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Cherokee Farm Development Corporation Hires President to Oversee UT’s Innovation Campus

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KNOXVILLE – A Nashville-area executive with more than 20 years’ experience in local government, politics and economic development has been named president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, which is managing the University of Tennessee’s new innovation campus in Knoxville.

Cliff Hawks’ appointment to head Cherokee Farm Development Corporation was announced today during the Board of Trustees’ Research, Outreach, and Economic Development Committee meeting. David Millhorn, UT executive vice president and vice president for research and economic development, said Hawks will take office effective Nov. 12.

“Cliff’s experience in management and marketing combined with his enthusiasm for the vision and mission of Cherokee Farm will enable the University to effectively recruit companies to Knoxville to work with the outstanding faculty at UT Knoxville and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Millhorn said.

Cherokee Farm is a 188-acre site across the Tennessee River from the UT Knoxville and agricultural campuses that is modeled after university research parks around the country. It will provide laboratory and work space for collaborations between private industry and scientists and researchers affiliated with the University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Infrastructure for the site, including roads and some utilities, has been installed. Construction of the first building began in summer 2012. The UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Advanced Materials will be housed in the building, which is expected to be complete in 2014.

The Cherokee Farm Development Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UT Research Foundation that was formed earlier this year to oversee recruitment of tenants and lease agreements.

Hawks has nearly 10 years of experience working in local government and politics and was vice president and general manager of the Nashville Superspeedway for 11 years. Prior to working at the speedway, Hawks was executive director of the Metro Nashville Sports Authority, and he spent time working in the Nashville Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office. He started his career as a constituent services representative in the Nashville mayor’s office and worked on the Phil Bredesen for Governor Campaign.

For more information about Cherokee Farm, visit


Category: Announcements