Ports Authority executive to lead Clemson corporate partnerships office
COLUMBIA — A seasoned business executive and Clemson alumnus with more than 20 years of experience in helping foster relations and recruit corporations to the state of South Carolina, has been named Clemson University’s associate vice president for the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives.
John “Jack” W. Ellenberg, the senior vice president for Strategic Projects with the South Carolina State Ports Authority, will lead and coordinate Clemson’s corporate partnerships and strategic initiatives. In this role, he will work closely with the university’s innovation campus leaders, college deans and others to increase the level of corporate engagement and large strategic initiatives in support of the ClemsonForward strategy. He begins his new role Oct. 2 and will report to Angie Leidinger, Clemson’s vice president for external affairs.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be returning to Clemson in a role that allows me to continue to serve the business interests of South Carolina,” Ellenberg said. “The university has long been a major driver of the state’s economy, and I look forward to helping Clemson further strengthen its work in this important area.”
Ellenberg joined the State Ports Authority in 2011. There, he was responsible for the recruitment, location and expansion of port-dependent business across the state and Southeast. In addition, he oversaw the development of the South Carolina Inland Ports Greer and Dillon, and the development of strategic rail partnerships statewide. The Port of Charleston has been the fastest-growing port in the United States over the past five years.
“Jack Ellenberg did a wonderful job for the port in the area of economic development and projects, including building a world-class inland port in Greer,” said Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome. “While we hate to lose him, we are excited about the work that he can do for Clemson University in furthering their mission and overall impact on the state of South Carolina.”
Prior to joining the South Carolina Ports Authority, he served as deputy secretary for new investment at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He joined Commerce in 1996 and was responsible for leading the agency’s efforts in new investment, both foreign and domestic, and overseeing the daily activities of state offices in Canada, Europe and Asia.
Throughout his career, Ellenberg he has been responsible for securing more than $35 billion in new investment and recruiting more than 100,000 jobs to South Carolina. He brings a vast knowledge of the aerospace and automotive industries and has represented the state working with numerous companies such as Amazon, BMW, Boeing, Eastman Chemical, Daimler, Google, Michelin, Honda, Fujifilm, ZF Group, Volvo and Robert Bosch.
Ellenberg was named Southern Business & Development’s “Person of the Year” for his work on Boeing’s $750 million 787 Dreamliner assembly operation in the Charleston area. In 2010, Gov. Mark Sanford awarded Ellenberg the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, for his service to the citizens of South Carolina.
“Jack has an outstanding record of attracting strategic corporate investment to South Carolina, with an emphasis on areas in which Clemson has considerable focus and research strength,” Leidinger said. “His experience will be invaluable as Clemson looks to grow its portfolio of strategic partnerships and initiatives.”
Ellenberg earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson in 1991 and 1994. He is married to Kristy Thomason Ellenberg, a 1993 graduate of Clemson. The Ellenbergs have two children and currently reside in Columbia.