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VOL. 45 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 10, 2021

YNOT wins world robotics title

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Engineering students at the University of Tennessee, won the world championship at the 2021 VEXU Robotics World Championship in Greenville, Texas, defeating defending champion Purdue in the finals.

Tickle College of Engineering’s Vex University Robotics Team, YNOT, was one of more than 300 teams from universities around the world to compete throughout the season for a qualifying spot.

Grant Kobes, a senior from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is the founder and lead designer for YNOT. He launched the team four years ago as a project for his honors leadership studies minor through the Honors Leadership program. His goal was to create an opportunity for engineering students to gain hands-on experience with the engineering design process.

Teams receive the year’s game challenge in April and must have their robots ready for the competition season by early fall.

Kobes and his teammates have expanded their expertise in product design since the team began. Working in their own laboratory on campus, students custom create 90% of the parts for their robot. They fabricate the parts using a set of 3D printers, a CNC mill and metal/polycarbonate.

ResMan joins Inhabit IQ

Knoxville-based Inhabit IQ, a collective of tech-forward products serving the residential, commercial and vacation rental management industries, has added ResMan to its services.

ResMan is a property management SaaS platform provider. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The transaction will give Inhabit IQ a core residential-focused property management solution, while further expanding Inhabit IQ’s presence in the affordable housing market.

The platforms of both Inhabit IQ and ResMan will remain open to partnerships with other solutions providers, allowing customers the choice of best-in-class providers to manage and optimize performance.

ResMan’s headquarters will remain in Plano, Texas, and the company will continue to be led by Paul Bridgewater and its current senior leadership team.

SportsGrid Network coming to Knoxville

Nexstar Media Inc. and SportsGrid Inc., a streaming video network that provides extensive coverage of sports betting for all the major sports, has announced a multi-year agreement to launch “SportsGrid Network,” the nation’s first-ever diginet devoted to sports wagering and fantasy sports.

Beginning Sept. 1, SportsGrid Network will be distributed across nine digital subchannels licensed to Nexstar in nine major U.S. markets, including Knoxville and Nashville.

SportsGrid is the nation’s first and only 24-hour sports wagering and fantasy sports program service. SportsGrid’s content is currently distributed across over-the-air broadcast and cable television, connected Smart TVs, a variety of streaming platforms, mobile devices and on the internet. The new network will be available on recently vacated digital sub-channels licensed to Nexstar.

At its launch, SportsGrid Network will feature 18 hours of exclusive live original programming hosted by a team of on-air personalities, sports and gambling experts, and guest contributors, as well as a variety of pre-produced programming and encore presentations of the network’s most popular shows.

Entrepreneur Magazine picks Ripley again

Maryville-based Ripley PR, a public relations agency specializing in skilled trades and home service franchise brands, has been named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2021 annual list of the nation’s Top Franchise Suppliers in the PR Agency category for the fourth year in a row.

To determine their annual ranking of the Top Franchise Suppliers, Entrepreneur surveyed more than 750 franchisors, from emerging brands that just got started to established companies that have been franchising for decades. The brands were asked which service providers they and their franchisees use and to rate their satisfaction with the quality, cost and value of each supplier’s services. Each supplier was scored based on the results of the survey, and the top-scoring suppliers in each of 10 categories made it into the ranking.

Heather Ripley founded Ripley PR in 2013 after garnering direct franchise development experience with Clockwork Home Services, franchisor of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky.

Boldsquare expands operations to Atlanta

Knoxville-based Boldsquare, a strategy and communications practices company, is expanding its business into Atlanta, and has appointed Eve Nimkar as head of marketing and Atlanta office lead.

Nimkar was most recently vice president of marketing and communications for Delta Community Credit Union.

In her new role at Boldsquare, she will play an integral role in the development and execution of compelling marketing solutions for some of the practice’s key clients, as well as driving awareness of Boldsquare and its services.

Boldsquare is a multi-disciplined strategy, communications and marketing firm that works with executive leadership teams at some of the fastest growing companies in the United States. It was founded in 2018 by former executive leaders at businesses including Honeywell, Roche, HGTV, NCR, EMI Group, Reynolds & Reynolds and The E.W. Scripps Company.

IGT Tech to expand Knoxville operations

IGT Technologies Inc. has announced that the company will invest $3.9 million to expand its operations in Knoxville, creating 200 new jobs.

IGT is a business process management and software development company. Its Knoxville facility will oversee and assist with the operations for IGT’s North American customers by working with the latest technologies in chat, email, analytics and robotics process automation. This project will comprise an inbound call center and a technology development center, catering to the growing demand of travel, retail, e-commerce and high-tech companies. It also plans to set up a Customer Experience Incubation Lab to support startups.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Gurugram, India, IGT has more than 14,000 employees who are customer experience and technology specialists providing services to more than 80 marquee customers worldwide. Having a presence in the United States for over 15 years, IGT’s global footprint consists of 20 delivery centers across 10 countries. These delivery centers provide 24/7 support in multiple languages and allow each customer to choose a global sourcing delivery that is best suited to its specific business needs.

Over the last five years, TNECD has supported 10 economic development projects in Knox County, resulting in 1,100 job commitments and nearly $138 million in capital investment.

Korean auto supplier to open in Telford

Sungwoo Hitech officials have announced that the company will invest $40 million to locate its first U.S. manufacturing operations, Sungwoo Hitech America Corp, in Telford.

Sungwoo Hitech America, a Korean automotive supplier, has purchased the former Alo Tennessee building in the Washington County Industrial Park, where the company will create 117 new jobs.

Sungwoo Hitech manufactures metal stamped components for the automotive industry. The company’s Telford facility will produce bumpers, rear components and side framing for customers including General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and BMW. Renovations on the 380,000-square-foot facility are underway and manufacturing is slated to begin in early 2022.

Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Seoul, Korea, Sungwoo Hitech employs nearly 18,000 people across 26 facilities in 10 countries around the globe.

Over the last five years, TNECD has supported 40 economic development projects in Northeast Tennessee, accounting for 3,350 job commitments and more than $1 billion in capital investment.

City sets up COVID vaccine clinics

The City of Knoxville is hosting three upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics in conjunction with the Knox County Health Department.

The clinics are free and open to the public.

“We know that vaccines are the most effective way to combat COVID-19, so we want to make it as easy as possible for everyone, including City employees and their families, to get vaccinated against this deadly disease,” Mayor Indya Kincannon says. “We are happy to provide these free clinics at City facilities in the coming weeks and hope we can do our part to boost the vaccination rate in Knox County.”

The newly FDA approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be administered by KCHD staff to all eligible persons at the following times and locations:

Monday, Sept. 13 (first shot)

Monday, Oct. 4 (second shot)

City County Building Small Assembly Room at 400 Main Street, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 14 (first shot)

Tuesday, Oct. 5 (second shot)

Public Works Building, Community Room at 3131 Morris Avenue, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 17 (first shot)

Tuesday, Oct. 12 (second shot)

Civic Auditorium Lobby at 500 Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Maryville Colleges offers new majors

Maryville College has added several new offerings to its curriculum, including new majors in developmental psychology, elementary education and environmental science.

Starting in fall 2021, Maryville College is now offering a major in developmental psychology.

The major, which is part of the College’s Division of Behavioral Sciences, is designed for students who are interested in developmental science across the life span and in providing services to children, adolescents and adults.

Also in fall 2021, Maryville College started offering a new major in elementary education. This new major replaces the previous child development and learning for teacher licensure major, which has prepared teachers for K-5 classrooms for decades. This new update places greater emphasis on the formal study of teaching or pedagogy and the complex relationship between teaching and learning.

Recognizing that today’s complex environmental problems require a new, interdisciplinary approach that integrates knowledge from many fields, including biology, chemistry and the earth sciences, Maryville College is now offering a major in environmental science.

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