The Tennessee Valley Corridor
National Leadership through Regional Cooperation
In the early 1980s Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander advanced the idea of creating a “science and technology corridor” to link the Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge, the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority for their mutual benefit and to spur greater economic growth in the region.
To further advance the idea he advocated the construction of a four-lane highway from Oak Ridge to the Knoxville Airport in Blount County (today the Pellissippi Parkway) creating an “Oak Ridge Corridor” along which high tech businesses could locate and access the Corridor’s many science and technology resources.
The Governor’s vision led to the creation of regional strategies and programs in the mid-East Tennessee region, which still continue today.
Over a decade later, new Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp convened, in 1995, a “Science and Technology Summit” in Oak Ridge bringing together government, business and academic leaders to draw attention to the vast resources in the Oak Ridge community and their impact on the region’s and state’s economy. And he advanced the idea that all should work together to sustain the existing federal missions in Oak Ridge, to compete for new missions and to leverage those investments for private sector job growth.
From that beginning Tennessee Valley Corridor today is an award-winning regional economic development organization focused on supporting federal science and technology missions in the Valley, competing for new missions and leveraging these assets for private sector job development.
The TVC is a 501(c)6 chartered organizations, with a board of directors representing the five-state region. In carrying out its mission, the TVC promotes the 12 congressional districts in East and Middle Tennessee, North Alabama, Western North Carolina, Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia as one of the premier science and technology regions in the nation.
The TVC has built a strong alliance of community, business, education and government leaders through its regional technology summits that have been held every year throughout the Valley in Huntsville, Kingsport, Johnson City, Chattanooga, Asheville, Nashville, Tullahoma, Murfreesboro, Washington, D.C. and Somerset, Kentucky.
Building relationships and strong collaborations among our federal institutions, world-class research universities and dozens of corporate leaders in science and technology, the TVC has helped showcase the Valley’s superior quality of life and the people, business, natural and scientific resources needed for high-tech research, development, business and investment in the 21st Century.
Federal and regional assets include: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army and DoD commands on the Redstone Arsenal, the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Nuclear Secruity Agency’s Y-12 National Security Complex, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Chattanooga’s SimCenter, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Center for Rural Development and National Institute for Hometown Security, the National Safe Skies Alliance, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, research universities and community colleges.
In 2004, the Tennessee Valley Corridor and the Research Triangle Partnership in Raleigh, N.C. were both selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration as the top regional economic development organizations in the country for enhancing regional competitiveness.
But most importantly, the Corridor’s science and technology leaders continue to collaborate with the TVC Congressional Caucus to provide national leadership in helping our nation address important national challenges in science, environment, space, national security, energy and education by earning its theme line – national leadership through regional cooperation.