News & Views

Celebrating the Life of Ted M. Levine, DCI’s Founder and Chairman

It is with a sad heart that I share the news that my father Ted M. Levine, founder and Chairman of Development Counsellors International (DCI), passed away on Thursday, August 6, 2015. He TED (2)was 88 years old.

At the end of a long day of funeral arrangements and phone calls with family and friends, I sat down at my laptop to reflect on his life.  Here’s what stood out to me:

  • Ted was a true entrepreneur. He left a comfortable, stable job with the Government of Puerto Rico in 1960 with the idea to launch Development Counsellors International, a unique firm that would specialize in marketing places. The company started in his Uncle Benny’s storeroom that was filled with fluorescent light bulbs, one working phone and a leaky mimeograph machine. Today, the company’s mission is the same and is a thriving firm employing 50+ dedicated professionals with a passion for places.
  • Ted loved teaching. He spoke at hundreds of professional conferences over the years and was a great mentor to many leaders in the economic development profession. But he also taught “film and popular culture” courses at Iona College, Palm Beach Community College and the Jewish Community Center of Boynton Beach. Teaching was Ted’s passion.
  • Ted was the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. Yes, I’m a bit biased. But he was definitely a man who always looked at the glass half full. I’ve received so many notes today from others that have reflected on his enthusiasm and love of life.  It truly infected everyone he worked with.
  • Ted was an “idea guy.” He was a creative fellow who could instantly come up with amazing headlines and story themes. He learned how to use a computer when he was in his 60s.  The article he wrote about the experience was titled “The Old Man and the C-Drive.”  Classic Ted!!!
  • Ted was a great father who passed on a company he loved to his son. I still remember my first day at DCI in 1991. We met that morning in his office and he told me: “DCI is now yours and you can take it in whatever direction you want to take it.  I’ll always give you my honest feedback, but you are in the driver’s seat.”  He never drifted from that promise.

About three months after I started working at DCI, an older family friend pulled me aside at a party and asked: “So have you and your father had a fight yet?” I thought about the question for a moment and answered, “No.”  He looked back at me and said, “Well, if you haven’t had a fight in the first three months, things are going to be just fine.”

He was right. We worked together for twenty years and as Ted would say, “it was swell.”


A memorial service for Ted Levine will be held at the Graham Funeral Home at 1036 Boston Post Road in Rye, New York on Saturday, August 8 at noon. Burial at the Greenwood Union Cemetery will immediately follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites those who wish to send a remembrance to consider one of Ted’s favored organizations:


Written By

Andy Levine

Andy Levine is Chairman of DCI. Since joining DCI in 1991, he has worked with a broad range of places from “A” (Alabama, Asheville, Australia) to “W” (Wales, Wichita Falls, Wyoming).

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