David Tarver – a brief bio

W. David Tarver
W. David Tarver

David Tarver currently serves as a lecturer in the University of Michigan College of Engineering – Center for Entrepreneurship. He is also founder and board president of the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative. David is a highly successful technology executive. His incredible entrepreneurial journey includes success in corporate R&D, technology entrepreneurship, and community service. He began his professional career as a Member of Technical Staff and Group Supervisor at the legendary AT&T Bell Laboratories. After several years at Bell Labs, David launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a high-tech telecommunications instrumentation business. He sold that company twelve years later for $30 million and then, working as Group President for the buyer, built a telecommunications business with a market value in excess of $2 billion.

David exited corporate leadership in 1999 to focus on community service. In 2001, he founded the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative (RBEDI), a community-based not-for-profit organization.  RBEDI catalyzed dramatic improvements in academic performance and opportunities for children in Red Bank, New Jersey.  David has served on numerous civic and nonprofit boards—including the Board of Education in Red Bank, New Jersey; the National Advisory Committee for the University of Michigan (U-M) College of Engineering; the National Commission on NAEP 12th Grade Assessment and Reporting; the U-M Alumni Association board of directors; and the Flint (Michigan) Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB).  David also endowed the Fred and Louise Tarver Scholarship Fund at the University of Michigan, which provides a permanent four-year full tuition scholarship to an incoming engineering student.

David enjoys investing in ground-breaking startup companies, advising and supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship programs, and speaking to various groups about entrepreneurship and business development. In 2018, David completed a one-year stint advising the Wayne State University (Detroit) Provost and the Vice President of Economic Development on innovation and entrepreneurship programs and strategies.

David holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served as a lecturer in the U-M College of Engineering – Center for Entrepreneurship since 2012. During the 2015-2016 academic year he launched a new course entitled “Urban Entrepreneurship.” In 2012, David published the book “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” which details his entrepreneurial journey from childhood dream to international success.