Tech business comes to Market Square, partners with ORNL

A new tech business with innovative ideas will soon open its doors on Market Square.

Arizona-based company Local Motors plans to open its downtown storefront May 28.

The company will also soon build a microfactory in town where workers will put together cars that contain everything from electric motors to parts produced from 3-D printers.

More Information: Local Motors Official Website

"We chose Knoxville as our next location because we're looking for places that are at the forefront of innovation," said Local Motors CEO and Founder Jay Rogers.

The company also has a partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The two parties are working together to 3-D print an entire car at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Hardin Valley.

More Information: Knoxville Oak Ridge Innovation Valley Official Website

"Our partnership with ORNL is one that is made to be able to bring technology to market fast," Rogers said.

The Knoxville Chamber hopes the partnership could benefit the entire area by showing other tech businesses East Tennessee is friendly to the industry.

"We call ourselves the Knoxville-Oak Ridge innovation Valley," said Doug Lawyer, the vice-president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. "That's kind of the brand we have for regional economic development and a company like Local Motors coming here just really helps to validate that brand."

And, ORNL says it has no problem helping other businesses find success here in the region.

"We're paid by the American taxpayers," said Craig Blue, director of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. "So, if we can help United States companies get a competitive edge, ultimately, there's huge returns not only for us, but the country."

Web extra: A tour of ORNL's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility


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