Lawrence County Announces Participation in TVA ED Community Innovation Academy

LAWRENCEBURG, Tennessee – Lawrence County is one of 8 communities taking part in this year’s TVA Economic Development Community Innovation Academy, a program and experience to help economic developers create breakthrough ideas together to better their communities.

Developed by TVA Economic Development and Guillermo Mazier, Founder of Collective Intelligence and VP of Global Innovation for Conway Data Inc., the Academy aids in unlocking the tools, tactics and skills to more effectively and collaboratively solve community problems with the goal of sparking more economic growth and shared community prosperity. 

Lawrence County’s participation in the TVA Innovation Academy is a collaborative effort with Academy local representation by Ryan Egly, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Hope McDow, Lawrence County Schools, Vic Pusser, Lawrenceburg Utility Systems, and a Community Innovation A-Team back in each community. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is the initiative lead.

Over a course of nine months, participating communities are completing community ecosystem maps, performing innovation capacity assessments and engaging in hours of interactive working sessions to identify a critical community challenge and incubating a solution that would solve it and in turn positively affect their local economies.

The Academy will culminate on October 21 in Nashville, TN with a pitch presentation by each participating community outlining an innovative solution to a proposed problem within their community. Teams will be seeking resources (i.e. feedback, introductions, connections, program funding) from the pitch event judges and audience members to strengthen their solution pathway.

 “TVA’s Community Innovation Academy provides participating Valley communities the opportunity to explore fresh and transformational approaches to competitiveness in the economic development industry,” said Heidi Smith, TVA General Manager, Global Business. “We are proud to partner with Lawrence County and the Chamber to help prepare the community catalysts for industry disruptors and support innovative solutions to foster economic growth.”

“Cities and their community networks are incredible vectors to solve complex economic development problems. The growing rate of global change and unpredictable business environments present a profound challenge to our ability to plan, manage and grow our communities these days.  Companies and talent alike are increasingly looking to locate or grow in communities that welcome change, embrace creativity and build innovative environments. Challenges accelerated by the Covid 19 pandemic like workforce availability, small business readiness, corporate growth/expansion and inequality have grown exponentially more complex. How communities effectively respond to those challenges requires new thinking, new models and new collaborations. By applying community innovation, we can help places like (Community) positively impact their long-term economic future,” said Guillermo Mazier, Founder Collective Intelligence and VP Global Innovation at Conway, Inc. 

“Economic development doesn’t happen in Lawrence County without Lawrenceburg Utility Systems and Lawrence County Schools,” stated Lawrence County Chamber President Ryan Egly.  “We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Tennessee Valley Authority to solidify our local team’s commitment to finding innovative solutions that will carry our community forward for years to come.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. More information is available at

About the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is a network of businesses, industries, local governments, utilities, and private citizens that are committed to improving the quality of life in Lawrence County, Tennessee through economic development, community development, tourism marketing, and workforce development. More information available at

Ryan Egly | President & CEO
Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce
25 B Public Square, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
o. (931) 762-4911