Launch Tennessee Names Entrepreneur And Investor Charlie Brock As President And CEO

Venture Investor Stuart McWhorter Elected Board Vice-Chair

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership focused on supporting the creation and development of high-growth companies in Tennessee, on Monday announced Charlie Brock as the organization’s new president and Chief Executive Officer and Stuart McWhorter as the organization’s new vice-chairman.

“Charlie’s experience as both an entrepreneur and investor will be critical in advancing our state’s rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, over time helping create jobs and economic prosperity for Tennesseans,” said Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Chairman of the LaunchTN board of directors.  “We are also very fortunate to have an entrepreneur of Stuart's caliber contributing his expertise and leadership to the board.”

“I would also like to thank Brad Smith, who has served as interim CEO of LaunchTN during a critical phase in which he developed the strategy, brought together an exceptionally talented team and placed the organization on course to support Governor Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, “ Mr. Hagerty said.  “LaunchTN is a critical component of our state’s economic development strategy and a unique platform to facilitate an environment where Tennessee’s great entrepreneurial DNA can be unleashed to help create the next FedEx, Pilot or HCA.” 

"I am excited to join LaunchTN and help build on the growing momentum that exists for entrepreneurship in our state," said Mr. Brock.  “I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Hagerty, Stuart, the rest of the LaunchTN Board, and our partners across the state to make Tennessee one of the best places in the country to launch and grow an early-stage company.”

“With all the activities occurring across the state, there couldn’t be a more important time to be investing in Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Mr. McWhorter.  “I am excited to be a part of the efforts the Governor, Commissioner Hagerty, and so many others have brought  together to focus on this important aspect of our state’s economy.”

In 1998, Mr. Brock helped establish Foxmark Media and grew it into one of the nation’s largest mall advertising companies.  As the CEO and largest shareholder, he structured two rounds of private financing before selling the company in 2006 to Australia-based EYE Corp., one of the world's leading out-of-home media companies.  After selling Foxmark, he helped launch FourBridges Capital Advisors, a lower-middle market investment bank based in Chattanooga where Mr. Brock served as managing director. 

Mr. Brock most recently served as a general partner of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, a Chattanooga-based angel investment group, and as the CEO of CO.LAB, a Chattanooga accelerator that provides advice and mentoring services to entrepreneurs and runs the summer Gig Tank program. Mr. Brock is an organizer and director of CapitalMark Bank and Trust in Chattanooga and also serves as a director of The Dixie Group and Park Media Software. M. Brock will officially begin his role at LaunchTN on Jan. 28. 

Mr. McWhorter is co-founder and President of Clayton Associates, a venture capital firm based in Brentwood. Mr. McWhorter is also chairman of the board of both Medical Reimbursements of America and Censis Technologies as well as a board member of FCA Venture Partners, Haven Behavioral Healthcare, 24/7 Sports, and FirstBank of Tennessee. Mr. McWhorter will begin serving as the organization’s vice-chairman immediately.


CBL Closes Long-Term Fixed-Rate Loan Secured By Ambassador Town Center

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. on Thursday announced that it closed on a non-recourse $47.7 million loan secured by Ambassador Town Center in Lafayette, La. The seven-year loan bears a fixed interest rate of 3.22 percent and was provided by a new institutional lender. Proceeds from the loan were primarily used to retire the existing construction loans with an aggregate balance ... (click for more)

First Tennessee Bank Presents $50,000 Check To Ancla Insurance And Services

First Tennessee Bank’s Chattanooga Community Development Manager Tracee Smith and Cleveland Community President Mike Griffin presented Ancla Insurance and Services President Beth Underwood with a check in the amount of $50,000 at First Tennessee’s downtown office. The funds donated by First Tennessee will be used to enhance Ancla’s onsite computer lab and build on its lifestyle ... (click for more)

Family At Bedside Of Legendary Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt

The family of legendary Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt was at her bedside on Sunday. Erin Freeman, of the Pat Summitt Foundation, released this statement: “On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses. "She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during ... (click for more)

Firefighters Put Out Fire In Compost Pile At City's Wood Recycling Center

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a fire at the city's wood recycling center on N. Hawthorne Street around noon on Sunday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman said the smoke and flames could be seen from several miles away.   Firefighters with five fire companies worked to get the blaze under control, using master streams from two aerials and some hand-held hoselines. The ... (click for more)

Improvements Needed At Entrance To Wilcox Tunnel

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention to a city traffic issue that needs to be addressed immediately, the sooner the better. I can see no large cost factor.   Recently, while as a concerned citizen, removing trash and litter from the entry/exit area of the Wilcox Tunnel on the side that runs into Chamberlain Avenue, I fully realized that this area could ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Will George Go?

George Will, easily one of the most respected conservative columnists in America and a Republican commentator, was a guest on Fox News Sunday yesterday when he made a very revealing statement. He announced he has left the Republican Party “for the same reason I joined it” and that he is not only disappointed by the party’s actions but its increasingly-inept leadership as well. ... (click for more)