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March 06, 2022 | Tom Ballard

This week’s “News & Notes” features several events and big items

PYA, the power behind, will live stream the ceremony celebrating the three finalists for the second annual “Ballard Innovation Award” and announcing the grand prize winner at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Those interested in viewing the event can do so at this link. The three finalists are: (1) Cyber Dynamite, dba as PrepWizard; (2) RegScale; and (3) Winter Innovations. You can learn more about them by reading this article.

Other News from Knoxville:

  • Applications are now open for the next cohort – “22 Beta” – of the “Veterans in Residence” incubator hosted by the Knoxville Chapter of Bunker Labs. The inaugural cohort of start-ups founded by military veterans or spouses was introduced in a mid-December event and began their multi-month weekly sessions in early January. Derren Burrell says, “All business stages are welcome!” To apply, click here.
  • Speaking of Bunker Labs Knoxville, it has also announced that the next “Bunker Connect” will be held on March 29 with a presentation by Grady Vanderhoofven, President and Chief Executive Officer of Three Roots Capital. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at Next Level Brewery, 700 North Broadway. To register, click here.
  • The University of Tennessee Research Park (UTRP) posted the second episode of “Research Park Chronicles,” its monthly podcast series.  The latest edition, hosted by UTRP Vice President Rickey McCallum, is titled “The Agriculture to Academia: The Vast History of UT’s Research Park.” Here’s a link to the version on Apple podcasts.
  • The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) has announced a series of  programs this month that culminates with the “Listen. Learn. Lead. Week” that runs from March 28 through April 1. The calendar lists 11 events ahead of the March 31 presentation by Jonathan Haidt, the “2022 Baker Distinguished Lecturer.” He is a social psychologist and a Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University and the author of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. Haidt’s speech will begin at 5:30 p.m. that day in UTK’s Student Union Auditorium.

From Oak Ridge:

We first reported in our January 10 edition of that Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC): (1) had executed a license with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a novel method to 3D print components for nuclear reactors; and (2) planned to expand its operations into East Tennessee. Last Wednesday, State of Tennessee officials and corporate executives announced that USNC will invest $17 million in its Pilot Fuel Manufacturing facility at the Heritage Center (former K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant site) and create 31 new jobs over the next five years.

The Seattle-based company, which is privately-funded and American-owned and controlled, is a global leader in the deployment of micro reactors and a strong vertical integrator of nuclear power technologies. Today, the company employs more than 150 people across its operations in Canada, France, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

USNC issued a more detailed press release that can be found here.

From Harriman:

Roane State Community College’s nationally recognized cyber defense department has received a $250,000 grant to develop training for businesses that will help protect digital components of next-generation machine tools and manufacturing processes. The funding is part of a $5 million grant awarded to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to address machine tool vulnerabilities. That initiative is officially known as the Southeastern Advanced Machine Tools Network, or SEAMTN. To learn more, read the Roane State news release (Roane State Cyber Defense).

From Chattanooga:

  • A $1.5 million gift from the Jack and Charlotte Frost Family Foundation will establish a new “Frost Family Investment Fund” at UT Chattanooga that will: (1) support the “Veterans Entrepreneurship Alumni Program”; and (2) provide skills and support for start-up businesses in underserved areas and create undergraduate scholarships focused exclusively on supporting students across the campus who are either military veterans themselves, the children of veterans, the children of first responders or currently enrolled in ROTC. Click here to learn more.
  • Austin Corcoran has been named as Director of Special Projects at CO.LAB. He’s a native Texan who moved to Chattanooga seven years ago after living in Austin. Corcoran earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Bryan College. Among his outside activities are serving as President of the Rotaract Club of Chattanooga; board member on the Chattanooga Technology Council; and active volunteer with United Way of Greater Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain Conservancy, Chambliss Center for Children, and the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Chattanooga.
  • Nominations and applications are now open for the 2022-23 cohorts of Protégé, the team-based mentoring program for administered by Young Professionals of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. It is a nine-month, team-based program in which early and mid-career professionals learn from seasoned local executives, and each other. The program offers applicants two cohorts – day or evening  made up of 12 future leaders each. Applications will be accepted until March 31 at this link.

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