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Randy Gentry Named New President of UT Research Foundation

Category: Research

KNOXVILLE — Randy Gentry has been named the new president and CEO of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF), the not-for-profit organization responsible for commercializing technology that emerges from the University of Tennessee.

Gentry came to UT in 2002 as a faculty member from the University of Memphis, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in civil engineering. He is an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at UT Knoxville. Since 2007, he has served as director of the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, where he has been working with researchers to develop a strong sustainability science program. He also has been assisting UT Executive Vice President David Millhorn with developing public-private partnerships for the strategic initiatives at the University.  He will retain both of these roles as he takes on the presidency of UTRF.

Gentry succeeds Fred Tompkins, who communicated to the UTRF board earlier this year that he planned to step down as president and CEO after having served in that role for more than six years. Tompkins plans to return to his faculty position as distinguished professor of biosystems engineering. He also will work for the Office of the Executive Vice President/Vice President for Research and be responsible for managing specific projects for the UT system.

“This is the next step in the UTRF restructuring plan implemented in June to create a more decentralized organization that will allow for greater local input and a stronger level of engagement with the campuses,” said Gentry. “I am looking forward to continuing my existing work in identifying and developing new opportunities for collaborations that will help advance the mission of UTRF.”

In June, UTRF installed a new board of directors as well as a new structure for managing the two existing offices (Knoxville and Memphis) that both operate under a single UTRF corporate umbrella.  Central policy-making, accounting, reporting and compliance functions are the responsibility of the UTRF Board of Directors and implemented through a central office, headed by Gentry. Executive committees have been formed for each office that will guide decision-making related to intellectual property management, licensing transactions and revenue distribution. The Memphis office, headed by Dr. Richard Magid, will focus primarily on the technologies generated at the UT Health Science Center. The Knoxville office, headed by Dr. John A. Hopkins, will support the technologies emerging from all other campuses and institutes within the UT system.

UTRF helps inventors at UT turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to growing the university research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts. UTRF serves all seven of the UT campuses and institutes across the state. For more information, visit


Category: Research