Ted Abernathy

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.

The focus of his 34-year economic development career has included work for cities, counties, regions and the private sector.

In 2013, Ted began two new ventures. He became the economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governor's Association, where he is developing a new research policy agenda for southern states and leading a public input process for reimagining higher education. Ted also launched a new economic consultancy, Economic Leadership LLC, that focuses on information curation, and enthusiastically helps places, organizations, and leaders be more competitive, more collaborative, and more successful. His first major projects include developing new economic strategies for North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri and developing regional economic and workforce plans in Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Economic Leadership is also involved in strategic plans for various organizations including airports, colleges, non-profits groups, and businesses.

For the past 5 years, Ted was the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a 42-year old public policy think tank that provides economic development research, strategy and marketing advice, to states and communities across the South. Ted coauthored Southern Growth’s most recent report entitled Reimagining Workforce.

Before coming to Southern Growth, Ted was a practicing economic developer for 28 years. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President and COO for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, where he was in charge of developing economic and cluster strategies and implementing all marketing efforts.

As an economic futurist, Ted speaks to over 100 groups annually on topics ranging from leadership to global trends impacting competitiveness.