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VOL. 133 | NO. 152 | Thursday, August 2, 2018

McKinney Assumes New Role Joining Greater Memphis Chamber

The Daily News

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David McKinney later this month starts his new job as senior vice president for public policy at the Greater Memphis Chamber.

The 36-year-old attorney succeeds Kelly Rayne, who left earlier this summer to become senior counsel for St. Jude ALSAC.

McKinney is no stranger to changing jobs and taking on new responsibilities; he’s done it six times since graduating from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

“All of which have … been progressively more responsible and broader in scope and responsibility,’’ McKinney said Wednesday, Aug. 1.

David McKinney

The Wooddale High graduate now serves as deputy director of the Memphis/Shelby County Division of Planning & Development. McKinney has also served as senior assistant county attorney, the county’s director of legislative affairs, and associate general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

He started his legal career at Burch Porter & Johnson.

“I’ve enjoyed each position and am extremely optimistic about taking all those experiences and leveraging them to really spur the movement we have here at the Chamber, of being aggressive and delivering on economic results for Memphis.’’

Phil Trenary, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement, “Public policy plays a vital role for Memphis to become an economic development powerhouse.

“David is the right person at the right time to make that happen. As a Memphian, he understands our opportunities and challenges and his dedication to growing this community is strong.”

McKinney used the word “aggressive’’ at least five times during a 20-minute interview, all in the context of pushing for economic development in Memphis.

He seems to take inspiration for the attack-mode approach from Chamber chairman Richard Smith, son of FedEx Corp. founder Fred Smith and chief executive of FedEx Trade Networks.

“The chair and I talked and he set forth a great vision for the Chamber and his passion for the Chamber was a critical factor for me coming on,’’ McKinney said of Smith.

“His ideology behind his being aggressive and focusing on economic growth for all in the city, those are some of the ways public policy will play an integral part in that.’’

McKinney has a proven ability to work with state and local government, Smith said in a prepared statement.

“He will play a key role in helping us to push forward our growth agenda and work with legislators to help us bring jobs and investment to the area,’’ Smith said. “We want our elected officials as well as our citizens to know that we are serious about changing the economic trajectory of Memphis and hope that they will work together with us to embrace that change.”

The Chamber is still working on its legislative agenda for next year so it’s too early to prioritize the organization’s goals in public policy, McKinney indicated. 

But whether the issue involves transportation, jobs, education or other areas affecting economic development, inclusivity will be an ideal for the Chamber, McKinney said, again reiterating several times that the entire community must benefit economically for Memphis to really thrive.

He makes a similar point about his upcoming work with the state Legislature, a Republican-controlled body which sometimes butts heads with the Democrat-leaning Memphis.

How would McKinney help build a better relationship?  “Purposefully, over time,’’ he responded. “The reality is we want to be collaborative. We want to be extremely transparent about what this community brings but also what this community needs to help that economic development engine go.’’

McKinney has served on several boards and commissions including Memphis Farmers Market, Rock & Soul Museum (ex-officio), Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau (ex-officio) and the Memphis Bicentennial Steering Committee. He has been president of the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association and chair of the Downtown Memphis Boys and Girls Club. 

McKinney is married to Dr. Shanea McKinney and they have one son.

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