Collierville: At the Crossroads of Tradition and Innovation

Town of Collierville’s Director of Economic Development Addresses Monthly Membership Meeting

The Town of Collierville’s Director of Economic Development, John Duncan, offered an insightful look into how the town’s assets are marketed to potential corporate neighbors at the Chamber’s Monthly Membership Meeting on July 12 at First Baptist Church of Collierville.

Board Chairman Jimmy Turner began the day’s events with recognition of fellow board members and the many civic and elected leaders in attendance, as well as thanking the Chamber’s many premier partners. He then called attention to the wonderful fried chicken lunch provided by Corporate Cuisine. He concluded his remarks by noting a recent $5000 grant made by the Chamber to the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) Program of Collierville Schools.

Chamber CEO and President Mark Heuberger recognized several new Chamber members and allowed their representatives to introduce themselves and speak briefly about their business. He then called attention to the day’s corporate sponsor, Carrier Corporation, citing the company’s 50-plus years in the town and their long-standing support of the Chamber as a Premier Partner.

Town of Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner took the podium to introduce the day’s featured speaker, John Duncan. The Mayor outlined Duncan’s nine years with the Town as well as his educational background (Southern Methodist University) and his previous professional background in sales and marketing and his stint with the Greater Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce.

Duncan began his remarks with the three-fold goal of economic development: Relocate, Recruit and Retain and suggested that the extensive concept of “Access” made perfect sense when addressing the key elements that attract business to an area:  access to a suitable workforce, access to distribution and access to markets. He added that “access” could also relate to citizens’ access to jobs, new dining and commercial establishments. He noted the importance of differentiating the Town of Collierville from other communities when it comes to pitching the benefits to potential businesses, mentioning such attributes as Collierville High School’s reputation across the state. As with any marketing effort, Duncan commented, it’s easier when you “got a good product.”

Looking to the future, Duncan mentioned the proximity of Collierville to Blue Oval City, Ford and SK On’s production facility, now being constructed in Stanton, TN, a 38-minute drive from Collierville’s Town Square. He noted that such proximity could likely induce the recruitment of tier-3 facilities” to the Collierville area and “for people who want to live here.”

Turning his attention to the many facets of his own economic development team, he mentioned their involvement in all forms of communication and meetings when it comes to reaching out and promoting the Collierville area. “We promote the [Collierville] brand daily!”

Using video, Duncan highlighted the world-class corporate headquarters now located in Collierville, including MCR, IMC, Mueller Industries, Helena Industries, Orgill, Juice Plus +, and FedEx. He also noted that many of these organizations continue to expand their footprint in the community as their businesses grow.

He turned his attention to the commercial side of business growth in the area, noting some exciting ideas now being discussed regarding the future use of the Carriage Crossing facility.

Citing Collierville’s unique position geographically and strategically, being in the middle of the country and on I-69 (a distribution artery running from Canada to Mexico through the heart of the U.S.), Duncan mentioned Collierville’s being “geo-centric of logistical assets.”

Duncan looked to the future and discussed what he terms “moon missions” – those projects that might be “out there” but provide him and his staff the occasional “what if” scenario and the opportunity to think “out of the box.”