Gold’s Gym acquiring The Rush, including in Oak Ridge

The Rush Fitness Complex

Gold’s Gym is acquiring 23 Rush Fitness clubs in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, including in Oak Ridge.


Gold’s Gym announced Monday that it has signed a deal to acquire The Rush Fitness Complex, a regional gym chain that has 23 clubs in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, including in Oak Ridge.

The deal is officially slated to close in the next month, Gold’s Gym said in a press release Monday.

As part of the agreement, the 23 Rush Fitness clubs will be rebranded under the Gold’s Gym name. The rebranding is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The clubs will remain open throughout the transition, the company said in the press release. All existing memberships will be honored at the new locations, automatically converting to Gold’s Gym memberships without any interruption to current members.

Current members will also be given the option to gain travel privileges to the Gold’s Gym network of more than 700 locations in 38 states and 28 countries, the press release said. [Read more...]

Anderson Chamber elects new board member

Arlene Garrison

Arlene Garrison

Arlene A. Garrison, vice president of university partnerships at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, has been elected to serve on the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Garrison, with more than 35 years of experience in science and education, works with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to enhance and expand research participation programs that provide opportunities for faculty and students from ORAU member institutions to work alongside renowned ORNL scientists, a press release said.

Prior to ORAU, she served as a program director for the National Science Foundation and in a number of senior leadership positions with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. [Read more...]

Clinton gives land to SL Tennessee for expansion, will receive fire station donation

SL Tennessee

SL Tennessee is on Frank L. Diggs Drive in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park.

Note: This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. July 29.

CLINTON—The Clinton City Council voted unanimously Monday to make an exchange with SL Tennessee.

SL Tennessee was given more than 52 acres after the auto parts manufacturer announced plans to invest $80.5 million to build a 250,000-square-foot plant in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park. The building, SL Tennessee’s fifth expansion since locating in Clinton in 2001, will manufacture automobile headlights and tail lamps for General Motors.

In exchange, after construction is complete, the company will donate between $200,000 and $250,000 to the city to build a new fire station in the industrial park.

Anderson County Economic Development Association Director Tim Thompson approached the council during a special-called meeting Monday morning to propose the deal. No one from the public came forward to speak on the proposal. [Read more...]

MMC receives quality achievement award for heart attack treatment

MMC Cath Lab Blurry Action


Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge has received the Mission: Lifeline Bronze Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

“Methodist is honored to receive recognition from this highly respected organization,” said Dr. Milan Sheth, a board-certified and fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist on the staff of Methodist Medical Center. “We are deeply committed to preventing conditions that can lead to heart attacks and to diagnose and treat even the most critically ill cardiac patients.”

Each year in the United States, approximately 300,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals, emergency medical services, and communities improve response times so people who suffer from a STEMI get prompt, appropriate treatment. The program’s goal is to streamline systems of care to quickly get heart attack patients from the first 9-1-1 call to hospital treatment. [Read more...]

Photos: SL Tennessee expansion

SL Tennessee Tail Light Hot Weld

SL Tennessee employee Ricky Bean at a hot plate welding station in the assembly area for Cadillac tail lights.


CLINTON—Tennessee officials and SL Tennessee executives on Friday announced 1,000 new auto parts manufacturing jobs as part of a $80.5 million expansion in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park in Clinton. It could be the largest expansion of industrial employment in Anderson County since World War II.

The South Korean company plans to invest $80.5 million to build a 250,000-square-foot plant on Frank L. Diggs Drive in the industrial park. It will be SL Tennessee’s LLC third building in the park, and the company’s fifth expansion since locating in Clinton in 2001. The new building will manufacture automobile head lights and tail lamps for General Motors.

Construction on the new building in Clinton will begin in August, and the new plant could be operating by April 2015.

Here is a collection of photos from Friday’s event. [Read more...]

Dale Carnegie Employee Engagement Workshop Series starts Aug. 14

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Dale Carnegie of Tennessee to offer a six-workshop series on employee engagement. A discount is available for members of the Chamber and for those who register for all six sessions, a press release said.

The first session will be held on August 14 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Chamber, located at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Session one is titled “How Smart Leaders Create Engaged Employees.” Based on new, groundbreaking research you will learn the three clusters of behaviors that significantly impact engagement.

Then, within each cluster, individual actions will be broken down to help participants develop enthusiastic, empowered, confident, and inspired employees—the type of employees who care, who want to be part of a success story, and who will drive an organization to the top. Learn how to increase productivity and reduce turnover by cultivating a workforce of engaged employees. [Read more...]

SL Tennessee expansion could be largest in industrial employment since World War II

SL Tennessee Expansion Media Availability

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, center, announces 1,000 new jobs as part of an $80.5 million expansion at auto parts manufacturer SL Tennessee in Clinton. Also pictured from left are Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Clinton Mayor Scott Burton, and U.S. Senator Bob Corker.


Note: This story was last updated at 11:30 a.m. July 26.

CLINTON—The 1,000 new jobs announced at SL Tennessee in Clinton on Friday could be the largest expansion of industrial employment in Anderson County since World War II, officials said.

SL Tennessee, an auto parts manufacturer, plans to invest $80.5 million to build a 250,000-square-foot plant on Frank L. Diggs Drive in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park. It will be SL Tennessee’s LLC third building in the park, and the company’s fifth expansion since locating in Clinton in 2001. The new building will manufacture automobile head lights and tail lamps for General Motors.

The jobs announcement was made in the South Korean company’s Chassis Plant on Friday near workers assembling gear shifters and brake assemblies, mostly for GM. Marking the importance of the announcement, Gov. Bill Haslam was invited to speak and so were U.S. senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

“This is obviously a big day,” said Haslam, who announced the new jobs. “It shows our growth in the automotive business.”

It’s the second announcement of more than 1,000 jobs at an automotive plant in East Tennessee in the past two weeks. Last week, Volkswagen announced a $600 million investment and 2,000 new jobs in Chattanooga. [Read more...]

State, SL Tennessee announce 1,000 new jobs in Clinton


CLINTON—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with SL Tennessee LLC officials, announced Friday that the company will build a new 250,000 square foot building to join its two existing facilities in the Clinton/I-75 Industrial Park, a Select Tennessee Certified Site. The South Korean automotive parts manufacturer will invest $80.5 million and create 1,000 new jobs in Anderson County. Located in Clinton since 2001, this will be the company’s fifth expansion.

“I want to congratulate SL Tennessee on its latest expansion and thank the company for the 1,000 new jobs created in Clinton,” Haslam said. “SL Tennessee has been an outstanding corporate citizen in Anderson County for nearly 15 years, and we are grateful to the company for bringing us one step closer to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Tennessee has the greatest concentration of automotive industry employment in the South and with the addition of 1,000 new jobs from today’s announcement, we continue to build on this momentum,” Hagerty said. “Upon completion of this project, SL Tennessee will more than double its workforce, making it the largest employer in Clinton and one of the largest in Anderson County. I appreciate SL Tennessee’s continued investment in our state and for providing quality jobs to our citizens.”

This is the second 1,000 plus jobs announcement in the past two weeks in the automotive sector. Last week, Volkswagen announced a $600 million investment in Tennessee and 2,000 new jobs being created in Chattanooga. [Read more...]

Haslam, SL Tennessee to make economic development announcement Friday

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam and executives from SL Tennessee will make a significant economic development announcement in Clinton on Friday, a press release said.

The ceremony starts at 10:15 a.m. Friday at SL Tennessee at 311 Frank L. Diggs Drive.

Others expected to attend include U.S. senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker; Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; Y.K. Woo, SL America president; Scott Laska, SL Tennessee business development manager; Clinton Mayor Scott Burton; Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank; and other local elected officials.

Methodist ties for fourth in state in best hospital ranking

Methodist Medical Center Entrance at Night

The main entrance to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge is pictured above at night. (Photo courtesy Covenant Health)


Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge tied for fourth in the state in an annual ranking of America’s best hospitals compiled by U.S. News and World Report.

MMC tied for fourth with Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville. Covenant Health’s third major medical center, Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, ranked ninth in Tennessee.

All three were in the Top 10 for metro areas, a press release said. All three were lauded for high performance in a variety of specialties such as gastroenterology and GI surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, and pulmonology, among others. All three hospitals also achieved patient satisfaction levels that are higher than national and state averages.
 [Read more...]

Volkswagen to expand auto plant in Chattanooga, build new SUV

Volkswagen will expand its automotive plant in Chattanooga, the company’s only U.S. manufacturing facility, and build a new midsize SUV for the American market.

Volkswagen’s total global investment for the expansion will be $900 million, and $600 million of that will be invested in Tennessee. The company expects to create 2,000 jobs in Hamilton County.

The announcement was made by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Volkswagen Group of America officials in a Monday morning press release. [Read more...]

Pilot Flying J to pay $92 million for diesel fuel discount deception, cooperate with feds

Federal authorities announced Monday that Pilot Flying J will pay a $92 million penalty and fully cooperate with an ongoing investigation to resolve the company’s criminal liability for fraudulent conduct by employees in deceptively withholding diesel fuel price discounts from hundreds of customers.

Also known as Pilot Travel Centers LLC, Pilot has accepted legal responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees, which caused more than $56 million in loss to its customers, and agreed to pay full restitution to every victim of the fraud, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a Monday afternoon press release.

Pilot further acknowledged the gravity of its employees’ criminal wrongdoing by agreeing to pay the United States the $92 million monetary penalty—an amount within the fine range recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the press release said.

“The agreement also expressly states that it provides no protection from prosecution to any individual, and moreover, imposes a continuing obligation on Pilot to provide complete cooperation with the ongoing federal investigation of current and former Pilot employees relating to fraudulent conduct involving the sale of diesel fuel,” the release said.

Pilot must also periodically report to the United States what it has done to ensure that a system of internal accounting controls and other compliance procedures have been established to prevent fraudulent conduct from occurring again in the sale of diesel fuel. In the event Pilot materially breaches its obligations under the Criminal Enforcement Agreement, Pilot has agreed that the United States may file the criminal information, attached to the agreement, and will not contest the allegations in that charging document. [Read more...]