Haslam Highlights Medical Device as Key Economic Development Asset

by TN Press Release Center on September 15, 2010

Press Release from the Bill Haslam for Governor Campaign, Sept. 15, 2010:

Discusses Strategy to Grow Jobs in Memphis and Shelby County

ARLINGTON – Republican gubernatorial nominee and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam focused on regional economic development during meetings in Memphis and Shelby County today and discussed the relationship between the medical device and logistics industries and how both can be leveraged for future growth.

Today Mayor Haslam visited Wright Medical Technology, a company that develops, manufactures and distributes medical devices worldwide, has more than 1,000 employees, and is headquartered in Shelby County. His discussion with company leaders centered on the unique economic development assets of the region – namely how the strength of the logistics and distribution industry in Shelby County helped attract the medical device industry to the area and how bioscience has now become a connecting point for many of the region’s leading universities, hospitals, and businesses.

“I’m excited about the opportunities for economic development that we have across the state,” Haslam said. “But I’m particularly excited about the assets we have in Shelby County that we can leverage for growth.”

Shelby County is a worldwide leader in the medical device industry, especially in the development of orthopedic and spinal implants and orthopedic device manufacturing. The area is also home to FedEx, the logistics services giant. Medical device industry leaders have cited its presence as one of the key reasons why the industry sprung up in the region.

“The assets we have here in Shelby County demonstrate the incredible potential of regional economic development,” continued Haslam. “The medical device industry came to Shelby County because of its existing strengths and the convenience and speed at which they could distribute their products.

“And now the bioscience sector as a whole has become a tremendous asset for the region,” added Haslam. “I look forward as governor to helping Shelby County build on their existing strengths.”

In previous visits to the area, Mayor Haslam has met with other leading medical device companies including Medtronic and Smith & Nephew. He’s held meetings with the logistics industry, visited the FedEx Institute of Technology, the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and met with numerous hospital and university leaders. Later today, Mayor Haslam will meet with representatives from Memphis Tomorrow, a group of local business leaders working to make a difference and grow the local economy.

Mayor Haslam is the two-term Republican Mayor of Knoxville, reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, Haslam led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, reducing the number of city employees to the lowest amount in 15 years and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees.

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