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November 07, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Speaker call for “Codestock” conference heads this week’s “News & Notes”

Organizers of Knoxville’s annual “CodeStock” conference have announced that the “Call for Speakers” for the 2022 conference closes this Friday. The annual event for technical professionals, postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, is scheduled as an in-person event on April 7 and 8. “We are looking for sessions across all genres of technology and from first-time speakers to pros,” the organizing committee wrote in a recent email.

“CodeStock” was created to educate, inspire, and connect the technology community. There are 15 topic-specific sessions already planned for the event at the Knoxville Convention Center plus the opportunity to suggest a topic that is not listed. To do so, click here for more information.

Other “News and Notes” from last week include these:

  • Matthew Cummings and his Knoxville-based Pretentious Glass Company were spotlighted last week in a feature story in The Wall Street Journal. The headline said it all: “Entrepreneur Used Etsy to Turn a Side Business into a Full-Time Job.” The article, which you might not be able to read it without a subscription, describes how Cummings launched the company nine years ago and generated sales of $750,000 in 2020, double his 2019 numbers.
  • Tommy Nguyen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of StoragePug, was featured as last week’s cover article in the Knoxville edition of The Ledger. StoragePug is a national software company that enables storage facility customers to rent, sign leases and pay for space online.
  • Mike Paulus, Director of Technology Transfer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), will speak at 12 noon tomorrow (November 9) on “ORNL’s top ten technology commercialization successes.” It’s a virtual event hosted by the “Friends of ORNL” organization. To watch, click here.
  • Wade Creswell, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Roane Alliance and more recently ORNL’s Community Relations Manager, has been named Director of Development for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
  • The Chattanooga Times Free Press has cast the spotlight on Chattanooga’s CO.LAB and another article on Mike Bradshaw, its former Executive Director who is now the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. If you are not a subscriber to the CTFP, you might have trouble accessing the article on CO.LAB and the one on Bradshaw. We posted an interview with Lindsey Cox, CO.LAB’s new leader, soon after her arrival in Chattanooga (click here) and Bradshaw right after the announcement of his appointment (click here).
  • Mployer Advisor, a Nashville-based platform for employers to research, review and evaluate insurance brokers, raised $1.6 million in seed funding in a round led by Martin Ventures. The company intends to use the funds to deploy new features on its platform, hire additional leadership roles and expand its insurance broker and carrier network.
  • The Columbus Partnership announced earlier this year that Alex Fischer was stepping down at the end of 2021 after serving as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) for 13 years. A former Deputy Governor and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee, Fischer was also Director of Technology Transfer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. According to this news release, Fischer transformed the Columbus Partnership from a small group of CEOs to a more diverse group of civic-minded business leaders now recognized as a model for how to engage the private sector in advancement of the community.
  • Bite Ninja, a Memphis-based tech start-up focused on improving remote work for restaurants, closed $4 million seed funding round that was led by Owl Ventures with participation from AgFunder, Manta Ray and TRAC Unicorn Fund. The company intends to use the funds to grow the team and meet demand from its customer base. Bite Ninja creates efficiency and workforce support at restaurants by tapping into their pool of highly trained remote waitstaff. The company’s team of Ninjas works from a location of their choice and appear on-screen to customers at menu boards in drive-throughs or counters.

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