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Meet the TNECD Senior Staff

Bill Hagerty
Commissioner

Bill Hagerty serves in the cabinet of Governor Bill Haslam, as the commissioner of Economic and Community Development for his home state of Tennessee. Mr. Hagerty’s department is responsible for recruiting business and industry to the state as well as Tennessee’s overall economic growth. His department is focused on Governor Haslam’s mission to make Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast for high quality jobs. Read More

Mr. Hagerty has led landmark recruitment efforts for Tennessee, including North American facilities for Hankook Tire and UBS Financial Services. His department has also landed major expansions for the state from global automotive suppliers like Magneti Marelli and Calsonic Kansei, as well as OEMs Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors. During Mr. Hagerty’s tenure, the department has secured commitments from the private sector to create approximately 75,000 jobs in Tennessee.

In 2011, Governor Haslam asked Mr. Hagerty to take responsibility for the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. Under his leadership, the Commission’s board was configured to more deeply engage the state’s significant music industry. Mr. Hagerty and his team worked closely with the industry and legislature to retool the state’s film industry incentives to simplify and broaden access. He has commission staff refocused on the convergence of music, entertainment and film to target outsized returns for the state. The ABC hit series “Nashville” is an example of this convergence, where the restructured incentives were leveraged with exceptional results. The television show now airs in more than 50 countries and touches millions of viewers every week.

During his service, Mr. Hagerty has also broadened the state’s portfolio of economic development tools, adding programs focused on foreign direct investment, exports and entrepreneurism.

He launched a new division, TNTrade, adding four overseas offices – for a total of seven - aimed directly at expanding international markets, which he sees as a major opportunity for Tennessee companies and entrepreneurs.

To better support entrepreneurial growth and innovation in the state, Mr. Hagerty’s team restructured and repositioned the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation and rebranded it as LaunchTN. Mr. Hagerty now serves as chairman of the board of LaunchTN, which has become the entity that oversees the state’s accelerator program, facilitates technology transfer and commercialization from the state’s R &D institutions (ranked 8th in the nation), and oversees the state’s early stage capital program, INCITE, a co-investment fund established to attract more early-stage capital to the state.

During his service, Mr. Hagerty navigated substantial budget and staff cuts. The Haslam administration began in 2011 with the state facing unprecedented fiscal pressure in the wake of the global recession. Mr. Hagerty and his team addressed these cuts with a more corporate approach that relies on a decentralized management structure, stringent reporting metrics and high levels of accountability across the organization. Today, the department has 49 percent fewer positions than when Mr. Hagerty assumed his role as commissioner.

As a cabinet member, Mr. Hagerty works with and frequently testifies before the Tennessee General Assembly. He works on a regular basis with the Tennessee’s U.S. congressional delegation. He has provided congressional testimony on matters related to regulation, international trade and the economy. In addition, Mr. Hagerty and his team work with the U.S. Treasury, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, the International Trade Administration, HUD, SBA and other federal agencies on an as needed basis.

Mr. Hagerty began his career with global consultancy, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where his career spanned five continents. He spent his last three years in Tokyo, Japan where he was senior expatriate responsible for the firm’s work with western clients across Asia.

He left BCG to serve on the White House Domestic Policy Council where his portfolio included international trade, commerce, treasury and telecom. Mr. Hagerty was selected a White House Fellow where the vice president of the United States was his principal.

Following his service on the White House staff, Mr. Hagerty joined Trident Capital and launched his career in private equity. One of his first deals with Trident was lifting out the mapping division of former BCG client, RR Donnelley, to form what became MapQuest, which he co-invested with Trident. Three years later, MapQuest went public (Nasdaq: MQST) and then was acquired through a public tender by AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL). Mr. Hagerty eventually helped form and lead private equity and advisory firm, Hagerty Peterson and Company, LLC. He has served on the Board of CyMed, Inc. as a founder and Co-Chairman of the nation’s third largest medical records company, which was later merged with NYSE-traded PLDT (NYSE:PHI); NEW Customer Services Company, as vice-chairman of the nation’s largest electronics warranty administrator (merged into NEW Asurion); as well as home entertainment retailer, Sound Advice (Nasdaq: SUND). Through early 2008, Mr. Hagerty served as CEO of ALAM, Ltd, the Asian Lehman Asset Management joint venture private equity investment platform majority owned by Lehman Brothers, which he helped establish with offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, China.

Mr. Hagerty has served in a variety of complex governance situations both during and subsequent to major corporate events. Following its restructuring, he served as COO and CFO of Ultra Stores, the nation’s fifth largest jewelry retailer. He also served on the company’s Board of Directors and its audit committee. Mr. Hagerty served as CEO of Powerway, a technology firm, where he helped open and oversee the China, Europe and Mexico operations of the global firm prior to its merger with an overseas partner. Mr. Hagerty also served as a director for Birch Telecom, one of the nation’s largest competitive telecom exchange carriers, following its change of control. Concurrent with the largest out-of-court restructuring in Wall Street history, he was recruited to serve on the board of directors and as chair of the Compensation Committee of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a large global publisher, as it transitioned from print to digital media.

Mr. Hagerty presently serves on the board and chairs the Governance Committee of R.J. O’Brien & Associates LLC, the nation’s largest independent futures and commodities merchant. RJO recently absorbed 70% of the assets of MF Global at the request of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

As a community volunteer and philanthropist, Mr. Hagerty served through mid-2007 as the chairman of the Executive Board of the National Capital Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with more than 80,000 youth and adult volunteers, where he led a $50 million capital campaign. He is now an active member of the Middle Tennessee BSA’s board executive committee. He also served for 11 years as member and chair of the Regional Selection Panel for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama). Mr. Hagerty served as vice chairman of the Board of Columbia Hospital for Women, a nationally recognized not-for-profit women’s hospital in the District of Columbia. Mr. Hagerty has also been engaged locally serving on the Board of Trustees of Cheekwood where he chaired the Botanical Gardens Committee.

In 2012, Mr. Hagerty took a leave of absence and moved to Washington, DC to serve full-time on the 2012 U.S. Presidential Transition Team. In 2010, President Obama signed the Presidential Transition Act. This legislation provided for the establishment and federal funding of a presidential transition effort housed within the General Services Administration to ensure an orderly transfer of Executive power. With more than 4,000 positions to fill during a transition, this is the largest scale leadership transition in the world. He served on the first such team, where he led the 124 person unit responsible for screening, vetting and ultimately navigating the Senate advice and consent process for prospective members of the Cabinet, Sub-Cabinet, Senior White House staff and key Ambassadorships. Having planned and led the first such effort under the new legislation, Mr. Hagerty has continued to participate on a bi-partisan advisory basis to help ensure smooth and effective presidential leadership transitions in the future.

A native of Gallatin, Tennessee, Mr. Hagerty attended Vanderbilt University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Economics. He went on to Vanderbilt Law School as a Wilson Scholar and was elected to the Law Review where he served as associate editor. Mr. Hagerty is a member of the New York State Bar Association. He has been published in newspapers, scholarly and trade journals and interviewed on radio and television programs (CNN on multiple occasions, as well as national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the Boston Globe). He and his wife Chrissy have four children and attend St. George’s Episcopal Church.

 

Bill.Hagerty@tn.gov (615) 741-1888


Will Alexander - Chief of Staff, Strategy

Will Alexander
Chief of Staff

Will Alexander joined the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) as Assistant Commissioner of Strategy in 2011. His first task was to work with a small team in performing a top-to-bottom review of the department. The results of this project formed the basis of the Governor’s ‘Jobs4TN’ strategic plan for economic growth announced in April 2011. Read More

Mr. Alexander became Chief of Staff in May 2012, and he currently oversees day-to-day affairs for the department. During 2012, Tennessee led the Southeast in GDP growth, personal income growth and growth in new manufacturing jobs.

Prior to joining ECD, Mr. Alexander was an associate attorney at Vinson & Elkins LLP in Austin, Texas and the United Arab Emirates. While at Vinson & Elkins, he represented clients in various corporate matters, ranging from advising start-up companies in formation activities and venture capital financing to assisting public companies in multibillion-dollar M&A transactions.

In addition to Mr. Alexander’s time in the Middle East, his international experience also includes studying law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and La Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico. Mr. Alexander received a B.A. in Plan II Honors from the University of Texas, earning Phi Beta Kappa distinction, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law.

 

Will.Alexander@tn.gov (615) 253-2006


Allen Borden - Statewide Director

Allen Borden
Assistant Commissioner, Statewide Operations

Allen Borden serves as Assistant Commissioner of Business Development for the Department of Economic and Community Development. Borden is focused on job creation across the state and is responsible for expansions of existing companies, the recruitment of new companies to Tennessee and the FastTrack Incentive Team. Read More

Mr. Borden is from Maryville in Blount County, Tennessee. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee and began his career in economic development with the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Borden has held additional economic development positions including Executive Vice-President of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Blount County Industrial Board and Smoky Mountains Visitors Bureau. He was appointed by then-Mayor Victor Ashe as Director of Economic Development for the City of Knoxville.

Mr. Borden later moved into the private sector where he has held executive positions in the staffing industry, banking industry, call center/outsourcing business, and commercial real estate & development. Mr. Borden has now come "full circle" and is excited to be back involved in what he calls "direct" economic development. Borden resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Allen.Borden@tn.gov (615) 532-1294


Clint Brewer - Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Marketing

Clint Brewer
Assistant Commissioner, Communications & Marketing

Clint Brewer is the Assistant Commissioner for Communications and Marketing for the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. He leads a team of public relations professionals, marketing experts, graphic artists and videographers that promote and market Tennessee’s business climate globally. Read More

Prior to that, Mr. Brewer has a lengthy career as an executive in the Tennessee media. He has served as the editor of the Nashville City Paper and the Lebanon Democrat, leading both daily newspapers to national journalism awards.

He also was the national president of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2007 to 2008, leading the effort to see a national shield law for reporters successfully pass the U.S. House of Representatives in a landslide vote.

Mr. Brewer also worked as the executive director of the Beacon Center in Nashville, the state’s only free market think tank. There he oversaw the launch of Tennessee Watchdog, the state’s only non-profit investigative reporting website.

Prior to joining the Haslam administration, he was the politics and government editor of the Tennessean. During that time, he also served as chair of the Tennessee Press Association’s government affairs committee.

Mr. Brewer is a native of Knoxville, and holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee.

 

Clint.Brewer@tn.gov (615) 741-1888


Paula Davis - Assistant Commissioner, Administration

Paula Davis
Assistant Commissioner, Administration

Paula Davis serves as the Assistant Commissioner of Administrative Services for the department where she is responsible for the administration of budget and fiscal, human resources, information systems and internal audit sectors of the department. Read More

Ms. Davis brings nearly three decades of finance and administrative experience to TNECD having served in a focused array of positions within state government. In addition, Ms. Davis serves as a governor’s appointment to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. She has also served as a governor’s appointment to the Southern Growth Policies Board.

Ms. Davis has held positions in the state with Board of Probation and Paroles, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Finance and Administration’s Division of Budget, and the Tennessee Legislature Office of Legislative Budget Analysis. Additionally, Ms. Davis served as the director of higher education information systems for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Fiscal Affairs sector.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Ms. Davis is very involved in community organizations including the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Women’s Council, the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She resides in Smyrna, Tennessee with her husband, Elder James G. Davis, Esq.

 

Paula.Davis@tn.gov (615) 532-3886


Sharon Kolb -  General Counsel

Sharon Kolb
General Counsel

Sharon Kolb serves as General Counsel to the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Ms. Kolb graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2004 and was as the managing editor of the law review. Upon graduation she served as law clerk to Judge Holly Kirby on the Tennessee Court of Appeals. In 2005, Ms. Kolb began practicing securities law and financial industry regulation at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in their Memphis and Nashville offices until joining TNECD in 2011. Read More

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Kolb worked in the financial services industry with companies such as Stephens, Inc., Charles Schwab and Waschka Capital Investments. She assisted with the writing and editing of the nationally published book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Rich,” guest hosted an investment based radio program “Money Talk,” and taught numerous seminars on investing.

Ms. Kolb served on the board of directors of Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that provides interview appropriate clothing for economically disadvantaged women, and has provided pro bono legal services through various legal non-profit organizations.

A native of Arkansas, Ms. Kolb holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Arkansas State University and a Master of Arts in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

 

Sharon.Kolb@tn.gov (615) 532-8988


Ted Townsend - Assistant Commissioner, Strategy

Ted Townsend
Assistant Commissioner, Strategy

J. Edward (Ted) Townsend, III serves as Assistant Commissioner of Strategy for the Department of Economic and Community Development, where he oversees all rural programs including Select Tennessee, ThreeStar, Tennessee Main Street, Tennessee Downtowns and Retire Tennessee, along with federal grant programs that include Community Development Block Grants, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Read More

Governor Haslam has appointed Mr. Townsend as his official designee to the Federal Programs affiliation with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

Prior to becoming Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Townsend was the TNECD Regional Director over the Greater Memphis Region comprised of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton Counties.

Before joining TN ECD, Mr. Townsend was the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of arGentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc of Memphis, a privately-held bio-pharmaceutical company involved in the licensing, development and commercialization of therapies for auto-immune and ophthalmic diseases. During his tenure, the company successfully raised $2 million in capital from angel and institutional investors.

A graduate of the University of Memphis, Mr. Townsend also served as Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of Agile Minds, LLC, a consulting firm in health care and life sciences. He currently serves on the board of directors of arGentis, LifeScience Tennessee and the Memphis Research Consortium.

 

Ted.Townsend@tn.gov (615) 532-9060


Josh Helton -  Assistant Commissioner, International Affairs

Josh Helton
Assistant Commissioner, International Affairs

Josh Helton is the Assistant Commissioner for Policy and International. He has oversight over policy, legislative affairs, the TNTrade program, and foreign direct investment activities. He is also the department’s point of contact for the Memphis Regional Megasite project. Read More

Prior to joining the Haslam Administration, Josh was the Small Business Advocate in the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury, where he helped small and medium sized businesses navigate state regulatory issues. Before his time in public service, he practiced corporate and securities law at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, & Caldwell in Nashville. Josh completed his undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee and received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. While in law school, he clerked for the White House and United States Attorney, Middle District of Tennessee.

 

Josh.Helton@tn.gov (615) 741-1888


Philip Trauernicht - Administrator, Community Development, Grants and Loans

 

Philip Trauernicht
Senior Advisor, Grant Programs

Philip.Trauernicht@tn.gov (615) 253-1903


Paul VanderMeer - Director, Administrative Services

 

Paul VanderMeer
Senior Advisor, Fiscal Policy

Paul.VanderMeer@tn.gov (615) 532-1284


Betsy Van Dam - Executive Assistant to the Commissioner

 

Betsy Van Dam
Commissioner Hagerty's Executive Assistant/Scheduler

Betsy.Vandam@tn.gov (615) 741-8915