Lilly Tench Joins Spark Innovation Center as Director of Spark Cleantech Accelerator

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park announced today that Lilly Tench has joined the Spark Innovation Center team as Director of the Spark Cleantech Accelerator. Over the past ten years, Lilly has supported entrepreneurs working to develop solutions in key global industries from energy to agriculture. Early in her career, Lilly worked alongside No Impact Man to design sustainability education and engagement programs and also helped manufacturers improve their environmental impact with the NYC Manufacturing Extension Partnership, ITAC. She later joined the Newlab team, helping to start an innovation center for entrepreneurs in an abandoned ship building facility that is now home to over 800 entrepreneurs. Lilly went on to support cleantech researchers at Columbia University Technology Ventures and agtech innovators at the non-profit AgLaunch. Lilly has a BA in Peace and Social Justice from Berea College, and an MBA and an MS in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Tennessee.

“We’re very excited that Lilly has agreed to join our team at Spark,” said Tom Rogers, UT Research Park President and CEO. “She brings the perfect combination of experience and passion for innovation and sustainability to the team. While she will initially direct our Spark Cleantech Accelerator program, she will also contribute significantly to our other programs, and allow us to serve even more entrepreneurs through our program offerings.”

“I’m thrilled to join the UT Research Park as Director of the Spark Cleantech Accelerator. This program is uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurs with the necessary facilities, mentorship, and resources to successfully bring innovations to market and address some of the most crucial problems faced by our society today,” said Tench.

Applications for the Spark Cleantech Accelerator will open later in January, and the 12-week program will begin in mid-August. For more information about the Accelerator, please visit

About Spark Innovation Center

The Spark Innovation Center is an initiative of the University of Tennessee Research Park, and builds on the facilities and expertise at the University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Spark focuses on helping promising energy and other advanced technology companies grow, offering access to top quality lab space, expert mentoring, and coordinating support services from nine partner organizations in the region.