Ball State hires former adviser for Indiana lieutenant governor to economic development post

Topic: Administrative

July 15, 2013

Ball State University has hired David R. Terrell, former senior adviser for Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, to the newly created position of director of economic development policy.

Terrell brings with him years of economic development experience from state government and the private sector in Indiana, plus a national reputation as an expert in the subject area. He is scheduled to assume his new responsibilities on Aug. 12.

The new position, which will operate through Ball State’s Building Better Communities office, will concentrate on helping Indiana communities create economic development policies and strategies that will allow them to thrive, said Terrell.

“From the university side, there are things that we can do to help state government, there are resources we can bring in to help communities and there are opportunities where we can bring in students to give them some good experiences.

“All of this appeals to me, and I’m at a point in my career where it makes sense for me to go this direction. This is my last frontier: I’ve worked in government, I’ve worked in the private sector, but I haven’t worked in academia. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

John Fallon, associate vice president of economic development and community engagement, said the new position stems from Ball State’s long tradition of outreach and involvement in the state, plus a renewed commitment under the university’s new strategic plan to help advance Indiana’s economy.

“This represents an opportunity to expand beyond what we’ve been doing in the past,” Fallon said.

Among other things, Terrell will be charged with providing leadership, vision and direction for Indiana’s economic development policy and increasing the number, relevance and visibility of Ball State’s outreach and engagement projects in that area.

“All of this is rooted in two basic propositions,” Fallon said. “One is that human talent is the single most important element in economic development, and the second is that in order for communities to be competitive for that talent, they have to position themselves as desirable places to live.

“That combination will take David and others of us involved in economic development into communities around the state to work with organizations that impact quality of life — whether it’s municipal government, the arts, education or the very aesthetics of a community.”

Part of Terrell’s job will be identifying opportunities to involve other parts of the university in economic development projects. “For instance,” Fallon says, “David is not an artist, so his ability to help reposition how the arts are integrated into a community is limited. But he will work with the College of Fine Arts, which could lend considerable expertise.”

Terrell will work out of Ball State’s Indianapolis Center, part of a strategy to locate economic development experts in the state’s two largest population centers. Fallon said a search currently is under way for someone to fill a similar role for the university in Fort Wayne, Indiana’s second largest city.

Meanwhile, Fallon said, the university is delighted to welcome Terrell to his new job. His experience in government and business, along with his deep knowledge of Indiana and the challenges its communities face, make him uniquely suited for the position. “There might have been no single individual better qualified for this role than David Terrell,” Fallon said.

Terrell is a native of Hancock County, a graduate of Indiana State University and has an MBA from the University of South Florida.

Before his position with Lt. Gov. Ellspermann, he served more than two years as deputy chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, six years as executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, seven years as owner of an economic development consulting firm and nine years in various positions with southern Indiana businesses.

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