rakowTed Townsend
Chief Economic Development and Government Relations Officer
Phone: 901.678.5561
Fax: 901.678.0863
E-mail: Ted.Townsend@memphis.edu
Office: 322 Administration Bldg

Ted will lead the University's economic development activities in Memphis and Jackson, to include attracting and retaining university-area businesses, and will work to increase internship and employment opportunities for students. He will represent the UofM at the local, state, and federal government levels, and monitor and advocate legislation and higher education policy issues. Ted will also serve as a member of the President's Council.

For the past seven years, Ted served the State of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development, with nearly half of that term as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. Other roles included Assistant Commissioner for Strategy and Regional Director for Greater Memphis. Ted managed the State's $200M state economic development incentive and operational budget, assisted in procurement of more than $40M in Federal grants for community development projects, and developed legislative policy.

Ted is a proven leader in the economic and business development arena, has experience in developing public-private partnerships and has expertise in municipal, state and federal economic development funding programs. He has represented local and state interests at the national and international levels, and has a background in healthcare administration.

Ted holds a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Memphis.


Jennie VernerJennie Verner
Senior Director of Government Relations and Policy
Phone: 901.678.2026
Cell: 615.477.6431
Fax: 901.678.0863
E-mail: jennie.verner@memphis.edu 
Office: 322 Administration Bldg

Jennie focuses on building and maintaining relationships with policymakers, studying policy initiatives, and advocating for the University of Memphis. She previously served as Director of Government Affairs at the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), where she led SCORE’s advocacy at the Tennessee legislature. Before her time at SCORE, Jennie worked for the Tennessee General Assembly in various roles including research analyst for the Tennessee House Education Committee, where she extensively researched K-12 and postsecondary education issues and worked closely with the committee leadership. While finishing her Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University, she served on the field staff of then-Congressman Bill Cassidy and as coordinator of his 2010 re-election campaign. Jennie is a tenth-generation Tennessean and a sixth-generation Memphian.