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February 20, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Tom Rogers named President and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Cherokee Farm Development Corporation has named a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Tom Rogers, a long-time player in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge economic development community, assumes the reins of the organization charged with marketing and developing the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park on March 1. He succeeds Cliff Hawks who stepped down from the role in January (see our post).

Rogers has been Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) since I recruited him to the position in 2008 during my tenure there. Prior to that, he had served as President and CEO of Technology 2020, an Oak Ridge-based venture development organization, for about 13 years; head of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce; and an executive with TVA.

For a portion of his tenure at Technology 2020, Rogers also served as Executive Director of the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, the successor to Launch Tennessee. He’s active in the Innov865 Alliance and teaches entrepreneurship in UT’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

“Tom has a track record of building strong organizations with lasting public-private partnerships,” Stacey Patterson, UT Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Outreach, said in a news release. “His knowledge of ORNL and UT is extensive, and he has a vast network of colleagues locally and across the state with whom he can collaborate.”

The newly named CEO will assume the position March 1 and split his time between the lab and UT while helping onboard cohort three of ORNL’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative.

Rogers called me earlier this week with the embargoed news. Having known him for 25 years and also having chaired the Search Committee that recruited him for the Technology 2020 position, I could tell how excited he was about the new opportunity.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the University’s vision for the Cherokee Farm property and look forward to working with many people throughout our community to help companies and organizations gain access to the unique talent that resides at the University of Tennessee and its partner ORNL,” he said in the news release.

The UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm is billed as “the Southeast’s only research and development park where the resources of a major research university and a leading national laboratory are combined with globally recognized researchers expressly for the benefit of tenants.” The campus is a high-profile, 188-acre site between Alcoa Highway and the Tennessee River. There is one privately-developed building housing several companies and the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. In total, the campus has 77 developable acres and includes 16 building sites that support approximately 1.6 million square feet of development.

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