James H. (Jim) Townsend, a former member of the Michigan legislature and former legislative director in the office of U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey, is director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School.
Townsend previously was an attorney in the Detroit office of Butzel Long and a member of its Corporate and Real Estate Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, he represented the 26th District in the Michigan House of Representatives and served as minority vice chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics.
He serves on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s advisory council of the Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program. In addition to his service for Lowey, he also worked for U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. Townsend’s non-profit experience includes founding and directing the Michigan Suburbs Alliance (now known as Metro Matters), leading economic development at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, and spearheading the team of development industry experts, city officials and other stakeholders that established the RRC program in 2004. Townsend has also worked in the business sector serving as a brand manager at Ford Motor Company.
Townsend is a graduate of Wayne Law. He earned his bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and an M.B.A. and M.P.P. from the University of Michigan.