Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
January 02, 2022 | Tom Ballard

News is made, even during holiday periods, as our two-week wrap-up shows

We’re capturing two weeks worth of “News & Notes” in today’s roundup, so it will be longer than normal.

From Oak Ridge:

Appointments of two senior leadership executives at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) were announced over the holidays.

  • Susan Hubbard, an acclaimed scientific leader and researcher, has been named Deputy for Science and Technology. Her appointment is effective March 1.
  • Moe Khaleel, Deputy Laboratory Director for Projects for nearly two years and Interim Deputy for for Science and Technology for the past 12 months, has been selected to lead the National Security Sciences Directorate.
Susan Hubbard

Hubbard joins ORNL from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she most recently served as Associate Laboratory Director of Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, leading efforts to find solutions to sustainably meet the water, energy, critical mineral, environmental quality and food needs of a growing population. In addition to her current role, she is a Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab and a full professor adjunct in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California at Berkeley.

In a news release issued last week announcing her appointment, ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said, “Dr. Hubbard brings skilled and passionate leadership that will enable world-leading impact across our portfolio. She is a true champion of the DOE mission, the National Laboratory System and our responsibility to leverage powerful user facilities and multidisciplinary teams in the national interest.”

Moe Khaleel

Before coming to ORNL, Khaleel held a variety of technical and senior leadership positions at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, building capabilities in visual data analysis and high-performance, data-intensive computing for national security, energy and scientific discovery.

“Moe’s impact since coming to ORNL in 2015 reflects his passion for the Laboratory, its missions and our commitment to solving the most difficult scientific and technical challenges,” Zacharia said. “We are fortunate to have a scientific leader of his caliber to steward our national security mission.”

From Knoxville:

  • The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) will begin accepting applications for the 2022 edition of its annual “What’s the Big Idea Pitch Competition” on January 12. In its weekly email, KEC advised individuals to “put your thinking caps on, and be ready to submit your big idea!”
  • Cortney Piper, Executive Director and Vice President of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, issued a yearend blogpost outlining major milestones in the sector as well as accomplishments for the member-based organization. You can find her thoughts here.

From Johnson City: 

  • In an email blast before the holidays, the team at FoundersForge in Johnson City announced that the “Founders Meetup” will return the second Thursday of every month at 12 noon EST at ActionVFX’s offices, “Pitch Night” will be the fourth Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. EST at Spark Plaza, and “TriDev” will be the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. and again at Spark Plaza. Here’s a link to the email.
  • Terrence (TJ) O’Neil, Founder of Johnson City-based HD Clean LLC, posted on social media that “2022 promises to be an exciting year in my efforts to develop a simple, robust safety device for patients on hemodialysis with a catheter.  The work to develop a folio of patents for IP protection is done, as is the first round of 3D-printed demonstration prototypes.” He added that the company has been granted “Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business status,” MRC Global will be initiating conversations with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the company’s behalf, and PROTOLABS of Maple Plain, MN will be creating a prototype polymer injection mold to create pre-production prototypes for testing and further evaluation. “All of this is possible thanks to an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase I contract from AFWERX, the Air Force’s vehicle for accelerating the development of technology that may enhance DoD’s mission,” O’Neil continued.

From Cookeville:

The Biz Foundry announced that applications are now open for the Winter 2022 session of “Startup Your Startup.” In an email, the organization wrote, “We ask for businesses to apply because we want to fill the program with participants that are at a place in their business that our team can most help.  Once you apply we’ll follow up with you to schedule a FREE consultation and then email you to let you know if you’ll be joining us February 14th.”

The fee for “Start Up Your Startup” is $149 for the full program, which includes course materials and a co-working membership for the duration of the program. The next cohort will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. CST starting February 14 and ending March 9.

From Oak Ridge Again:

  • Kairos Power issued an end-of-year email summarizing major accomplishments for the now five-year old enterprise. Those included achievements for its new Oak Ridge operation: (1) the November 30 acceptance by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the company’s construction permit application for the Hermes Demonstration Reactor; (2) execution of a cooperative development agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide defined engineering, operations, and licensing services for Hermes; and (3) “big strides with help from our friends at Oak Ridge National Lab.” Kairos Power is investing $100 million and creating 55 jobs as part of a major effort to deploy a low-power demonstration reactor by 2026. The demonstration reactor is a scaled version of the start-up’s Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), an advanced reactor technology that aims to be cost competitive with natural gas in the U.S. electricity market in order to provide carbon-free, affordable, and safe energy.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration has acquired the LeMond Carbon Facility in Oak Ridge to house development activities at the Y-12 National Security Complex that are currently conducted in facilities built in the 1940s. It’s the same building that once housed Theragenics, a global leader in the manufacture of radioactive brachytherapy seeds for the treatment of localized cancers, primarily prostate cancer. LeMond purchased the facility more than five years ago with grand plans as described in this October 2016 article.

From Nashville:

Tod Fetherling
  • Global professional services firm Huron announced days before Christmas that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Perception Health Inc., a healthcare predictive analytics company based in Nashville and focused on bringing data sources together to illuminate opportunities for improved clinical and business decision-making. As described in a news release, “Huron’s deep healthcare expertise, technology and analytics capabilities combined with Perception Health’s analytics, predictive models and data platform will strengthen the firm’s ability to help providers uncover patterns of care to lower costs, improve patient outcomes and deliver a better healthcare experience.” Perception Health was founded by Tod Fetherling, a well-known Nashville entrepreneur who also headed the Greater Nashville Technology Council (GNTC) at one time.
  • Speaking of the GNTC, the organization has announced the three finalists in each category for its 13th annual awards event scheduled for February 17. Click here to see the listing.

From Nashville but with Statewide Implications:

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) is celebrating a record-breaking year in 2021 with nearly $13 billion in capital investment and roughly 34,500 job commitments. Among the 130 landed projects, Tennessee welcomed a host of new companies to the state including Oracle, Ford Motor Company, and Smith & Wesson.

In an email blast, the Department noted, “From automotive, to advanced manufacturing, to headquarters relocations, the companies that chose to locate or expand in our state contributed to a multitude of Tennessee’s thriving industries. In addition, Tennessee was recognized by Business Facilities magazine as one of the three “2021 States of the Year” along with the title of “Best Dealmaker State.”

About the time the TNECD email was released, we also came across this article from WRAL TechWire touting the accomplishments of our neighboring state to the east. North Carolina had a record year with 23,748 new jobs and $10 billion in capital investment, but those numbers were considerably below what Tennessee reported.

Here’s a summary of the accomplishments the Department was touting.

From Birmingham:

The Alabama Capital Network (ACN), founded four years ago, is assuming oversight and operational responsibility over the three-decade old Birmingham Venture Club (BVC). Prior to the arrangement that began January 1, the club had been its own entity with its own governing body. According to the article, membership and activities in each group will remain distinct, but ACN staff will assume control of BVC operations and fold both organizations into a single non-profit organization, led by ACN Chief Executive Officer Joshua Jones, and governed by the ACN Board of Directors. Click here to learn more.

Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!