Advanced Energy Business Roundtable for West Tennessee emphasizes importance of electrification, collaboration

Stakeholders from state government, higher education and the private sector discuss the state’s advanced energy sector and opportunities for future growth and collaboration

On April 13, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) hosted its first Advanced Energy Business Roundtable focused on West Tennessee. The event brought together individuals from three significant areas of the state’s advanced energy (AE) economy: state government, higher education and the private sector. Speakers spoke about the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, creating AE jobs and how to boost state economic development through AE collaborations.

State Government 

The event began with insight from stakeholders in state government. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Director of Business Development Chassen Haynes shared TNECD’s vision to create a cohesive statewide network to become the number one state in the country for the EV supply chain. He also discussed EV efforts that will cultivate an AE economy to attract and retain innovative businesses across the state.

“Governor Lee has charged our department with making sure Tennessee is at the forefront of these changes and making sure the state is positioned to make itself number one in the nation for EV production,” Haynes said. “It’s an exciting time for Tennessee and an exciting time for the automotive industry.”

Next, Launch Tennessee’s Chief Executive Officer Van Tucker spoke about the value of the Energy Mentor Network and providing easy access to capital for growing or emerging businesses.

“Our goal for the next fiscal year is that we’re going to put a focused strategy together to recruit, retain, expand, and grow our mentor network and advanced energy industry in the state of Tennessee,” Tucker said. 

Higher Education

Afterward, attendees heard from higher education partners. During her presentation, Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Chancellor Flora Tyding outlined TBR’s current AE focus across the state and what a transition to support the sector might look like. 

“We have a very succinct mission: student success and workforce development,” Tyding said. “We are your partners in the advanced energy environment.”

Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) President Claude Pressnell highlighted what private campuses are doing to explore and support AE development and how the private sector can collaborate with private institutions.

“One thing that I want to share with you all is the importance of collaboration, whether it be collaboration with the board of regents, independent colleges, the UT System, locally governed four-year universities, and whether you do that locally or statewide,” Pressnell said. 

Private Sector

Rounding out the event, attendees heard from two major private-sector players in the state’s AE economy. First, Silicon Ranch’s Chairman and TAEBC Board Member Matt Kisber emphasized  how collaboration in the AE economy works now and how it could work by implementing more strategy and intentionality with various stakeholders across the state.

“Organizations like TAEBC were developed to support bringing these various voices together so that they can collaborate, share information, and know who is out there that can fulfill and need or void in the development of a project, technology, or what’s necessary to move forward,” Kisber said.

FedEx’s Environmental Affairs & Chief Sustainability Officer Mitch Jackson wrapped up the presentation portion of the event by outlining FedEx’s transportation electrification goals, and speaking about how the state and AE economy can support these efforts, along ith opportunities for improvement.

“We announced we were going to take FedEx carbon neutral by 2040 for our global operations,” Jackson said. “Companies like FedEx are trying to transform not only themselves but their industries with respect to renewable energy, advanced technologies, zero carbon strategies and the like.”

Following the presentations, speakers answered a range of audience questions, including what are the biggest selling points for recruiting and retaining advanced energy businesses and specifics about EV developments in the state. 

“Having the ability to convene and organize all the stakeholders like we are doing today and continuing those dialogues and discussions, setting priorities, helping inform policy, it is going to be critically important,” Kisber said. “Bringing everybody together is going to be critically important so that we’re not just having one-off conversations but we’re talking as a community and focusing on how to move forward together.”

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SBA Awards LaunchTN Grant to Support Small Business Innovation and R&D Commercialization

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently granted 24 awards up to $125,000 in the Fiscal Year 2019 through its Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. TAEBC’s Energy Mentor Network partner, Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), was named the grant recipient for Tennessee.

The program’s goal is to improve outcomes for underrepresented entrepreneurs in its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. FAST also aims to increase participation for rural-based, women-owned and economically disadvantaged firms.

In addition to receiving one-year of funding beginning September 30, the FAST program offers mentorship, technical assistance, specialized training and outreach opportunities for R&D focused small businesses. Organizations use the funding to help enact state and regional programs that support SBIR applicants and awardees.

“FAST partners support an important role in attempting to fill various gaps that R&D-focused small businesses may have to help them win SBIR/STTR awards,” said Acting Administrator Christopher Pilkerton in a prepared statement. “They focus on the needs of next-generation high-tech firms and support them through the entire cycle from ideation to commercialization. SBIR funding is one way to do that. Additionally, a number of these awards are going to partners that are located in Opportunity Zones where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”

To learn more about FAST, follow this link.

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Jonathan Mills Patrick

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is continuing its series of feature stories highlighting the mentors behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC welcomes Jonathan Mills Patrick as its newest domain expert enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network. Patrick is a former C-level finance executive turned strategic consultant with more than 20 years of experience and proven results. His skill set is largely around funding where he has been involved in over $500M in debt/equity deals. Additionally, he works with companies on strategic (where he advises companies from pre-revenue to $7B) planning and decisions and marketing. Jonathan also holds a Marketing degree and has led marketing for a $230M organization.

TAEBC is continuing to accept mentors for the Energy Mentor Program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Ben Jordan

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is continuing its series of feature stories highlighting the mentors behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC highlights Ben Jordan, Manufacturing Manager for Centrus Energy Corporation’s Technology and Manufacturing Center. He has 20 years of experience with manufacturing, engineering, operations management, research and design, and entrepreneurship.

He is responsible for $50M+ of precision manufacturing equipment including precision CNC machine tools as well as the associated inspection and certification equipment. He is also responsible for business development in this role.

He joined Centrus from Fleetguard (Cummins Subsidiary) where he served as the Manufacturing Supervisor. In this capacity, he was responsible for the financial performance, production targets, and quality performance of two high change-over assembly lines.

He earned a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has obtained certification as a Project Management Professional and is a Derivative Classifier of Centrifuge information.

TAEBC is continuing to accept mentors for the Energy Mentor Program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Andrew Goldner

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is continuing its series of feature stories highlighting the mentors behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC highlights Andrew Goldner, co-founder of GrowthX where he serves as Managing Member. Andrew sits across all aspects of GrowthX where he helps craft and guide the overall vision keeping everyone on the team pointed towards a common North Star. Andrew calls on his varied background as founder, funder, operator, advisor and technology attorney in the United States and Asia Pacific to help companies grow.

Andrew started his career in technology in 1998 as a lawyer for early Internet pioneers such as Alta Vista, Yahoo, and Salesforce. He left private practice at Skadden Arps to join DoubleClick prior to the acquisition by Google. He then joined Thomson Financial where he co-founded their multimedia financial news business leading to the acquisition of Reuters. At Thomson Reuters, Andrew served as Publisher of Reuters News and then Co-Founder and Managing Director of their legal media business in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

After nearly 6 years in Asia, Andrew returned to the U.S. and to helping early-stage companies. Andrew is a Kauffman Fellow (Class 21), Regional Board Member of Venture for America, and a proud Mentor at Galvanize, Dynamo, Alchemist Accelerator, and Matter.

TAEBC is continuing to accept mentors for the Energy Mentor Program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.