The Square Room inside Cafe 4 in Downtown Knoxville was packed on Tuesday afternoon as 80 people awaited to hear about the accomplishments in Tennessee’s advanced energy sector and what’s to come in the future.

U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Kathleen Hogan and new CEO of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), Bryan Dods, gathered in Knoxville to discuss how advanced energy is not only making an impact in the Volunteer State but also nationwide.

(L to R) WBIR-TV anchor John Becker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy Kathleen Hogan, and Bryan Dods CEO of IACMI

(L to R) WBIR-TV anchor John Becker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy Kathleen Hogan, and Bryan Dods CEO of IACMI

Their featured fireside chat took place at the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC)’s annual “Opportunities in Energy” event in Knoxville. Business leaders and public officials gathered to learn more about how to leverage advanced energy to make Tennessee the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

The fireside chat was moderated by WBIR-TV anchor John Becker. The questions ranged from innovations in advanced manufacturing to what was going to happen to Hogan’s position at the U.S. Department of Energy with a new Administration soon to be stepping in.

“Even though I have this title that makes it sound like I could be political, I’m really not. So with the way the federal government works, there’s a group of people called Senior Executive Service, and that is what I am. We are at the Senior level, the executive level but just below the political level, so I was a part of the core team that engaged with the transition before the election,” said Hogan.

Hogan elaborated further by explaining the transition team is at the Department of Energy now. Hogan stated after the inauguration then her team will engage with the appointed people and who they come in with once they get through their Senate confirmations. She said it’s quite a lengthy process.

“As you look back historically, the Secretary has frequently been nominated and confirmed within the first couple weeks but then they get to turn around and engage in selections of who’s going to be the Deputy, who’s going to be the Under Secretary and then important to me for personal reasons as well is who’s my boss going to be at the Assistant Secretary level for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” said Hogan.

TAEBC President Matt Kisber

TAEBC President Matt Kisber

TAEBC President, Matt Kisber, made the following commitment to members and stakeholders as we begin a new year and transition to a new Administration in Washington.

  • First, inform the national energy agenda. Tennessee is a major player in the $1.3 trillion dollar global market and TAEBC has a lot of expertise to share.
  • Second, support TVA’s efforts to become the utility of the future. TVA is a great asset to the advanced energy economy and we welcome opportunities for collaboration and partnership.
  • Third, help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. Advanced energy can help us reach that goal, and we stand ready to help make that a reality.
  • And fourth, foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups with the kick-off of the Energy Mentor Network, in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

During the event TAEBC also unveiled a three-part video series showcasing the people and businesses in Tennessee’s advanced energy industry. Tennessee’s advanced energy sector employs nearly 325,000 people and contributes more than $33 billion to the state GDP.

If you’d like to view the videos, please go to the “What is Advanced Energy?” page of TAEBC’s website.

For more photos of the “Opportunities in Energy” event, visit TAEBC’s Flickr account.

There were also several panel discussions during “Opportunities in Energy” ranging from talking about how big some of Tennessee’s advanced energy wins were this year to what the top advanced energy trends are, and the innovations that are transforming the advanced energy industry at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The event also featured the official launch of the Energy Mentor Network – a structured mentorship program specifically for energy entrepreneurs and startups in Tennessee, powered by Launch Tennessee and TAEBC.