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May 17, 2018 | Tom Ballard

Charlie Brock to leave LaunchTN CEO position, search begins for his successor

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following news release was issued yesterday by Bob Rolfe, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee and Chair of the Board of Directors of Launch Tennessee. The job description can be found here. As a former Vice Chair of the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, now known as Launch Tennessee, and a board member emeritus, I’m honored to chair the Search Committee. The list of my colleagues on the committee is at the end of this release.)

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced today that Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), will return to work in the private sector in October. Brock has served in his role since January 2013.

LaunchTN, a public-private partnership, supports entrepreneurs by focusing on early-stage capital formation, market access, commercialization resources, talent development and retention, and startup-friendly legislation.

Under Brock’s leadership, LaunchTN has built a statewide network to offer mentorship, how-to programming and capital to entrepreneurs building the companies of tomorrow. In addition, the team has developed 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival into the Southeast’s premier entrepreneurship conference, provided programming reaching entrepreneurs in 75 percent of Tennessee counties and developed startup-friendly legislation. Early-stage investment in Tennessee has increased 100 percent during this period.

“Because of Charlie and the team at LaunchTN, Tennessee entrepreneurs have been able to take advantage of the startup-friendly environment that has been fostered in our state,” Rolfe said. “More than 1,700 jobs have been created and $186 million has been raised by accelerated-assisted companies thanks to LaunchTN. Governor Haslam and I are enormously grateful to have had Charlie lead LaunchTN for the last five years, and we wish him well on his next venture.”

A Chattanooga native, Brock has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years, having focused primarily on the growth of Southeast Tennessee entrepreneurship and ecosystem development.

“My time as CEO of LaunchTN has been the most rewarding period in my professional career,” Brock said. “Working with an amazing group of colleagues and many partners across Tennessee, we’ve created a best-in-class collaborative network across the state, substantially increased the availability of and access to resources and developed national relationships that have elevated Tennessee as a great place for entrepreneurs to launch and grow a startup. This will lead to continued future job growth and economic prosperity for citizens and communities across Tennessee.”

Brock will continue to serve through early fall 2018. His successor will be announced at a later date, following a search process with a committee led by Tom Ballard, emeritus board member of Launch Tennessee.

About Launch Tennessee
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, focusing on helping entrepreneurs stay in Tennessee to build companies and create jobs. Partnering with Entrepreneur Centers in six regions and other organizations in the state, LaunchTN creates collaboration among entrepreneurs, the private sector, capital sources, institutions and government to offer entrepreneurs what they need to succeed. The five-year mission is to make Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:



The other members of the Search Committee are:

  • Ben Ferguson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), theCO, Jackson;
  • Jessica Harthcock, Founder and CEO, Utilize Health;
  • Courtney Jones, Founder and President, MomSource Network, Knoxville;
  • Marcus Shaw, CEO of CO.LAB, Chattanooga;
  • Leslie Smith, President and CEO, EPIcenter, Memphis;
  • Abby Trotter, Partner in Hall Strategies and Executive Director of Life Science Tennessee; and
  • Frank Williamson, Founder, Oaklyn Consulting, Chattanooga.

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