Team

Charlie Brock Headshot

Charlie Brock

CEO & President -

Charlie Brock has been CEO of Launch Tennessee since January, 2013. Under his tenure, Launch Tennessee has grown 36|86 into the Southeast’s premier entrepreneurship conference; launched seven industry accelerator programs for high-growth startups; passed startup-friendly legislation; and provided programming that reaches entrepreneurs in 80% of the state’s 95 counties, up from 15% in 2013. Early-stage investment in Tennessee has increased 100% during Charlie’s leadership of Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

Charlie is recognized as a shining star in Southeastern entrepreneurship and ecosystem development. His was among the visions driving the transformation of Chattanooga, aka “the Gig City,” from a sleepy, polluted southern river town into a leading hotbed for innovation (which now enjoys the country’s fastest internet and smartest electric grid).

He has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. Charlie founded several companies, including Foxmark Media, which he exited in 2006 to a global media company. He leveraged this business success to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in his hometown of Chattanooga. Charlie co-founded the city’s first angel fund, mentored hundreds of startups, and was inaugural director of the GigTank accelerator during his time as CEO of CO.LAB.

Charlie was formerly part of the $100M, family-owned Brock Candy. He currently serves as a director of Pinnacle Bank, FourBridges Capital Advisors, the Dixie Group, Cumberland Emerging Technologies and Life Science Tennessee. His philanthropic work includes serving as a board member of The Boys & Girls Club, Outreach Haiti and Girls Preparatory School; and as Chair of the Endowment Committee for Good Shepherd Church.

Brittany Burgess Headshot

Brittany Burgess

Entrepreneurship and Outreach Manager

Brittany is responsible for developing and executing on LaunchTN’s rural strategy and the University Venture Challenge.  She also coordinates LaunchTN’s Specialist Program and recruiting talent for Tennessee’s statewide entrepreneur center network. Brittany is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Lindsey Cox Headshot

Lindsey Cox

Innovation & Commercialization Manager -

Lindsey Cox serves as the Innovation & Commercialization Manager at LaunchTN where she works with universities, researchers, entrepreneurs and industry partners to help them commercialize technologies. She has most recently been working with leaders at the Small Business Administration to bring increased Small Business Innovation Research dollars to Tennessee.

Prior to joining LaunchTN, Lindsey worked with the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee, serving as staff to the Tennessee Local Development Authority and State Revolving Fund Loan Program.
Jami Creel Headshot

Jami Creel

Marketing Coordinator -

Jami Creel supports the execution of strategic marketing with the goal of helping to tell and to evolve LaunchTN’s story. Jami’s specific responsibilities include managing social media, email campaigns and creating marketing materials.

Jami graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a BBA in Marketing.

George Curran

Coordinator of Capital Formation & Research -

George joins Launch Tennessee as the Capital Formation Research Analyst from Yext, a New York-based technology company that enables businesses to manage their location data across the web.

He graduated with a degree in Medicine, Health and Society from Vanderbilt University in 2014, where he gained startup experience working with the Nashville Mobile Market and Axial Healthcare.

Jennifer Kay

Director of Marketing/Partnership Development and Entrepreneur in Residence -

As Director of Marketing/Partnership Development and Entrepreneur in Residence, Jennifer is tasked with building a brand strategy, marketing events, expanding national partnerships and strengthening the state-wide entrepreneur network.

Kay most recently was responsible for global operations at a consumer startup in Berlin, Germany, where she spent two years focusing on investor relations, brand strategy, communications, HR and culture. Her key accomplishment was incubating a prototype that led to the establishment of a new standalone business unit.

Prior to this operational startup role, Kay spent ten years in the media industry in New York City, managing digital for such brands as Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Parenting and truTV. Her focus was on organic growth and audience development, which she leveraged as a mentor for Media Camp, Time Warner’s media-focused startup accelerator based in San Francisco.

Kay is a Marshall County, Tennessee native and a 2002 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, with a B.A. in English. She says she’s thrilled to be back in her home state working to elevate its national profile as a prime destination to launch a startup.

John Lanahan Headshot

John Lanahan

Director of Capital Formation -

As Director of Capital Formation, John works to grow investment into Tennessee-based startups through entrepreneur development, building investor networks and leading policy initiatives that help spur private investment across the state. He oversees the TENN accelerator program, manages the INCITE Fund portfolio companies, and develops an investment database for Tennessee.

Prior to joining LaunchTN, John spent six years at LaunchCapital, a seed stage venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco, Boston, and New York/Connecticut. He opened up the New York City office in 2012 and was responsible for sourcing new deal flow in New York, performing due diligence on new opportunities, and supporting current portfolio companies with strategic planning, investor introductions, and ad hoc market research. John was responsible for investment in notable portfolio companies like Alloy, Union Station, Merchant Atlas, Glam&Go, and OnFarm amongst others.

John graduated from Middlebury College in 2008 with a B.A. in Economics and has a finance background prior to joining LaunchCapital full-time in 2010.

susan parham headshot

Susan Parham

Finance & Accounting Manager -

Susan  serves as the Finance & Accounting Manager for LaunchTN, overseeing all aspects of LaunchTN’s fiscal components and HR related needs. Susan’s daily responsibilities include invoicing, budgeting and management of the organization’s cash flow.

Most recently Susan was employed for five years with a non-profit organization where she administered the health insurance programs for all employees and retirees. Her career background also includes time spent in retail as a small business owner and working for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Susan has an AS degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Nashville State Technical Institute.

Jill Van Beke Headshot

Jill Van Beke

Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation -

As Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Jill works to maximize opportunities for Tennessee’s entrepreneurs by building statewide and national networks of mentors, customers, investors and other resources.

Jill graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Urban Studies and concentrations in Economics and Anthropology.

Tracey Waller Headshot

Tracey Waller

Events & Administrative Manager -

As the Events & Administrative Manager, Tracey is responsible for planning all of LaunchTN’s activities and events while ensuring deadlines and budgets are adhered to. Tracey is also responsible for all office operations and procedures to facilitate organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Prior to joining Launch Tennessee, Tracey worked as the Sales & Program Coordinator at Goldner & Associates, where she managed branding and marketing solutions for clients like Walt Disney World. Tracey also previously worked for Fleet Feet Inc. as a Program Coordinator and Wellness Coach where she managed and marketed various community health initiatives.
Melanie White Headshot

Melanie White

Executive Assistant to the CEO -

Melanie serves as Executive Assistant to the CEO, In her role, she oversees the day to day operations of the executive office.  Prior to joining LaunchTN, Melanie served as assistant to the Founder/CEO of the United States Green Building Council in Washington, DC. She has also worked for a number of Nashville nonprofits including the Adventure Science Center, Nashville Humane Association and Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Melanie enjoys live music, fishing and camping with husband Shelby and daughters Vaiden and Cassidy.

Blog

News, Case Studies, Success Stories, Interviews, and More.

5 Reasons Tennessee is a Startup-Friendly State

Here at Launch Tennessee, we are honored to contribute to the energy around the entrepreneurial movement in the state, which has been growing exponentially each year. Given that Launch Tennessee just celebrated its fifth anniversary, I thought now would be a good time to talk about how far the state … read more

ARC’s POWER Grant

This week we were thrilled to learn that Launch Tennessee was selected to receive a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). We have had a five year partnership with ARC and piloted many new entrepreneurial programs which have led to job creation, capital investment and workforce development in … read more