Keynote Speaker: Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership
Born in Dallas, NC, Ted received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; his Master’s from Johns Hopkins University, is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute and is an Eisenhower Fellow for global economics.
Ted is the Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic strategies. Ted has 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs. In the past two years Ted has worked with state Chambers of Commerce in North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky to develop economic development plans and with another dozen regions, counties and organizations on strategic plans and has served as economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governors Association From 2008-2013, Ted was the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a 42-year old public policy think tank that provided economic development research, strategy and marketing advice, to states and communities across the South. Before coming to Southern Growth, Ted was a practicing economic developer for 28 years.
From 2000-2008, he served as Executive Vice President and COO for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. During his eight years directing RTRP's operation he worked with hundreds of clients and helped generate 65,000 new jobs and almost $10 billion in investment.
Ted’s current projects include developing a new rural economic strategy for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, helping the Missouri Chamber Foundation implement their 15-year competitiveness strategy that Economic Leadership developed, assessing the State of Technology in North Carolina and assisting the Delta Regional Authority to Reimagine Workforce Development.
Over the past three years Ted has developed economic development plans for the 8 states that comprise the Mississippi Delta, created new economic strategies in North Carolina for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and the Piedmont Triad Partnership, conducted a national citizen input process on building community economic vitality, developed best practices in manufacturing and innovation for the U.S. Economic Development Administration and helped the Organization for International Investment create an economic development coalition to better attract foreign investment .
As a nationally known economic futurist, Ted speaks to about 100 groups annually on topics ranging from global trends to state and community economic competitiveness.