Giri Iyer is Sentient Energy’s Vice President of Business Development.

With more than 20 years of global business management leadership experience, Giri has worked for companies such as General Electric and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as well as venture capital-backed companies. He leverages his experience commercializing analytical solutions & technologies and a passion for AI/ML and IoT to build ecosystems that accelerate global business growth.

During his tenure at General Electric, Giri won multiple GE Innovation awards including one for SaaS/big data analytical offering in Energy. Giri is currently a GridWise Alliance board member.

Chris Trump joined the Egerton McAfee firm in 2001 and has practiced primarily in the areas of finance (both private and governmental), commercial law, business formations, securities, and business acquisitions and sales.

His experience includes:

  • Representing financial institutions and borrowers in asset-based commercial lending transactions, including those involving revolving lines of credit, guidance lines of credit, letters of credit facilities and equipment financing;
  • Representing businesses and their owners in business formations and private placements of debt and equity securities;
  • Representing financial institutions and borrowers in local and multi-state real estate and construction financing transactions;
  • Representing businesses in strategic businesses acquisitions;
  • Representing businesses and their owners in sale of business transactions, including sales to both strategic and financial (private equity/venture capital) acquirers;
  • Representing local quasi-governmental entities in connection with conduit tax-exempt bond issuances and economic incentive transactions, including PILOTs and TIFs;
  • Representing holders of real property in the purchase, sale or leasing of real property;;
  • Advising businesses in connection with international business expansion activities; and
  • Representing financial institutions in connection with syndicated and participated commercial lending transactions.

Chris is a Fellow of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, an organization which represents lawyers in North America who are experts in the mortgage law industry. He is an active participant in the Knoxville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations. Chris currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. He is also a member of the Middle Market and Small Business Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, actively serving on its International Expansion and Cross Border Transactions Subcommittee. While in law school, Chris served as Special Projects Editor and Staff Member for Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.

Gary Hearl is the Senior Vice President for Sustainable Industries-ESG at Young America Capital and the President and CEO at Elevation Energy and Elevation Ventures.


Mark Hagan is an experienced leader in energy markets and projects, with specialized knowledge in renewable diesel and biofuels feedstocks and a foundation in conventional energy markets including gas and power. Current focus on developing new projects in low carbon transport fuels, solving integrated commercial, regulatory and technical challenges to grow new businesses.

Jonathan Snover assumed responsibilities for the Western Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in January of 2016. He works with regional stakeholders to expand opportunities for biotechnology-based business growth. Snover serves as the region’s contact to the Biotechnology Center’s grant and loan programs as well as the many other support services available from the Center. He coordinates activities among regional universities, entrepreneurs, industry and civic leaders and the Center to achieve regional goals prioritized by the advisory committee.

Snover has extensive experience bringing new technologies to market in corporate, small business and startup environments. He started his career in corporate research and development and worked alongside new product development, manufacturing and marketing and sales to complete commercialization projects. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Middlebury College, a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and a postdoctoral fellowship from North Carolina State University.

Current areas of focus include:

-Carbon removal (CDR)
-Carbon market dynamics
-AI and ethical tech
-Building innovation ecosystems

Kevin Heaslip became Director of the Center for Transportation Research and a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on July 1, 2022. He previously was a Professor, CACI Faculty Fellow, and a Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Fellow at Virginia Tech. He was the interim director and associate director of the Information Systems Laboratory of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology. Heaslip was an Appointed Member of the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academy of Science from 2014 to 2020.

Heaslip has been awarded over $25 million in research grants and contracts from federal governments, state governments, and industry as an expert in transportation engineering, transportation technology, and critical infrastructure cybersecurity. He has over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, and technical reports on the topics of transportation engineering, connected and automated vehicles, transportation big data, and transportation cybersecurity. Heaslip received a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Mr. Pullins has more than 40 years of electric and gas industry experience in operations, maintenance, engineering, microgrids, and renewables project development.  Mr. Pullins previously was CEO of Horizon Energy Group where he led the nation’s Modern Grid Strategy for DOE and worked with more than 20 utilities in Smart Grid strategies, renewables strategies, microgrids, energy storage, and power system optimization.  Since 2004, he has designed more than 80 microgrids. He has advised several international utility and government organizations on Smart Grid technologies and operations, microgrid development, integrating intelligence, new power generation, and waste to energy technologies. He holds a BS and MS in Engineering.

AlphaStruxure develops microgrids and other distributed energy infrastructure as an energy-as-a-service (EaaS) business.

Vig Sherrill is a serial entrepreneur who has led a number of successful technology companies in East Tennessee over the past 30 years. Most recently, he is serving as President and CEO of General Graphene. He has also helped found GridSmart, which has recently been acquired by Cubic Corporation; ASIC International, which was acquired by Flextronics; and Trade Winds, which was acquired by Sirit. He has raised more than $50 million in venture capital for his startups, which produced more than $150 million in revenue in East Tennessee. Sherrill earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, with a focus on digital signal processing.

Bill Ganon (LinkedIn) is passionate about effective organizational communication and sales performance. He works with all areas of the organization: C-Suite, Sales, Customer Experience, Product Development and Tech/Engineering, to raise their communication ability. Whether it’s critical 1:1 proposals across the desk, or a conference presentation to hundreds, Bill coaches organizational executives to deliver presentations with confidence, conviction and connection. Bill Ganon is a frequent performer at The Moth (“True Stories Told Live”) in both New Orleans and New York City and has won both GrandSlam and StorySlam competitions.

I have over twenty-five years of business experience specializing in healthcare, financial services, and product distribution. I have expertise with growing and building companies, designing strategy, mergers & acquisitions, sales operations, and marketing. Originally from Southern California and completed my degree at the University of Michigan. I currently reside in a suburb of Nashville with my family.

I was Chairman and CEO of Simplicity Life (formerly Imeriti, Inc.) where I grew the company over 8,000% in twelve years. Simplicity Life became one of the leading financial services distribution companies in the country focusing on life insurance and annuities. I sold the company to private equity firm in 2016 as the primary shareholder.

After the sale I joined the holding company, Simplicity Group, as EVP of Strategy and President of Life as we acquired over thirty more distribution organizations in four years.

Before embarking in financial services and product distribution, I was a principal at a large consulting firm on the East Coast. During my tenure in the healthcare division focusing on management and IT consulting, I was responsible for over 25 projects and generated millions of dollars of add on revenue from existing clients.