Cliff Hawks steps down as CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation

January 3, 2019

Cliff Hawks, the leader of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, has stepped down after six years as president and CEO. The corporation was formed to help develop The University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm.

Hawks, who came to Knoxville in November 2012 after more than 20 years of experience in local government, politics and economic development in the Nashville area, oversaw successful growth at the UT Research Park, which offers tenants collaborative research opportunities.

“Cliff Hawks understood our vision for the research park and helped launch this important venture,” said Dr. Stacey Patterson, UT vice president for research, outreach and economic development. “We want to thank him for his service to the university and especially his work in bringing private industry to the research park.”

A new leader for Cherokee Farm Development Corporation is expected to be named in the first quarter of 2019.

Private industry partners at the research park’s Innovation North building include Arkis BioSciences, AUBO Robotics USA, Civil & Environmental Consultants, and University Health System divisions for Internet Technologies and Heart Lung Vascular Data Research and Management.

“Our primary goal was to develop public-private partnerships that build relationships with the technology resources in our region to create breakthroughs in diverse fields,” Hawks said. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish. The foundation has been set, and I look forward to seeing new partners come on board in the future.”

The UT Research Park is the first in the United States to build a world-class materials science research facility for its tenants – the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM). The $56-million, 140,000-square-foot facility offers unparalleled advanced research capabilities, including polymer labs and advanced microscopy. The UT Research Park provides access to some of the most powerful tools available in materials science and high-performance computing, along with internationally renowned researchers at UT and ORNL.

The UT Research Park is an ideal fit for firms that will benefit from close partnerships with the research institutions in the region. The campus is located in the heart of Innovation Valley, the corridor linking ORNL and McGhee Tyson Airport and providing regional economic development and world-class resources in science, technology and business.

The University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm is leasing space and will build to suit. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit

About The University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm

The University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the Southeast’s only research and development (R&D) park where the resources of a major research university and a leading national laboratory are combined with globally recognized researchers expressly for the benefit of tenants. The campus offers tenant access to the research capabilities at UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Located on 188 acres on the banks of the Tennessee River, the campus has 77 developable acres and includes 16 building sites that support approximately 1.6 million square feet of development. Parcels are available for immediate development, and research suite leasing is underway. For more information, visit