Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Nashville-based Informatics Corporation of America (ICA), a Vanderbilt University Medical Center spinout, announced today it will partner with Columbia, S.C.-based Companion Data Services to offer a unified electronic health record. Companion is a major vendor for the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and provides secure hosting and related services, while ICA provides a large suite of services for integration of clinical data by healthcare networks, health information exchanges and regional health information organizations.
KNS reports that Volkswagen will hold a vendor-supplier integration conference this fall, and that Tennessee prime- or sub-contractors will be eligible to bid for business with Volkswagen's 62 facilities worldwide.
Chattanoogan.com tips us to a sobering assessment of TVA finances and performance, from the IG, here. TVA's apparently having trouble containing its operations and maintenance costs, even before the Ash spill.
Franklin-based IHL Group says in a release this week that in North America consumers will spend more than $1.6 trillion for goods and services paid for via electronic kiosks. To know more, you have to pay nearly $1K for the report.
Andy Flatt, the fellow who this week succeeds Beth Chase (left) as chairman of Nashville Technology Council, says the group will re-examine its strategic plan during an August retreat, and defining its service territory is but one hot issue. Read the full story here.
The 23-year-old Nashville Business Incubation Center has experience a slump in resident businesses that is unprecedented in recent years. Read more about NBIC here.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Unfettered or controversial, take your pick: Former State GOP Communications Director Bill Hobbs both creates and absorbs his share of lightning. This month, he launched Mesh Media Strategies, to counsel clients on leveraging and defending against social media, which he says have supplanted traditional media. In addition to his GOP and Belmont University communications stints, the Abilene Christian University grad worked three years as a reporter for Nashville Business Journal. Describing himself on his previous website, Hobbs said, in part, that he's "a journalist, a blogger, a web communications strategist, a media relations consultant, a grassroots communicator, a husband, a father, a Christian, a Nashvillian and an American. I work with clients I believe in, and I love to help my clients win."
Saturday, June 27, 2009
With billions in Stimulus funding in the pipeline for Health IT upgrades nationally, Thursday's NHCC gathering of informatics eagles in Nashville seemed to signal both local players' resolve to play pivotal roles in development and adoption of health IT, as well as the sizeable risk we run that all that spending won't change healthcare...enough. VU Medical Center's informatics guru, Bill Stead, M.D., insisted that the needed innovation won't materialize if executives throughout the healthcare system don't "stop playing defense around a model that's not sustainable." David Brailer, M.D., the like-minded former national Health IT coordinator for the latter Bush Administration, warned that would-be HIT providers must employ deeper understanding of how healthcare actually works, if they're to justify their share of the pie. Addressing the Nashville Health Care Council event, Bredesen F&A Commissioner Dave Goetz said the State of Tennessee should, according to NHCC's post-event release (pdf), 'build the infrastructure and the information sources necessary for the private sector to then use to drive value and innovation'. Stead, Goetz and others put all this in even stronger terms during an event last fall, as reported then by VNC. Brailer said he believes Nashville is one of the nation's few cities prepared to be a leader in HIT. NHCC President Caroline Young agreed, and stressed that NHCC's goal is to "help position our members" for such leadership. A related summit report by NashvillePost.com covered inadequate patient engagement in HIT diffusion, the need for standardization and the importance of demonstrating dramatic improvement in health care outcomes, flowing from IT investment. Further VNC coverage of informatics and related.
U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Murfreesboro) tells the DNJ of the economic benefits that will flow locally from the Energy bill he recently endorsed. Gordon chairs the House Science Committee. Other Bart Gordon reports here.
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis is making plans for a $50MM facility for translational research. MBJ reports. It's only been a few days since UTHSC cut the ribbon on a new biocontainment facility.
Friday, June 26, 2009
[Updated June 28, 4:18 p.m.] Qualifacts Systems Inc., the 2nd Avenue provider of software and services for the behavioral health and human-services sector, announced today it has hired Geoff Fisher (left) as its first full-time sales and service executive for the West. A Qualifacts spokesperson told VNC Fisher will be based in San Diego, where he currently resides. VNC research this afternoon indicates Fisher was previously in a similar role with Sequest Technologies, a Qualifacts competitor; and, earlier, was with MDVIP and Alteer Corporation. He earned his bachelor's in Biology at Virginia Tech. The announcement of Fisher's hire was attributed to Qualifacts VP-Marketing Chris Bair. Gov. Phil Bredesen owns controlling interest in Qualifacts. David Klements is president and CEO. For VNC's previous coverage of the firm and its progress, please visit our site.
Lots of free legal information is so couched in lawyerly CYA language as to be useless without hiring counsel. Gee, wonder why. But, two recent posts by attorneys with Bone McAllister Norton here in Nashville are both informative and inviting: Paul Kruse alerts owners to another trademark-protection risk-opportunity associated with Facebook...while George Phillips provides a focused and readable set of "steps to success" for any business owner.
Tennesseans have great hopes that tech advances at Oak Ridge NL and recent corporate investment announcements will spawn not only electric-vehicle production (thanks! Nissan), but also battery powertrain-related jobs. San Jose's Mercury News reports Tesla Motors is making a $100MM play to build such a facility in the Bay Area, using Stimulus resources. That's a Tesla PR photo of a Tesla roadster.
In Memphis, Ghost River Brewing is leveraging its alliance with Bosco's (Nashville and Memphis) and pushing the 'hometown brew' angle to ramp-up consumer preference. The MDN reports.
NewsChannel5 reports '1,400 companies' have expressed interest in selling to or partnering with Hemlock Semiconductors, which is building a plant for producing silicon for solar panels, at Clarksville.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Sure, you know about Gestamp Corp. bringing $90MM and 230 jobs to Chattanooga to stamp pieces of Volkswagens...but, what about Gestamp Solar? We're on such a roll with Solar, maybe we'll get a piece of that action, too. I know: We're sounding greedy...'k, we're jus' sayin'.
On Tuesday, July 1, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management Dean James W. Bradford (left) joins the board of the Graduate Management Admission Council, the association of leading graduate business schools worldwide. Here's the VU release.
By partnering with St. Paul-based Internet Broadcasting, Inc., Knoxville-based HGTV's Frontdoor.com says it has built unprecedented audience for residential listings. The release is here.
The Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition for Capital issued a release yesterday applauding the Tennessee General Assembly for passage of the Tennessee Small Business Investment Company Credit Act, passage of which was reported here by VNC. The Coalition's website is incomplete, but its current content suggests it is sponsored by firms such as those that introduced CAPCO legislation here, which eventually was transformed by a bipartisan effort into Tennessee investment company (TNInvestco) legislation.
The nearly 75-year-old University of Tennessee Research Foundation has quietly laid plans for the departure of its CEO and the total replacement of members of its board of directors. Read about it here.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Given that Nashville-based Pathfinder Therapeutics' new CEO, Skip Goode (at left), was previously with Sunnyvale-based Accuray Incorporated (Nasdaq: ARAY), a mover in the field of radiosurgery, it is worth noting that Accuray is touting it has just installed its 10th CyberKnife(R) Robotic Radiosurgery System in an HCA facility, in this case Nashville's Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at CentennialMedical Center.
Lamar Villere (left), director of private-equity investing for the State's pension system (TCRS), yesterday provided us TCRS guidelines for PE efforts. Based on the scope of the director's job outlined in this document, maybe they'd better invest in biotech, to clone Villere. After all, we're talking about stewardship of at least $800MM. Read about it here.
The University of Tennessee's Kraken supercomputer (beauty shot, at left) is officially the world's most powerful academic supercomputer and the sixth-fastest overall. Kraken is a Cray XT5 at Oak Ridge NL. ORNL's Jaguar (also Cray) retained its 2nd Place ranking overall, and is currently the world's most powerful machine for open scientific uses. With both systems set for upgrades in the next few months, the lead could shift to Jaguar. KNS reports the story.
American Sentinel, the Colorado-chartered online-education company with close ties to Vanderbilt University and the Nashville VC community, held its annual in-the-flesh graduation ceremony, recently, with VU Nursing School Dean Colleen Conway-Welch delivering the commencement address. Read our earlier story on founder Rick Oliver and his company.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
With the pressure-trifecta of transparency, accountability and outcomes bearing-down on providers, Cogent Healthcare is touting a new study that shows hospitalists' patients have 'profoundly lower' re-admission rates. This is the kind of 'meaningful difference' for which all payers are increasingly scouting. Cogent's release is here. Related Cogent stories, here.
[Updated 12:33 p.m. CDST] Whew! Didn't quite see that comin'. The news that Luke Kanies (left) is pulling up his small taproot here in Nashville and moving Reductive LLC to Portland, Ore., struck us as further evidence of how very portable is technology, and the tug of places that were home for our alma maters, etc. But, when we caught Luke on the phone this morning, after being alerted to the move by Geert De Lombaerde's re-post from xconomySeattle, we found ourselves a little mouth-agape at his candor and even a seeming tinge of bitterness, given, as he put it, he "had worked pretty hard to build a network" in Nashville, ultimately finding what he described as only a few geeks he could occasionally have a beer with, as opposed to the tech-event-a-day atmosphere of Portland. Ultimately, he told VNC, Kanies, who turned 34 yesterday, said it was actually Nashville's comparatively meager geek community, and what he termed the "not very liberal" culture of Nashville that "drove us away and drove us toward Portland." It was clear he could have gladly listed other deficiencies he perceives, but he had a meeting to take. [UPDATE: He called back, as promised, and, when asked whether the Digital Nashville intiative, NTC efforts, the Geek Breakfast and other initiatives had not worked for him, he responded with less of an edge, that those things had "made things 'better', right, but there's a difference between 'better' and 'good', and I think the technology community in Nashville is just a ways behind..."] The widely known Unix system administrator turned entrepreneur, author of the Puppet server-admin tool, and configuration-management expert and his wife have sold their home. Spouse Cindy, he said, has a Ph.D. in cancer biology from Vanderbilt University, and they have two 9-month-old twins.
Carlos Ghosn (left), CEO of Nissan, is all smiles, we suppose, about the company's widely reported decision to locate production of its new electric auto at Smyrna, Tenn. He keeps this up, his name recognition could be huge by 2010. Hmm. Or, given the rumors that GM's Hummer could land in Tennessee, also, maybe that should read, Hummmmm. [Updates - Here's an item on Nissan's partnerships, including comments by CIO Linda Goodspeed, on NashvillePost.com. And, here are the Nissan release and the Obama Administration's release about a $1.6Bn loan to Nissan to upgrade its TN plant for the electric car. Lest they be forgotten, here's the TFP's June 24 story on Volkswagen hiring moving apace.]
In a release this morning, HealthLeaders-Interstudy says, "...while health systems and physician groups in the Phoenix market seem to be ahead of the curve in adopting electronic medical records (EMR), there is a high rate of 'deinstallation', wherein physician groups cancel their EMR contracts as a result of training, functionality or affordability issues." Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Bredesen's office of e-health announced Tennessee is one of the top 5 states in e-prescribing improvement.
The UT-Baptist Research Park in Memphis has now cut the ribbon on its first building, a biocontainment lab. The next building to open will be the UT pharmacy college, in 2010. The CA reports.
The CA reports: New Direction Christian Church in Memphis is streaming sermons, Tweeting during Bible study and using other social media to spread the Good Word. What about when it's time to pass the plate? Offerings online, gladly accepted.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Chattanooga-based Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) named Richard McKenney (at left) EVP-CFO, succeeding Robert Greving, who will retire. McKenney was EVP-CFO for Sun Life Financial Inc. Earlier, he served with Genworth Financial, Inc. (formerly, GE Financial Assurance Holdings Inc.) He earned a bachelor's in mech. engineering at Tufts University. He'll report to Unum CEO Thomas Watjen.
Tennessee State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) simply mentioned in passing last Thursday, in comments prior to a key committee vote on Tennessee new Small Business Investment Company Credit Act that someone in his district was about to get maybe thousands of Green jobs, and how it sure would be helpful if the state passed the TNSBICCA, to create new venture capital funds that could only invest in TN companies. Well, a little scurrying about revealed that Aladdin is preparing to lend its name to a new line of energy-conserving street lights, in partnership with Mid-TN manufacturer The Davis Groupe, and a couple of Washington State technology companies. Here's the full story.
Vanderbilt informatics professor Mark Frisse is a key source in the Kaiser Health News report on the uncertainty facing the MidSouth e-Health Alliance, the RHIO centered on Memphis, which has the past three-plus years had strong support from Gov. Phil Bredesen and deep involvement by Vanderbilt informatics experts.
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis provides this tight summary of the provisions of the General Assembly's annual "technical corrections" bill, submitted each spring by the governor's commissioner of revenue. FONCE, Streamlined sales tax, and more are here.
We missed Bill Synder's earlier tribute to retired Vanderbilt vice chancellor-health affairs and entrepreneur Harry Jacobson. A good read, in the VUMC Reporter, right here.
Blue Like Jazz Media Partners LLC in Brentwood is looking for $3 million, according to a filing with the SEC, in addition to $200K already raised under an equity offering promoted by Steve Taylor and Erick Goss. A wikipedia entry for Steve Taylor indicates his project may be linked to a filmic version of Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz, which addresses Christian spirituality. The Strategic Financial Alliance, Atlanta, is shown receiving sales compensation.
The wheels of the gods grind slowly in the world of orthobiologics. So, The City Paper-NashvillePost update on Sam Lynch's Biomimetic Therapeutics is a timely review of recent developments within arguably mid-TN's most prominent Bio company. Here's our earlier story on the company, as well as our piece on Leslie Wisner-Lynch (at left) and the region's struggling biotech sector.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
In Chattanooga, Covista Communications founder and long-time telecom entrepreneur Henry Luken (at left) intends to ride the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) wave to increase Covista revenue from its current $35MM. The Times Free Press reports. Covista pricing undercuts Vonage. The company has both a phone switch and a call center in Th' Noog. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker sold many of his own business holdings to Luken, in 2006, according to Chattanoogan.com. Luken, a Kentucky native, has been in many ventures, from yacht-building to real estate, and moved Covista to Chattanooga after acquiring it, partly using funds he realized from the sale of Telco Communications, which he cofounded and which prior to its sale was reportedly generating more than $400MM per year in revenue. In Nashville, Andy Bailey of NationLink says he believes his company's revenue will go from $1.8MM to $3MM by the end of '09. The NBJ reports (sub.).
Friday, June 19, 2009
Charter Schools have attracted business elite and frustrated parents, alike, and with this week's expansion of state law to allow up to 20 charters in Nashville, things could get interesting. Note: An admittedly ramshackle proposal from a local professor to create a Metro science academy charter has failed three years in a row. Maybe Metro Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (left), whom the City Paper says wants to be involved in expanding charters here, will consider recruiting someone to help create a charter to rival schools in Oak Ridge, Memphis and elsewhere. [Speaking of the Mayor...the 'Nashville: Where Innovation Sings' marketing campaign proposed for the city by those Owen GSM Accelerator Business Institute students will be presented to Hizzoner at 3 p.m. today.]
Memphis loves its boxing, and is developing a taste for Mixed Martial Arts, which a year ago got a boost from state government. Don't know how that'll affect the Herenton v. Cohen bout. But, we digress. The CA reports. VNC's earlier report on MMA entrepreneur Shane Messer is here.
The Jackson Sun reports near-euphoria (kidding) about the General Assembly's approval of funding to help develop a TVA-approved megasite in Haywood County, which is the Bredesen Administration's proposed site for a solar farm. A 3-county coalition has already formed to recruit industry, and at least one local leader plumps that, had the site been ready, his county would've been home to VW, instead of Hamilton. The Sun's site is another Ganette entity that may be slow-loading, but it's worth the read. Here's an earlier VNC story on the state's industrial parks.
It's only been operational a few months over in Oak Ridge, but the American Museum of Science & Energy already has a good bit to offer (and this weekend is the City of Oak Ridge's annual "Secret City" arts festival). While at the AMSE, you can get this T-shirt, sporting a glow-in-the-dark periodic chart of elements.
Nashville Post reports on Smith & Wesson buying a safety-barrier manufacturer in Franklin, noting S&W sees the unit being a $100MM division...and, two area insurance brokers spin a financial counseling venture for elders out of Assurance Financial Partners...also, the sale of Shawnee Press to Hal Leonard.
If Sen. Lamar Alexander and other advocates have their way, the nation will be needing tens of thousands of new engineers with nuclear experience. This 7-year-old Oak Ridge National Lab program now has 50 undergrads participating. Related WTVC story.
Gotta love it: Chattem, a Chattanooga 'legacy' company that's greatly expanding its production of ACT Mouthwash in the Noog, has signed-up Spongebob Squarepants as the product pitchman. The TFP reports.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Gov. Phil Bredesen's next-to-last annual economic development conference during his second term as governor will be Sept. 14-15 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The Governor's Awards for Trade Excellence (GATE) will also be presented. The theme -- 'Powering New Growth' -- seems a harbinger of further Green energy initiatives.
Leadership Music and Next Big Nashville announced they're reviving the Nashville Music Awards, once called the NAMMYs, I believe. Hey, it's where I first saw Webb Wilder, as I recall. Deadline for nominations is July 15. Awards will be Oct. 7th, during NBN09.
Scientists at the Oak Ridge NL Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, one of five interrelated DOE nanoscience centers, used an instrumented developed at ORNL to discovery a new approach to using ferroelectric nanomaterials to switch, read, write and otherwise manipulate data, using much lower power than current technology. One scientist said, "Harnessing this functionality will ultimately enable smart and ultra-dense memory technology" and open a new era in electronics. The ORNL release is here. KNS Science Writer Frank Munger's take on it is here.
[Updated 11:17 a.m.] We're not sure, yet, whether Marcus Whitney (at left) is still operating as Remarkable Wit, but he's now chief technology officer at Moontoast. According to a Moontoast release, Whitney's been joined by entrepreneur Stephen Collins, the former chief of his family's Juris Inc., who is now acting CEO for the Moontoast knowledge network, as well as an advisor to Airplay Direct. For now, here's the story.
Jon Yarbrough (left), the founder and CEO of rampantly growing Video Gaming Technologies, based in Smyrna, Tenn., says he's ontrack for his 5-year spending plan, holding up to $100MM for ventures. And, he's looking for an excutive team member. Some more details here.
[Update 5:52 p.m.] There's $120MM on tap for Tennessee-based startups...now that both Tennessee House and Senate have approved a new investment-company incentive, dubbed TSBICCA, which has been in debate since January. Pro or con, read about it here.
Roane County has taken to boasting it is "America's Technology Crossroads," given it is home to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a pro-entrepreneur climate. Here's the site.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) within the VU School of Engineering, and others on the VU campus, are collaborating for development of powerful new technology and techniques for improving healthcare providers' ability to detect potentially deadly sepsis in the clinical environment. Mitigation of sepsis risks has drawn global attention. The VU release is here.
VNC reported earlier venture capitalist Julius Genachowski's then-pending nomination to head the Federal Communications Commission under President Barack Obama. Today's WSJ reports that in confirmation hearings this week, Genachowski (at left) said he favors putting about $7Bn of Stim funding into broadband for currently unserved citizens, and is against reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. The Washington Post reports on Genachowski's previous FCC links, his service with Barry Diller of IAC.
Chattanooga awarded a $600K contract, plus travel expenses, for the Volkwagen training curriculum to a Glasgow, Scotland, UK, firm -- Spitfire Consultancy. Spitfire has done work for VW, previously, in Germany. The VW training center at Enterprise Park will operate under Chattanooga State Community College. The Times Free Press also recently reported on the urgency with which the training curriculum is being developed for the world-class training facility.
The Brookings Institution's findings on Metro areas faring best amid the Recession show Nashville 51st among 100. Full Brookings report here (pdf). Related NBJ story.
Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., in pathology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been named a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences, for the Aussie's work related to leukemia, and will receive $240K over four years to further his research.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Knoxville-based Securities Service Network Inc., one of the nation's largest broker-dealers, announced it will soon begi work on a new national headquarters in Knoxville. It's been ranked the 35th largest independent broker dealer, with more than $78MM in annual revenue. The KNS reports.
David Klements, CEO of Nashville-based Qualifacts Inc., the company controlled by Gov. Phil Bredesen, has a new ally and a fresh strategy linked to healthcare reform and Stimulus funding. The story's here.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Seriously: Vanderbilt University sociology profs Jennifer Lena and Pete Peterson (Emeritus) report in a scholarly journal their latest findings on the emergence and evolution of music genres, revealing that they are spawned by traditional, corporate, avante-garde and "scene" or community sources. Dunno, but for some reason, this seems likely to add value to efforts to map and even anticipate trends in the dynamic music sector. The VU release is here. Those're the investigators, at left.
Harbert Venture Partners, with more than $15B under management, is raising $7.75 million, according to this SEC placement filing. Harbert Management Corp. is headquartered in Birmingham, with the Venture Partners group centered in Richmond. Nashville is home to Harbert's Mezzanine fund. Related story, TJS.
Nashville-based Advocate Capital makes money loaning money to plaintiffs' law firms, so lawyers needn't finance the costs associated with lengthy litigation, themselves. Advocate put out a release last week saying they've been on this corner ten years, asserting the economy has driven most the firm's "legal funding" competitors out of business, while they are well capitalized and growing nicely. Michael Swanson, at left, is CEO.
Investment banker, wealth manager and research house Avondale Partners now has 14 research analysts covering about 150 companies, thanks to recently announced additions to its research staff.
[correction 0920 16 June] CEO KR Sridar, founder of Bloom Energy, recently revealed the company will place a 100-kilowatt prototype of its fuel cell at Electric Power Board (EPB) offices in Chattanooga. An earlier prototype had been at the Chattanooga-based SimCenter at UTC. The KNS' latest story examines the web of relationships that led to the decision. The KNS reported progress on the project, several weeks ago. Bloom has attracted Kleiner Perkins VC investment.
Media research BIA Financial Network says the Radio ad spend will drop further this year, but the WSJ reads BIA's prognosis as showing small-market stations are more buffered from competition and downturn. Nashville-based Debut Broadcasting's focus is rolling-up and rep'g small-market stations.