A full representation of Tennessee’s advanced energy sector participated in the November 2013 listening session, held in Knoxville, Tenn. Industries represented include carbon fiber, solar, new nuclear technologies, energy efficiencies, auto industry manufacturers, pollution control, plus engineers, entrepreneurs, and economists.

One common theme emerged: a need to connect and network across the state in the industry. One participant shared a story about research dollars leaving the state because one large company was not aware of the expertise just 50 miles from its headquarters.

There was resounding agreement that TAEBC’s mission to share information about the benefits of our advanced energy sector as a job creation and economic development strategy is a necessary first step to removing barriers for companies to not only grow, but to also open up new market opportunities for Tennessee companies.

All attendees shared feedback that will inform TAEBC’s 2014 priorities. Education will be an important initiative this year: driving education toward the energy sector including energy-specific degrees and certifications offered at universities, community colleges and workforce programs. Additionally, the attendees agreed on a need to connect to a broader region, to put more emphasis on energy as a national/global opportunity/need to make assets stronger in Tennessee.

Finally, attendees agreed that TAEBC can benefit them and their businesses, through education, connections, special events and participation in economic development initiatives.