Strata-G CEO & Founder Dan Hurst receives Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award

March 5, 2020

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) awarded Dan Hurst, CEO and Founder of Knoxville-based Strata-G, with the annual Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award during TAEBC’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award that’s associated with Tom Ballard’s name. Tom has been a good friend and mentor, showing me how hard work and creativity can strengthen Tennessee’s advanced energy ecosystem,” said Hurst. “For TAEBC to give me this award that symbolizes his commitment to championing our advanced energy economy to such success today is truly humbling.”

(From L to R): Trish Starkey, President of TAEBC; Dan Hurst, CEO & Founder of Strata-G; Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC

Hurst founded Strata-G in 2002, leading the company and its 240 employees by example by focusing on a diversity of advanced energy projects committed to improving Tennessee’s communities, contributing to the state’s advanced energy economy, and ensuring the wellbeing of Tennesseans everywhere.

“As a founding board member of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, Dan Hurst embodies the qualities of a servant leader,” noted Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC. “His dedication and commitment to building a new organization that represents an entire industry that makes Tennessee a better state in which to live, work and play is truly admirable. That same vision and devotion have enabled Dan to lead and grow a successful business in East Tennessee that embraces energy innovation, environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

Strata-G projects range from managing the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee Solar Farm, to helping construct an energy efficient steam plant and energy distribution system for a facility in North Dakota. Strata-G engineers have also collaborated with utility districts in Sevier County and Knoxville to convert their fleet vehicles to Combined Natural Gas. In 2013, the company completed documentation to achieve LEED Gold for the Crawford House, a 137-year old building at Maryville College on the National Register of Historic Places, the second oldest building in the U.S. to achieve LEED Gold.

The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

Submitted: Dan Hurst, CEO & Founder of Strata-G

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions the state’s advanced energy economy as an economic development and job creation strategy through sharing information, connecting stakeholders, and strengthening the industry. These pillars are personally exemplified by Tom Ballard, an unparalleled leader, educator, mentor, and advocate of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

Ballard was TAEBC’s first president upon its launch in 2014 and served on the board of directors until 2019. He is the Chief Alliance Officer of Pershing Yoakley & Associates, a Knoxville-based professional services firm with a national footprint in healthcare consulting. He also serves as editor of Teknovation.biz, a web-based service launched in 2011 to spotlight and celebrate all things related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tennessee.

The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award is an annual award, with TAEBC accepting nominations every year and presenting the winner with the honor at its annual meeting.

About the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. It educates public officials and business leaders about the value and job creation potential of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establishes strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and informs policy that expands and strengthens the industry. For more information, visit www.tnadvancedenergy.com/

To view a list of TAEBC members, visit www.tnadvancedenergy.com/members/

About Strata-G

Strata-G, LLC is a team of approximately 240 engineers, scientists, safety professionals, and project managers dedicated to the responsible care of client entrusted resources in the environmental, energy, defense, utilities, and infrastructure sectors. Strata-G’s business is built on three core values of integrity, service, and quality. Each is the outgrowth of the one ideal that guides the company: treat other people as you wish to be treated.  For more information, visit https://www.stratag.org/

Tennessee startups Active Energy and SkyNano graduate from Energy Mentor Network

October 1, 2019

Two Tennessee energy startups – SkyNano Technologies and Active Energy Systems – are graduating from the Energy Mentor Network, a rigorous mentorship program that cultivates energy entrepreneurship across the state.

Run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) in partnership with Launch Tennessee, the Energy Mentor Network equips promising young companies with the tools and connections to raise capital and scale their businesses to market success. Active Energy and SkyNano were paired with expert entrepreneurs to guide the companies through the multi-tiered program of panel presentations and mentorship sessions. To reach graduation, the startups built investable pitch decks, finance models, and structured business plans and defended those plans before panels of established entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Active Energy Systems was founded by Mitchell Ishmael and Levon Atoyan in 2017. The cofounders invented the world’s first “icephobic coating,” which creates a surface impervious to freezing water. The patent-pending coating is the technology behind Active Energy’s revolutionary air conditioning system that greatly improves cooling performance by eliminating ice build-up. The ultra-efficient, low-cost thermal energy storage system is environmentally superior to standard cooling systems and enables electricity to be accessed overnight for later use when cost is less expensive.

SkyNano Technologies was cofounded by Anna Douglas in 2017. She and co-founder Cary Pint developed a novel technique that makes the production of highly sought-after carbon nanotubes much more efficient, affordable, and scalable. SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on electrochemistry, rather than solely chemical catalysis as is currently used, and more efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into functional nanomaterials. The new manufacturing technique produces low-cost, high-value nanotubes, solving cost and scalability limitations associated with existing carbon nanotube manufacturing techniques while also enabling commercial viability to carbon conversion technologies through high-value secondary material.

During their time in the Energy Mentor Network, Active Energy and SkyNano made significant gains in financing and market-readiness.

SkyNano secured close to $1,000,000 in funding grants and fellowships from the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation SBIR program matched by LaunchTN. Anna was named a 2019 Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” Disrupter in Energy. The company is expanding its work force and this fall, SkyNano plans to scale its patent-pending technology and deliver product samples to early customers.

Active Energy secured more than $500,000 in funding grants and fellowships from the Department of Energy, TennesSeed Fund, and National Science Foundation SBIR program matched by LaunchTN. The company was also named a finalist in the 2018 76West Clean Energy Competition. Active Energy is currently building a much larger cooling system for a 6,000 sq ft facility and constructing a “show and tell” system for onsite demonstrations.

Both graduating energy startups were members of the inaugural cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Innovation Crossroads program, a two-year fellowship that supports energy entrepreneurs take their inventions from R&D to commercialization. Innovation Crossroads is a business mentor partner of the Energy Mentor Network. SkyNano and Active Energy are the third and fourth startups to graduate from the Energy Mentor Network.

Renowned Tennessee collaborator, partnerships builder Tom Ballard receives leadership award named in his honor

February 12, 2019

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) bestowed the first-ever Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award to Ballard himself, during TAEBC’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub.

“Without Tom Ballard, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council would have never grown to the level of success it experiences today,” said Cortney Piper, Vice President of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council. “It’s impossible to measure Tom’s impact on Tennessee’s advanced energy economy with words alone, and for that reason he is most deserving of having an award being named in his honor.”

The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions the state’s advanced energy economy as an economic development and job creation strategy through sharing information, connecting stakeholders, and strengthening the industry. These pillars are personally exemplified by the tireless work of Tom Ballard, an unparalleled leader, educator, mentor, and advocate of Tennessee advanced energy economy.

Ballard was TAEBC’s first president upon its launch in 2014 and served on the board of directors until 2019. He is the Chief Alliance Officer of Pershing Yoakley & Associates, a Knoxville-based professional services firm with a national footprint in healthcare consulting. He also serves as editor of Teknovation.biz, a web-based service launched in 2011 to spotlight and celebrate all things related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tennessee.

TAEBC announced the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award will be an annual award, accepting nominations every year and presenting the winner with the honor at future annual meetings.

About the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. It educates public officials and business leaders about the value and job creation potential of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establishes strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and informs policy that expands and strengthens the industry. For more information, visitwww.tnadvancedenergy.com/

To view a list of TAEBC members, visit www.tnadvancedenergy.com/members/

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Stone Mountain Technologies Graduates Tennessee’s Energy Mentor Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 12, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Energy Mentor Network is pleased to announce Stone Mountain Technologies Incorporated (SMTI) has graduated from its mentorship program, which cultivates energy entrepreneurship and startups in the Volunteer State.

The late-stage startup, based in Johnson City, Tennessee, has developed replacements for furnaces, boilers, and hot-water heaters that save 30-50% off heating costs for homeowners and light commercial building owners. For example, a “Heat Pump Furnace” can replace conventional furnaces with a well-proven thermodynamic process (the absorption cycle) that draws up to one-third of its energy from the outside air – even in the dead of winter. This makes it a true cold-climate heat pump (no need for backup) and an excellent solution for saving money and lowering environmental emissions. The process can be powered by natural gas, propane, heating oil, or even biofuels, making it globally applicable wherever warm buildings are needed.

The previously prohibitively expensive technology has been redesigned and configured by SMTI for a low-cost, highly scalable manufacturing platform, which gives existing HVAC manufacturers an opportunity for an innovative new product with a strong new competitive advantage. SMTI will manufacture the core “Thermal Compressor” part of the technology in Johnson City, serving aggregated global demand across many building heating products. In turn, the major manufacturers of HVAC products will purchase and then turn SMTI’s Thermal Compressor into final products that serve their existing markets and customers. In this way, SMTI leverages the strengths of the industry’s current sales and distribution networks; achieving the fastest path to large volumes.

The Energy Mentor Network exists to help Tennessee startups like SMTI succeed in the advanced energy marketplace. The intensive, structured program pairs promising new companies with experienced mentors and guides them through the development of strategic business, marketing, and financial plans. Companies must complete a series of milestones involving panel presentations to graduate.

“Stone Mountain Technologies has worked to harness the potential of its innovative gas absorption technology and is on track to revolutionize the commercial and residential heating industry,” said Gary Rawlings, the entrepreneur-in-residence for SMTI. “The connections and coaching Stone Mountain has gained as part of the Energy Mentor Network is an invaluable asset as they enter the marketplace.”

SMTI achieved substantial progress following its initial engagement with Energy Mentor Network in March 2017. The company secured an important Seed investment in early 2018 from a strategic investor who brings useful manufacturing expertise and other value to the venture. The investment enables SMTI to increase technology development velocity, smoothing its transition from R&D to manufacturing. The East Tennessee startup was also awarded a $2.7 million grant in August 2017 from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate, with an OEM partner, the commercialization of its residential furnace replacement.

In addition to Entrepreneur-in-Residence Gary Rawlings, who is a technology consultant for Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads and entrepreneur-in-residence at Cumberland Emerging Technologies Life Sciences Center, the mentor team for SMTI included Ryan Stanton, head of strategic energy initiatives at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; Jonathan Patrick, founder of SouthFound Media; and Lynn Youngs, executive director of the University of Tennessee’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

SMTI is the second startup to graduate from the Energy Mentor Network, run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) in partnership with Launch Tennessee and first launched in 2016. The program’s first graduate was Solar Site Design, a Nashville-based venture that connects sales-ready commercial and industrial solar projects to top solar construction companies to drive down consumer acquisition costs. Seven other Tennessee-based startups are currently enrolled in the mentorship program.

Tennessee is emerging as a powerhouse in the growing $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market. TAEBC’s 2018 Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report found that advanced energy contributes $39.7 billion to the state’s GDP.  The industry employs nearly 360,000 Tennesseans and supports more than 18,170 businesses. Advanced energy is growing faster than the overall state economy, thanks in part to efforts like the Energy Mentor Network and its support for energy entrepreneurship.

About the Energy Mentor Network

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee and is modeled after CONNECT San Diego’s 30+-year-old Springboard program. Each company or entrepreneur is matched with C-level executives who have deep experience in growing and scaling companies. The mentoring team is led by an Entrepreneur-in-Residence who coaches and guides each company through the Energy Mentor Network for three to nine months. The Energy Mentor Network has more than two dozen mentors with expertise in energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy. For more information, visit https://tnadvancedenergy.com/energy-mentor-network/

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Tennessee’s advanced energy sector soars, outpacing overall state economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 22, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The advanced energy sector is so strong in Tennessee that it outperforms the state’s overall economy, employing nearing 360,000 Tennesseans in more than 18,000 businesses that contribute almost $40 billion to the state’s GDP. All this according to the 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report released today by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC). TAEBC is a statewide organization that champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy.

The 2018 report builds on data first analyzed by TAEBC’s 2015 Economic Impact Report, the inaugural study on the impact of the advanced energy sector in Tennessee. The report details the scale and scope of the state’s advanced energy sector, quantifies its economic impact, and charts trends in advanced energy since the 2015 study was released. It pinpoints the number of jobs and businesses associated with advanced energy, as well as the sector’s contributions to state GDP and state/local taxes.

“As the advanced energy economy continues to skyrocket, it is more critical than ever for Tennessee to grow its share of this $1.4 trillion global market,” said Matt Kisber, President and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation and TAEBC President. “Advanced energy cements Tennessee’s position as the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. It further enhances the state’s economic development position and attracts companies to locate and expand in-state.”

Key findings from the 2018 report include:

  • Advanced energy is a job-creation engine for Tennessee.

The advanced energy industry employs 358,360 Tennesseans and supports 18,170 business establishments. Advanced energy accounts for nearly 14 percent of total state employment. Workers in the state’s advanced energy sector earn an average wage of $59,665, significantly higher than the state’s economy-wide average of $44,317.

  • Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is growing faster than the overall state economy by a significant margin.

Employment in Tennessee’s advanced energy sector has grown by 10.3 percent, while the state economy overall has seen a growth rate of 8.3 percent. The number of advanced energy business establishments in the state grew by nearly 5 percent. Both state and local sales tax revenues have increased by over 30 percent.

  • Advanced energy boosts both the state and local economies.

Tennessee’s advanced energy sector generates $39.7 billion in the state GDP. It contributes approximately $823 million to state sales tax revenue, and approximately $289 million in local sales tax revenue.

  • Advanced energy is well-positioned to drive further economic development in Tennessee.
    The advanced energy industry represents a sound candidate for inclusion as a statewide targeted industry cluster. Tennessee and its local communities commonly target specific industries and industry clusters as part of their broad-based economic development strategies. These targets then become the focus of business recruitment, expansion and retention strategies through a variety of policies including marketing, workforce development, infrastructure development and incentives.

Advanced energy is technology-neutral, and includes any technology that makes energy or transportation cleaner, safer, more secure, and more efficient. Examples include wind, solar, and new nuclear technologies, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, lightweight composites in the automotive industry, natural-gas fueled trucks, bioenergy, pollution-control equipment, smart grids, combined heat and power, high-performance buildings, more efficient industrial technologies, and power reliability. Advanced energy represents a booming $1.4 trillion global market – that’s nearly twice the size of the worldwide airline industry and nearly equal to global apparel revenue.

In addition to statewide data, the 2018 report analyzed Tennessee’s advanced energy sector by metro area, including regional information on advanced energy in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville/Oak Ridge, Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, Clarksville, Morristown, Jackson, and Cleveland. It further tracks Tennessee’s advanced energy economy down to county-specific data. The analysis is based on NAICS code and Census Bureau data from 2016, the most recent year for which this information is available.

The Nashville metro area is the largest contributor to Tennessee’s advanced energy sector, employing more than 115,000 workers. The Memphis metro area comes in second, with 55,750 employees in advanced energy. Even with these concentrations, advanced energy reaches all 95 counties in Tennessee because the sector is a cluster of diverse industries with strong growth potential not tethered to urban areas alone.

“The University of Tennessee is proud to partner with private industries and organizations to support our state’s advanced energy sector,” said Dr. Stacey Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development at the University of Tennessee. “The University’s research assets and public-private partnerships have played a major role in boosting the state economy and cementing Tennessee’s role as a power-player in advanced energy.”

Research for the 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report was conducted by the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Funding for the report was provided by the University of Tennessee, the Energy Foundation, and Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council members.

Click here to read the 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report in full.

About the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. It educates public officials and business leaders about the value and job creation potential of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establishes strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and informs policy that expands and strengthens the industry. For more information, visit www.tnadvancedenergy.com/

To view a list of TAEBC members, visit www.tnadvancedenergy.com/members/

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