SSTI Digest

Geography: Tennessee

People & TBED Organizations

The Howard County Economic Development Authority appointed Larry Collins as a new technology manager and as executive director of the new Howard Technology Council.

People & TBED Organizations

Eric Cromwell is the new president of Tennessee Technology Development Corp., an organization designed to leverage state, federal and private sector investments in science and technology infrastructure for economic value.

SSTI Job Corner

Complete descriptions of these opportunities and others are available at

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks an additional senior member to join its technology transfer team as a senior commercialization manager or possibly as deputy director. This key individual is needed to identify, evaluate and commercialize technologies created at a major U.S. Department of Energy laboratory and to serve as liaison between some of the laboratory's most significant research divisions and the business community. He or she should have a high level of technical expertise in a physical science, as well as significant experience in sales or business development.

The University of Memphis (U of M) and the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT) are seeking a director of tech transfer and research development to act as the Technology Transfer officer and clearinghouse for the university. This newly created position reports to the FIT executive director. The director will act as liaison between FIT, business and other research institutions to accelerate the transfer and commercialization of U of M technologies. He or she also will implement and execute formal process for faculty invention disclosure, review, evaluation, marketing and licensing. A bachelor’s degree in business, science or technology field is required; a J.D. or MBA degree is preferred. Three or more years of experience in technology transfer/commercialization with a university, laboratory or corporation also are required. Experience in lieu of academic credentials will be considered.

People & TBED Organizations

Alex Fischer, formerly Oak Ridge National Laboratory's director of technology and economic development, has been tapped as the new vice president for commercialization for Battelle.

TBED People

John Schaerer is the new director of technology development and transfer for Chattanooga's Enterprise Center.

Job Corner: TTDC Seeks President & CEO

The Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC), the lead organization in Tennessee for technology-based economic development, is seeking a president and chief executive officer (CEO). This position is responsible for the overall direction and management of TTDC and its programs, including resource development, finances, contracts, compliance reporting and operational policies. He or she will work with a 22-member board of directors to establish and successfully implement a work plan that fulfills the organization's mission. At least 10 years of leadership experience and a graduate degree in business or relevant scientific field are required. For a full description of this opportunity and others, visit the SSTI Job Corner at


Eric Cromwell announced he is resigning as director of technology development for the State of Tennessee.

Tennessee Governor Requests Funding for TBED, Alternative Fuels in Next Budget

Gov. Phil Bredesen’s budget proposal for 2007-2008 includes more than $100 million in new funding for several new education and high-tech development initiatives and a strategy to spur the state’s alternative fuels industry.


In his annual State of the State Address, the governor emphasized the need for major changes in the state’s educational system. In addition to augmenting state funding for pre-K programs, teacher salary increases and assistance for at-risk students, Gov. Bredesen’s budget calls for a massive initiative to improve the state’s flagging graduation rates and low higher ed enrollments. His plan calls for the creation of five-year high school programs that would coordinate with local community colleges to offer associate’s degrees to participating students. Students who do not participate in these programs, but demonstrate a reasonable level of college readiness, would be able to attend a community college after high school without paying tuition.


The budget provides $45.1 million for Gov. Bredesen’s “Next Step Jobs” strategy, announced in September 2006. The four-part strategy would support business and research across the state, particularly in high-tech industries. Some of the measures of interest to the TBED community include:

Tennessee Innovation Strategy Targets High-Tech Research Jobs

Gov. Phil Bredesen has released a comprehensive job creation strategy with a particular focus on producing high-quality research jobs by supporting statewide innovation. Announced earlier this month, "Next Steps: Job Creation" is a four-point plan intended to attract and foster new businesses.

The strategy addresses the state's need to develop a more skilled workforce, invest in broadband and utility infrastructure, encourage local economic development leadership, and provide incentives to high-tech entrepreneurs. Bredesen, who has unveiled the plan with less than two months remaining in his bid for re-election, believes that the plan will help spur the state's job market by creating a more appealing business climate. One part of the plan, the new Innovation Tennessee initiative, will directly assist entrepreneurs and researchers in bringing their ideas to market.

Innovation Tennessee is an economic development initiative hosted by Nashville nonprofit Tennessee Tomorrow Inc., which would receive $5 million in funds from the state's Department of Economic and Community Development to provide seed funding to firms commercializing new technologies. The program will help move discoveries made at Tennessee universities and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to the high-tech marketplace. Additional funds are being contributed by groups such as the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, which already has approved $100,000 for the fund.

"My personal philosophy is to let the private sector do what it does best by driving efficiency and new ideas, but these are some smart, sensible ways we can help," the governor said in a press release announcing the new plan.

Other measures in the governor's strategy also focus on fostering a stronger high-tech economy. The plan calls for an upgrade of the state's broadband capabilities, both to attract new businesses and to support in-state research. A new fiber-optic network, costing an estimated $3 million, would provide improved communication between the state's nonprofit and government research institutes, such as Oak Ridge, the University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. A new grant fund for communities would assist local economic development leaders in building a suitable high-tech infrastructure for technology businesses by expanding their broadband services. Further support for local economic development officials would be available through the Tennessee Leadership Center, which provides training for community leaders trying to grow and attract new businesses.

Find out more about the "Next Steps: Job Creation" strategy on Governor Bredesen's website at:


Keith Ridley was named manager of the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Valley Business Ventures, a new division created to increase jobs and capital investment in high-growth industries and in companies owned by women and minorities in the TVA region.


Dr. Donald Daniel is the new CEO of the University of Tennessee Space Institute.


Mike Koop, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Community & Economic Development, is resigning effective March 1 to return to the private sector.