Entrepreneurial Imperative 2011 Conference

Tennessee Valley Technology Council Presents

Annual Navigator Awards at

Entrepreneurial Imperative 2011 Conference



Tech 2020’s Tennessee Valley Technology Council presented its annual Navigator Awards Wednesday, November 16, during the first day of the Entrepreneurial Imperative 2011 Conference. Awards of excellence were given for this year’s top entrepreneur, researcher, and technology company, as well as for the Tech Commericalization Champion of the year.


More than 300 business and community leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs attended the two-day forum that explored how the region can accelerate the growth and assure the success for those entrepreneurs who choose to start and grow new ventures in the valley. The Navigator Awards Ceremony has become a significant part of the annual conference.

Andrew Dougherty Photo


Technology Company of the Year

Andrew Dougherty Co-founder and CEO (left)


Presented by Kevin Finney

B&W Y-12 (right)

Selected as the 2011 Technology Company of the Year, Medinteract  was cofounded by Andrew Dougherty. Medinteract provides efficient and effective detection of Alzheimer’s disease by their computer based cognitive screening testing technology. Early detection leads to early intervention delaying the impact of the disease. Medinteract is now providing their detection services to a range of medical service providers across the region. Andrew received his M.B.A. with concentrations in finance and in innovation and entrepreneurship from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Will Overstreet Photo

  Will Overstreet (left)

Entrepreneur of the Year

Presented by Lynn Youngs (right)

Anderson Center, University of Tennessee 

The Tech Council’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Will Overstreet, Founder and CEO of Voices Heard Media, Inc.  Will co-founded Voices Heard Media in April 2007 to commercialize the software platform that solved the challenge of creating personal connections that would scale to meet the demands of large audiences.

 After Will’s outstanding college career at the University of Tennessee and part of the 1998 National Championship Team, he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. During his career with the Falcons and subsequently in television and radio sports broadcasting and analysis, Will formulated the concept that would become Voices Heard Media. As a player and on-air personality, he saw the branding and revenue potential of making personal connections with fans. The challenge, however, was how to give individual fans amongst an audience of thousands, or even millions, the one-to-one access they crave. His patented idea formed the basis for the launch of Voices Heard Media.

 Michael Zemel Photo

 Dr. Michael Zemel (left)

Research Entrepreneur of the Year

Presented by Tom Rogers (right)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory 


Research Entrepreneur of the Year award went to innovator and entrepreneur, Dr. Michael Zemel, a UT Professor of Nutrition and Medicine. Dr. Zemel is also the Director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee. His work in launching Nutraceutical Discoveries , Inc, a metabolism accelerator by natural occurring ingredients, was recognized.


Dr. Zemel is the author of over 190 refereed publications primarily describing investigations of the role of cell calcium regulation in obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension. His current work focuses on obesity genetics, the regulation of human adipocyte lipogenesis and lipolysis via calcium-linked mechanisms, and novel modulation of obesity by dietary calcium and dairy products. His educational accomplishments are significant with B.S. (Nutritional Sciences), University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1976; M.S. (Nutritional Sciences), University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1978; Ph.D. (Nutritional Sciences/Physiology), University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1980.


This year we had a new category which was Tech Commerialization Champion of the Year….


Tom Ballard Photo
   Tom Ballard (left)

 Tech Commercialization Champion of the Year

Presented by Dr. Eric Abelquist (right)

Oak Ridge Associated Universities


Tom Ballard was awarded one of the Tech Commercialization Chmpions of the Year awards for his work in advancing our region’s economy through the use of technology developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ballard was appointed the inaugural Director of Partnerships for UT-Battelle, the managing contractor for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, on January 1, 2008. The new organization, previously named Technology Transfer and Economic Development, reflects the commitment that UT-Battelle has to building sustainable relationships that connect the world to the technology rich assets of ORNL. The Partnerships team manages ORNL’s intellectual property, negotiates and executes licenses for use of that intellectual property, links local economic development organizations and their businesses to the lab’s resources, executes research and usage agreements with companies needing access to ORNL’s researchers and tools, and promotes stronger alliances between universities and the lab.


Tammy Graham Photo
Tammy Graham (left)
Tech Commercialization Champion of the Year

Presented by Terry Hicks, SAIC (right)


 Tammy Graham, Manager, Technology Transfer Y-12 National Security Complex, was recognized for her work in creating a streamlined Tech Transfer process to accelerate the time it takes for a businesses to license technology from the Y-12 National Security Complex with the second Tech Commercialization Champion of the Year award.


Tammy Graham plans and executes the efforts of Y-12’s Office of Technology Transfer, an entity within the company’s Commercialization and Partnerships program. In this role, which she has held since 2007, Graham aligns technology transfer activities with the Y-12 Strategic Plan. Promoting use of Y-12’s technologies to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facilities, other federal entities, and the private sector, Graham ensures the company’s proactive participation in advancing science, technology, and engineering competencies that are the foundation of the NNSA mission.