Lots of news swirling around the Memphis entrepreneurial ecosystem these days, from buzz about the upcoming Everywhereelse.co - The Startup Conference to the announcement a little while ago that EmergeMemphis interim director Eric Mathews will officially vacate his post when his term expires at midnight Friday.
In a release from the EmergeMemphis board of directors, here’s how the news was announced:
EmergeMemphis Board of Directors announces today that it has hired Phil Trenary, former CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, to provide strategic consulting and to assist the organization in the hiring of a permanent executive director. The move comes on the heels of a transitional year for the organization as it re- positions itself in the entrepreneurial market.
“This is exciting for me because I am truly passionate about working with innovative, bright young talent and my operational and strategic experience is something I can bring to help in this effort,” said Trenary.
Rather than employ a search firm, the Board felt strongly that having Trenary on tap to assist would add extra value.
“Phil is a natural fit for what we need. We had a successful 2012 filling the building with new members, redefining our mission and hosting a helpful interim team in Eric Mathews,” said Scott Fountain, Chairman of the Board of Emerge. “Phil will certainly serve as a valuable resource to the entire EmergeMemphis community,” Fountain added.
Trenary’s role will be to provide executive leadership and mentorship, oversight on new initiatives, assistance with strategic objectives in place and helping to identify and hire the permanent executive director that will help bring EmergeMemphis into the future of entrepreneurship.
The organization has adopted a strategic new vision, improved member amenities, added new member companies and welcomed FedEx Labs to a renewed commitment to the organization and what it does for the community. Recently, Emerge completed upgrades to the building and has plans to host community events on the new rooftop, as well as the meeting and conference spaces within the facility.
I talked to Mathews today about his departure and he offered lots of positive thoughts on what he and his team at LaunchYourCity (located inside Emerge and where he serves as co-president) have accomplished over the last year and what’s ahead for Emerge and LYC.
Discussing the move away from leading day-to-day activities at Emerge, Mathews said, “It’s a strategic choice and a good one, both for Emerge and for LaunchYourCity. For our team, this is a chance to refocus our effort on our original work and I think it will turn out to benefit the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
As for the LaunchYourCity piece of the puzzle, the organization that offers programming, investing and mentoring to entrepreneurs will soon vacate the Emerge facility. But just because the organization won’t be located at 516 Tennessee, doesn’t mean that LYC won’t continue its relationship with Emerge.
“This is the next step in assuring the purity of mission for both organizations. This way there will be a clear differentiation between the two organizations and we expect to continue to funnel clients to Emerge and strengthen their presence and ours.”
Mathews and his team haven’t finalized terms on a deal that will see the LaunchYourCity move eastward from its current Downtown digs, but expect more details soon. And while no timeline has been announced by the Emerge folks as to when they expect to have a new director in place, that’s also likely to be sooner rather than later.