Behind the Musk deal: the largest economic investment in Memphis history

By , Daily Memphian Updated: June 11, 2024 12:13 PM CT | Published: June 10, 2024 4:00 AM CT

On Sunday, March 10, Greater Memphis Chamber President and CEO Ted Townsend broke away from the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, to speak with the world’s wealthiest man about Memphis. 

Townsend sat across from his computer in a hotel conference room, preparing his pitch about Memphis in his head, which he’d practiced a dozen or more times. 

When the video conference started, Elon Musk was sitting in the top left box on the corner of his screen. 

“The reality of that moment sets in, and you essentially have one shot,” Townsend said. “I knew we had to impress him and put our best foot forward in that moment.”


Elon Musk xAI Greater Memphis Chamber Subscriber Only Ted Townsend

Thank you for supporting local journalism.

Subscribers to The Daily Memphian help fund our not-for-profit newsroom of nearly 40 local journalists plus more than 20 freelancers, all of whom work around the clock to cover the issues impacting our community. Subscriptions - and donations - also help fund our community access programs which provide free access to K-12 schools, community organizations, and more. Thank you for making our work possible.

Sophia Surrett

Sophia Surrett

Sophia Surrett is a recent University of Alabama graduate, where she received her B.A. in news media and M.A. in journalism and media studies. She covers restaurants, residential real estate, and hospitality and tourism.


Want to comment on our stories or respond to others? Join the conversation by subscribing now. Only paid subscribers can add their thoughts or upvote/downvote comments. Our commenting policy can be viewed here