NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Nashville is drawing so much attention as the city continues to expand, but Music City’s path to land the NFL Draft was a long one.

The beginning of this big event can be traced back decades.

It may have been bad press that got the NFL draft to Nashville this week.

“This piece inspired the business community to take action,” said Chief Economic Development Officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Courtney Ross.

A 1989 Wall Street Journal article called out Nashville for falling short.

“It was not mentioned in a positive light. It was mentioned as having unbridled growth and no strategic plan,” said Ross.

Ross said business leaders were so ticked off that one year later they had a plan.

Called Partnership 2000, the 5-year strategic growth initiative created harmony of a different kind, forming a regional partnership among the mayor’s office, Tennessee Valley Authority, Nashville chamber, businesses and the state economic development team – all committed to trumpeting Music City as a great place to do business.

Ross took News4 on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Chamber’s downtown offices, digging through drawers of old ad campaigns.

“I look back and see how far we’ve come,” said Ross. “Music has always been part of the tourism brand, also the business plan, another part of Nashville’s success.”

Fast forward 29 years and look how that plan has paid off.

“Music truly connects with everyone, gives Nashville a personality,” said Ross. “For business, that means it attracts a creative workforce, vibrant culture, great place to live and, therefore, attracts millennials who want to live and work here.”

Nissan, Bridgestone, Uber and Amazon are results of targeted courtships, according to Ross, years of “recruiting Nashville.”

“80% of the companies that will add jobs are already here,” said Ross. “Once they come here, that’s the tip of the iceberg. They will continue to add jobs.”

When it comes to who’s next on the corporate relocation front, Ross is careful not to divulge much more than that.

“Everybody benefits when we keep our mouths shut,” said Ross.

She said trust is the Chamber’s secret sauce. Rumors of relocation can rattle employees.

“We sign non-disclosures and act confidentially – agreements – it’s a really big part of our business,” said Ross. “Companies, executives, consultants have to be able to trust us and we take great pride in being able to keep confidence.”

Ironic, the city once scorned by national press not only beckons businesses near and far, but this week is the darling of the NFL.

Ross confirmed the jobs of the future will need some sort of certification or degree and technology will be driving it.

She said “everyone” will need to participate to have our workforce prepared.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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