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Weekend edition May 06, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

PooPrints expansion and new hires lead this weekend’s business roundup

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region. If you have some business news that you would like to be included in Teknovation Weekend, please email us at

PooPrints dog DNA identification platform expands to the United Kingdom

PooPrints announced last week that it would be expanding the rollout of its premiere platform to 10 additional build-to-rent (BTR) communities in the United Kingdom. PooPrints, a commercial DNA pet waste and pet management identification company headquartered in Knoxville, now has more than 6,000 BTR communities internationally. The program helps promote responsible pet ownership, and the company has more than 600,000 dogs in its DNA database. Learn more about PooPrints (then BioPet Laboratories) in this article.

“Our program operates in thousands of BTR communities across the world and we’re receiving an average of 300 waste samples each day,” said J. Retinger, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PooPrints. “With more pet owners choosing to live in BTR communities and operators allowing pets onsite, we don’t anticipate it slowing down anytime soon. We understand that most pet owners are responsible and clean up after their pet, we simply offer a proactive measure that will effectively address the issue on a larger scale.”

Learn more in this news release.

New Hires

San Francisco-based Xcell Biosciences Inc. (Xcellbio) has hired Shannon Eaker as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Eaker received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Xcellbio works in automation and instrumentation with a focus on cell therapy manufacturing. A news release from the company said Eaker would be responsible for instrument and software development strategy and the commercial delivery of its innovative commercial platforms.

“Shannon’s expertise in cell and gene therapy manufacturing will be especially useful as we seek to deepen our collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies developing these potentially lifesaving therapies,” said Brian Feth, CEO of Xcellbio.

Ministry Brands announced last week that it had brought on a new Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Chris Bacon will be the new COO and will guide strategic growth and cross-functional alignment to support Ministry Brands’ mission of advancing faith-based organizations through technology, according to a news release. Holly McGiboney will help the company continue to foster employee growth and support team expansion as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

“Chris Bacon and Holly McGiboney are filling critical roles that will enhance our ability to rally around innovation as a unified team and drive digital engagement forward for our ministry partners,” said Pat O’Donnell, CEO of Ministry Brands. “We look forward to their combined experience and expertise supporting the growth of the company, our customers, and associates.”

UScellular Head of Broadband Opportunities and Policy named 2022 Outstanding Marketing Professional

UScellular’s Tom Catani was honored as the 2022 Outstanding Marketing Professional by the American Marketing Association Knoxville. The 32nd Annual Honors Ceremony was held on May 4 at Bridgewater Place. Earlier this year, interviewed Catani on the importance of 5G in the digital divide. You can read the article here.

Business Changes

Olde Virden’s Artisanal Food Market will close this month, according to an article from Inside of Knoxville. Owners Allyson and Chris Virden had hoped foot traffic from the new stadium would increase business, but after the construction project recently announced a delay, they realized they couldn’t keep waiting. The Virdens also own a pepper company of the same name (many of the pepper products were carried at the market) and Mid Mod Market. Both of those businesses continue to do well, according to the article. Learn more here.

Gatlinburg-based Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has opened a new gallery on Gay Street. The space also connects to the history of Gay Street’s viaduct, according to an article from Inside of Knoxville. When the original viaduct was built more than 100 years ago, the street was raised one level in order to meet it. This left an underground story, much of which is not accessible but is now partially used to hold the Arrowmont Gallery space. Learn more here.

Public comments due next month for SBA proposal to expand eligibility in manufacturing for federal contracting and loan programs

The proposal from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) would revise the employee-based small business size standards for businesses in the nine sectors of the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The changes would increase eligibility for small businesses in the SBA’s federal contracting and loan programs. Public comments on the changes are due by June 27.

According to a release from the SBA, the changes will enable more mid-sized businesses to regain small business status, as well as allowing small businesses to retain that status for a longer period.

Learn more about these changes or submit a comment here.

AdvanceKnox program open for public comment through May 10

Advance Knox has been an 18-month process to create an integrated land use and transportation plan for Knox County. Archived meetings and resources are available on the Advance Knox website. The County has been seeking public input throughout the process, and people can continue to provide thought until May 10. Learn more here.

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