By Robert Beeland, Kurt DeLay, and Joseph Marasciullo
A January 30 report published by Middle Tennessee State University described booming levels of economic confidence among Tennessee business leaders following the election of Donald Trump. Locally, the arrival of Trump to the White House has given many businesses a renewed sense of hope in the face of recent tough times, including at the Sherwood Mining Company.
In Monty Adams’s time at the Sherwood Mining Company, layoffs and lost business have forced the company to change direction. After the loss of a contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Sherwood Mining Company decided to move focus away from the coarse scrubber stone they sold to the TVA and towards a finer grain of limestone that Adams, a mine administrator, believes is still in demand.
However, a sense of urgency is still felt by those at the Sherwood Mining Company. The recent arrival of a Belgian mining company Lhoist, whose capacities for underground limestone mining dwarf the Sherwood Mining Company’s, has made the future viability of the Sherwood Mining Company uncertain. “We’re living on borrowed time,” Adams said in an interview.
Nonetheless, the Tennessee Business Barometer report, written by the MTSU Jones College of Business in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, revealed, “The vast majority (73 percent) of Tennessee business leaders expect Donald Trump’s election to have a positive effect on the American economy resulting from reduced taxes and decreased regulation.” Promises made by Trump during his campaign regarding attention that is needed in the mining industry across rural Appalachia resonated with the larger Franklin County community, in which over 70% of votes in the 2016 election were placed for Trump.