TAEBC Annual Meeting 2020 highlights transportation electrification initiatives, advanced energy leadership

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) held another successful Annual Meeting at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub earlier this month.

TNECD Commissioner and TDEC Commissioner Featured speakers included Commissioner Bob Rolfe of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and Commissioner David Salyers of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), who spoke about electric vehicles (EV) and their role in Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

The event kicked off with TAEBC awarding Dan Hurst, CEO and founder of Strata-G, with the second-ever Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award, which honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy. Last year, the inaugural award went to Ballard himself.  

“As a founding board member of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, Dan Hurst embodies the qualities of a servant leader,” said Cortney Piper, Executive Director and Vice President 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.”

Schneider Electric’s Vice President of Power Products, Emily Heitman, welcomed TAEBC to Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub and reinforced the company’s commitment to doing business in Tennessee. Her presentation was followed by Piper, who outlined TAEBC’S top achievements in 2019 and emphasized the organization’s goals and priorities moving into 2020. 

Next, Silicon Ranch Corporation’s Director of Regenerative Energy and Land Management, Michael Baute, spoke about the company’s holistic approach to solar power plant design, construction, and operations. Since launching Regenerative Energy with one 52-acre project in 2018, the program has grown exponentially with 31 projects on 5,923 acres throughout five states this year.

On TAEBC’s Energy Mentor Network Panel, Helge Nestler, Founder and President of Ginko Technologies, pitched his startup and mission to accelerate the use of sustainable waste treatment methods to reduce landfills and recover energy from waste. Afterwards, he was joined by Ira Weiss, Energy Mentor Network Entrepreneur-in-Residence and principal of Weiss Associates, for a panel discussion about Nestler’s entrepreneurial journey and value of the Energy Mentor Network program for startups like Ginko Technologies.

Later, Drew Frye, Senior Power Utilization Engineer at TVA, spoke about EV trends and the utility’s EV strategy for the state. In addition to providing a 10-year snapshot of the role of EVs from 2010 until now, Frye highlighted TVA’s role with Drive Electric Tennessee and what is next on the horizon for TVA, including improving charging infrastructure, enhancing consumer awareness, promoting supportive EV policies, and ensuring EV availability. 

Commissioner Salyers also spoke about Drive Electric Tennessee and the continued development of a statewide EV charging network. He reinforced TDEC’s commitment to providing a cleaner, safer environment and support for technologies that reduce emissions and improve air quality. Through its electrification efforts, “TDEC seeks to improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and strengthen the resiliency of the transportation sector.”  

“Our vision for Tennessee is to become a leader in the electric transportation space,” remarked Salyers. “Electric vehicles have the potential to make our transportation system both more efficient and more resilient. We are excited to continue working alongside our fantastic partners to achieve these benefits.”

During Commissioner Rolfe’s TNECD update, he emphasized how the agency’s “first job” is to create high-quality jobs for Tennesseans. His second job, explained Rolfe, is to make sure the companies that call Tennessee home “are happy,” such as Volkswagen, Nissan, and others who are focused on EV efforts. 

“We’re going to focus on recruiting companies to Tennessee that are focused on the electric vehicle business because we think it’s here to stay,” said Rolfe. “For Tennessee to remain number one in the southeast, we’re going to be doubling down on those efforts.”

After their presentations, Saylers and Rolfe held a joint Q&A session, where they answered a range of audience questions. For example, when asked what TAEBC can do to support the state’s efforts in propelling electrification efforts further, Saylers emphasized the importance of workforce development programs that promote technical training for jobs that support the state’s advanced energy economy.

Rolfe echoed Sayler’s statements, adding, “a lot of good things are happening in Tennessee, but what we can continue to do is to make it the most inviting, business friendly state to come do business in.”

Thank you for submitting your Tom Ballard Award nominations!

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) wants to thank everyone who submitted nominations for this year’s Tom Ballard Award. Nominations closed on Monday, February 3 at noon.

TAEBC received multiple nominations from an impressive array of individuals, including local business leaders, academia, and company executives. The winner will be contacted soon. 

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

TAEBC promotes 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’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 currently the Chief Alliance Officer of Pershing Yoakley & Associates and serves as editor of Teknovation.biz, an online service launched in 2011 to spotlight and celebrate all things related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tennessee.

The first-ever award went to Ballard himself, during TAEBC’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Franklin, Tennessee.

“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 and executive director of TAEBC. “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.”

This year’s recipient will receive the award during TAEBC’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by following this link.

Looking back on TAEBC’s 2016 accomplishments & what’s to come

As we welcome 2017 and anticipate what it will bring, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is marking its 2016 achievements.

By championing advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy, TAEBC is positioning the state and its members to increase our leadership role in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

As we enter into a New Year that will likely bring new opportunities and challenges, TAEBC wants to reinforce our commitment to our members and stakeholders:

  • Inform the national energy agenda.
  • Help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.
  • Foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups.
  • Support TVA’s efforts to become the utility of the future.

As we look forward to our annual membership meeting in Nashville, TAEBC shares our top 10 accomplishments from 2016.

TAEBC Top 10 Year in Review

  1. 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. The network is run by TAEBC in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Currently, there are more than a dozen mentors signed up for the program with expertise in energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy.
  2. mccarthyWelcome new members: McCarthy Building Companies, First Solar, John McMillian, Sandi Swilley, Bridgestone Americas, Centrus Energy, Milepost Consulting, Tori Watson, The Angel Roundtable, and Wacker Polysilicon North America.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan talked advanced energy in Tennessee during TAEBC’s annual Opportunities in Energy event. Special guests included Hogan and Bryan Dods, CEO for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). They had an in-depth discussion over the future of advanced energy. During this event there was also the unveiling of a three-part video series showing those who are making a difference in Tennessee’s advanced energy industry and what’s to come in the future.
  4. “This is Advanced Energy” video is the first of the three taking a closer look at what is advanced energy and what it means to Tennessee’s economy as a whole.
  5. insideae“Inside Advanced Energy” video is the second of the three videos giving you an opportunity to meet the people and companies that employ nearly 325,000 people and contribute $33.4 billion to Tennessee’s GDP.
  6. “Innovations in Advanced Energy” is the final of the three videos demonstrating how innovation gives Tennessee an edge in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy marketplace.
  7. TAEBC is a growing industry leader and is an influential voice throughout the southeastern region, state and nation. In 2016, TAEBC was selected to speak at TVC’s Leadership Summit and Energy Huntsville’s member meetings. In addition TAEBC also moderated a “Clean Energy Innovations” panel at the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop in May in Chattanooga. The panel focused on clean energy issues in the region, grid research, and the economic impacts from clean energy innovations. As if this wasn’t enough, TAEBC’s board also had a conference call with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R- Tennessee) at the end of 2016 to discuss new energy leadership within the new transitioning administration.
  8.  TAEBC participates as a formal member in TVA’s newly formed stakeholder group: the “Distributed Generation- Information Exchange” or DG-IX for short.  TVA’s DG-IX was created to provide a forum for a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss the broad issues around the implementation of the distributed energy side of TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan. The group’s purpose is to build greater understanding of issues, technologies, and challenges/opportunities in distributed energy resources; facilitate dialogue among diverse interests; hear ideas, and present options and considerations to each other and TVA as they work to implement the 2015 IRP.
  9. New board members joined TAEBC in 2016. Jim DeMouy serves as the Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) for Bridgestone Americas. He provides environmental, health and safety strategic and operational leadership for the global enterprise, including stewardship for sustainability initiatives. Also Jeff Kanel with Renewable Algal Energy serves on TAEBC’s board. He has more than 21 years of experience engineering research and process development through work at The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation.
  10. TAEBC kicked off its new event series, Energy Connect, in Nashville at TAEBC member Bradley’s headquarters in early May. TAEBC’s Energy Connect gives members the chance to network more often during the year, increase the visibility of their business, and share expertise and information. In May more than 20 TAEBC members attended to hear a presentation on economic development from TVA’s John Bradley.

Remember to save the date for the next TAEBC event, Wednesday, February 15 in Nashville and help plan for a successful 2017.