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NEWSBITS, Sept. 28, 2009
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CVline: Healthways is betting big on its Well-Being Index to build its brand and business, and now it's hiring someone to make it happen. Among other duties, "...position the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index brand HWAY brand in the market place and extend the visibility and credibility of the Healthways brand."  Today, Healthways stock is trading well above the 52-week low it posted in November, but many fathoms below the $70 is carried in January 2008. The company may be wearing a buyout bull's-eye. In August, Healthways added further credibility to its board, by adding former AARP CEO and Porter-Novelli Co-Founder Bill Novelli (at left) to its board. In D.C., Porter Novelli's HQ city, the firm has long been viewed as bringing a White Hat approach to corporate communications and social responsibility.

[Updated 2:36 p.m.] The official TNInvestco roster has grown by eight, though only two new apps are on the site, so far:  Aston Capital LLC and Teleion Tennessee Small Business Fund LLC.  Teleion includes James Baker III, who is also associated now or previously with Teleion Capital, Raymond James and SunTrust Equitable; and, Will Edwards Settle, who has similar lineage and a record of diverse investments.  Settle serves on the board of the KIPP Academy with Solidus founder Townes Duncan.  Solidus has signaled it aims to be a TNInvestco, also.  Both Baker and Settle earned economics degrees from Vanderbilt. The Aston Capital play is made by Terry Halleman and Tom Smith, both well known in mortgage brokerage and real estate businesses. A Revenue source said this afternoon another half-dozen or so applications have been approved as submitted, bringing the total to 20 or more. The department declined to provide the names, but will post them online after they've given the applicants time to receive their letters of approval.

Tennessee Biotechnology Association this afternoon announced new board members, including Ken Woody, with Innova Memphis. Still no word on progress to find a permanent chairman, according to TBA staff today.

Deadline: EO Nashville, the Entrepreneurs' Organization chapter, says you have til Oct. 10 to register during their twice-yearly member registration season. To qualify: You must be under 50, your company must be grossing $1MM or more, and you'll pay nearly $4K in national and local dues. There are about 54 members in EO Nashville, currently, according to the website.

Universal Robotics, the aggressively hush-hush early-stage company that's focusing on smart automated logistics, for starters, and which has Vanderbilt University links, has hired as marketing director Hob Wubbena, a former engineer-turned-marketer who's worked with Hewlett-Packard and Agilent.  In May, UR said it was raising $2MM.

Beeline: StartupWeekend Nashville II is Oct. 9 at VU's Owen GSM. Signup here (and signup for the Sept. 30 NW prepitch workshop). And, digitech Festival-like BarCamp Nashville is Oct. 17. Then, too, Digital Nashville has several interesting events in the next six weeks. VNC's recent story on Digital Nashville is right here.

Headline: On Oct. 22, Former Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (at right) and Tennessee SCORE, which advocates K-12 education reform, will unveil their recommendations for changing the state's public-education system. Addressing a state where students rank 41st nationally in achievement, SCORE made its interim report on problems in July. Shortly after the dust subsides, on Nov. 16, the recommendations will be reviewed during a Nov. 16 Education Summit being held by the Tennessee Business Roundtable and allies. Several major ed-reform initiatives will converge between now and the time the 2010-11 state budget is finalized: First, the Governor's "Making Opportunity Affordable" (MOA) project is still on the books, and led partly Deputy Gov. John Morgan, who called for ed reform while he was Comptroller. Also, the Tennessee Diploma Project, concerned with increasing the number of in-state grads and funded largely by Memphis entrepreneur and philanthropist Pitt Hyde's family foundation, will advance. Meanwhile, business leaders have complained about the relative weakness of postsecondary ed in the Vol State. Just over the horizon and in line with Gov. Bredesen's avowed intent, State Sens. Kyle and Berke may be expected to renew their push for revamping Tennessee higher education. Research support for Bredesen's reform push has been provided by Vanderbilt's Peabody College. ♦
 

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Tags: Agilent, Andy Berke, Aston Capital, Barcamp, Bill Frist, Digital Nashville, education, Entrepreneurs' Organization, EO, Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index, Healthways, Hewlett Packard, Hob Wubbena, Innova Memphis, James Baker, Jim Kyle, John Morgan, Ken Woody, Making Opportunity Affordable, Peabody College, Phil Bredesen, Raymond James, Richard Rhoda, Solidus, StartupWeekend, SunTrust Equitable, Teleion Tennessee Small Business Fund, Tennessee Biotechnology Association, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Diploma Project, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee SCORE, Terry Halleman, THEC, Tom Smith, Townes Duncan, Universal Robotics, Vanderbilt University, Will Edwards Settle


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