Bob Rolfe officially exited the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) to enter the private sector Friday with a farewell message shared to social media. Rolfe has served as TNECD commissioner since March 2017, when he was appointed by former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Today marks the end of @CommishTNECD Bob Rolfe's five-and-a-half-year run as the leader of our department.
While he will be greatly missed, we wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his next journey.
Watch the commissioner's farewell message here. ⬇️https://t.co/1TiIPXHvK3
— TNECD (@TNECD) July 8, 2022
“As I celebrate my last day with the great department of economic and community development, I bring warm greetings. Believe it or not, but it’s been five and a half years since I’ve joined the department, and it’s probably been the greatest privilege of my life,” Rolfe said in his farewell message. “The opportunity to be a public servant, to serve two great governors, to serve five general assemblies, seven million stakeholders across the state – I can’t say thank you enough for all the support.”
Succeeding Rolfe as TNECD Commissioner is Stuart McWhorter, who served in the Lee administration as the commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration (F&A) before departing for the private sector in 2020, according to a press release by TNECD.
“And most importantly what I’m excited to present to you on Monday is a new commissioner, Stuart McWhorter, who I’ve known for many, many years, I’ve admired, I’ve worked for, and I can promise you – this goodbye will be a great hello for Stuart,” Rolfe continued in his message.
Rolfe’s last parting comment in his farewell message was, “it’s sad to say goodbye, but the journey sure has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. So, many thanks and God bless you all. Cheers.”
As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, during Rolfe’s tenure, TNECD has landed roughly 660 projects, representing more than 112,000 job commitments and $33 billion in capital investment – record-breaking wins for the Volunteer State. For example, in 2021, Rolfe led TNECD’s recruitment efforts to land Tennessee’s fourth automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) when Ford Motor Company selected Tennessee to build one of the largest battery and vehicle manufacturing campuses in the country. Ford and SK Innovation’s $5.6 billion investment represents the largest single capital investment in state history.
Additionally, under Rolfe’s leadership in 2021, Oracle, the world’s largest data management company, announced it will locate new tech operations in Nashville. At 8,500 jobs, the Oracle project is the single biggest jobs announcement in Tennessee’s history.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Bob Rolfe” by TNECD.