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Engineering partnership brings private investment to Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Engineering Partnership Brings Private Investment to Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus announced that Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) will be the first private tenant at the research park, a move that brings the firm closer to its clients throughout the region and provides the needed custom design of office, laboratory and other space designated for maintenance and storage of technical equipment.

Consistently ranked among the Top 500 Design Firms and Top 200 Environmental Firms by Engineering News-Record, Civil & Environmental Consultants is recognized for providing innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in the primary practice areas of civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, survey, waste management, and water resources.

“This location offers unique opportunities to partner with the University of Tennessee. For example, we hope to provide a technical presentation series with the College of Engineering for students and professionals,” CEC Vice President James Tomiczek said. “We’re particularly happy to be the first tenant of what will be a premier national research and development campus. We’ll be moving 25 local team members to this location, and we hope to see that number grow to 75 in the next five years.”

Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. First Private Tenant at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, a 188-acre research and development park affiliated with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is located along the Tennessee River in Knoxville. Cherokee Farm comprises 16 building sites that support 1.6 million square feet of development.

“From first announcing plans for Cherokee Farm in 2007, to this milestone of announcing its first private investment, today is evidence of years of steady progress toward the vision for Cherokee Farm,” said UT President Joe DiPietro. “That vision is for a landmark Knoxville location that serves as a base for interdisciplinary research and stimulates the local, state and regional economies by turning scientific advancements into marketable businesses that provide good jobs.”

CEC already has an exceptional relationship with the UT College of Engineering and employs a number of its graduates, along with offering cooperative learning opportunities and internships to students.

“Having CEC even closer to our students and faculty will be very beneficial for our programs,” said Dr. Wayne T. Davis, dean of the UT College of Engineering. “This opportunity will provide the company with full access to the resources of our department and provides us with a partner that can provide real-life, practical experience to our students.”

The increased access to Oak Ridge National Lab also will be beneficial, as Civil & Environmental Consultants considers ways to integrate use of the lab’s supercomputer into some of the firm’s larger, more complex data-intensive projects.

The formal announcement took place at the firm’s future site along the Tennessee River and was accompanied by the official groundbreaking ceremony.

Engineering partnership brings private investment to Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Cliff Hawks, left, president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, breaks ground on the first private investment on the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus with a host of officials from the University of Tennessee and Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC, Inc.). CEC, Inc. announced its decision to move to the Cherokee Farm Innovation campus on May 20, 2016. Pictured, left to right: Hawks; Dr. Wayne Davis, dean of UT College of Engineering; Dr. Taylor Eighmy, UT vice chancellor for research and engagement; David Millhorn, UT executive vice president; Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam; Dr. Joe DiPietro, UT president; James Tomiczek, CEC, Inc. vice president; Russ Watkins, president and CEO of Partners Development; Barry Davis, executive VP and COO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation; and Dr. Stacey Patterson, UT assistant VP and director of research.

Civil & Environmental Consultants, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., currently has 20 offices across the United States, including Maryville, Sevierville and Nashville. The firm is relocating its Maryville office to further strengthen the firm’s relationship with the university and its resources and also to accommodate future expansion.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was on hand to voice his support for the project.

“Increasing the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary degrees or credentials and making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs are our two top priorities,” Haslam said. “Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus gives us a tremendous boost in both arenas, and I applaud CEC for having the vision to recognize and embrace the opportunities this campus provides.”

Cherokee Farm is the only research and development park in the Southeast affiliated with both a major research university and a national research laboratory. It includes more than 77 developable acres along the Tennessee River and is a collaboration of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Conducting research that advances knowledge and solves problems is a critical part of the mission of the University of Tennessee system,” said UT Executive Vice President David Millhorn, who also serves as president of the UT Research Foundation. “Cherokee Farm will play a key role in fulfilling our research mission and already is home to the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, a state-of-the-art facility for high-end, collaborative research.”

In addition to the expertise of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, Cherokee Farm tenants have access to world-leading resources in computational science, advanced materials research and testing, neutron science and biological sciences. They also have the ability to work in collaboration with the university and ORNL in a way that not only benefits the tenant company, but also the entire community.

“The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is the regional hub for innovation in our area,” UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said. “Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, in partnership with both the university and ORNL, helps us fulfill not only our national potential but also our global potential.”

“At its core, the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is about public-private partnerships,” said Cliff Hawks, president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation. “We are thrilled to announce this partnership with CEC as the first of many private investments by industry-leading companies at this unique campus.”

Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. First Private Tenant at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Engineering firm Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., will be the anchor tenant in a new, privately developed building at the University of Tennessee’s Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus research and development park in Knoxville. CEC will occupy 22,000 square feet of the building, with an additional 20,000 square feet available for additional tenants.

Knoxville-based Partners Development is developing the building that will house Civil & Environmental Consultants and also will include flexible space for leasing to additional tenants.

“We’re honored to be a part of such a landmark project,” said Russ Watkins, president of Partners. “There isn’t another opportunity like this in East Tennessee or even the Southeast, and we’re excited to help make it a reality.”

Site preparation for construction has started, and the building is expected to be completed this year. It is designed by BarberMcMurry architects and will be built by Blaine Construction Corporation.

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is an ideal fit for firms that will benefit from close partnerships with UT and ORNL and access to the unparalleled capabilities of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. For leasing information, visit

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