Will Pinkston takes lessons learned into Sync Strategies

By Milt Capps

Will Pinkston takes lessons learned into Sync Strategies | Sync Strategies, Will Pinkton, Phil Bredesen, Bill Haslam, Bill Frist, politics, policy, state government, K-12 education, postsecondary education, journalism, media, public relations, McNeely Pigott & Fox, energy, Solar Institute, education reform, Heather Maribeti, University of Tennessee, clean energy, Committee on Research Universities, National Academy of Sciences

Will Pinkston

Will Pinkston, a veteran of "Bredesen Democrat" politics and policy, says he has gained traction in his new Sync Strategies LLC practice.

Pinkston, 38, is positioned as "an independent communications consultant working in national and state K-12 and postsecondary education reform," he told VNC yesterday.

He previously ran an advocacy initiative for the Nashville-based State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), from which he departed in January.

Sync Strategies' "main client" is Achieve, a bipartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., Pinkston said.  Achieve "helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability" and focuses on "college and career readiness," according to its website.

Other current Sync assignments include supporting former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., in Frist's continuing work as part of the Committee on Research Universities, a National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering initiative examining academe, Pinkston said. He's also doing education and workforce development-oriented work for the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and recently completed assignments for Complete College America, of which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is among lead sponsors. The Gates Foundation has in recent years made grants in Tennessee to support teacher preparation and public-education improvement.

Pinkston spent much of 2010 as an advocate on-staff with SCORE, a Nashville pro-education reform group founded by Frist. Earlier, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen called on Pinkston to help shape the state's successful "Race to the Top" proposal for federal funding, and to help advance Bredesen initiatives for clean and renewable energy. Pinkston also supported both of Bredesen's successful campaigns for governor.

Pinkston was among prominent Democrats who supported now-Gov. Bill Haslam during the 2010 election, according to a Times Free Press report at the time. Pinkston confirmed he is married to Heather Maribeti, associate vice chancellor for advancement services at Vanderbilt University.

Earlier in his career, Pinkston served as a counselor with the Nashville-based public-relations firm, McNeely Pigott & Fox.

In years prior to that, Pinkston was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, The Tennessean and the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. He earned his bachelor's in communications at the University of Tennessee in 1995. VNC