SSTI Digest

Geography: Tennessee

States Push Green Energy Initiatives to Combat Recession, Create Jobs

In the midst of a national economic recession contributing to a record number of job losses in traditional industries, forward thinking states are exploring ideas and committing funds to help grow and diversify their economies and strengthen their renewable energy portfolios.

Listen to SSTI's Interview with Tom Rogers and Shawn Carson of Technology 2020

SSTI has an effective new learning tool for TBED policymakers and practitioners seeking guidance in approaches to building and sustaining tech-based economies. Through exclusive interviews with Excellence in TBED Award recipients, find out first-hand how these award winning initiatives successfully responded to a critical need by applying innovative approaches to generate substantial economic gains for their region. Technology 2020 2007 Winner for the Building Entrepreneurial Capacity category

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part VI

The sixth installment of the Tech Talkin' Govs series includes highlights from state of the state addresses from governors in Tennessee and West Virginia.

TBED People and Organizations

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Daniel O'Connell, resigned for personal reasons and was replaced by Greg Bialecki, an undersecretary who has been responsible for business development

SSTI Job Corner

Complete descriptions of these opportunities and others are available at

SSTI Welcomes Newest Members; Alaska Brings State Tally to 47

It's no wonder SSTI's Annual Conference presents such a broad range of perspectives and approaches to TBED each year, when our organization draws in active membership from organizations from all across the continent! For example, with the involvement of the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, SSTI now has active members in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

Southern States Advance Several TBED Initiatives into 2009

Legislators in Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee recently approved spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year. Highlights of appropriations supporting TBED are included below.
Alabama legislators wrapped up a special session over the weekend resulting in the passage of a $6.4 billion education budget. Lawmakers agreed to a $5 million increase ($40.8 million total) for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative. The appropriation is $5 million less than Gov. Bob Riley’s recommendation of $45.8 million. The initiative, which received a substantial boost during the last legislative session (see the June 13, 2007 issue of the Digest), was created in 2002 to improve math and science education throughout the state.
South Carolina
Legislators supported the governor’s recommendation to fund the Endowed Chairs program, providing $10 million in FY09. The endowment program was created in 2002 to receive $30 million per year from lottery profits through 2010. A bill to extend the matching endowment program indefinitely by allowing interest earnings from the fund to be used for programmatic support, H. 4494, did not make it out of conference committee, however.
Lawmakers did, however, pass S.1252, a bill allowing the interest earnings from the Centers of Excellence Matching Endowment Fund to be used at the Research Centers of Excellence Review Board’s discretion for additional state awards.
Gov. Sanford vetoed a major priority of the state’s three research universities -- $4.5 million to implement SC LightRail, a high speed data network connecting the universities and three partner hospitals. The governor reduced funding for the project by $2.1 million from the General Appropriations bill and $2.4 million from the Capital Reserve Fund Appropriations bill. In his veto message, Gov. Sanford stated that the research universities have other ways to complete the project, specifically through their carry-forward and reserve accounts.
Hydrogen research grants were cut by $2.5 million for FY09. Gov. Sanford relayed the same veto message as last year when the grants were also cut, stating that while he is supportive of hydrogen research, tangible results are first needed for the investments already made. Additionally, the governor held his position stating, “We don’t believe the role of the government is to lead the private sector.”

People & TBED Organizations

Lori Broyles was appointed coordinator of the Women's Business Center in Oklahoma City.

$5M Investment Breathes Life into Tennessee TBED Program

A strong research base, a climate where entrepreneurs can thrive, access to risk capital, and a network of partner organizations have long been considered by policymakers and practitioners the formula for success and sustainability in technology-based economy. The Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) unveiled its new strategic plan last week, leveraging these resources to build the state’s economic development portfolio by strengthening the science and technology sectors.
The new plan is TTDC’s solution to creating and implementing an innovation-based competitiveness agenda with a statewide scope – a task handed down by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development this year with a $5 million investment.
The strategic plan calls for the creation of four new boards, each comprised of members of the TTDC board of directors and individuals recognized as experts in scientific research, entrepreneurship, and capital formation in rural and urban communities. They include:

People & TBED Organizations

A number of regional economic development organizations in Tennessee have formed a partnership called Innovation Valley Inc. Partners in Innovation Valley Inc. include the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership, Loudon County Economic Development Agency, Oak Ridge Economic Partnership, The Roane Alliance and Tellico Reservoir Development Agency.

Tennessee Governor Requests $29.3M for Jobs Package, Research

Referring to his fiscal year 2008-09 budget recommendation as “back to basics,” Gov. Phil Bredesen proposed significant investments in research and workforce initiatives while vowing not to tap into reserves or raise taxes.


Earlier this week during his State of the State Address, Gov. Bredesen unveiled his ambitious budget proposal, which includes a total investment of $30.5 million in workforce initiatives. The Department of Economic and Community Development is slated to receive $29.3 million for the governor’s Next Steps Jobs strategy – $25.3 million for the FastTrack Infrastructure Development Program and Job Training Assistance and $4 million for business development. Additionally, $1.2 million – the same level as last year – is recommended for the Rural Opportunity Fund, a public-private partnership implementing a small business loan program targeted to small, minority and women-owned businesses in rural parts of the state.


To provide training grants to employers in order to create and retain high-skill, high-wage jobs in emerging fields, the governor recommends $9.3 million from the Special Revenue Fund for the Tennessee Job Skills Program.


Continuing a push to position the state as a leader in alternative fuels, Gov. Bredesen is asking lawmakers to approve $5.6 million for operational funds for the second year of the University of Tennessee (UT) Biofuels Center, which the governor’s office touts as capable of producing five million gallons of biomass-based fuel per year. Last year, lawmakers allocated $41 million for a pilot switchgrass ethanol plant – the centerpiece of the state’s alternative fuels strategy (see the June 20, 2007 issue of the Digest). Additional UT research initiatives slated for funding include:

SSTI Job Corner

A complete description of this opportunities and others is available at

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking a director to lead the Industrial and Economic Development efforts for ORNL’s Partnerships Directorate. The incumbent will develop and execute a new Industrial Partnerships strategy, interface with the region’s economic development professionals to maximize ORNL’s contributions to regional economic growth, lead ORNL’s entrepreneurial efforts, and perform other responsibilities. A bachelor’s degree in general business, planning, marketing or a related field and at least 10 years of senior experience involving a combination of community, technology and economic development marketing and recruitment are required. A master’s degree is preferred.