TAEBC awarded Mina Sartipi, founding director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, the 2023 Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award

Media Contact: Crystal Bentley | crystal@piper-communications.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) held its annual Opportunities in Energy event on Wednesday, November 15, in downtown Knoxville. The all-day event featured nearly 30 speakers, panelists and startups, all focused on sharing about new and innovative opportunities in the advanced energy sector.

TAEBC presented UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP)’s founding director, Dr. Mina Sartipi, with the 2023 Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award, which honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

Sartipi was selected for the award due to her research focusing on data-driven approaches to tackling real-world challenges in smart city applications focused on mobility, energy, and health. Most notably, under Sartipi’s leadership, CUIP launched a 1.2-mile MLK Smart Corridor testbed to accelerate smart city and connected and autonomous vehicle research and then expanded the testbed with support from the Federal Highway Administration.

“Mina Sartipi embodies the principles of the Tom Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award—she is a connector and a champion for smart cities and was instrumental in bringing living laboratories to city streets in Chattanooga,” said TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper. “Dr. Sartipi is an asset to Tennessee as we seek to become a leader in industry lead transportation electrification and digitization R&D.”

Sartipi’s career began at UTK’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. She joined UTC as an assistant professor in 2006, then continued to drive change as she became a Guerry Professor and UC Foundation Professor in 2020.

The event included a panel on the evolution of the automotive industry in Tennessee with Former United States Senator and Governor of Tennessee Lamar Alexander, Former Tennessee Governor and Founding Chairman of Silicon Ranch Corporation and Clearloop Phil Bredesen, and Former Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner and the University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd. Marianne Wanamaker, dean of the Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs at UTK moderated the panel, which highlighted policies that birthed Tennessee’s automotive industry and positioned the state to lead the evolution into the electrification era.

During the event, the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Federal Co-Chair, Gayle Conelly Manchin – along with leaders from the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Tennessee Tech University (TTU) – announced ARC is awarding $10 million to TTU to lead a four-state consortium to help rural electric utilities and energy startups deploy smart grid technologies by providing grid modeling support.

Additional speakers included advanced energy executives and leaders from Management Solutions, 3 Rivers Energy Partners, Hitachi Zosen Inova, the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and TEAM TN – an advanced mobility partnership with the National Science Foundation led by UTK.

The event also featured “demos” from the 13 startups participating in the Spark Cleantech Accelerator and Innovation Crossroads program. The companies – representing industries ranging from clean energy to advanced manufacturing – showcased innovative solutions and groundbreaking technologies being developed in Tennessee.

Photos from the event are available upon request. To learn more about TAEBC’s annual events, click here.

About the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award

The annual award named for Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer at PYA and Editor-in-Chief of Teknovation.biz, celebrates leadership, education, mentoring and advocacy in 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. In 2019, TAEBC bestowed the first-ever Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award to Ballard himself, during TAEBC’s annual meeting at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub.

About Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

TAEBC champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. Advanced energy is technology neutral and includes electricity and transportation. Anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is in the tent. No other entity in the state concentrates specifically on this robust sector. We educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establish strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and inform policy that expands and strengthens the industry. TAEBC hosts the Energizing Tennessee podcast, which explores the latest news and insights about the advanced energy sector. For more information, visit https://tnadvancedenergy.com.