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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
January 06, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Hawks steps down after six years leading Cherokee Farm Development Corporation

Cliff Hawks, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, has stepped down after six years leading the organization that was formed to help develop The University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park at Cherokee Farm.

The high-visibility property formerly served as a dairy farm for the university and now houses the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM), a world-class research facility that is one of four built to strengthen ties between UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

More recently, the Innovation North Building, a private development, opened on the site. That facility houses Arkis BioSciences, AUBO Robotics USA, Civil & Environmental Consultants, and University Health System divisions for Internet Technologies and Heart Lung Vascular Data Research and Management.

“Cliff Hawks understood our vision for the research park and helped launch this important venture,” said Stacey Patterson, UT Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development. “We want to thank him for his service to the university and especially his work in bringing private industry to the research park.”

A new leader for Cherokee Farm Development Corporation is expected to be named in the first quarter of 2019.

Hawks came to Knoxville in November 2012 after more than 20 years of experience in local government, politics and economic development in the Nashville area. The Research Park today houses a number of industry partners in the Innovation North Building.

“Our primary goal was to develop public-private partnerships that build relationships with the technology resources in our region to create breakthroughs in diverse fields,” Hawks said. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish. The foundation has been set, and I look forward to seeing new partners come on board in the future.”

The UT Research Park is the first in the U.S. to house a world-class materials science research facility for its tenants – JIAM. The $56-million, 140,000-square-foot facility offers unparalleled advanced research capabilities, including polymer labs and advanced microscopy. The UT Research Park provides access to some of the most powerful tools available in materials science and high-performance computing, along with internationally renowned researchers at UT and ORNL.


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