Tourism participants are presented with state-of-the-art resources

Tennessee Tech University’s Center for Rural Innovation announced a partnership with South Central Tennessee Tourism Association to enhance tourism branding in the region.

The creative collaboration provides student-produced branding assets for SCTTA partners, including website development, marketing materials and logos. Tourism participants are presented with state-of-the-art resources and the students receive real-world application to their work. 

“Our organization’s mission is to provide guidance and fundamental tools for our partners to drive tourist activities in their communities,” said Ryan French, SCTTA executive director and CEO. “Developing branding has long been an expensive obstacle for some communities, but essential to doing business. This strategic move directly addresses that. The partnership with SCTTA and Tech will allow us to take our fundamental marketing efforts to the next level.” 

Pictured from l. to r.: Dominic Gialdini, SCTTA; Andrea Kruszka, Tennessee Tech University; Ryan French, SCTTA.

The goal of Tech’s Center for Rural Innovation is to transform rural communities through collaborative and inclusive efforts in innovation, entrepreneurship and community, and economic development by creating partnerships in regional economic ecosystems, conducting applied research and providing technical assistance that addresses rural challenges.

A U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center program, TCRI seeks to develop replicable and scalable strategies while enhancing quality of life and place within rural Tennessee.

“Tourism IS economic development, and we’ve made that a large initiative within TCRI. Partnering with SCTTA and further expanding our reach beyond the Upper Cumberland lines up perfectly with the center’s mission,” said Andrea Kruszka, TCRI assistant director at Tech. “In addition to our very talented Tech students getting real-world experience that will make them more career-ready upon graduating, the work they are doing creating assets to benefit tourism in some of Tennessee’s rural communities will make a real impact where it is needed. We’re excited to work with SCTTA to make a difference.”

SCTTA launched a branding program two years ago and helped create assets for Wayne, Hickman, Marshall and Lincoln counties and the town of Lynchburg. TCRI has provided destination branding assets as well as economic impact studies for communities including Monterey, Algood, Jackson County, Fentress County and others.

SCTTA’s partnership with TCRI will not only create enhanced branding support for these partners by expanding the sub-branding portfolio but will also help expedite branding efforts for many more partners.

“Creative branding attracts visitors, and more visitors will increase the economic impact on our region. That’s a fact,” French said.

Learn more about TCRI at

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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