MATT BRASS

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Knoxville News Sentinel

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Pete DeBusk: Championing accessible medical around the world and in his own backyard

Volunteer service: chairman, board of trustees, Lincoln Memorial University; board of governors, UT-Battelle; advisory board, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley Greater Knoxville; founder, Halls/Powell Boys and Girls Club; board of directors, Genera Energy; former member, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPac)

 

CEO prepares family business for next century

Family-owned and closely-held Schaad Companies got its start in the chicken feed and dairy business 100 years ago.

Those agrarian beginnings segued through the generations into a construction, real estate development, consulting and management company spread from Texas to Maryland.

Today, four ordinary-looking homes in an Oak Ridge subdivision contain the seeds of what the Knoxville company's CEO hopes will propel Schaad into a successful new century.

 
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Biofuel market for switchgrass fails to materialize

Van Shaver got into the farming business by planting switchgrass on 90 acres in Loudon County for a brand new biofuels market.

This year's crop will be fed to his cows.

Four years after the state launched a $70 million initiative to build a pilot biorefinery and develop native switchgrass as a feedstock for ethanol production, farmers involved in the pilot project are still waiting for a market to develop for their crops. All contracts will expire at the end of this year's harvest.

Battery-powered energy creates health risks overseas

The global proliferation of green technologies, including electric bicycles and solar panels, has been touted as good environmental news, but it also has some nasty side-effects.

Lead batteries create potentially serious disposal hazards, particularly in developing Asian countries, according to University of Tennessee engineering professor Chris Cherry.

Cherry's recent study of lead issues related to the solar industry, co-authored by Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International in San Francisco, appeared in the September issue of the journal Energy Policy.