A Tennessee native, Lindsey has dedicated her career to the support and acceleration of startups and entrepreneurs in Tennessee and the Southeast. During her tenure at LaunchTN, she reimagined 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival into a two-day celebration of startup founders, funders and partners, which generated national attention for Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She also created LaunchTN’s government relations team and oversaw the passage and administration of the state’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Matching Program, which to date has deployed $8M of grants into tech-enabled, Tennessee-based companies. Lindsey comes to CO.LAB from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C., where she led their signature grant program, Build to Scale. Lindsey spearheaded the agency-wide effort to rebrand and restructure this program, as well as oversaw the $150M+ portfolio of grants to tech-based economic development organizations across the country.
Katie came to Chattanooga to attend Covenant College, majoring in history with a focus on British history. After college, she began her journey into the startup world at Tricycle, Inc., then moved into the development at Covenant College. She spent time in several other local startups, including Quickcue and Variable. She recruited talent for Lamp Post Group and managed the Chattanooga Gigabit Community Fund for the Mozilla Foundation. As the Chief of Staff, she runs the CO.LAB Capital Network, working alongside entrepreneurs and investors to provide access to capital in our area. Katie is the Vice Chair of the board for the local nonprofit, Downside Up and the board secretary for the South Broad Redevelopment Group.
Kirk joined CO.LAB following a recent stint in the Washington DC area. After he retired from the US Army, Kirk got involved in technology development for clients in the defense and intelligence community. After serving as the Director of Engineering for a Florida based business incubator he got the entrepreneur bug and has been working with small businesses ever since. Kirk co-founded two separate non-profit organizations devoted to building and supporting entrepreneurial ecosystems, founded two consulting companies, and designed a virtual incubator for SBIR companies. In addition to being a founder, Kirk has been a mentor and commercialization guide working with hundreds of tech companies across the country. Kirk holds an MBA from Syracuse University, a bachelor’s degree in accounting/finance from Kennesaw State University and is a certified PMP, PMI-ACP, and Scrum Master.
Zac is a fourth-generation Chattanoogan. As CO.LAB’s Programs Administrator, Zac brings years of analytics and database experience to the organization and also oversees the CO.STARTERS and Office Hours Programs. He studied marketing and management at UTC with a focus on entrepreneurship, and has since worked on projects for educational organizations across Chattanooga. Zac was first introduced to entrepreneurship when helping manage his elementary school’s bookstore, and first became involved at CO.LAB in 2011 by volunteering at 48Hour Launch. In his spare time, he enjoys improv and hosting board game nights around Chattanooga.
Our team is supported by a network of dedicated mentors and diverse partners who invest countless hours and endless energy into our startups.
Board of Directors
George Brown, ChairCEO, Aegle Gear
Travis Lytle, Vice ChairSVP, SmartBank
Wade Hinton, SecretaryVP of Diversity and Inclusion, Unum
Bernard Harris, TreasurerPrincipal Consultant, Financial Reporting, BCBST
Kristina Montague, At-LargeManaging Partner, The JumpFund
Rick Hitchcock, At-LargeAttorney and Shareholder, Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel
Deb SociaPresident and CEO, The Enterprise Center
Charlie BrockPresident Emeritus, Launch Tennessee
Sheldon GrizzleCo-founder, Chattanooga Football Club
Dr. Tom LyonsChair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, UTC College of Business
Roy KeithPartner, Stonington Partners
Mattias JannerboAttorney, Miller & Martin PLLC
Tangela JohnsonPresident and CEO, North Georgia Center for Educational Excellence
Stefanie CroweChief Inspiration Officer, The JumpFund
Mickey CloudSVP, VaynerMedia
George YuFounder, Variable, Inc.
Santosh SankarCo-founder & Director, Dynamo
Mark McKnightPresident, Reflection Riding
Rebekah Elkins SharpePartner, Transparency Health
Cherita AllenDeputy Administrator of Economic Development, City of Chattanooga