Advisory Board


Charlie Apigian, PhD.


Dr. Charlie Apigian is a Professor and Director of the Data Science Institute at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches big data concepts with machine learning and predictive analytics. The Data Science Institute works to partner business and academics to solve real problems and create a data driven approach to analytical thinking and strategic decision making.  Prior to becoming Director, he was the Chair of the Computer Information Systems department at MTSU, which has over 400 undergraduate and 100 graduate students majoring in Information Systems. Dr. Apigian’s focus and passion is on research in big data concepts and working with the Nashville community to be a leader in technology and data science.  He has authored and co-authored over 30 papers and presentations in technology and manufacturing related journals and recently won the 2018 Nashville Technology Council IT Community Leader of the Year.

tom brewer

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Thomas Brewer provides leadership of industrial collaboration and workforce development initiatives for Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Leveraging the university’s intellectual capital, he develops and implements strategies for technology transfer, economic development and innovation/entrepreneurship programs.

In Spring 2015, Brewer was named the Executive Director of the TTU TCIM Initiative and served as the Managing Director for the TTU Center of Excellence for Water Research. Prior to TTU, Tom was Managing Director for the Workforce Development and Conference Center at Northfield in Spring Hill, Tennessee and provided strategic planning and operational management. During this period Tom was also President of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association (TAMA). Brewer authored the Automotive Industry Infrastructure Initiative (AI3) as the roadmap to public/private leadership of the automotive sector in Tennessee.

In January 2018, Tennessee Governor Haslam appointed Brewer as the Higher Education representative on the newly established state-wide Energy Policy Council.

Tom spent 34 years with General Motors (GM) where he held positions including Controller and Planning Administrator at the Spring Hill Manufacturing Complex. He was a member of the plant Executive Leadership Team directing day to day operations along with responsibility to execute the GM Global Launch Process for all new vehicle platform architectures and led (23) separate launches including the very successful $1 Billion retooling of the assembly plant prior to his retirement.   

Prior to Saturn, he was the International Joint Venture Controller for GM and successfully developed and negotiated business agreements with Chinese government officials for a Greenfield Iron/Aluminum Automotive Casting Foundry in Beijing.   

Tom received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Evansville in Indiana with Finance and Engineering majors. 


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Jill Griffin is a contributor, NYSE independent Public Board Director, internationally-published Harvard “Working Knowledge” author, and NACD Governance Fellow. She is the author of five books. Her newest are Earn Your Seat on a Corporate Board and Women Makes Great Leaders.

Since 2003, Jill has served as an Independent Board Director for Luby’s/Fuddruckers Restaurants (NYSE: LUB). She chairs the Talent Management & Administration committee overseeing areas including Store Operations, Risk, and Management Succession. Jill is a member of the Executive Committee, Nominating & Governance Committee and the Executive Compensation Committee

She leads Jill Griffin Executive Learning whose mission is to coach talented leaders to break out of Middle Management, rise into the Executive Suite and ultimately onto a Corporate Board.

Jill began her career in Brand Management at R.J. Reynolds, where she rose to manage the corporation’s largest brand, Winston. 

She graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees from the University of South Carolina and is the recipient of the school’s Distinguished Alumna Award. The Jill Griffin Endowment Award is gifted yearly to a deserving MBA student.

Jill’s interests include yoga, acrylic painting, biking, and American history. 

Mike mchorse


Mike McHorse is a 30-year veteran of the heavy-duty transportation industry with family ties going back to the earliest years of Consolidated Freightways and the inception of the Freightliner Trucks brand. In 2018, he took on the role of Director of Channel Marketing with focuses on unique events such as industry trade shows, oversight of branding, communications, social media, digital, sales training, sponsorships and future product communication strategy. 

In 2011, as the Freightliner's On-Highway Marketing Manager, McHorse played a strategic role in the success of the market leading Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution models. And, most recently, led the marketing launch of the highly successful new Cascadia product line.

In 2012, Mike conceived and received funding to launch the Team Run Smart web-based community that currently has over 50,000 members ( This unique community provides Owner Operators and small fleet customers, of all brands, with the information and resources needed to improve their opportunity to succeed in the highly competitive trucking industry.

Mike got started with Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner division in an aftermarket capacity where he co-managed the creation of a world class customer assistance center and other industry leading customer-care programs. This background aided Mike in moving on to help conceive and launch Freightliner’s SelecTrucks network of used truck centers as the division’s marketing lead.



Dr. Craig Philip is Research Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University, and Director of Vanderbilt’s Transportation Center (VECTOR).

Dr. Philip’s research focus includes infrastructure sustainability, and the application of risk management tools to transportation systems, carrier safety management, and transport policy and regulation.

Dr. Philip spent 35 years in the rail, intermodal and maritime industries, including Conrail and Southern Pacific Railroads. He joined Ingram in 1982 and from 1999 until 2014 served as President/CEO of Ingram Barge Company, the largest US marine transport carrier.   He served as Chairman of multiple Maritime Groups including the AWO, NWC and NWF, and Chaired the US Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board and is presently a member of its Marine Board and Resilience Section. 

Craig currently serves on the Boards of the ArcBest Corporation (a publicly traded trucking firm); Seamen’s Church Institute, and the Nashville Civic Design Center.

Dr. Philip earned his doctorate in Civil Engineering from MIT and his bachelor’s degree from Princeton,  He is a Board Certified member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Pierre sacre

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Pierre is passionate about carbon emission reductions, especially when it comes to transportation. He worked for 15 years at Schneider Electric where he played a key role in developing and launching new products and solutions providing better energy management for lighting and building control. In 2015 he managed to combine his passion for cars with his work within their electric vehicle division. 

To further his passion for electro-mobility, Pierre accepted a position at ABB in December 2017 as Manager for their Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Service Program. 

Throughout his career Pierre has had active roles with national and international standards organization to help define technologies and processes for better energy performance and carbon emission reduction.

Pierre moved to Tennessee in 2014 after many years in UK, France and Belgium where he was born. Pierre taught part time in Communication Studies at Coventry University in the UK whilst working on European research program on international student mobility. He has a BA with Hons in Arts et Sciences de la Communication from the University of Liège in Belgium with a major in Social Anthropology.