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January 25, 2024 | Tom Ballard

TEAM TN announces leadership changes

Marc Gibson becomes Acting Chief Executive Officer, while Kevin Heaslip continues as Principal Investigator but shifts to Chief Operating Officer.

As TEAM TN prepares its proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) later this year for a Type-2 “Regional Innovation Engines” award that could amount to as much as $160 million, Kevin Heaslip, Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Principal Investigator (PI) for the initiative, announced changes to the leadership team on Thursday. He said the changes will maximize Tennessee’s potential to win an award by concentrating team member roles on their strengths and areas of expertise.

  • Heaslip will continue as PI, transition to Chief Operating Officer, and lead the Use Inspired Research and Development (R&D) Working Group. This move allows him to concentrate on leading the development of a competitive Type II proposal and managing the Use Inspired R&D Working Group deliverables and members.
  • Marc Gibson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, assumes the role of Acting CEO. He will be responsible for assembling the TEAM TN ecosystem of partners and strengthening the organization’s leadership team. Gibson, who has a more than 14-year relationship history with TEAM TN stakeholders and investors, will help: (1) foster partnerships across industry, academia, government, nonprofit organizations, and communities; (2) mobilize a statewide coalition that advances new technologies and establishes Tennessee as an innovation hub; and (3) stimulate economic growth and job creation.
  • Mina Sartipi, the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) at UT at Chattanooga, remains the Co-PI and a key member of the Use Inspired R&D working group. She will focus her engagement with TEAM TN on providing subject matter expertise in the area of data-driven solutions to “smart city” mobility challenges.

As noted in this June 26 article, TEAM TN, under the leadership of UT, Knoxville, was one of 44 recipients of a $1 million “NSF Regional Innovation Engine Development Award.” The TEAM TN name comes from the focus on the Volunteer State and TEAM which is an acronym for “Technology Enabled Advanced Mobility.” The goal is to place Tennessee in the vanguard of transportation electrification and digitization while reducing reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and creating a more equitable transportation system.

The $1 million award, known officially as a Type-1 project, facilitated the process of convening stakeholders and partners to prepare for the much, much larger opportunity from a funding perspective.

On January 30 and 31, the first-ever TEAM TN Summit will be held at Wacker Commons, located at the PIE Innovation Center in Cleveland. The agenda for the first day involves a number of speakers with day two’s morning focused on working groups.

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