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. As the Vice President of Operations for The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), Mason combines his passion for real estate development and architecture, with his breadth of experience in management operations, project finance and public-private partnerships. Founded in 1982, TUFF has delivered education, research and multi-use facilities accounting for over $1 billion USD.
Prior to joining TUFF, Mason served as Chief Operating Officer of the 7,000-acre (2,833-hectare) 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, and expanding partnerships among the three founding research universities and the 220 companies located in RTP.
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. Mason played key roles in the master plan execution and real estate transactions of the 250-acre (101-hectare) research campus, accounting for $250,000,000 USD in investments.