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Weekend edition April 29, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

SOAR award, an acquisition, and a new product launch headline this week’s 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

Local Lab and Stephenson family recognized with SOAR award

Materials and Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Oak Ridge, along with company President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Stephenson, and his wife Lucy Stephenson, have been recognized by the Tennessee Board of Regents for the many years of work with and support for Roane State Community College. The company, the Stephensons, and the college were recipients of one of 12 “Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition” (SOAR) awards, specifically for their partnership that included creation of the college’s innovative “Lab-in-a-Box” program that provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics kits and lesson plans to local classrooms. Separately, Knoxvillian Danni Varlan, a 12-year member of the Board of Regents – governing body of the system – was named “Volunteer of the Year” for her years of service as a member of the Board of Regents representing the 2nd Congressional District; as a board member of the Foundation of the College System of Tennessee; for being a mentor; and for her work at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Hempitecture closing its Wefunder crowdfunding round today.

Hempitecture Inc., the Idaho-headquartered company that is participating in Cohort 5 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will close its Wefunder round tonight. The start-up specializes in hemp building materials, and Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Tommy Gibbons reports the round is capped at $5 million with nearly $4.4 firm commitments.

PerfectServe’s AnesthesiaGo sees quick wins after acquisition

PerfectServe® finalized an agreement in January to launch AnesthesiaGo, which creates daily operating room case schedules. PerfectServe is a provider of cloud-based clinical collaboration and provider scheduling solutions. According to a news release, AnesthesiaGo is the only solution on the market that auto-generates using a rules-based algorithm. It drastically reduces schedule creation time, promotes transparency for all surgical staff, improves OR resource utilization, and helps prevent cases being delayed or canceled because of errors.

“From the moment we learned about AnesthesiaGo, we were taken by the sophistication and intuitiveness of the technology, impressed with the real-world results, and more than a little excited about its potential impact,” said PerfectServe CEO Guillaume Castel. “As we’ve engaged in conversations with customers and prospects, all of these feelings have consistently been reinforced by a strong appetite in the market to banish dated OR case scheduling processes.”

Learn more here.

Magnum Venus Products launches Accurate Coatings Equipment

Magnum Venus Products (MVP), a manufacturer of fluid movement and production solutions for industrial applications, has launched Accurate Coatings Equipment (ACE). The new product is a plural component coatings system developed for wood finishes and sealers. The system will reduce waste and increase production output by eliminating the manual mixing process, according to a news release.

“We have come full circle with the launch of the ACE System,” says Scott Andrews, Vice President of Commercialization for MVP. “We realized the demand for a mid-tier coating application system, and we believe ACE is a simple, cost-effective solution which will enable manufacturers to create higher quality products more efficiently.”

Read more here.

Business Changes

Two more restaurants have announced their closures. Po’ Richards, a sandwich restaurant featured in the original line up of the Marble City Market at Regus Square, closed earlier this week. The business was open in the space for just over five months.

Hen Hoc, a butcher shop which opened in Old City during the early stages of the pandemic, also announced it would be closing. Hen Hoc is operated by the same people who run the Oli Bea restaurant. The owner told Inside of Knoxville that during the pandemic when less people were eating in restaurants, the butcher shop did well. But as people are returning to their pre-pandemic lives, restaurants are becoming more popular again and business at Hen Hoc began to decline. Read more about both closures in this article from Inside of Knoxville.

New Hires and Promotions

The Christman Company has hired Randy Vicars as a Superintendent in the firm’s Knoxville office. Vicars has been working as a superintendent for various companies since 2007. Most recently, he worked with Mitch Cox Companies in Johnson City.

“Randy has a great breadth of experience with large, multi-million-dollar projects and the skills to deliver them safely, on time and within budget,” said Marty Gibbs, Senior Vice President and General Manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville. “With knowledge of the types of projects we undertake in our region, including experience in LEED-certified projects, he is an asset to our team and clients.”

Altar’d State, recently announced two promotions and a new hire. The women’s retail company hired Cristina Ceresoli as Chief Marketing Officer for Altar’d State, AS Revival and Tullabee. The fashion company also promoted Dana Seguin to Brand President of Arula and Nicole Sewall to Senior Vice President of Vow’d. Seguin and Sewall have more than 40 years combined experience in fashion and retail according to a news release.

“I’m looking forward to applying my omni-channel experience to grow brand awareness and sales at Altar’d State,” said Ceresoli. “Working for a purpose-driven company with strong female leaders like Dana and Nicole is a dream come true.”

Read more here.

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