Bob Rolfe was sworn in on January 19, 2019 by Governor Bill Lee to serve as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The department is responsible for recruiting new businesses and industry to the state, supporting existing companies, expanding economic opportunities across rural Tennessee and boosting the state’s overall economic prosperity.
Rolfe has served as TNECD commissioner since March 2017. During Rolfe’s tenure, TNECD has landed roughly 600 projects, which represent more than 103,500 job commitments and $30.5 billion in capital investment. Of those projects, over 25 percent were the result of foreign direct investment.
Under Rolfe’s leadership, Tennessee has secured a number of record-breaking wins. In 2021, he 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 U.S. Ford and SK Innovation will invest $5.6 billion, the largest single capital investment in state history, to build a 3,600-acre mega campus in West Tennessee. Additionally 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.
TNECD also places a major focus on job creation and community development in rural Tennessee. Since 2017, the department has provided more than $420 million in rural and community development funding, while companies have invested $16 billion and committed to create 41,000 new jobs in rural Tennessee communities.
Rolfe has more than three decades of experience in business and investment banking in Tennessee. Before joining TNECD, he held the position of CEO of Medical Reimbursements of America, Inc., a company that provides specialty reimbursement solutions to improve financial performance for hospitals and health systems nationwide. Prior to his time at MRA, Rolfe led three private equity-sponsored companies and spent the first 18 years of his career as an investment banker at J.C. Bradford and Co.
Rolfe received his executive M.B.A. from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and his B.S. from the University of Alabama’s School of Commerce and Business Administration. He and his wife, Kathy, have been married for nearly 40 years and have three adult children and one grandchild. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, where he has served as an elder for two decades.