Full Name
Ted Abernathy
Job Title
Managing Partner
Economic Leadership
Speaker Bio
Ted is the Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies. Ted has 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs. 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. He also served as economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governors Association.

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 economic and workforce strategies in more than a dozen states and regions across the country, designing an economic development and innovation ecosystem for a new science city in Kenya, evaluating cluster opportunities ranging from value added agriculture to advanced technologies, building dashboards using advanced data analytics, and producing the annual Home of Future Thinking conference.

Over the past five years Ted has worked on close to 100 projects. He has developed plans for the eight states that comprise the Mississippi Delta, coauthored Reimaging Workforce Development, conducted a southern citizen input process on economic vitality for the Kettering Foundation, developed best practices in manufacturing and innovation for the U.S. Economic Development Administration, helped the Organization for International Investment create an economic development coalition to better attract foreign investment and help launch a new company that assesses and improves Group Leadership.

Ted speaks to groups across the country and internationally on many topics including the economy, the future of work, trendspotting the future and organizational leadership. In the past year, he keynoted conferences for the International Economic Development Council, The Southern Economic Development Council, The Southern Regional Education Board, The National Association of Workforce Professionals, The International Eisenhower Fellowships, the Society of Industrial Realtors, The Seattle Eastside Futures Conference and dozens of private business retreats and gatherings.

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.
Email Address
Work Phone
+1 919-906-9784
Ted Abernathy