Randy Boyd, Knoxville CEO of Radio Systems and special education adviser to Gov. Bill Haslam, will discuss the statewide initiative “Drive to 55” during a Wednesday luncheon in Oak Ridge.
Boyd will also discuss the Tennessee Promise, which aims to raise the percentage of Tennesseans with degrees or certificates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025, during a Wednesday meeting of the Altrusa Club at the Doubletree Hotel.
“The Tennessee Promise will provide all Tennessee high school graduates with the opportunity to attend a community college or Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) free of tuition and fees and provide them with a mentor to ensure their success,” Boyd said.
Altrusa International is a service organization comprised of community members focusing on leadership, partnership, and service with an emphasis on literacy and education. The meeting starts with lunch at 11:45 a.m. followed by a brief business meeting and the program. Guests with reservations are invited to attend on a space available basis. The luncheon costs $13 each, and a reservation can be made by sending an e-mail to [email protected] by March 24.
Boyd spearheaded the innovative KnoxAchieves program several years ago, which became the model for tnAchieves, a press release said. Haslam’s Tennessee Promise scholarship, announced in his State of the State address, is also modeled after the tnAcheives successful mentoring and scholarship program that currently covers the tuition for more than 3,500 first-generation community college students in Tennessee.
In his role as Haslam’s special education adviser, Boyd was challenged to find ways for non-traditional students to be encouraged to complete their associate or four year degrees, or complete their certificate training at the state’s technical colleges to bring jobs to Tennessee, the press release said. The “Drive to 55” initiative was launched in September 2013 to meet this need.
To accomplish this ambitious goal, Tennessee will not only have to get more high school students to college, but also get more middle-aged adults to return for degrees, the release said.. It is estimated that there about 940,000 adults in Tennessee that have some college credit already. For more information, visit www.driveto55.org.
Boyd’s company, Radio Systems, is headquartered in Knoxville, and it has more than 630 associates worldwide with offices in eight countries, the release said. The company produces more than 4,000 technology-based products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG. It is a privately held company with sales of more than $300 million.
In addition, Boyd and Radio Systems have contributed significantly to improving animal welfare. The company has provided funds to create six public dog parks in the Knoxville area, with the newest one in Oak Ridge at Big Turtle Park. His company has donated funds to area animal adoption centers, and funded the PetSafe Chair of Companion Animal Behavior at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, the release said.