Keynote Speakers

Join us for keynote sessions with industry pioneers and leading minds.

Ted Townsend

Chief of Staff, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tuesday, June 14 | 8:45 am – 9:00 am (Welcome Address)


J. Edward (Ted) Townsend III currently serves as chief of staff for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development where he oversees the department’s day-to-day affairs.

Prior to becoming chief of staff, Mr. Townsend was assistant commissioner of strategy where he oversaw 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. Mr. Townsend has also served the department as TNECD regional director over the greater Memphis region comprised of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton counties.

Additionally, Governor Haslam has appointed Mr. Townsend his official designee to the federal programs affiliation with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

Before joining TNECD, Mr. Townsend was the cofounder and COO of arGentis Pharmaceuticals LLC of Memphis, a privately held biopharmaceutical 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.

Chris Levendos

Head of Network Deployment and Operations, Google Fiber
Tuesday, June 14 | 10:15 am – 10:45 am

Levendos.pngChris Levendos is the head of the Network Deployment and Operations (NDO) organization at Google Fiber. Chris’ teams lead network deployment, network architecture design and innovation, and service operation for Google Fiber’s fiber-to-the-home infrastructure.

Before joining Google Fiber, Chris spent twenty-six years at Verizon, where he last served as Region President for Verizon’s New York City wireline operations. While at Verizon, Chris was also proud to lead a massive restoration of Verizon's network infrastructure in lower Manhattan following the damage of hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Chris is the board chairman of Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley, a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, a board member of the Regional Planning Association, and a member of the steering committee for the Association for a Better New York.

Andy Berke

Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Tuesday, June 14 | 10:45 am – 11:30 am

Berke.pngAndy Berke was elected Mayor of Chattanooga in 2013. Under his leadership, Chattanooga has taken bold steps to further harness the unique advantage of having the fastest, cheapest, more pervasive internet in the Western Hemisphere.

Following a robust public engagement process, Chattanooga established an Innovation District – 140 acres in the heart of downtown that houses a catalytic mix of start-up businesses, incubators, and accelerators alongside investors and public amenities. In addition, the City has partnered with various nonprofits, businesses, and County Government to launch Tech Goes Home (TGH), a program recently honored for Digital Inclusion Leadership by the National League of Cities and Google. Through TGH, students and seniors receive practical training on how to use the internet safely. After nine weeks of courses, they are given the option to purchase a low cost Chromebook. To increase connectivity in the home, the City has partnered with EPB to offer a reliable, low-cost, high speed broadband connection to all families with a child on free or reduced lunch.

For these works, Mayor Berke was named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County magazine.

Guy McCormick

Senior Vice President of Engineering, Cox Communications
Wednesday, June 15 | 9:00 am - 9:30 am

Guy McCormick.pngGuy McCormick is senior vice president of technology engineering for Cox Communications. In this role, he leads the operational transformation and technology strategy for the enterprise engineering organization. His duties include strategic oversight for infrastructure and enabling platforms including; Backbone/Metro Networks, HFC, Access and Edge technologies. Over the course of his dynamic, 21-year career with Cox, McCormick has assumed key roles; including portfolio management, technology transformation, technical operations and engineering.

McCormick previously served as vice president of technology planning and resource management. In this role, he was responsible for financial management, field engineering operations, resource and portfolio management. He joined Cox in 1994 as director of technical operations for Cox Media, the advertising sales division within Cox Communications. He was promoted to vice president of technical operations for Cox Media in 2001, providing industry leading advances in digital program insertion and advanced advertising technologies.

Guy is currently a contributing member on several technology programs and actively participates in CableLabs and SCTE initiatives. He earned a bachelor-of-arts degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA in Business from East Carolina University. Guy and his family live in Suwanee, GA where they are active members in their community.