Business, community, and political leaders and senior decision-makers will convene at the 2013 Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit next week to discuss issues that are critical to the economic engine of the Tennessee Valley, a press release said.
Hosted by Third District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, the two-day meeting themed “Securing America’s Future” will focus on energy and environment, innovation and entrepreneurism, public and private partnerships, and advanced manufacturing, the release said.
The Summit will be held at the Y-12 National Security Complex’s New Hope Center in Oak Ridge on May 29-30.
Keynote speakers include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; Sen. Lamar Alexander, Congressman Phil Roe; Pete Lyons, assistant secretary for nuclear energy, U.S. Department of Energy; Neile Miller, acting administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration; Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer, Tennessee Valley Authority; Randall T. Kempner, executive director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs; and Bob Raines, NNSA associate administrator for acquisition and project management.
Leveraging Energy and Environment Missions in the Tennessee Valley
A special session on energy, the environment, and ways to leverage these federal missions to create jobs and promote economic growth will kick off the Summit at 8:30 a.m. on May 29, the release said. The session features keynote speaker Alexander; Lyons; Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mark Whitney, assistant manager for environmental management at the DOE Oak Ridge Office; and Andy Page, president and chief executive officer of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
In keynote remarks, Alexander is expected to provide an update on a vision he set forth several years ago—a new Manhattan Project for nuclear energy to deal with rising gasoline and electricity prices, clean air, climate change, and matters of national security, the release said.
As the primary policy adviser on key issues involving nuclear energy, including how to make it a major contributor to our energy supply and energy independence, Lyons is expected to talk about new initiatives, such as the small modular reactor and the recent decision to place a B&W mPOWER reactor at the Clinch River Breeder Reactor site, and discuss their economic viability for the future.
Lyons, Whitney, and Page will then participate in a panel discussion moderated by Mason.
Discussing Innovation and Entrepreneurism as Critical Economic Factors
At 4 p.m. on May 29, a session on innovation and entrepreneurship will showcase how regional efforts to build cooperation and collaboration between research and private industry can lead to economic growth.
Kempner, executive director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets, will be the keynote speaker in the session. Kempner is also the former vice president for regional innovation with the Council on Competitiveness.
“Oak Ridge is a unique location with a public research university, a federal research laboratory, and the private sector working together with such success and synergy,” said Tom Jones, host for the session and general manager for research for Electronics International, a leading provider of counter surveillance equipment. “Oak Ridge is a great place to hold a discussion about how we can continue to develop and benefit economically from the successful relationships of public and private industries.”
John Morris, president and chief executive officer of Tech 20/20, will moderate a panel discussion on research and commercial partnerships that can boost innovation and spur entrepreneurship in the region, featuring Kempner, Stacey Patterson, assistant vice president and director of research partnerships for the University of Tennessee-Cherokee Farms; Lisa Williams, president and chief executive officer of Solider1 Corp in Huntsville, Ala.; and Cavanaugh Mims, president of Visionary Solutions.
“This area offers numerous resources that are advantageous to researchers and entrepreneurs alike. The Tennessee Valley is unique in that we have industries ready and capable of transforming an innovative idea into the hot new product,” said Morris. “It’s up to the region to connect people, ideas and capital to ensure it stays that way.”
Reaping Rewards from Public/Private Partnerships
A discussion on the importance of public/private partnerships and roles contributing to the regional economy will begin at 8:30 am on May 30.
The press release said the Tennessee Valley has reaped the rewards of strong partnerships between communities, universities, federal agencies, and the private sector for decades. These partnerships have allowed the region to develop a diverse economy, and in an age of economic uncertainty, shrinking government budgets, and competing priorities, these partnerships have proved vital to the region.
“We have seen how crucial regional cooperation has been over the last several years. Aligning interests of federal investments, the private sector, and communities can lead to job creation and long-time positive economic impact,” said Etta Clark, TVC board of directors chair and vice president, global public affairs and policy for Eastman Chemical Company. “Establishing strong alliances between our region’s public sector organizations and private businesses will continue to be important in ensuring the quality of the regional economy over the next 10 to 20 years.”
Bill Johnson, the new president and chief executive officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority, will be the keynote presenter during the session. J. Wayne Cropp, president and chief executive officer of The Enterprise Center will follow with a presentation about the regional planning, development, and partnerships that led to the Enterprise South Industrial Center, home to the Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant.
“We have seen first-hand how public/private partnerships are the critical factor for success, but it’s not only financial support that is crucial—our federal, business, academic, and community leaders working together, supporting each other and focusing on common goals that are important to the entire region are what truly have a long-term impact,” said Cropp.
The session will then address how cooperation and support across industries in the region can determine the success of public/private partnerships as Cropp moderates a panel discussion featuring Victoria Hirschberg, project manager for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Teresa Duncan, vice president of student services and enrollment management at Roane State Community College; Van Mauney, vice president for program management at B&W Y-12, LLC; and Mark Watson, city manager for the City of Oak Ridge.
Developing Advanced Manufacturing and a High-Tech Regional Economy
As a special guest of Fleischmann, Cantor will make important remarks on the state of our economy and the plans under way in the House to position the U.S. competitively at 10:15 a.m. on May 30, the release said.
Following Cantor’s remarks, this session will delve into a discussion on advanced manufacturing as an industry that has promise to become a major source of jobs and a long-term contributor to the regional economy.
Miller of the NNSA will provide keynote remarks on this topic, followed by a special presentation from Raines, also of the NNSA.
A roundtable discussion, moderated by Buzz Patrick, director of advanced manufacturing at Tech 20/20, will follow where regional leaders will discuss specific advanced manufacturing trends, projects and opportunities, the press release said. The panel will feature John Eschenberg, Uranium Processing Facility project director at NNSA; Craig Blue, manager of the Industrial Technologies Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and John Vickers, assistant manager of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.
“We’re bringing together some of the leading voices in advanced manufacturing to have a robust discussion on how we can prepare our workforce, communities, and businesses to support this growing industry and attract more high-tech work to the region,” Patrick said.
Since the first TVC Summit was held in Oak Ridge in 1995, the TVC has helped link the science and technology assets in the Tennessee Valley into a nationally recognized regional economic development effort, the release said.
The mission of the TVC is to sustain the region’s existing federal missions, to compete for new missions, and to leverage public/private relationships for high-quality job growth.