TN Economic Development Council Recognizes Leaders in TN Central Region
Oct 14 2021

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- The Tennessee Economic Development Council (TEDC) has recognized James Fenton, Executive Director at Gallatin Economic Development Agency, as the 2021 TEDC Professional of the Year. Fenton has been honored with the Fred H. Harris Professional of the Year Award due to his overwhelming commitment to economic development in Tennessee and significant achievements and completed projects, especially in the Gallatin area.

TEDC also recognized G.C. Hixson, Executive Director at Joint Economic&Community Development Board of Wilson County, as recipient of the Legacy Award. Hixson received this award to honor his outstanding achievements in economic development in Tennessee and especially for Wilson County, Hixson began his state career in the planning division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, followed by the Tennessee Energy Authority and finally the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. At TNECD he worked in the Energy and Small Business Divisions before moving into the Business Marketing/Recruitment Division in 1985, where he worked in various consultant roles.

From 1998-2004, Hixson served as Director of Business Development at TNECD, leading programs, budgets, and advertising campaigns for 17 marketing consultants across Tennessee. In his time working for the state, he participated in major projects around Middle Tennessee, especially in the Lebanon area, including Nutro Products, Dell, and the Genesco Distribution Center. He also had a hand in the Amazon Fulfillment Centers that have opened in Wilson County and are scheduled to employ more than 4,000 employees.

In 2005, Hixson joined the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County, where he now serves, organizing and implementing economic growth initiatives for the area. Thanks in large part to Hixson’s involvement and success in his role, Wilson County has formed partnerships with several nationwide companies to boost economic growth and employment in the county.

“I have dedicated the past four decades of my life to promoting the continued economic development throughout the state,” said Hixson. “It has been an honor to play a part in the growth of Tennessee and specifically Wilson County, and an even greater honor to receive the Legacy Award to recognize my contributions.”

In the time since Hixson joined the JECDB, Wilson County has experienced tremendous industrial growth over the past few years and completed several notable projects in the area. Moldex-Metric, a California company that specializes in hearing and respiratory protective equipment, expanded into Lebanon in early 2021, providing approximately 220 new jobs. Nutritional snack manufacturer KIND and FedEx partnered to occupy an almost 400,000 square foot distribution and e-commerce facility in Lebanon. Alongside the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Mt. Juliet, Wilson County is also home to an Amazon Delivery Station located just off I-840, serving as a major cog in the company’s logistics network.

Most recently, in September, it was announced that Wilson County would be home to a manufacturing facility for Thermo Fisher, Massachusetts-based life sciences company, producing supply for biopharma companies to develop and produce therapeutics and vaccines. In the short-term, the construction of this facility will produce approximately 400 jobs for Wilson County residents, increasing to more than 1,400 jobs when it fully opens.

The Legacy Award recognizes those in the economic development community who have had an extraordinary impact on their profession and community. This award is not given annually but is offered as a special recognition for individuals who are highly respected, active in economic development, and have been a TEDC member for at least 10 years.

TEDC is the statewide professional organization for people involved in economic development. Awards were presented in a ceremony during the TEDC Annual Fall Conference, which was held in Memphis this year.