Mr. Graves earned his B.S. in Business from Virginia Tech and MBA from East Tennessee State University. Prior to retiring to Knoxville he spent 33 years in various sales and marketing management positions with Caterpillar Inc. Much of his career was spent outside the USA working with Caterpillar dealers and customers in developing areas of the world. He also owned and managed an art and antique business in Hong Kong. His interest in entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial business planning and plan implementation stems from having developed two internal ventures for Caterpillar, working in management positions in two other “start-up operations”, as well as consulting with several dealers in developing strategic plans for establishing new rental operations. His years overseas have also given him a keen interest in the challenges faced by managers living and working outside their home base.
Since joining UT in 2007 he developed a best-in-class analysis of entrepreneurship centers at peer institutions and established the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; established the Entrepreneurship Learning Community; established and continues to conduct five business competitions annually; created the original Introduction to Entrepreneurship class and the New Venture Planning class. He is also beta testing the Entrepreneurial Internship program. In 2011 he received the Richard C. Reizenstein Outstanding Commitment to Students Award and in 2016 was recognized with the naming of the Graves Undergraduate Business Plan Competition endowment.