Mannis sets plan for business growth

Sandra ClarkFountain City

Eddie Mannis, candidate for Knoxville mayor, would restructure city government to appoint a senior director “who will wake up every day focused on ways to make Knoxville more economically vibrant.”

Eddie Mannis, candidate for Knoxville mayor, sponsored the free Concert at Fountain City Park in May. Pictured are his sister, Jan Rector, and his dad, Cecil Mannis Sr. We learned that Eddie is actually Cecil Mannis Jr. and there are two more siblings: brother Robby, who lives in New York; and sister Leanne Mannis Alleman, who teaches at West Hills Elementary. Southern Steel Band performed. The next concert will be Friday, June 19, with the Mikki Norwood Band. (Photo by S. Clark)

In a press statement on Thursday, Mannis proposed combining current offices of redevelopment and community development into a new Office of Economic & Community Development. He will direct this office to “actively encourage and support opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs and veteran-owned businesses. This focus will allow the potential for growth to spread across all parts of Knoxville.”

He will seek partnerships with the Knoxville Chamber, the University of Tennessee, Pellissippi State, the Haslam School of Business and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship.

Within the first 90 days of taking office, Mannis will assemble a working committee that will be comprised of representatives from the development community, builders, affordable housing experts, entrepreneurs and relevant city department heads. Their primary goal will be to streamline systems, encourage communication and make processes more customer focused.

“I believe that we must make our systems more efficient, our service more results oriented, and demonstrate that Knoxville is open for business,” said Mannis.

In addition to serving briefly as deputy to the mayor and chief operating officer for the city under Mayor Rogero, Mannis built a business with support from his family and almost no initial working capital.

“I am not a politician; I started a business with three employees and grew it to over 150 here in Knoxville. I want companies to know that Knoxville is open for business, and our citizens to know we are actively looking to improve the quality of life through our economic efforts.”

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