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Williamson Inc. Annual Celebration highlights successes, dynamism and renovated sports venue

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At the Williamson Inc. Annual Celebration last week, the organization highlighted its accomplishments throughout the year and hosted President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Cairnes of Kirkland’s home décor retailer as the keynote speaker.

The event was held at the recently renovated 171,000-square-foot former A-Game facility, which is now called Franklin Sports Hall and is operated by new landlord, investor group Tennessee Youth Sports, which purchased the sportsplex in May.

Approximately 300 guests gathered at the Annual Celebration, held where an ice rink once accommodated youth hockey teams. Chief Operating Officer Roy Dano said he was glad to hold its first event in the newly renovated room, updated with a concrete floor.

“We can host multiple sports teams in here, and it can serve as a venue like the celebration tonight,” Dano said.

“The new name is just the beginning,” he told the audience. “Last May, I and a few other investors purchased this place with a mission to preserve and grow it as a premier destination for youth sports training and events. We believe this will have a positive impact on the community … by helping to develop strong, healthy and confident young children, and secondly, as an economic driver for hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the area through the events we will be hosting.”

Dano encouraged guests to explore the building, which has undergone such improvements as the installation of a new HVAC system, LED lights, fresh paint, renovated bathrooms and other fixes as part of Phase 1, paving the way to accommodate even more sports activities and tournaments.  

Current tenants of Franklin Sports Hall are Premier Athletics, Tennessee Performance Volleyball, Music City Dance and Nike Basketball — and there’s room for more as 58,989 square feet of space is now available for lease.

Cairnes motivates businesses to transform

Cairnes motivated business professionals in attendance to strive for excellence by being dynamic, creative and to change with the times as required to grow a business.  

Cairnes has held senior leadership roles for over 15 years in wholesale, startup and retail businesses, making transformational changes at each and demonstrating dynamic performance. He is also an advocate for Special Needs and serves on the Board of Directors for BrightStone.

“We live in an era of unprecedented innovation,” Cairnes said, which can lead to either “irrelevance or massive opportunities.”

Cairnes emphasized that businesses should understand their customers and evolve accordingly; don’t listen to dogma and negative people; facilitate creativity; care more about the team than the outcome; and “build a live sandbox” to innovate, or change things when needed.

“If you disrupt yourself, you win. One of my favorite quotes by Picasso is ‘every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction,’” he said.

Williamson Inc. accomplishments

Williamson Inc. President and CEO Matt Largen outlined the accomplishments of the business community over the past year, including a successful Outlook Williamson trip to Washington, D.C., this fall to gather tips from the suburban areas on transportation, transit, housing, growth and preservation.

He also highlighted a few awards won.

Williamson County governments and Williamson Inc. were awarded the GNRC Marshall S. Stuart Memorial Award for intergovernmental cooperation because of their support of a sales tax increase referendum which passed in February, allotting much-needed funds to school capital expenses for new schools.  

Also, Williamson Inc. Director of Economic Development Elizabeth McCreary was named as a Power 100 Dealmaker by the Nashville Business Journal.

The organization also partnered with the Williamson Herald and WAKM 950-AM radio to hold 22 “Meet the Candidates” sessions broadcast on the radio and Facebook Live, which have drawn 13,000 views for the special segment.

The organization holds 200 events each year and held 42 ribbon-cuttings this year.

Largen emphasized that the success of the business community and county prosperity is due to its excellent leadership from business and government leaders. 

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