Cliff Hawks is a former Nashville-area executive with more than 20 years’ experience in local government, politics and economic development. His interesting background makes Hawks a good fit for his current position as president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UT Research Foundation that was formed to oversee recruitment and management of the university’s new Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus.
Hawks has nearly 10 years of experience working in local government and politics and was vice president and general manager of the Nashville Superspeedway for 11 years. Prior to working at the speedway, Hawks was executive director of the Metro Nashville Sports Authority, the city’s landlord for Bridgestone Arena and L.P. Field. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing sales and marketing of the permanent seat license and season ticket campaign for the Tennessee Titans.
While football and NASCAR are included in his most recent endeavors, the Humboldt, Tenn. native and graduate of David Lipscomb University in Nashville, began his career in politics. After graduation in 1991, Hawks’ first job was volunteer coordinator for the Phil Bredesen mayoral campaign. He later served as assistant to the Mayor for Boards and Commissions; as Administrator of the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office; and as associate director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is a 188-acre site on the banks of the Tennessee River and is modeled after other successful research parks around the country. It will provide laboratory and work space for collaborations between private industry and scientists and researchers affiliated with the University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cherokee Farm is the Southeast’s only R&D park where the resources of a major research university and a leading national laboratory are combined.