Mark Cate is a seasoned executive and public policy/political strategist with extensive experience in strategic planning, economic and community development, issue advocacy and project management. With strong ties to Tennessee business leaders and government officials, a broad network of state and national relationships, and a wealth of issue expertise, Mark helps clients navigate political risks, launch compelling advocacy campaigns, capitalize on business and engagement opportunities, and strengthen comprehensive public affairs efforts.

Mark formerly served as Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s chief of staff, where he was his top advisor, strategist and negotiator. He has an extensive network of relationships in Tennessee with business and political leaders, and a network of national relationships through involvement with organizations such as the Republican Governors Association and the National Governors Association. Mark has also advised a number of governors and other elected officials on their formal transitions into office.

During his tenure with the Haslam Administration, Mark led several legislative policy initiatives, including K-12 education reform, workers’ compensation reform, civil service reform, an alternative approach to Medicaid expansion, and postsecondary education reform, including the nationally-acclaimed Tennessee Promise program.

Prior to serving in state government, Mark successfully managed Governor Haslam’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2010, which led to a record-setting general election victory. He previously worked as an executive in real estate management and development and served for 16 years as a higher education leader. Over the course of his career, Mark has served as a chief development officer, chief planning officer, chief marketing officer, and as a chief financial officer—working on budgets ranging from $10 million to $30 billion.

Get to know Mark...

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Grew up in Maryville, TN; Lives in Brentwood, TN with wife Cathy and daughters Bailey and Abbie.

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B.S., Business Management and Economics, Carson-Newman College; M.S., Educational Psychology, University of Tennessee; Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management

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Prominent strategist recognized for leading complex, multifaceted issues and projects

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Serves on the board of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, WGU Tennessee and Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee


Proud Basset Hound owner