the top of Clark Tower. Naturally pure, our water has been filtered through clay and sand before reaching the aquifer. This quality means researchers at St. Jude only spend $0.54 per gallon of water versus $8.92 in Indianapolis. Memphis refineries can reuse the water in their cooling towers up to 16 times versus only 6 times in San Antonio. Therefore, Memphis water provides industry with opportunities for greater economics, less maintenance, reduced waste, improved products and increased safety.

Tweet: The #Memphis Sands Aquifer contains 99.8 trillion gallons of water, enough to sustain Niagara Falls for 4 years. #MEMBrags

But possibly the greatest selling point when meeting with site selectors and media outlets is our strong business leadership. The Chairman’s Circle - a group of over 100 CEO’s dedicated to making Memphis great - has been called this city’s next generation of leadership. However, under them is a quickly emerging group of young professionals ready to spark transformational change in this community. Our new young professional group SoundCheck, with over 150 members and growing, is eager to play a part in the economic growth of Memphis. And without the leadership of the business community to push forward initiatives like the GMACW, green spaces, entrepreneurship and more, we wouldn’t have these selling points to brag about.

Tweet: #Memphis ranked #4 on the list of happiest cities for job-seeking grads by @Forbes. #MEMBrags

Memphis still has its challenges, and we are not ignoring them. But I’m challenging you to look around and recognize all the things that are going right in our city. Let’s be prideful of this unique place we call home and take on the role of selling Memphis to the rest of the world.

Start today by tweeting out one of Memphis’ many Bragging Rights. Or leave a comment sharing your favorite Memphis selling point. Here's some ideas from Thrillist to get you started.

-Phil Trenary
President & CEO
Greater Memphis Chamber

Posted: 4/1/2015 10:17:26 AM | with 0 comments

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