The University of Tennessee Research Foundation recently welcomed two new team members. Gregory Sechrist joined UTRF earlier this month as an associate technology manager, while KellyRose Fluty came onboard in July as a patent coordinator.
Originally from South Carolina, Sechrist received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He has spent most of the last four years working at the Office of Technology Commercialization at Ole Miss, but he already sees some differences at UTRF.
“I’m enjoying immersing myself in UTRF’s diverse technologies,” says Sechrist. “The portfolio here is much larger and covers various fields of research, so there is a lot to learn. I’m looking forward to it.”
Sechrist sees his role at UTRF as a point of intersection, where he will help facilitate conversations and keep all sides in communication with each other. He is ready to use his background and expertise to help all parties interact effectively and serve researchers in the commercialization of their great work.
“I’m not an engineer anymore, and I’m not an attorney, but those skills help me understand who needs what information and help facilitate conversation,” says Sechrist. “It’s almost like translating.”
When he’s not working, Sechrist and his fiancée enjoy spending time with their two goldendoodles, Harley and Berkley. They are looking forward to being near the mountains and other outdoor activities that Knoxville has to offer. As a self-ascribed “big sports fan,” Sechrist is also happy to be in a college town.
Fluty is originally from Upstate New York, where she graduated from Russell Sage College with dual degrees in international and globalization studies and history. She obtained her paralegal certificate after college and has worked in various areas of law over the years, including at Virginia Commonwealth University where she was a Title IX paralegal. Most recently, she was an Assistant Director of Student Life at a boarding school in New York.
Earlier this year, she discovered UTRF when looking for a position at UT after her fiancé began working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While she has not worked in technology transfer before, she said that from her first interview with the team, she was “hooked.”
“Everyone was wonderful to speak with. I really enjoyed the process of getting to know everybody,” says Fluty. “I’m now looking forward to expanding my knowledge about the patent process.”
So far, one of Fluty’s favorite parts about her work is the weekly team meeting where everyone comes together to talk about specific projects they are working on. She finds all the different projects and areas of expertise interesting.
“I love listening to information regarding new innovations,” says Fluty. “That is something that drew me to this role. I wanted to be a part of the forefront of innovation, to watch it all unfold; I think that’s really exciting. I’m surrounded by very brilliant people.”
Outside of work, Fluty and her fiancé enjoy spending time outdoors with their chocolate lab-Great Dane mix, Clancy. Fluty also has a passion for cooking and playing music. Once they move into their new home, Fluty said she is most excited to be around her piano, guitar and other musical instruments once again.
“We are thrilled to welcome Gregory and KellyRose to the UTRF team,” says UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “They bring a diverse range of experience to their respective roles and enthusiasm to learn more about UT inventions and UTRF processes. Gregory and KellyRose will both play key roles in helping advance University innovations.”