2 Basically Blount 2018 4 READY TO SOAR Hop on board. Blount County is ready to take your breath away. 5 READY TO WORK Signs of growth and progress are on every corner, and the community is preparing. 10 READY TO PLAY Balloons and bourbon. Brews and bluegrass. Parks and putters. Take a ride, kick back in a lawn chair or grab your walking stick for a hike. It’s all here. 23 READY TO EAT Local restaurants in Blount County give you the option: Napkin on your lap as you test the wine’s bouquet or napkin under your chin as you chomp a burger. 27 READY TO LEARN Education is a top priority and the ABCs of learning are now spelled STEM. 36 READY FOR VISITORS Getting here is getting easier. And, against the current trend, customer service still reigns at McGhee Tyson. 40 READY TO CARE Finding good health care is close to home. 44 READY TO PARTNER Partnerships are what we do. Our location makes that easier. 46 VOLUNTEERS IN PROGRESS 47 AWARD WINNERS AND FACTS 48 COMMUNITY REFERENCES 49 MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY/BUYERS’ GUIDE 92 EVENTS & FESTIVALS CALENDAR 95 INDEX OF SPONSORS TABLE OF CONTENTS PUBLISHER Marcon Publications, a division of Marcon Marketing Consultants www.marconmarketing.com rford@marconmarketing.com 865.984.5370 EDITORS Rick Ford Jeff Muir CREATIVE/DESIGN Design-Alley PHOTOGRAPHY Cover Photo by Tassi Williams Barry Spruce Photography Mitchell Bain Tom Sherlin, The Daily Times Mark Large, The Daily Times Dawn Goodall CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Sherri Gardner Howell Mitch Moore Stefan Cooper ADVERTISING SALES Rick Ford Vicki Hawkins PRINTING Hart Graphics, Inc. 4 5 27 10 37 44 23 40 92