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Ed Cole, Commission Member

Greater Nashville Representative (Davidson County)
Term of Appointment:  October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2022

Following his retirement from a career in local and state government, as well as the non-profit community, Ed Cole is now active in several community initiatives. He currently leads the Senior Transportation Leadership Coalition of the Greater Nashville Council on Aging, for which he serves on the board. He is also President of the Alliance for Green Hills, a new leadership coalition representing the major Nashville retail and residential area. He serves as the Governor’s Appointee for Nashville-Davidson County on the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and is the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County representative on the Cheatham County Railroad Authority (CCRA). Additionally, he is a member of the Downtown Nashville Rotary Club and other professional organizations, has served in leadership roles for numerous non-profit organizations, and is currently on the board of the Greater Nashville Council on Aging.

Ed retired as the first Executive Director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee in June, 2014. He was appointed to this position in April, 2010, before which he was the first Chief of Environment and Planning and Assistant Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) from 2003-2010. And prior to his work for TDOT, Ed was the first Executive Director of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a 10-county regional visioning organization across Middle Tennessee.

Before becoming head of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, Ed served nearly 20 years in local and state government, including Deputy Commissioner and acting Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). He also served as part of the administrative team that created the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Before that, Ed was special assistant to the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Nashville Development and Housing Agency. He began his government service by working for the Metropolitan Nashville Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Health Department as a planner focused on transportation and air quality.

Ed has taught government and planning at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the George Peabody College in Nashville; and the University of Sydney in Australia. He has a BA from Willamette University in Salem Oregon; an MA from the University of Florida; and an MS in Planning from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ed is a graduate of both Leadership Middle Tennessee and Leadership Nashville. 

Ed has lived in Nashville since 1972 and is a member of Nashville's Elder of Vine Street Christian Church. Ed’s son, Erik, is the Director of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment in the office of Mayor Megan Barry. His daughter-in-law, Jen, is the Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. Ed’s wife, Pat, is Scholarship Director for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and she and Ed delight in their grandchildren, Owen and Alice.