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Knoxville Area Urban League’s ‘matchmaking’ event draws 100+ people to pair disadvantaged businesses with stadium project

August 31, 2021

More than 100 people attended the Knoxville Area Urban League’s networking session for disadvantaged, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to explore construction opportunities connected to the proposed multi-use stadium development near downtown.

The “matchmaking” event, held in partnership with GEM Community Development Group, was open to pre-registered people who own or work for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).

Contractors, subcontractors and related businesses learned about the project and discussed bid opportunities. Participants also met Steve Davis, president of GEM Community Development Group, and Frank Rothermel, president of Denark Construction, the selected construction management firm.

Community and project leaders attended the Aug. 30 event including Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League; Doug Kirchhofer, CEO of Boyd Sports; Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon; and Kevin Matherly, director of project development at Partners Development.

“Connecting contractors in the community with this $200 million, multi-year project of public and private development is the opportunity of a lifetime for many of the people we serve,” Nichols said. “I am appreciative of GEM Community Development Group’s investment and its commitment to helping the underserved secure economic self-reliance.”

The proposed $80.5 million, publicly funded stadium, situated on the edge of the Old City, will be surrounded by more than $100 million in private development led by GEM Community Development Group.

“I urge anyone who is interested but couldn’t attend to contact us,” Nichols said. “This project has the potential to transform East Knoxville. We want Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities to get involved.”

Visit or call Terrence Carter, vice president of workforce and economic development at the Knoxville Area Urban League, at 865-524-5511 for more information.

About the Knoxville Area Urban League

Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, call 865-524-5511 or visit