Monthly Archives: November 2013

Knoxville picked as one of best retirement cities


Knoxville is one of the best places to retire, according to a new list of the top retirement locales in the country.
Knoxville is ranked No. 7 on the list compiled by the website
The list includes a broad range of cities with Cincinnati ranked No. 1. Rounding out the top five are St. Louis, Baton Rouge, La.; Provo, Utah; and Pittsburgh.
The rankings were based on criteria identified by the website’s survey livability survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.
“We found that health care, housing and cost of living were most important to seniors, followed by transportation, parks, crime and cultural amenities,” accordiong to the website.
Compiling “Best of” lists has become a cottage industry and it seems a new one is published every week. For the most part they are an eye-of-the beholder thing, so if you find some of the cities on this list questionable, you are not alone. Here’s an excerpt from the website’s description of Knoxville. Here’s an excerpt from the website’s description of Knoxville.

“Each season brings new sports to watch, activities to try and natural blessings. Knoxville’s rolling hills, historic architecture and college town vibe create an innovative atmosphere. Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, on the Tennessee River and surrounded by seven lakes, the city pops with color during the fall. Outdoor recreation options in Knoxville keep residents on the go. The city scored high in parks, and its residents frequently engage in cultural activities,
Click here for the full list.

Click here for the full list.

Tengasco 3Q net income drops

Oil and national gas company Tengasco Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter net income from continuing operations dropped 58 percent to $535,000, or 1 cent per share, down from $1.28 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30 were $4 million, down from $5.8 million the prior year period.
The Knoxville-based company attributed the drop in revenue to a 26 million barrel decrease in volume of oil sales from its Kansas fields.
The revenue decrease was partially offset by a $426,000 decrease in general and administrative cost and other expense reductions, according to a news release.
Oil production in the coming months could benefit from new wells. The company said it drilled two test wells in the third quarter and has to additional locations permitted with drilling expected this month.
Interim CEO Mike Rugen said in a statement that the company will “to continue to focus on its Kansas assets while expanding its operations personnel, which would increase the company’s ability to evaluate and pursue new opportunities to increase production, revenues, profitability, and reserve value.”
Former CEO Jeffrey Bailey resigned in June to pursue other interests.
Tengasco previously announced that in the third quarter it closed the sale of its Swan Creek field in Hancock County, all of its other Tennessee oil and natural gas leases and natural gas pipeline system for $1.5 million to Swan Creek Partners LLC and its affiliate General Gas Pipeline LLC.

Vendor Registry co-founder says California trip validates his startup

Guest blog by Chris Van Beke, co-founder of Vendor Registry.
Launch Tennessee’s master accelerator program, The TENN, took 10 startup companies –- including my company, Vendor Registry –- to Silicon Valley this week. We have spent the week networking with entrepreneurs, investors and media and working from some of San Francisco’s co-working spaces and accelerators.
It has been a great opportunity for me and other Vendor Registry co-founder, Brian Strong, to talk about our company to a new set of people. We’ve connected with many of the incredible startup folks in Knoxville and throughout Tennessee, but this trip has introduced us to California-based investors and entrepreneurs that we would have been hard-pressed to meet on our own.
This week’s learning events gave us the chance to see the headquarters of Google and Intuit, as well as Microsoft’s Silicon Valley office. We received valuable advice on a variety of topics, but these events also introduced us to more people than we could have ever imagined. We made great contacts through the events Launch Tennessee set up and by working on our own during our free time.
The startup culture in San Francisco is obviously different than Tennessee’s. We have had a great time experiencing the energy that can be found everywhere from co-working spaces and accelerators to coffee shops. We also learned a lot about Tennessee’s strengths in entrepreneurship. The feedback we have received this week definitely shines a light on our great state and the bright future ahead. I think we are all leaving San Francisco feeling validated by our conversations and confident that we can bring a flavor of that startup culture back to Tennessee.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.

The Tenn’s California trip wraps up with learning event

Guest blog by Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee.
We’re more than halfway through our California trip with The TENN, and so far, The TENN founders have networked with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors and media. They’ve also had a chance to check out some of San Francisco’s co-working spaces and the headquarters of Google.
Thursday The TENN founders had a chance to visit Microsoft and meet with their venture capital arm, Microsoft Ventures. They talked to several Microsoft domain experts, who gave The TENN more information about their various services for entrepreneurs.
Thursday night, we will attend a learning event at Intuit’s headquarters in Mountain View. Intuit has several big-name brands, including QuickBooks, TurboTax and Quicken. The expert for tonight’s learning event is author, educator and entrepreneur Nir Eyal. Nir writes for his personal blog,, and is also a contributor to Forbes, TechCrunch and Psychology Today, where he covers the intersection of psychology, technology and business. He has had two successful startups: Sunshine Business Development, which sold in 2007, and AdNectar, which sold in 2011.
During their free time, The TENN founders worked from NestGSV, an accelerator in Redwood City. This was especially exciting because one of the The TENN companies, Nashville-based, is working from NestGSV this fall. It was a great opportunity for Founder and CEO Teja Yenamandra to show off his digs to the other participants of The TENN.
We’ll be back with one more post about our last day in California before The TENN returns to Tennessee.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.

HMA repays $31M in improperly received government incentives


Hospital operator Health Management Associates, parent company of Knoxville-based Tennova Healthcare, said this week it is repaying $31 million in federal and state incentive payments that it should not have received.
The company said it is restating financial reports for the last three years and withdrew its previously issued earnings guidance for 2013.
The restated earnings reports are not expected to effect the proposed sale of HMA to Community Health Systems Inc., HMA said in a news release.
Franklin, Tenn.-based CHS has proposed to buy HMA for $7.4 billion in cash and assumption of debt. Both companies expect the sale to close in early 2014, HMA said.
Naples, Fla.-based HMA said it incorrectly applied the “meaningful use” standard in applying for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments given to hospitals of their use of electronic health records. Eleven of its 71 hospitals received the payments.
HMA said it has repaid some of the incentive payments and it “is in process of repaying the balance of the funds to the relevant state programs,” according to a news release.
The $31 million in incentives were incorrectly recognized as income between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013, which required the company to restate its financial reports for 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013.
The company said error was caused by “a material weakness in internal control relating to the administration and oversight of its EHR (electronic health records) enrollment process.” The problem is being corrected, HMA said.

Networking in San Francisco helps Knoxville startups

Guest blog by Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee.
As you may have read in my posts earlier this week, Launch Tennessee has taken The TENN – our inaugural master accelerator program for 10 of Tennessee’s top startups – to California this week to network with entrepreneurs, investors and media.
It’s already been a busy week. The TENN founders have visited two San Francisco co-working spaces and had a tour and meeting at Google. Wednesday, we gave the teams a chance to experience San Francisco on their own with a free day for them to set up networking meetings with investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in Silicon Valley – a chance to begin fostering relationships that could prove very valuable in the coming months and years.
Wednesday night The TENN teams will reunite at Barrel House, an invitation-only venue catering to the creative community, for “Southland in San Francisco,” which will bring together Silicon Valley investors, entrepreneurs and tech media for a Southern-flavored event celebrating a great year in Tennessee entrepreneurship, as well as the recent announcement about Southland 2014. Complete with BBQ and Tennessee whiskey, this is the perfect chance for The TENN founders to show some of San Francisco’s startup leaders what Tennessee is doing.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.

The Tenn continues networking in Silicon Valley

Guest blogger Charlie Brock’s latest report from Launch Tennessee’s California tour.

Monday was the first day of a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley by 10 of Tennessee’s most promising startups, i.e., The TENN from Launch Tennessee. It was a great introduction to the center of the technology universe for our startup founders, and today we stepped it up with a tour and meeting at Google – which, once upon a time, was also a startup.
Our teams had an exciting time exploring “the Googleplex” – the official moniker for Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters  – and talking with the people behind the world’s most successful search engine.
After the tour, The TENN had a meeting with the Google’s marketing and cloud teams. We were immersed in all things Google including topics such as cloud computing, AdWords and the future of mobile. One important takeaway we all received was a charge to identify interesting problems and find an interesting way to solve them.
Tonight (Tuesday), the teams are going to the NODE+ Forum kickoff party at RocketSpace – an open innovation facility for tech companies in San Francisco. Tonight’s kickoff event celebrates the launch of NODE+ Forum 2013, the world’s first online conversation portal, where anyone can collaborate on developing the future of wireless sensor platforms for smart devices using Google+ Hangouts and xTV.
We’re especially excited about this event because it gives us the chance to introduce The TENN principals to the founders of an exciting Tennessee startup that won Launch Tennessee’s first Southland conference in June. Node is a product of Variable, Inc., a Chattanooga-based startup. Variable, Inc. has already done some amazing things since Southland, and this event is a perfect chance for The TENN to see what is possible for Tennessee startups.
Vendor Registry, one of the Knoxville-based startups in The TENN, was also invited to exhibit at Southland. The TENN is providing more networking opportunities for Vendor Registry and the rest of the founders of The TENN, both in Tennessee and in California.

Charlie Brock is CEO of Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.
Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.


Vendor Registry, Survature experience Silicon Valley

Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX

Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX

Rant$ and Rave$ welcomes a guest blog by Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee
This week, Launch Tennessee is taking the principals of 10 of Tennessee’s most promising startups – also known as The TENN – to Silicon Valley to meet investors, entrepreneurs and tech media. Launch Tennessee created The TENN as a master accelerator program to help startup companies that graduated from one of Tennessee’s nine accelerator programs, but still need stage two support. Two local startups are participating in The TENN: Vendor Registry and Survature.
Vendor Registry ( makes local government contracting easier by standardizing and centralizing online vendor registration and bid notifications. Survature ( provides fresh, engaging and interactive surveys that result in more insightful reports into respondents’ behaviors.
In addition to meeting some key entrepreneurship players this week, The TENN will get the chance to experience Silicon Valley’s startup scene and bring some of that energy and knowledge back to Tennessee.
The TENN is working this week out of Bloodhound Headquarters – a co-working space in San Francisco. The space is open and creative with a tranquil outdoor courtyard, allowing The TENN companies to get a feel for the San Francisco startup culture.
Monday, we started with a Q&A with Launch Tennessee board member Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX, a government communications startup. Marci gave the group some outstanding real-life startup advice and answered The TENN’s questions about investment opportunities, the Silicon Valley startup culture and the importance of thinking about how big your idea can be.
We headed to Hattery for lunch. Hattery is a startup incubator and education and events space in the SoMa district of San Francisco. It’s another one of San Francisco’s co-working spaces, and it was a great opportunity for The TENN companies to meet more Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and get another dose of the local startup environment.
We have a lot planned for The TENN this week, including formal meetings and free time for The TENN principals to do their own networking.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.
Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.

Scripps Networks Interactive names CFO for international arm

Simone Nardi

Simone Nardi

Scripps Networks Interactive continued its international push today with the appointment of a media industry veteran as chief financial officer of the company’s global development arm.
Simone Nardi was named CFO for Scripps Networks International, the Knoxville-based lifestyle media announced.
Nardi, who previously was CFO for NBC Universal’s international operations, will report to Jim Samples, president of Scripps Networks International.
“With his strong background in media finance, and having spearheaded successful joint ventures, acquisitions and integrations, Simone will play an integral role as we expand our global operations and enter new and promising markets,” Samples said in a news release.
International expansion has been a priority for Scripps Networks Interactive in recent years. The company has invested heavily to expand its presence in the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, including the purchase of Travel Channel International in 2012 for more than $100 million.
At NBC Universal, Nardi developed and managed the financial, strategic and operational structure for its international channels and television productions, Scripps said.
Prior to that, he served as vice president and chief financial officer for NBC Universal’s business development division in New York. He also worked for the online video service Hulu and General Electric.
Nardi earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics and business administration from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, where he graduated summa cum laude.
Scripps Networks International operates Food Network and Travel Channel in Asia, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as the Asian Food Channel in Asia and Fine Living Network across EMEA.