Managers from 33 of Tennessee’s mid-market firms recently joined the Department of Management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business for a one-day forum on campus. Haslam’s Management Forum focuses on topics including: recruiting talent, strategic planning, leadership, succession planning and selling a business.
The management department is currently recruiting additional mid-market firms from Tennessee to join the forum, which will be held again this spring.
“Tennessee’s mid-market firms are the backbone of the state’s economy,” says Alex Miller, the college’s William B. Stokely Chair in Management. “They are critical to job creation, tax revenue and growth in the economy.”
Miller says mid-market firms are often family-owned and operated, such as Moody Dunbar, Inc., which was presented as a case study during the inaugural forum meeting. The family-owned company, founded in 1933 by an East Tennessee school teacher who grew peppers to supplement his income during the depression, now sells canned agricultural products to institutional food services and commercial food markets nationwide.
The Haslam Management Forum aids such mid-market firms to position themselves strategically and think through leadership and ownership transition issues.
“There is a steep learning curve for mid-market firms facing these strategic issues,” says Anne Smith, department head and King and Judy Rogers Professor in Business. “The Management Forum provides a way for mid-market leaders to learn from one another. Forums connect us with the latest developments and issues in industry. As a result, we are better researchers and teachers, and our students add more value to the firms that hire them.”
Haslam’s Management Forum is just one example of the Department of Management’s outreach. It also includes public service assistance and collaborative research. Additionally, the department fosters mutually beneficial partnerships with alumni, local, state and federal governments as well as industry.