Founder & Executive Chairman
Radio Systems Corporation
Randy was born in South Knoxville and graduated from Doyle High School. To pay his way through college he worked nights running injection molding machines at his dad’s business. At age 19, he was the first in his family to graduate from college. He is a proud UT alum and a Vol for Life.
Randy started his first business at 23, which he quickly sold and then a second business, Saco Distributing, the following year. With Saco, he sold electric fencing out of the back of his Dodge van to small farm stores throughout the southeast, staying in the best motel room he could find for under $18 dollars a night. At the age of 31 with his wife Jenny working as a court reporter and a two year old at home, he sunk his entire life savings of $26,000 into the design of a new product, the Invisible Fence. That bet paid off. Twenty-five years later his company, Radio Systems Corporation, is known worldwide by the brand names Invisible Fence, PetSafe and SportDOG, producing over 4,000 pet related products. Today RSC is ranked as a top workplace by Forbes magazine, employing more than 700. Read more here...
Dr. Rebecca Corbin
President & CEO
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)
NACCE is a leading non-profit membership organization dedicated to increasing entrepreneurship offerings and thinking at over 300 community colleges across the country. Prior to NACCE, Rebecca served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the BCC Foundation at Burlington County College (BCC). With her leadership, a new workforce development initiative at BCC was successfully launched that combined grants, philanthropy, business incubation, the corporate college, workforce development, and the Foundation under one umbrella on the college campus. Rebecca understands higher education, nonprofit finance, and business development. She has presented on the topic of entrepreneurship education at national, state and regional conferences with an applied focus on student success, STEM education, storytelling, and succession planning. In August of 2015, she participated in the firstever Demo Day at the White House. In 2016, NACCE accepted an invitation from the White House to be a partner in the Tech Hire initiative.
Gene Coulson Ed.D.
EntreEd, the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education
Dr. Coulson has been the Executive Director of EntreEd for 3 years. He retired as Executive Director of Career and Technical Innovation in the West Virginia Department of Education after 35 years in education. During his years at the WVDE, Dr. Coulson supported initiatives in Entrepreneurship Education, business, marketing and project-based STEM programming among other duties. He lives in Charleston, WV with his wife and 3 Keeshonden.
Manager of Marketing & Communications
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)
Leah has been with the organization for almost two years and is passionate about creating economic vitality through entrepreneurship. She manages NACCE's partnership with the HP Foundation and is excited to share the opportunities that HP LIFE can create for students in the Appalachian region of the United States.
Small Business Sector Navigator
California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program
As the Small Business Sector Navigator for the California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program under the Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy Initiative, Mr. Eason coordinates the small business programs at the 113 community colleges across the state. He has also held previous statewide leadership positions as the Associate Director of the California Community Colleges Statewide Economic Development Network and former chair of the Small Business Programs committee.
In his positions as a Small Business Development Center Director, Business Incubator Manager, and Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Specialist with the Tech Futures Group, Mr. Eason has provided training and counseling to thousands entrepreneurs over the past twenty years. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Eason’s business ventures have included a real estate development company, chain of gourmet coffee houses, business brokerage, and a tech startup that developed a rapid prototyping technology with funding through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. Mr. Eason also worked in the aerospace industry as a systems engineer for TRW’s Ballistic Missile Program. Mr. Eason earned a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from California State University, San Bernardino.
Dr. Angeline Godwin
Patrick Henry Community College
Dr. Godwin became the third president of Patrick Henry Community College on July 1, 2012. Dr. Godwin holds an Associate's degree from Gulf Coast Community College in Florida, a Bachelor's degree from Troy State University in Alabama, a Master's degree in English from The University of Alabama, a master's degree in English Education as well as a Ph.D. in English from Florida State University and a doctorate of jurisprudence from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan.
A serial entrepreneur, Dr. Godwin has started, owned and operated a number of retail, technology and service companies. Read more here...
Membership and Development Director
Jason's work includes coordinating SSTI’s member network and cultivating partnership opportunities, as well as actively supporting policy and research. Jason previously led and supported research projects for the Council of Development Finance Agencies, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Cline Center for Democracy. He is a co-author of News on the Internet: Information and Citizenship in the 21st Century. He holds a B.S. from Ohio University and an M.A. from the University of Illinois.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Parts Life, Inc.
From the time he was a youth, Mr. Thevanayagam displayed an entrepreneurial spirit. After working many years in the automotive aftermarket for other companies, reaching as high a position as VP, Sam saw the opportunity to start his own business. He quickly became the entrepreneur he was always meant to be. Realizing his vision, Sam started Parts Life, Inc. in 2007. Parts Life, Inc. is an innovative company focused on providing customized parts and solutions to support the Defense, Aerospace, Heavy Duty, and Automotive industries.
Dr. Chris Whaley
Roane State Community College
Dr. Whaley has a personal understanding of the college’s value to its communities. Dr. Whaley’s father, Lowell, worked at Roane State from the college’s early days, and Dr. Whaley began his college education at Roane State. He earned Roane State’s highest student award, continued his education at Middle Tennessee State University and earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee. After three years in private practice as an attorney, Dr. Whaley returned to the college in 1997 as program director of the A.A.S. Paralegal Studies program, a position he held until 2010. Since then he has served in positions of successively greater administrative responsibility at the college. He was named dean of social science, business and education in 2002, and in 2010 was promoted to vice president of student learning/chief academic officer. Dr. Whaley became Roane State’s fifth president on November 1, 2012. Read more here…
Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Pellissippi State Community College
To Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., encouraging student success is the most important part of his job.Wise has been president of Pellissippi State Community College since 2011, overseeing the College’s participation in KnoxAchieves, tnAchieves and now Tennessee Promise. He welcomed President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to campus in January 2015 for the unveiling of America’s College Promise. Wise’s tenure has been marked by his devotion to students, and for good reason. From 2007 to 2011, he served as vice president of the College’s Learning Division, after three years as the department head of Liberal Arts and nine teaching history. Read more here…