TAEBC wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council has been reflecting on what we’re thankful for as Tennessee’s advanced energy sector continues to grow, creating jobs and economic development opportunities for the state.

Advanced energy is technology neutral. Any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is welcome at our table.

Our footprint expands to every corner of the state, and Tennessee’s advanced energy industry is well-positioned to strengthen at a robust pace. Other than our members, here’s what we’re thankful for this holiday season:

#1 Launch Tennessee & The Energy Mentor Network

We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate alongside Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from ideation to exit, to form the Energy Mentor Network.

The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise.

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.

We’re pleased to say four energy companies, Stone Mountain Technologies, Solar Site Design, Active Energy Systems and SkyNano have graduated from the program with several more on track.

(Interested in becoming a mentor for the next energy innovator? Click here. Are you a Tennessee energy startup and want to apply to the Energy Mentor Network program? Click here.)

#2 The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

TAEBC is committed to help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, in line with state leadership goals.

TNECD is working hard to make Tennessee a business friendly environment that not only attracts new companies to our state but also promotes growth for our existing businesses that call Tennessee home.

TAEBC has met with TNECD leaders outlining how our advanced energy sector employs nearly 360,000 Tennesseans in more than 18,000 businesses that contribute almost $40 billion to the state’s GDP. Advanced energy is a job-creation engine for Tennessee, and Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is growing faster than the overall state economy by a significant margin. 

#3 Increased federal support for energy research and development investments

Congress has continued to see the value in providing record funding for the Office of Science, one of the most important Department of Energy programs that support the work of our country’s 17 national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The Office of Science supports basic science and energy research and is the nation’s largest supporter of research in the physical sciences. For years, Congress has known and understood more comprehensive energy R&D funding means more economic development opportunities and high-quality jobs for Americans and Tennesseans. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council!

Companies with aggressive sustainability targets expand facilities in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) is staying busy as more companies choose to expand into the Volunteer State with a focus on incorporating more advanced energy technologies into their facilities.

Within the month of June, both Gap Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker have announced to upgrade their existing facilities in Tennessee.

Gap Inc. representatives revealed the company would be investing $41.7 million in its Gallatin distribution campus. The new capital investment would go towards technology upgrades as Gap Inc. expands its online fulfillment capabilities.

This would create more than 500 jobs at the center in Sumner County, further strengthening economic development within the community.

Gap Inc. has set ambitious goals to foster cleaner global business by revealing back in January 2016 it would reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent from 2015 levels by the end of 2020. That announcement came after the company had already surpassed its previous goal of reducing emissions from 2008 levels by 20 percent by the end of 2015 across its U.S. operations.

To further enforce these goals, the clothing retailer released a statement following the current administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

“Gap Inc. remains committed to doing our part to act on climate. We will continue to work with like-minded businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders to support solutions that will create a more sustainable and economically strong future for the people and communities touched by our business around the world. It’s not only the right thing for the planet, but also the right path forward for business growth, job creation and human health.”

Stanley Black & Decker announced earlier this month the company would upgrade its existing facility in Jackson, Tennessee by investing $29 million into the location.

The industrial tool manufacturer will relocate new lines of production and product development to its facility in Madison County, creating approximately 255 new jobs.

Stanley Black & Decker has set sustainability standards of its own, by committing to reduce energy consumption within its facilities by 20% as well as reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 2015 levels.

Also for the sixth consecutive year, the company has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America. This list is recognized as a benchmark for investors.

Annual Meeting Highlights Growth of Advanced Energy Sector; Announces 2016 Initiatives

More than 30 members attended the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s annual meeting on February 10 in Nashville to hear about 2016 events, activities and initiatives. Members also learned about the growing strength of the state’s advanced energy sector.

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Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff for TNECD, gave an energizing presentation on the role of advanced energy in Tennessee, reinforcing the important role TAEBC plays in economic development in the state. Advanced energy is a rapidly expanding and lucrative growth sector. Nearly 375,000 jobs are supported in the state’s advanced energy sector.

Townsend noted that advanced energy requires skilled labor and is a source of high quality jobs. The average annual earnings for the sector is $76,126, compared to $45,410 for all industries. The sector provides a home for the state’s emerging workforce, reinforcing TNECD’s goal for 55% of Tennesseans to be equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.

Advanced energy ultimately contributes significantly to state and local economies, contributing $33.4 billion to state gross domestic product, while workers in the advanced energy sector pay more than $820 million in sales tax to state and local governments.

Townsend said TNECD expects growth in advanced energy employment throughout the state to continue at a percentage of 13.2% through 2025. Growth since 2010 has kept pace at 17.6%, outpacing the national average of 13.7%.

TNECD’s overall mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, attracting new corporate investment and facilitating expansion and economic growth. TNECD’s ongoing strategies include: new business recruitment, business expansion, growing entrepreneurship, community development, aligning with education and rural development.

In addition to Townsend, Michael Scalf from TVA gave an update on the newly formed stakeholder group “Distributed Generation-Information Exchange.” TAEBC formed a subcommittee to help guide participation in TVA’s distributed generation working group. According to Scalf, TVA anticipates distributed generation to play a major role in the nation’s energy future. Distributed generation generates power on-site, rather than centrally, eliminating the cost, complexity, and interdependencies associated with transmission and distribution.

In other annual meeting news:

  • TAEBC Board appointed Matt Kisber, CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation, as 2016 President; and elected new members Jim DeMouy, VP of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability with Bridgestone Americas; and Jeff Kanel, PhD, CEO of Renewable Algal Energy.
  • Members previewed 2016 TAEBC activities including the launch of member hosted networking events. The first event will be hosted in May by Genera Energy, a biomass company based in Vonore. More information, including dates, will be announced next month. For sponsorship information, contact Cortney Piper.
  • TAEBC has launched a new events calendar on the website, serving as a quick and convenient way for members to stay updated on yearly activities and networking opportunities.
  • Later in the Spring, filming will begin on two TAEBC videos, “This Is Advanced Energy” and “Inside Advanced Energy.” The videos are designed to highlight advanced energy industries and entrepreneurs, showcasing members and their work to help Tennessee gain its fair share of the global $1 trillion advanced energy market by fostering growth of technologies, companies and jobs. Thanks to sponsors Silicon Ranch Corporation and Strata-G, the videos are anticipated to be a valuable resource for TAEBC and an easy way to share, educate and inform. Sponsorship opportunities for additional videos are available. For sponsorship information, contact Cortney Piper.

Annual Meeting Featured Speaker: Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) members are encouraged to bring a guest and hear from J. Edward (Ted) Townsend III, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Randy Boyd with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) during the annual membership meeting on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.ted_townsend_500x500

TAEBC member Bradley Arant Boult Cummings is hosting the annual meeting in Nashville. The annual meeting and networking reception are from 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM CT.

Townsend will talk to TAEBC members about Tennessee’s growing economy, why more businesses are choosing to locate to the Volunteer State and advanced energy’s role in making Tennessee the #1 state in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.

Prior to becoming chief of staff, Townsend was assistant commissioner of strategy where he oversaw all rural programs—including Select Tennessee, ThreeStar, Tennessee Main Street, Tennessee Downtowns and Retire Tennessee—along with federal grant programs that include Community Development Block Grants, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission.  He has also served the department as TNECD regional director over the greater Memphis region comprised of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton counties. Additionally, Governor Haslam has appointed Townsend his official designee to the federal programs affiliation with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

The annual meeting is a great way for members and prospective members to learn about the value of TAEBC membership and how the organization champions advanced energy as an economic development job creation strategy so Tennessee can grab its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The meeting also is an opportunity for members to provide feedback on projects/priorities that foster the growth of Tennessee’s advanced energy jobs, companies and technologies.

Stay tuned for program announcements and other guest speakers.

To register or for more information click here.