4 new members appointed to the board of directors of ETSU Research Corporation | News from local businesses

JOHNSON CITY – Brian Noland, President of East Tennessee State University and Chairman of the Board of the ETSU Research Corporation, announced the addition of four new members to the Board of Directors of the Research Corporation: Dr. Carol Anne Clayson; Bryan Daniels; Denise Grant; and Scott Niswonger.

“I am pleased to share these appointments to our Board of Directors as we continue to increase the impact of the Research Corporation,” said Noland. “The mission of the Research Corporation is to enrich the region and change the world through innovation. Our new board members, in addition to being strong supporters of the university, share the vision of the Research Corporation and have demonstrated their commitment to serving the Appalachian Highlands and beyond. I am delighted that they so enthusiastically accepted to serve.

With a vision to advance the university and the region, Noland was the architect of the reorientation of the ETSU Research Foundation and the launch of the Research Corporation in January 2021.

“The Research Corporation is directly aligned with ETSU’s institutional goals of increasing innovation and research,” said David Golden, Managing Director of ETSU Research Corporation. “The Research Corporation is already strengthening ETSU’s role in catalyzing collaboration, driving innovation and advancing prosperity in the Appalachian Highlands.

“Upon completion of the work of the Chapter II 125 committee, the Research Corporation will help implement the resulting strategy and drive innovation at the speed of business. Each of these board members has an incredible level of highly valued expertise in relevant and complex areas. They will help us advance our vision of doing world class things in our beautiful rural setting – faster and better than ever. “


Clayson is the Associate Director of Research Strategies and a Principal Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which is the world’s largest non-profit ocean research institution. She is a physical oceanographer and focuses on climate-related fields such as air-sea interactions, remote sensing and modeling. Clayson is the former director of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute at OMSI and has served on numerous scientific committees and boards, including NASA’s Decennial Survey for Earth Sciences and Space Applications.

She has been honored with several awards in her field, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Clayson received her Masters and PhD in Aerospace Engineering Science and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and was a Full Professor at Florida State University and Purdue University before joining the OMSI.


Daniels is the President and CEO of the Blount County Partnership, where he began working as Executive Vice President in 2001. Since being appointed President and CEO in 2010, he has enjoyed phenomenal success. . During Daniels’ tenure, Blount County recruited more than 75 new and growing companies in research and development, business management, manufacturing and administrative support centers. Total capital investment exceeded $ 4 billion.

A native of Greeneville and a graduate of the ETSU’s Masters in Manufacturing Engineering Technology program, Daniels has a history dedicated to promoting economic development in the state. He began his career with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and worked as an economic development planner for communities in the Appalachian Highlands.

Daniels served as Chairman of the Southeastern Board of Regents of the United States Chamber, Executive Chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, and Vice Chairman of the Program Oversight and Management Committee with the International Economic Development Council. Washington, DC-based Daniels is currently president of the statewide professional economic development association, the Tennessee Economic Development Council and is a member of the US Chamber’s Committee of 100, which guides the policies of the US Chamber of Commerce.


Grant is the founder of Overlook Strategics and is a highly regarded advisor to global leaders in the general management and board of directors on complex issues in the areas of business, governance, organizational effectiveness, leadership, law, public policy and external relations. She has over 25 years of experience in strategizing and implementing solutions in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors. Grant was a managing partner in the Washington, DC office of Russell Reynolds Associates, the global executive leadership and consulting firm.

Prior to that, Grant had a successful career in business, law and public policy, with leadership roles in a business, a large non-profit organization and on Capitol Hill. Grant was a business executive at a Fortune 100 company, where she held various executive and operational business positions.

She also practiced law for almost a decade, most notably as a lawyer at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP; deputy legal adviser of a major professional association of companies; and legal counsel to a member of the United States Senate leadership. Grant is active with various non-profit organizations, including the board of directors of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Bryce Harlow Foundation and the Avalon Foundation.

She is a former administrator of the University of Transylvania and is also a member of the Economic Club of Washington. Grant received her BA, magna cum laude, from the University of Transylvania and her JD from the University of Kentucky Law College, where she was a fellow and editor of the Law Review.


Niswonger is founder and president of the Niswonger Foundation, a charitable foundation supporting education and impactful projects across Tennessee. The first chairman of the ETSU board of directors, he is a passionate innovator and advocate for education in the Appalachians and throughout the state of Tennessee. In addition to ETSU, Niswonger has served on the boards of First Horizon Bank, Ballad Health, Tusculum University, and the Purdue Research Foundation, among others. Niswonger’s vision and generosity led to the creation of Niswonger Children’s Hospital and its designation as St. Jude Hospital.

Entrepreneur, Niswonger founded the first two publicly traded companies in Greene County: Forward Air and Landair Services. An avid pilot, Niswonger was vice president of Flying Tigers Lines, Inc., and flew planes from J-3 Cubs to Boeing 747. Niswonger holds a degree in aviation technology from Purdue University and a honorary doctorate in technology. He also holds an honorary doctorate in human letters from ETSU.

The ETSU Research Corporation was launched in January 2021 with a mission to connect, unite and create world-class innovation in a rural setting. It serves to enrich the university’s research culture on campus through internal and external partnership opportunities and by aiding innovation and economic development in Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Learn more about the ETSU Research Corporation at etsurc.org.

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