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Teknovation News and Notes
January 08, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | First week highlights from 2023

Everything from ORNL's Interim Director to a series of surveys

From Oak Ridge:

Jeff Smith, who retired as Deputy Director for Operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in November 2021 after 21 years in that role, is now back at the lab, this time as Interim Lab Director. He succeeds Thomas Zacharia who retired at the end of 2022. In mid-September, Smith assumed the role of Interim Vice President for Research at the University of Tennessee (UT) System following the departure of Stacey Patterson. He told us at Friday’s weekly meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council that he is no longer serving in that interim role at UT.

From Oak Ridge-Knoxville:

The next “Innovation Crossroads Founder’s Forum” is set for 3 to 5 p.m. January 19 at Smoky Mountain Brewery, 11308 Parkside Drive, Knoxville. The featured speaker is Corey Tyree, Chief Executive Officer of Trillium Renewable Chemicals, a start-up we spotlighted in this early December article after it announced more than $13 million in funding via a Series A round and an award from the U.S. Department of Energy. No registration is required.

From Maryville:

The Sky City Entrepreneur Center is seeking 12 participants for the next edition of its CO.STARTERS program. Classes start on March 8 and continue from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays for three months. Cost is $100 per participants. For more information, click here.

From Chattanooga:

  • In an email post celebrating the New Year, The Enterprise Center in Chattanooga had some specific reasons for celebrating. The organization announced that it grew from a team of 12 at the beginning of 2022 to a team of more than 30. “We’re grateful for every partner and person who helped make our many programs possible,” The Enterprise Center wrote.
  • Seoul Robotics, the company powering smart 3D infrastructure solutions, announced on Wednesday that it is expanding its partnership with the Chattanooga Department of Innovation Delivery and Performance and the Center of Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the smart city and urbanization research center. The expansion will result in 86 new smart city intersections – the largest urban Internet of Things deployment of its kind in the U.S. Funding for the $4.5 million endeavor comes from the the U.S. Department of Transportation. Intersections will be installed throughout 2023 and 2024, and once finalized, the City of Chattanooga will capture more than 100 intersections covering the entire downtown area. Click here to learn more.

From Cookeville:

  • The Biz Foundry has announced that the winter session of its “Start Up Your Start-up” program begins February 13 and ends March 9. The cohort will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. CST on Mondays and Thursdays at 114 North Cedar Avenue. Interested in applying? If so, click here.
  • TennBEAT, a new Nashville-based online newsfeed that just popped on our radar, posted this article about the phenomenal growth at Arvo since the company launched its do-it-yourself document design platform nearly a year ago. We posted this article in mid-March where Co-Founder Alane Boyd said the start-up “is helping build company knowledge back.” Along with Micah Johnson, her husband, the two Co-Founders have seen sales soar more than 400 percent with customers in almost every state and three continents, according to the TennBEAT article.

From Jonesborough:

L3Harris Technologies has announced a $4.7 billion deal to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings. Among the facilities being acquired is a manufacturing operation in Jonesborough. After the deal closes, L3Harris will have more than 50,000 employees on staff, including more than 5,200 workers on the payroll at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Surveys, surveys and more surveys:

  • The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is seeking input from local residents on “how we as a community got where we are today, where we want to go from here, and what it will take to get there.” If you want to respond, click here.
  • Chattanooga’s CO.LAB is seeking input from readers of its newsletter named The Engine. Those interested in sharing their thoughts can do so at this link.
  • To continue prospering and opening doors of opportunity to all, the Chattanooga Area Chamber is seeking local input on what should be city’s top areas of focus and investment over the next five years. The brief survey asks every resident to share their dreams, concerns and opinions about Chattanooga’s future. The information will be used to drive an update to the Chamber’s strategic plan as described in this news release (Chattanooga Chamber Launches Climbs HIgher Public Opinion Survey).


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