Pinion joins effort to reignite economic development in OC
Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2011 9:09 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Obion County has recruited a major new player to deal with the county’s economic development — Phillip Pinion.
The former state representative and local businessman has agreed to work with the Joint Economic Development Council to promote Obion County and regional economic development projects.
The JEDC has been without an executive director since the recent retirement of Jim Cooper.
In the time the economic development agency has been without an executive director, JEDC officials have been focused on two important questions: Who should be brought in to promote economic development and what should that person’s job responsibilities be?
Bringing Pinion on board is seen as a home run for the JEDC.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to help Obion County during these tough economic times. With the Goodyear announcement and the flat economy, I’ll be working on securing funding for several projects vital to the region’s economic vitality,” Pinion told The Messenger today.
At the time of his retirement from the Tennessee Legislature, Pinion was serving as chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, was chairman of the West Tennessee Rural Caucus and served on the House Education Committee, the Finance, Ways and Means Committee and the Corrections Oversight Committee.
He was a familiar face in the state Legislature, and he has continued to be a prominent figure in the halls of the Capitol as a representative of TRC Worldwide Engineering Inc. He has been working in the areas of business development and government relations for the Brentwood-based company.
Pinion will not earn a salary from the JEDC, but will be reimbursed for his expenses as a consultant.
JEDC chairman Art Sparks told The Messenger today the hiring of Pinion is a perfect fit.
“We are very fortunate to have someone like Phillip Pinion joining us in our economic efforts,” he said. “With the breadth of information he brings to the table and his knowledge of Nashville and how the system works make him an ideal choice as we move forward. We are very happy to have him on board.”
The JEDC will officially announce the hiring of Pinion Friday.
He will spend most of his time lobbying for such high profile projects as I-69, the Cates Landing project, improvements to the Everett-Stewart Regional Airport and industrial prospects. All those projects will greatly benefit Obion County and the entire region.
Funding for those and other economic development projects are seen as critical to the region’s economic recovery from the Feb. 10 announcement by Goodyear that it will be shutting down its Union City plant.
That announcement has shocked the entire region and the financial impact of the announcement will reach well into the millions of dollars for the entire area.
Goodyear’s Union City plant closure will impact the 1,900 workers at the plant, as well as northwest Tennesee’s economy.
Until now, the JEDC has been working quietly behind the scenes to deal with the Goodyear announcement.
Pinion’s hiring is expected to breathe new life into local economic development efforts.
Ron Sanders, director of transportation at TRC Worldwide Engineering, said, “TRC is proud to have a friend like former transportation chairman Pinion. Phillip is energetic and effective and a strong advocate for the citizens of West Tennessee. We are very pleased to be represented by Phillip and are very happy to share Phillip in this capacity.”
Published in The Messenger 3.3.11