New ‘vision statement’ highlights Town’s 4-hour Turkey Creek retreat

Town of Farragut leaders broke into groups during a four-hour retreat in Turkey Creek Medical Center Tuesday, July 25. In one group, from left, Alderman Ron Williams, Mayor Ralph McGill, Public Works director Bud McKelvey and Parks and Leisure director Sue Stuhl teamed up to discuss critical success factors regarding the Town’s workforce.
Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Town of Farragut’s management sat down to revisit the Town’s vision and mission in a four-hour retreat.

The Board joined Town administrator David Smoak, assistant Town administrator Gary Palmer, Town recorder Allison Myers, Community Development director Mark Shipley, Public Works director Bud McKelvey, Parks & Leisure Services director Sue Stuhl and Human Resources manager Janet Curry for the retreat, facilitated by Julia Novak, president of The Novak Consulting Group, in Turkey Creek Medical Center Tuesday, July 25.

Smoak said the Town hired The Novak Group to assist with the Town’s strategic planning efforts.

The group came up with a vision statement, “Farragut — a home, a destination, a connected community that lives closer and goes further.”

However, Mayor Ralph McGill questioned adding the Town’s branding slogan, “live closer, go further.”

“How many people know what you’re talking about when you say ‘live closer and go further?’” McGill added.

Novak suggested asking residents what it means to to them.

“It means different things to different people,” Alderman Bob Markli said.

“It is part of your brand,” Novak said. “You’re using it in your logo and stuff. I think sticking with it is important.” McGill said, “I think the words [of the vision statement] are settled. I guess they will serve us well.”

The group also looked at several critical success factors: “Providing excellent parks, recreation, cultural amenities and programs; advancing a high-quality-built environment; promoting a convenient retail and services destination; enhancing the Town’s financial positions; building and maintaining the Town’s infrastructure and assets and supporting and caring for a committed workforce.”

“Right now, you have to be comfortable walking out of the door with a draft that the community gets to give input on,” Novak said.

The next step is to “take [the vision statement] out to the community and see what kind of response you get or ideas you get,” she

added. “We’ll get input and tweak [the vision statement] based on that input.”

“I’m encouraged by the direction [of the retreat],” Smoak said. “So now, it’s our job to check in with the community.”

The participants said they were excited with the day’s results.

“I love this stuff,” Palmer

said. “This is great for me. I

love getting this stuff down and memorizing it.”

“I particularly like the way

the Board and staff got to get together and do this,” McKelvey said. “It gives a broader vision.”

“I like the interaction,” Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok said. “I think the process was great.”

“It’s good to revisit these things,” Shipley said.

Alderman Louise Povlin saw the need for the retreat, she said, “because I am vested and I want to see us grow and continue to grow when all of us [current Board members and staff] are gone.”

“I’m impressed with the ideas and free flow of thoughts,”

Markli said about the retreat. “It’s renewed my confidence in the staff.”

The group is scheduled to meet again Saturday, Sept. 16, for a similar session.