Council on Competitiveness Selects Ted Townsend to Participate in Outreach & Engagement Committee

January 7, 2020 - The Board of the Council on Competitiveness – a 34-year-old non-partisan, nonprofit membership group of action-oriented CEOs, university presidents, labor union leaders and national laboratory directors – has selected Ted Townsend, University of Memphis chief economic development and government relations officer, to participate in the Commission’s Outreach and Engagement Committee.

The council is focused on setting an innovation-based agenda to drive long-term productivity growth for the U.S. and inclusive prosperity for all Americans. This new committee, National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers, was launched last summer to “create and energize a new innovation movement in the U.S.” This critical group will help develop the “go-to-market” branding, communications and policy advocacy strategies for the commission.

“As someone who champions technology and innovation not only for University of Memphis students, but for Memphians as a whole, I’m honored to be nominated to participate on this committee,” Townsend said. “It is encouraging to see that the University of Memphis has built a reputation for excellence in technology. The University of Memphis UMRF Research Park continues to serve as a hub for companies to develop, grow and thrive in Memphis.”

The commission is chaired by Dr. Mehmood Khan (CEO, Life Biosciences; former global vice chair, PepsiCo), Mr. Brian Moynihan (chairman and CEO, Bank of America), Dr. Michael Crow (president, Arizona State University) and Mr. Lonnie Stephenson (international president, IBEW).

Townsend recently traveled to Washington, D.C., with UofM President M. David Rudd for the 2019 National Competitiveness Forum (NCF), which brought together more than 200 C-Suite leaders from every major sector of the economy to share their perspectives on how to confront and overcome critical challenges facing the U.S. innovation engine. The conversations that took place over the two-days of the NCF addressed how the U.S. can create momentum to outpace the rest of the world in innovation capacity, capability and competitiveness, as well as develop new-to-the-world efforts in order to launch and scale innovation-based research, businesses and ventures in the United States.

“It was an honor to participate in the National Competitiveness Forum with President Rudd to learn how the University can continue to be a source of innovation for Memphis and beyond,” Townsend said. “I look forward to continuing the work of the council and bringing new insight and perspectives back to the University of Memphis.”

This month, the National Commission co-chairs Dr. Crow and Dr. Khan will host a “launch conference” for all the advisors, working group members and strategic communications experts, including Townsend, who will participate in the Commission; the conference will be held at Arizona State University.

The commission co-chairs plan to share their vision of the commission, debut an online collaboration portal to empower committee members’ efforts to co-create the policy agenda for the commission, answer any questions and create space for participants to “roll up their sleeves for a couple of hours and start the work.”

 Since beginning the Government Relations and Policy in 2018, the University of Memphis has brought in $18.3 million in private investments from local, national and international companies. Its mission is to focus on University-driven economic development by strategically positioning community-based public and private investments that attract high-quality job growth through the creation, expansion and recruitment of advanced technology businesses.