Gov. Bill Haslam visited Austin Peay State University Monday, March 21 for the first time as governor, before meeting with community leaders at Montgomery County's Civic Hall for a roundtable discussion.
While on APSU’s main campus Haslam took a brief tour of the Hemlock Semiconductor Building along with APSU President Tim Hall, Provost Dr. Tristan Denley and Dr. Chester Little, director of the chemical engineering technology program.
The group toured the chemical process lab and discussed the relationship between the University and employers like Hemlock Semiconductor and how the program and facility was built in record time.
After touring the lab, the group moved upstairs to view the inverter room where energy is converted from the building's rooftop solar panels into electricity that is put into the University's electrical grid.
According to Little, the chemical engineering program has approximately 25 students hired from the program to date, nearly half of the graduating class, yet the first graduate will not walk across the stage until this May. However, the program may have nearly 30 students hired in the weeks to come. The students have landed jobs with companies such as Hemlock Semiconductor, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Wacker Chemie in Cleveland, Tenn.
The roundtable discussion at Civic Hall included the county’s elected state officials, local elected leaders and representatives from the local Economic Development Council and Aspire Clarksville business initiative. Education was among the topics discussed.