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Mason Ailstock

Vice President, Operations

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Mason Ailstock

Mason Ailstock

Vice President, Operations


Passionate about place-based design and the convergence of university/industry relationships, Mason Ailstock has led the operations and physical development of university research parks and innovation districts for more than 15 years.

Prior to joining TUFF, Mason served as Chief Operating Officer of the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park (RTP). There, he led the operational, business development, marketing, real estate, and partnership strategies of the largest high-tech research park in North America. As COO, Mason was responsible for the recruitment and retention of private sector companies, development of mixed-use projects involving multiple stakeholders, strengthening relationships with economic development leaders, and expanding partnerships among the three founding research universities and the 220 companies located in RTP.

In 2016 Mason was awarded the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship where he traveled to Sweden and Saudi Arabia researching the development and operations of university-anchored innovation districts. Mason currently serves as the Board Chairman of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) University Development and Innovation Council.

Prior to his leadership at RTP, Mason served as the Real Estate and Global Partner Manager at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research. In this position, he led collaborations with university researchers, quasi-governmental entities, and private corporations to create dynamic economic and business development strategies. Mason played key roles in the master plan and business development success of the 250-acre research campus, accounting for nearly $250,000,000 in investments, 17 resident companies, 5 LEED facilities, nearly $4,000,000 in competitive federal grants, and over 50 companies supporting sponsored and directed research.


  • Clemson University, Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Clemson University, Masters of Science Planning & Real Estate
  • US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)

Professional Associations

  • Association of University Research Parks (AURP) – President
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) – University Development and Innovation Council
  • Eisenhower Fellowships – 2016 Fellow Sweden and Saudi Arabia
  • State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) – Innovation and Advocacy Council

Project Experience

  • Research Triangle Park (RTP) – 7,000 acres, 220 companies, 5 life science and IT incubators, and 3 Global Research Universities
  • Research Triangle Park (RTP) Park Center – 100 acres, University anchored mixed-use real estate development
  • Research Triangle Park (RTP) The Frontier – 140,000 square foot industry, university, and community innovation space with co-working, office, conferencing, and amenities
  • Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) – 250 acre master plan development
  • BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) – $15 million 80,000 square foot technology and R&D facility
  • Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center (CGEC) – $25 million 90,000 square foot automotive systems integration research facility
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) $3 million construction grant
  • Center for Emerging Technologies (CET) – $11 million, 60,000 square foot technology innovation incubator with labs, office, start-up co-working, and high bay advanced manufacturing
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture $740,000 zero interest construction loan
  • Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) Partnership Offices and AutoPark –  $21.6 million, 20,000 square feet of office, fitness, and café. 1,200 space structured parking deck
  • Clemson University Innovation Campus & Technology Park – 265 acre master plan development
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science – North Chicago,Illinois – $50 million

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