Haslam Announces Higher Education Initiative

Corporate Leader To Spearhead Effort In Coordination With State Leadership

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced that Randy Boyd will join his administration as special advisor to the governor for Higher Education to focus on affordability, access and quality of state programs. 

Mr. Boyd will consult with a formal working group appointed by Haslam made up of the governor, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and president of the University of Tennessee.  Although Mr. Boyd’s position will be full-time, he will be working for the state on a voluntary, unpaid basis.  

“Over the past six months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning from experts in our state and across the country about the challenges we face in higher education,” Governor Haslam said. “Only 32 percent of our state’s adult population has a post-secondary degree, but if we are going to a have a workforce that’s job-ready, we need to be at 55 percent by 2025.  The conversation needs to be about K to J with the ‘J’ meaning jobs. 

“It is clear to me that unlike K-12 education where there is general consensus about how to improve education. That isn’t the case when it comes to tackling the ‘iron triangle’ of affordability, access and quality in post-secondary education. I am grateful that Randy has agreed to join our team to head up this crucial effort.  He will bring a business, workforce alignment perspective and a demonstrated passion for improving access to higher education to this issue. I believe it says a lot about the importance of this issue to the future of our state when someone of Randy’s caliber is willing to come from the private sector and serve in this way."

In 2009, Mr. Boyd helped start tnAchieves, a non-profit organization that has sent over 3,200 high school graduates to community college free of charge with mentors. Of those students, 68 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and more than 65 percent have family incomes below $50,000.  The organization serves 26 counties providing universal college access to those high school graduates.

“I am passionate about improving educational opportunity for all our citizens,” Mr. Boyd said.  “To achieve the governor’s mission, we will need to broaden the net and to provide greater access.  I’m excited about this opportunity because Gov. Haslam is determined to make a material impact.  I believe our state has a rare opportunity, and I am honored to be able to assist.”

Mr. Boyd, 53, is chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which he started in 1991.  Radio Systems is headquartered in Knoxville and has more than 600 associates worldwide with offices in seven countries. The company produces over 4,000 technology-based pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, SportDOG, and Premier. It is a private company with sales over $300 million.

Mr. Boyd 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.  

Mr. Boyd also currently serves on the board of a number of organizations including the University of Tennessee College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, the University of Tennessee Alumni Association, and Knox County's Great Schools Partnership.  He also established the PetSafe Chair of Companion Animal Behavior within the Small Animal Clinical Sciences department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. 

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. 

He and his wife, Jenny, have two sons. Mr. Boyd begins his role in Nashville Tuesday.


CSCC Hosts Make A Difference Now Volunteer Expo

The Department of Service-Learning at Cleveland State Community College and GRAAB Coalition (Going Respectively Against Addictive Behaviors) will be co-sponsoring a Volunteer Expo on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium on Cleveland State’s campus. “This is a terrific opportunity for our students to volunteer to apply what they are learning ... (click for more)

Bachman Academy Opens Fall Semester With Upgrades

The Bachman Academy staff has welcomed the return of its middle and high school students who have been diagnosed with learning differences, to the campus. Teeming from nine different states and three international destinations, the students arrived with their friends and families excited to identify their new dorm rooms, reminiscent of 15 years ago when Bachman Academy first began ... (click for more)

General Motors To Invest $185 Million In Engine Plant, Build New Cadillac SRX In Spring Hill

General Motors will invest $185 million to make small gas engines at its Spring Hill manufacturing complex, officials said Wednesday.  GM also identified the next-generation Cadillac SRX as a future mid-size vehicle to be produced at Spring Hill. “We want to congratulate GM on this important investment in its future in Spring Hill and Middle Tennessee,” Governor Bill Haslam ... (click for more)

Reception Honors County's 2nd-Longest Serving Employee

General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, at a County Courthouse reception, asked anyone who was working at the courthouse in 1966 to raise their hand. Only Circuit Court Clerk Paula Thompson was able to do so. Judge Shattuck said he believes only Edna Camp of the Criminal Court clerk's office, has been at the courthouse longer. Ms. Thompson did not seek re-election, ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)