Just who is behind the quarry proposal? The application materials list "East Tennessee Materials, LLC" as the official applicant. But it also lists "Calhoun Materials, LLC" as the group who paid for studies a few years ago. The application also mistakenly lists "Avenrock, LLC" as the applicant (as if old plans were hastily copied/pasted from a previous application). We know Ross Tarver bought the property for just over $3 million dollars from Bowater. And before that, it was owned by Portland Cement (who, for some reason, never tried to develop a quarry).
The spokesperson is an investment banker named Tim Townhill from New York (or maybe Philadelphia) who says he works for "East Tennessee Materials, LLC" but lists his address in Cleveland, TN (which is actually a lawyer's office). Turns out Townhill is a British investment hedge fund manager and Executive Vice President for a company called "VantaCore Partners, LP." VantaCore is a subsidiary of Kayne Anderson Energy Development Company (got that?)
Looks like VantaCore is essentially a hedge fund that is more interested in turning profits than protecting McMinn County. It appears VantaCore's parent company also does oil and gas drilling; refineries; and coal mining and processing (an environmental tri-fecta, if you will).
VantaCore has virtually no experience in rock quarries. They bought a sand plant in Louisiana 2 years ago, and kept all 15 of the existing employees; and bought a rock quarry in Clarksville 2 years ago and kept those employees as well.
What does all this tell us? It tells us this company is brand new to the quarry business. Either they are going to flip it and sell it to the highest bidder, or they are going to try to operate this quarry themselves. Their application said they will employ 10 full time people. How many will come from McMinn County?
The rumor is brothers Thomas and Steve Williams will operate at least part of the asphalt plant and the cement plant, but we don't know for sure.