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Teknovation News and Notes
July 04, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | Application deadlines are rapidly approaching

ORNL presents awards to four small businesses, EPB prepares space for quantum start-ups, and Meharry Medical College Ventures names a new CEO.

From Knoxville:

  • Applications close July 9 for the inaugural 10-person cohort for Let Her Lead, the newest offering from Catherine Porth and the team at Knoxville nonprofit Let Her Speak. The two-track program is focused on women who are either aspiring leaders or those who are already recognized as established leaders. More information and a link to the application can be found in this recent article.
  • The City of Knoxville has received a $3,645,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will allow Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) to install overhead bus chargers at its downtown transit station to support battery-electric bus service and allow for an increase in the number of battery-electric buses in the fleet. The overhead chargers will keep battery-electric buses in service for up to 15 consecutive hours without replacement by enabling 20-minute charging pitstops throughout the day. The funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, and KAT was one of 130 recipients sharing nearly $1.7 billion.

From Johnson City:

Early bird and discounted tickets are now on sale for late October’s “Startup Mountain Summit” in Johnson City. Scheduled for October 25-27. For a limited time, tickets to the event that normally sell for $349 are available for only $149. Click here to purchase.

From Oak Ridge:

Four firms doing business with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) were honored with “Small Business Awards” during a ceremony last week. The companies were recognized by ORNL’s Small Business Programs Office for their specific capabilities, contributions, and strategic problem-solving that often led to cost savings for ORNL.

This year’s ORNL Small Business Awards honorees were:

  • HUBZone Small Business of the Year: Geiger Brothers, a HUBZone small business with locations in Knoxville as well as Columbus and Jackson, OH, was recognized for the company’s outstanding work in construction.
  • Small Business of the Year: Government Scientific Source, located in Reston, VA, was recognized for its quick response time and professionalism providing a variety of products through the ORNL catalog vendor system.
  • Small Business of the Year: Inovoal, an engineering and project management company located in Spring, TX, was honored for outstanding contributions to the U.S. ITER project.
  • Small Business of the Year: Kalt Manufacturing Company, a small manufacturing business located in Cleveland, OH, was recognized for support of the critical fabrication activities for the High Flux Isotope Reactor’s Beryllium Reflector Replacement project.

From Chattanooga:

  • What do you do with new vehicles that we damaged in transit and can no longer be sold to customers? In the case of Volkswagen of America and its sibling Audi of America, you donate them, and that’s what the two members of the VW family did through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The biggest beneficiaries of the 78-vehicle donation across the country are Chattanooga State Community College and the local Tennessee College of Applied Technology which received 12 of the vehicles to train future collision repair technicians. Learn more at this link.
  • The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that EPB will launch its first quantum node this month when it opens a shared workspace on the first floor of EPB headquarters in downtown Chattanooga for start-up companies and research labs to test and share quantum technologies. According to the article, the utility renovated a portion of the floor to house one of the quantum nodes and provide meeting rooms, offices, and classrooms for quantum technology companies to locate operations in Chattanooga and test out their inventions and applications.

From Cleveland:

The “Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo” will be held again this year in conjunction with the Manufacturers Excellence Luncheon of the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association. Both events will be held at the Commons at the PIE Innovation Center on August 10. The Expo is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while the luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information can be found here.

From Nashville:

  • Two years after launching Meharry Medical College Ventures (MMVC Inc.), the organization has named Reginald Holt as its new Chief Executive Officer. He’s a 24-year veteran of the technology sector, most of that time spent in healthcare but also in the banking and medical technology fields. Most recently, Holt served as the Head of Medicare Risk Adjustment Compliance with Cigna. As far as MMVC Inc., the organization describes its role as seeking “to partner with innovators and collaborators, and leverage the expertise and resources of Meharry Medical College to solve major problems in healthcare and health equity. We encourage collaborations across diseases, businesses, and industries. Our goal is to provide leaders with tools to positively impact the future of healthcare.”
  • The deadline to apply for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center‘s next “Panel & Pitch: Tech Edition” competition is July 13. Held in conjunction with the Greater Nashville Technology Council, the event will occur on August 23 where three finalists will pitch for a cash prize. Eligibility qualifications and the application can be found here.

From Washington, DC but with Tennessee Implications:

  • Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), spotlighted his visit on Monday to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in his weekly “This Week” news release distributed across the country and beyond. As noted in two articles from Tuesday’s edition of, Panchanathan was in Knoxville for two celebrations: (1) announcing a six-year, $18 million commitment from NSF to fund a new Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at UTK (see article here); and (2) launching “Team TN,” a statewide partnership led by UTK and comprised of more than 100 entities that was one of 44 recipients of a $1 million “NSF Regional Innovation Engine Development Award” (see article here)
  • Tennessee has five counties among the 82 that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) classifies as distressed, the organization’s most serious designation. They are Bledsoe, Clay, Cocke, Hancock, and Scott. Another 18 are designated as at risk, and the balance is either transitional, competitive, or have reached attainment. No Tennessee county has earned the attainment designation, and only one – Knox County – is designated as competitive. Fifty-two of the Volunteer State’s 95 counties are within the geographic boundaries of the 13-state ARC region that encompasses 423 counties. The five designation levels are used to determine the match requirements for ARC grants, as well as research topics and investment strategies targeting resources to the Region’s most distressed areas. The interactive map can be found here.

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