Earlier today, leaders with Launch Tennessee announced Charlie Brock as the organization’s new president and CEO and Stuart McWhorter as vice chairman.
Designed to promote entrepreneurship, LaunchTN is a public-private partnership that supports the creation and development of high-growth companies in Tennessee. The goal is to boost jobs and increase Tennessee’s reputation as a business-friendly state.
In a statement, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Chairman of the LaunchTN board of directors Bill Hagerty said, “Charlie’s experience as both an entrepreneur and investor will be critical in advancing our state’s rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, over time helping create jobs and economic prosperity for Tennesseans. We are also very fortunate to have an entrepreneur of Stuart’s caliber contributing his expertise and leadership to the Board.
“I would also like to thank Brad Smith, who has served as interim CEO of LaunchTN during a critical phase in which he developed the strategy, brought together an exceptionally talented team and placed the organization on course to support Governor Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs. LaunchTN is a critical component of our state’s economic development strategy and a unique platform to facilitate an environment where Tennessee’s great entrepreneurial DNA can be unleashed to help create the next FedEx, Pilot or HCA.”
Brock was one of the founders of Foxmark Media in 1998 and oversaw its growth to one of the largest mall advertising companies in the country. Serving as CEO and the company’s largest shareholder, he eventually sold the company to Australia-based EYE Corp. in 2006. He later launched FourBridges Capital Advisors in Chattanooga and served there as managing director. He has also served as a general partner of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund and as CEO of CO.LAB, a Chattanooga accelerator for entrepreneurs.
“I am excited to join LaunchTN and help build on the growing momentum that exists for entrepreneurship in our state,” Brock said. “I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Hagerty, Stuart, the rest of the LaunchTN Board, and our partners across the state to make Tennessee one of the best places in the country to launch and grow an early-stage company.”
McWhorter cofounded Clayton Associates, a venture capital firm based in Brentwood, and serves as its president. He is chairman of the board of Medical Reimbursements of America and also chairman of Censis Technologies.
“With all the activities occurring across the state, there couldn’t be a more important time to be investing in Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” McWhorter said. “I am excited to be a part of the efforts the Governor, Commissioner Hagerty, and so many others have brought together to focus on this important aspect of our state’s economy.”
Brock will begin his new role on Jan. 28, and McWhorter will step into his new role immediately.