Smith County receives Certified Community Distinction

HARTSVILLE – The Tennessee Central Economic Authority, Smith County Mayor’s office and Smith County Chamber of Commerce facilitated Smith County’s new competitive distinction by the Tennessee Valley Authority as a “Rural Certified Community.” They are now one of a limited number of communities in the state of Tennessee to receive this designation, and an award will be presented at TVA’s 2021 Economic Development Forum in Nashville. 

“Smith County is honored to receive this designation,” said Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason. “We work to gain every advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining good jobs for our citizens. This is another arrow in our quiver that helps get that done.”

The program is sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development (TVAED), and administered by global site selection firm, Strategic Development Group (SDG).  

“Our gratitude goes out to Tennessee Central and TVA. They are vital partners in our efforts to attract more world class industrial and commercial businesses to Smith County,” said Billy Woodard, Smith County Chamber of Commerce executive director. “This designation shows preparation and willingness to be a supportive partner with those clients choosing to do business in Smith County.”   

Rural Certified Communities launched in 2018 as a collaborative effort by TVAED, its Rural Cabinet partners and Strategic Development Group. SDG administers the program, providing third-party evaluation and feedback related to organizational strategic planning efforts and operational effectiveness from the site selection perspective. Rural economic development organizations who complete this program are recognized as being prepared to compete for job creation and investment.

“Creativity and innovation are among our country’s greatest resources, and companies are seeking locations that can provide access to those resources,” said SDG Vice President Jeannette Goldsmith. “The economic development landscape has drastically changed over the past 50 years. Rural communities must work smarter to define themselves in a unique way, develop robust and broadly defined economic development strategies and market to a more targeted audience.” 

“TVAED was created to help improve the quality of life for the people of the Valley, particularly in our more rural areas. We are proud to further that mission by supporting the Rural Certified program,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. “Communities who are able to differentiate themselves and understand their unique assets will be better positioned for economic success.”

At the conclusion of this year’s cycle, a total of nine economic development organizations have been certified since the program’s inaugural year in 2018. 

“Smith County’s economic development strategy is designed to increase everyone’s quality of life and bring good paying jobs to the community,” said Dan Tidcomb of TCEA. “This “Rural Certified Community” designation qualifies Smith County as a community ready for new investments.”

The Tennessee Central Economic Authority serves five counties in Middle Tennessee Macon, Smith, Trousdale, Sumner and Wilson. As an economic development office, it is their mission to bring new jobs and investment to these communities. They achieve this by helping local industry expansions, aiding workforce development and increasing the overall marketability of communities. In addition to facilitating this certification for Smith County, they’ve secured $1,350,000 in grants for Smith County, contributed money from their Select Tennessee program and sponsored local Industry Appreciation events.  For more information, visit

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) a corporation owned by the U.S. government provides electricity for business customers and distribution utilities that serve 9 million people in seven southeastern states.  Economic development is a major part of TVA’s core mission. TVA’s Economic Development services are focused on attracting targeted new industries, retaining and growing existing businesses and partnering with communities to help foster economic growth.  More information is available at

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