BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Weeks after announcing the decision to move to East Tennessee, officials with Smith & Wesson broke ground on their future home Friday, alongside several state and local leaders. The site, referred to as Partnership Park North for now, is 240 acres in size and will house the both company headquarters and manufacturing operations.
Brian Daniels, President and CEO of the Blount Partnership, noted November marks 10 years since the Industrial Board passed a plan to bring a firearms manufacturer to Blount County, and highlighted the teamwork behind the investment.
Mark Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, is looking forward to the move, but said it wasn’t an easy decision, given it had to be right for today and for generations to come. “We’ve got 170 years of history in Springfield, Massachusetts… so, for us it was especially difficult,” he said.
The company is set to bring 750 jobs to the region by 2023. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee credited the move to the state’s business-friendly environment, it’s tax policy, and it’s people. Smith agreed. “We felt your appreciation for the second amendment, and your work ethic. We truly felt at home,” he said.
Gov. Lee said the investment will have a lasting impact on people. “If you really want to change a families’ life then you insert into that family meaningful work. When people have a good job and make a good living for their family, then they’re generationally impacted,” he said.
Many local leaders spoke Friday to thank the company for making the move, including mayors from surrounding counties, such as Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “It’s a big deal for our entire region,” he said.
Smith noted the company is committed to providing a “good, working, wage” that employees can supports themselves and their families on. The company also plans to contribute to local charitable causes, financially and through corporate-sponsored volunteer initiatives.