IACMI receives $1.5M DOE grant

Friday, June 11, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 24

The U.S. Department of Energy has named the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI – The Composites Institute, to develop and deploy new technologies for manufacturing coal-derived products using coal resources near distressed South Appalachian coal communities.

IACMI’s diverse and experienced member network, including founding members and core innovation partners the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, positions the Institute to lead critical project components accounting for economics analysis, market demand, technology, supply chains, infrastructure, workforce and national security.

The $1.5 million grant awarded to IACMI will assist in the development of technologies to extract and produce critical minerals from both coal and coal ash in the South Appalachian Basin of east Tennessee, northwest Georgia and northern Alabama. Production of critical materials essential for clean energy projects, such as electric vehicle batteries, resilient buildings and infrastructure, can create jobs in coal and power plant communities.

The two-year Southern Appalachian initiative is part of 13 projects totaling $19 million recently announced by DOE in traditionally fossil fuel-producing communities across the country to support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals vital to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy.

Facing persistent shortages in domestic supply, the U.S. has been forced to rely on imported materials, leaving clean energy technology production at greater risk of disruption.

RTG named a Best Place to Work

Realty Trust Group, based in Knoxville, has been selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the 2021 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.

This award program identifies and recognizes outstanding employers in the health care industry nationwide. Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

“One year into the pandemic, we’ve seen the industry transform to meet the needs of its patients and employees,” says Aurora Aguilar, Modern Healthcare’s editor. “Time and time again, the most resilient and successful organizations show that empathy towards their staff, clear vision and compassion towards the patient buoys teams and sets them up for success. We congratulate the Best Places to Work in Healthcare for eliciting loyalty from their workforce and communities during harrowing times.”

FDA approves ChoiceSpine product

ChoiceSpine LLC, a spinal device manufacturer based in Knoxville, has announced it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the Blackhawk Ti Cervical Spacer System.

Anders Cohen, DO, the lead design surgeon for the Blackhawk Ti system, says, “Blackhawk Ti improves and builds upon the already successful original Blackhawk PEEK device with integrated anchor technology. The addition of 3D-printed porous titanium technology, and the implant’s unique updated design both play a role in the bone growth process during fusion. However, what really sets this system apart from others is the simplicity of the implant design and instrumentation that help to significantly reduce surgery time by decreasing the number of steps in the procedure.”

ChoiceSpine is privately held by Altus Capital Partners, a private equity firm that makes control investments in middle market manufacturing businesses.

Maryville College, GSMIT partner

Maryville College and the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont plan to partner with a shared focus on educational programming and research that celebrates ecological and cultural diversity, fosters stewardship, promotes sustainability and nurtures the appreciation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“Maryville College is fortunate to be in a location like none other, and we believe our future focus can be found to our south and east, as we become the college of and for this unparalleled region,” says Dr. Bryan F. Coker, president of Maryville College. “We look forward to formally partnering with Tremont, embracing this region as the amazing learning laboratory that it is.”

The respective governing boards of the College and the GSMIT have endorsed four areas of collaboration and partnership where they intend to provide support and further explore initiatives currently under discussion and consideration:

• Shared employee roles/positions between the two institutions that are of mutual benefit to both organizations

• Creation of new programming, inspired by the College’s Great Smokies Experience course, for the purpose of helping Maryville College students better understand the region and the relationship between people and place

• Envisioning a Graduate Programs Center for Maryville College, utilizing GSMIT’s proposed second campus in Townsend, to offer future graduate-level programs focused on environmental and sustainability studies, and other potential offerings consistent with GSMIT’s mission and focus

• Dedicated space for GSMIT use and programs in Maryville College’s planned new science center.

RiverLine begins public phase

The Tennessee RiverLine, America’s next great regional trail system, has launched its public phase.

The regional initiative for a 652-mile paddle, hike and bike trail along the Tennessee River has now moved from critical research and concept planning to public outreach, events, grants, equipment and infrastructure investment. This momentum reflects the essential support of the initiative’s principal partners, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Tennessee Valley Authority, plus the support of many other partners.

Since 2016, the Tennessee RiverLine has conducted critical research and concept programming. So far, 15 river communities are engaged with the Tennessee RiverLine to bring economic development, health benefits, equitable access, and environmental stewardship to their citizens.

Apartment complex opens in West Knoxville

Crescent Ebenezer, a new luxury apartment complex in West Knoxville, recently held its grand opening.

Tours are available for the one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Crescent Ebenezer, located at 1040 Ebenezer Road, at the corner of Ebenezer Road and Westland Drive contains 246 apartments.

Crescent Ebenezer is a gated community and includes a clubhouse with a resort-style saltwater pool and cabana area. Residents may opt for free surface parking or lease a detached garage. Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, game room, sand volleyball court, playground, pet play area, and Amazon Hub Lockers for deliveries. The property also has pet washing and car washing stations.

Children living in the apartments are zoned to attend Blue Grass Elementary, West Valley Middle and Bearden High schools.

South College unveils free refresher courses

South College is launching a summer Bridge Program, offering free refresher courses in English and math to any student entering higher education.

Registration is open now and space is limited.

The courses are available at South College campuses in Knoxville, Nashville, Asheville and Atlanta.

The Bridge Program is aimed at students entering any institution of higher learning who may have pandemic-related learning slippage or students who have been out of school for an extended time and need additional review of English and math.

The courses will be offered in 2.5-hour blocks twice a week for three weeks, with each block split evenly between English and math. The courses will be led by full-time math and English instructors who teach and work in tutoring labs. Assignments will be set up through the Canvas LMS so that students may gain experience with a learning management system, which are used by most institutions of higher learning.

As an additional incentive, South College is offering a book stipend up to $500 for students who participate in each session of the Bridge Program and enroll at any South College campus or online for the fall quarter.

Mardi Growl back in business, set for June 26

Mardi Growl returns Saturday, June 26, hosting hundreds of dogs and their human companions to benefit Young-Williams Animal Center.

The event will be held on the performance lawn at World’s Fair Park.

Mardi Growl, now in its 14th year, is presented by Merchants of Beer and will feature a new venue and new events, including a pet show contest and party that is a safely distanced replacement for the traditional pet parade. The pet show contest starts at noon and will include seven fun categories for dogs, including Best Vol Spirit, Best Dawg Pack, Pet/Owner Look-a-like, Best Dog Couple, Most Unique Mixed Breed (Mutt), Best Costume and Best Naked Dog.

To register for the pet show contest, enter each pet at mardigrowl.org/register/. Pre-registration is $15, and day-of-event registration is available inside the entrance gate for $20 per dog. Participants should plan to arrive at 10 a.m. Every registered dog is eligible to receive a swag bag while supplies last, available for pickup June 23-24 between 2-5 p.m. at Young-Williams Animal Center, 3201 Division Street.

Young-Williams Animal Center will offer microchipping and rabies vaccines during Mardi Growl for $10 at the Spay Shuttle parked at World’s Fair Park inside the festival grounds.

At 3 p.m., Merchants of Beer will host the After Mardi Party, welcoming two- and four-legged friends to enjoy a DJ and stay for the Mardi Growl Prize Pack giveaway at 4 p.m.

New this year is the Mardi Growler Brew Tour. Register at mardigrowl.org/mardigrowler/ for $25 per person for a bag of goodies, including a special edition growler.

AEGIS Hedging purchases InstaNext

AEGIS Hedging Solutions, a Texas company with offices in Knoxville, has acquired InstaNext, a leading provider of energy/commodity trading and risk management software.

AEGIS is a technology and expertise company for commodity and rate hedging.

InstaNext, founded in 2013, is among the first E/CTRM software to be fully delivered from the cloud. InstaNext serves companies that produce, consume, buy or sell commodities, enabling each to store, value, and assess their hedge positions as they manage against commodity price and rate volatility risk.