Levon Atoyan is #MadeForKnoxville.

From Cornell University to the hills of Tennessee, this engineering PhD is introducing innovative technology for a cooler future.

Earning recognition and funding from the U.S. government, Levon and his team at Shift Thermal are poised to make a big impact in the cleantech space by reducing carbon emissions with their IHEX technology. He and his business partner, Mitchell Ishmael, wanted to solve the inefficiencies of traditional HVAC units by inventing a more cost effective and sustainable method of energy storage and consumption. 

Since graduating from ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads in 2017, the two have participated as members in UT’s Spark Innovation Center and now work from a bigger lab space at ORNL. Atoyan and Ishmael have grown their company to a team of seven, joining their passion and skill for finding sustainable energy solutions with others.

In Their Own Words…

Shift Thermal was founded in 2017 by two engineering PhDs from Cornell University to help solve for the missing link in our sustainable energy future: energy storage. The company moved to Tennessee to join the inaugural cohort of Innovation Crossroads, a DOE-funded entrepreneurship program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 

Over the next two years, the team invented IHEX technology and built a deep scientific understanding of its capabilities. Since graduation from the ORNL program, with support from NSF and DOE, our team has expanded with talented scientists and engineers, brought IHEX to commercial scale, and partnered with multinational HVAC firms to realize our founding vision.


Interested in sharing your “Made for Knoxville” story? Submit here! 

Read another story →