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Highlands Economic Partnership Celebrating 20 Years

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Highlands Economic Partnership Celebrating 20 Years

Highlands Economic Partnership celebrates 20 years of serving the Highlands Region this week.

Vice President Adam Poe said the partnership is one piece of the puzzle, but 20 years of success is not possible without dedication from all partners and stakeholders. He said one key to two decades of growth has been adaptability while always maintaining a “we before me” mentality.

“The cool thing about our partnership is the different stakeholders across the last 20 years from government partners, to private entities, to nonprofits, to our state and federal partners who all work together to be able to provide a better future,” Poe said.

Poe said regional partnerships were popularized around the turn of the century and the Highlands Economic Partnership is the only one left in the state. He said after 20 years, he is confident that the partnership just getting started.

“Ego does not outweigh the desire to be able to work together toward a common goal,” Poe said. “And that just is not as common as one may think, especially in this world where everybody’s trying to make their own footprint. Everybody’s trying to leave their own legacy.

Poe said the partnership is a vehicle for everyone to leave a collective legacy. He said that given the number of jobs created, the number of businesses that have come to the area, and the number of children who have gone through career exploration pathways, the partnership has been successful in helping everyone leave their footprint.

The partnership includes Jackson, Overton, Putnam and White counties. He said economic growth does not come without growing pains.

“There’s still the desire to be able to maintain the way that things were while being able to provide new, state-of-the-art opportunities for everybody that lives here,” Poe said. “And when you do invest in those types of industries and that type of technology and that type of education, it’s attractive for others.”

Poe said growth is not a byproduct of investment into a community, but a requirement. He said with leaders willing to listen to the next big idea, creating self-belief in children, creating partnerships, and supporting entrepreneurship, the Highlands Economic Partnership can be whatever they want it to be.


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