East Tennessee businessman Randy Body has been named commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Governor Bill Haslam announced Thursday.
Boyd, 55, 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, a press release said.
Radio Systems is the company that donated $100,000 donation to the PetSafe Dog Park at Big Turtle Park in Oak Ridge.
The press release said Boyd is a successful entrepreneur who served as a full-time, unpaid special adviser 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, a program that provides two years of community college or a college of applied technology free of tuition and fees to graduating Tennessee high school seniors.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve our state,” Boyd said in the release. “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. 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.”
Boyd 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, and University of Tennessee’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. He was inducted into Junior Achievement’s East Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2009, Boyd helped start tnAchieves, a nonprofit organization that has sent more than 10,526 high school graduates to community college free of charge with mentors and was the model for the Tennessee Promise program, the press release said.
“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 number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Boyd also currently serves on the board of a number of organizations, including the UT 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.
Boyd is replacing Bill Hagerty, who announced his departure last month.
Boyd and his wife, Jenny, have two sons, Thomas and Harrison.