Boyd played key role in launching the governor’s ‘Drive to 55’ higher education initiative
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Randy Boyd as the new commissioner of Economic and Community Development.
A successful entrepreneur, Boyd, 55, served as a full-time, unpaid special advisor to the governor for higher education in 2013, focusing on the “Drive to 55” initiative to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certificates from 32 percent up to 55 percent by the year 2025. Boyd’s work resulted in the Tennessee Promise, the program to provide two years of community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT) absolutely free of tuition and fees to graduating Tennessee high school seniors.
“Randy understands the importance of making sure that the business community and educators are working hand in hand to meet our workforce needs,” Haslam said. “More than ever, offering an educated and highly trained workforce is part of attracting new business to our state and encouraging existing businesses to expand here. Randy’s experience and success in the private sector as well as his engagement in the education community make him a perfect fit to continue our focus on being the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Boyd is chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which he started in 1991. Radio Systems is headquartered in Knoxville and has more than 650 associates worldwide with offices in seven countries.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve our state. While working with the Governor last year, we often talked about education being not K to 12 but K to J, with the ‘J’ being jobs. Now, I can work to ensure that those high quality jobs we are educating people for are there for them,” Boyd said. “I’m first and foremost a salesman, and every salesman likes to have a great product to promote. I cannot imagine a better one than the state of Tennessee and can’t wait to promote it to other businesses around the world.”
He has received several awards including Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast in 2008, Tennessee Business Magazine’s CEO of the Year in 2009, UT’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009, and was inducted into Junior Achievement’s East Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2009, Boyd helped start tnAchieves, a non-profit organization that has sent over 10,526 high school graduates to community college free of charge with mentors and was the model for the Tennessee Promise program.
Boyd also currently serves on the board of a number of organizations including the University of Tennessee College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and Knox County’s Great Schools Partnership. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in industrial management in 1979 and a master’s in liberal studies from Oklahoma University in 1988.
He and his wife, Jenny, have two sons, Thomas and Harrison.
He is replacing Bill Hagerty, who announced his departure last month.