Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boyd to serve as state Economic and Community Development commissioner

Randy Boyd
Radio Systems Corporation Chairman Randy Boyd has joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s cabinet where he will serve as the state’s new commissioner of Economic and Community Development.

He replaces Bill Hagerty, who announced his departure to join the private sector last month.

“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 Thursday in a released statement. “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.”

On Wednesday, the governor announced that McQueen, a teacher and dean at Lipscomb University in Nashville, will join his cabinet as commissioner of the Department of Education. She replaces Kevin Huffman, who also stepped down last month to join the private sector.

Boyd, 55, founded Radio Systems Corporation, which produces pet products for a number of brand names like Invisible Fence and PetSafe, in 1991. He served in 2013 as the governor’s special advisor for public education, focusing on the “Drive to 55” initiative designed to raise the percentage of

Tennesseans with college degrees or certificates from 32 percent to 55 percent by the year 2025.

Haslam has said that his work resulted in the Tennessee Promise program, which provides two free years of community college to the state’s graduating high school seniors.

“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 in a released statement. “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.”

The Knoxville resident 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.

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