Media Room

Date: 9/27/2018


Gatlinburg, Tenn. – Recognized for his work in economic development at the local and state levels, Dr. Matthew Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, was recognized by the Tennessee Economic Development Council with its Jim Spradley Volunteer of the Year Award in Economic Development during its Fall conference held in Gatlinburg, Tenn.


Murray, who is a past chair and current member of the Blount County Industrial Development Board, joins Fred Lawson, who received the award in 1978, as the only people associated with Blount County to receive this honor.


“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” said Murray. “There are many people across the state doing outstanding work when it comes to making Tennessee a prosperous entity for recruiting and retaining the many companies that now call the Volunteer State home. Receiving this award from my peers makes it even more rewarding.”


The Jim Spradley Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to individuals who give their time and talent to further the economic progress of the state of Tennessee. Their activities and accomplishments in the field of industrial and economic development extend far beyond those necessary to satisfy the requirements of the vocation for which they are compensated.


Murray’s research and presentation, along with the diligent work of the Blount County Industrial Development Board, helped build a framework that convinced DENSO’s leadership in Japan to invest and add an additional $2 billion and create 2,000 jobs in Blount County over the past 10 years. DENSO is now one of the largest manufacturers in Tennessee with just under 6,000 employees on its campus.


He has worked closely with all three local governments (Blount County and cities of Alcoa and Maryville) on a wide range of public policy issues including economic development incentives, economic/fiscal impact analysis, tax policy analysis, education finance reform, and transportation infrastructure finance.


Murray’s work at the University of Tennessee Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research includes maintenance of the state econometric forecasting model that supports the annual Economic Report to the Governor.


Cutline: Dr. Matthew Murray accepts the Tennessee Economic Development Council’s Jim Spradley Volunteer of the Year award with Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels on Sept. 27, 2018 in Gatlinburg, Tenn.