The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business is proud to announce its newest cohort of entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIR): Melissa Centers, Mark Huber, Jake Livesay, Chuck West and Lia Winter. The EIR program connects UT student entrepreneurs with a rotating team of experts who are currently in the workforce and have a proven track record of entrepreneurial success.
Lindsay Mahony, interim executive director of ACEI, explains that the EIR program helps foster entrepreneurship and success. “One of our goals at [ACEI] is to help every UT student interested in entrepreneurship and innovation thrive. I’m proud that we’ve been able to expand our EIR team to have experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries to support students across campus,” she says. “Our EIR program provides coaching and mentoring services to students wherever they are in the development of their business or idea so they can build a strong foundation for their future success.”
2023-2024 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: Successful Leaders with Diverse Business Backgrounds
Melissa Centers is a board member, consultant and attorney who provides integrated strategic advice and support to boards of directors, company founders and institutions of all sizes. Before entering private practice, Centers was the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at State Auto Insurance, a $2 billion publicly traded insurance company that also operates a venture capital fund, State Auto Labs (where Centers was the legal advisor and served on the board of directors).
Centers has also held executive leadership and consulting roles in IT, operations, communications, crisis public relations, marketing, human resources, government affairs and audit, as well as legal and compliance. She serves on the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s board of directors and is a writing enthusiast and college professor.
Mark Huber is an award-winning business development expert who specializes in waste and recycling management. He holds an MBA and a degree in chemical engineering. Huber has founded four startups, with his most recent venture being iSustain, where he serves as the business development executive.
Huber has built iSustain over the last decade, successfully solving environmental and waste circularity challenges in the manufacturing and distribution industries across North America. His professional philosophy is, “Only through education and policy changes can we expect to have our communities’ ecosystem improved.”
Jake Livesay began his career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in accelerator-based nuclear physics and nuclear non-proliferation. His interest in commercializing intellectual property developed by his project team led him into the private sector. Livesay is the founder and CTO of IB3 Global Solutions, a nuclear security firm based in Oak Ridge. He holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. in applied physics from the Colorado School of Mines.
Chuck West has always had a strong interest in mentoring and coaching early-stage businesses and concepts. His experience spans finance and management, from private companies to publicly traded companies, and from manufacturing and distribution to service and software businesses. He was a CPA in the early phase of his career, before progressing into business ownership, CEO, COO and CFO roles. He received his Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Tennessee.
Lia Winter earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in biomedical engineering degrees from the University of Tennessee. While at UT, she co-founded Winter Innovations, a company that developed an innovative medical device called EasyWhip, which is now being used in surgeries. Winter’s range of experience in business, engineering, academic research and orthopedics research and development gives her a unique perspective on developing innovative medical solutions.
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org