After graduating from Doyle High School at 16, Randy entered the University of Tennessee, working nights running injection molding machines at his dad’s business to pay for school.
By 19, he had graduated with honors and no debt, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. He is a proud University of Tennessee alum and a Vol for Life.
Randy and Jenny have been married for more than 32 years and attend Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. They have two grown sons, Harrison and Thomas, one daughter-in-law, Lindsey, and one rescued dachshund, Oskar.
Dog Fence Salesman
Randy’s early career was marked by hard work and hustle. He started two small businesses and traveled the Southeast selling door to door at feed and hardware stores. Then, he would sleep in his Dodge to save money, sometimes staying in the best hotels he could find for under $18 a night.
At 31, with Jenny working as a court reporter and a 2-year-old at home, he sunk their entire life savings of $26,000 into founding a new company, Radio Systems Corporation.
With relentless determination, Randy transformed his small business into an industry-leading manufacturer of pet products, which today employs more than 700 people.
Dedicated Public Servant
In 2013, Randy answered the call to serve his state, taking a year-long leave of absence from his company to serve as Governor Bill Haslam’s unpaid advisor on education. The Drive to 55 initiative and the Tennessee Promise program are direct results of Randy’s year of service.
The Tennessee Promise program guarantees free community college and a volunteer mentor for every high school graduate in Tennessee — helping more young people become the first in their family to graduate from college.
Applying his conservative business values — developed over decades of building his business through good times and bad — Randy disrupted the status quo thinking in higher education, resulting in the Tennessee Promise being funded from the lottery reserves — with no new taxes used for these scholarships. Most important to Tennessee families, the number of college students who apply for student loans has fallen by more than 17 percent in the first two years of the program.
Opportunity for Tennessee
Today, it is Randy’s mission to leave our state better than we found it. He is committed to finishing the Drive to 55 initiative, ensuring our workforce is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Randy will focus relentlessly on bringing good-paying jobs to every corner of our state, and ensuring all Tennesseans — whether in rural, suburban or inner-city communities — have the opportunity to succeed.
Randy is running to serve as the 50th governor of the state of Tennessee to give all citizens the opportunity for a better life through access to a great education and the opportunity for a better job.