Wallace embraces economics development role for City of Lewisburg
Six weeks ago, Terry Wallace took the position of Director of Economic Development for the City of Lewisburg and ever since his phone has not stopped ringing.
"I have been in almost constant contact with numerous prospective industries looking to relocate here or expand their operations here," Wallace said. "I've actually shown property to prospects all over Marshall County."
Lewisburg has long been the envy of cities across the state for its strong industrial base creating tax revenues and jobs. As the landscape of manufacturing jobs around the nation changes, the City of Lewisburg is adjusting its focus to accommodate those changes under the direction of Wallace.
"What we are looking for now are companies that are not related to industries that are in a state of flux or that are so volatile in nature so as to make the job base in Lewisburg unstable," Wallace said.
For years in the past, Lewisburg's employment base was heavy toward the 65 percent range and it remains heavy according to today's standards at around 46 percent. Experts across the nation are advising that communities move more toward the technological, retail and service industry recruitment for growth, as more and more manufacturing jobs are leaving states such as Tennessee.
"Listen, industry is still are focus and I am working on not only recruiting companies but also on maintaining those existing industries we have here and that are successful," Wallace said. "At the same time, my focus will be split to also work on the recruitment to Lewisburg of more technical, service and retail industries."
Wallace worked 19 years in the Marshall County Ambulance Service and for the past 16 years served as Marshall County Mayor where he served on the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board for six years. Those experiences allowed him to work closely with the cities and agencies in Marshall County on economic development and improving the infrastructure to make Marshall County and Lewisburg a more viable option for companies seeking a new place to set up their operations.
"I work closely with the JECDB and Director Jamie Stitt to help devise strategies for economic development from industrial to retail," Wallace said. "I continue to meet with existing industries and will continue to seek out industries but there is more to my job today than simply industrial recruitment."
Wallace sees the new focus of the city in its development of the Lewisburg Business Park on Highway 373. Wallace helped to facilitate the relocation of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics from Florida to become the first industry to set up operations in the Lewisburg Business Park.
"I believe getting U.S. Tank in the Business Park is just the first step but an important one as it will be the catalyst to help expand the business park into the vision it was intended to be for the city," Wallace said.
The Lewisburg Business Park will not become a heavy industrial park such as the current industrial park; but rather, it will provide a location for more light industrial companies and even service or technological companies. According to Wallace, the Lewisburg Business Park should reflect the more modern focus of economic development for the City of Lewisburg as well as Marshall County.
"It's a new world out there as far as economic development goes," Wallace said. "We want to be on top of it and make sure our vision for the future is in line with the changes taking place."