Mr. Boyd serves on numerous boards. Corporate Boards: Chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, Chairman of Zingy, a shared economy model dog walking service based in Santa Monica; and EDP BioTech, a bio-science company doing cancer and DNA research, and Boyd Sports LLC, owner of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
He is also on the Board of several non-profit organizations. Community non-profit boards: Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts and outgoing President, National Parks Conservation Association, and outgoing Campaign Chair of the United Way of Greater Knoxville. Education related boards: Outgoing Chairman of The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (resigned with current ECD appointment), Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of East Tennessee Board of Trustees, Pond Gap University Assisted Community Schools, University of Tennessee College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, and Vice-Chairman of Knox County's Great School Partnership, and Chairman of tnAchieves, a mentor-assisted scholarship program that has sent over 10,000 first generation community college students across the state of Tennessee and in 2015 will provide operational support for students participating in the Tennessee Promise in 85 counties across the state.
In addition, Mr. Boyd and Radio Systems have contributed significantly to improving animal welfare. The company has provided the funds to create seven public dog parks in the Knoxville area and has spear headed a collaborative effort to make Knoxville the most pet friendly community in America. As a part of this effort, Mr. Boyd has supported the development of a new Animal Adoption Center in Knoxville that will more than double the number of spay and neuter procedures that can be performed annually in Knoxville. In early 2010, the company provided funding for the Blount County Animal Center as well as funded 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. Invisible Fence Brand has donated over 10,000 dog oxygen masks to Fire Departments around the United States as part of its “Project Breathe”.
Mr. Boyd has received several awards including 2014 University of Tennessee Alumni of the Year, 2014 Tennessee Business Round Table Gordon Fee Achievement Award, 2014 Pinnacle James Haslam Leadership Award, 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.
In 2013, he took a year leave of absence from his company to serve Governor Bill Haslam in a volunteer role as his Special Advisor on Higher Education assisting in the development of the Drive to 55 initiatives and the Tennessee Promise. The Tennessee Promise will provide free tuition and fees to community college to approximately 25,000 Tennesseans per year, all matched with a trained, volunteer mentor.
He received a degree from The University of Tennessee in Industrial Management in 1979 and a Masters in Liberal Studies from Oklahoma University in 1988. He has two sons, Harrison and Thomas, two dogs, Spanky and Oscar, two cats Sebastian and Wolfgang, and one wife, Jenny, who he has been married to for 30 years.
Chief of Staff
Prior to his becoming Chief of Staff, Mr. Townsend was Assistant Commissioner of Strategy where he oversaw all rural programs including Select Tennessee, ThreeStar, Tennessee Main Street, Tennessee Downtowns and Retire Tennessee, along with federal grant programs that include Community Development Block Grants, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Mr. Townsend has also served the department as TNECD Regional Director over the Greater Memphis Region comprised of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton Counties.
Additionally, Governor Haslam has appointed Mr. Townsend his official designee to the Federal Programs affiliation with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.
Before joining TNECD, Mr. Townsend was the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of arGentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Memphis, a privately-held bio-pharmaceutical company involved in the licensing, development and commercialization of therapies for auto-immune and ophthalmic diseases. During his tenure, the company successfully raised $2 million in capital from angel and institutional investors.
A graduate of the University of Memphis, Mr. Townsend also served as Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of Agile Minds, LLC, a consulting firm in health care and life sciences. He currently serves on the board of directors of arGentis, LifeScience Tennessee and the Memphis Research Consortium.
Assistant Commissioner, Statewide Operations
Mr. Borden is from Maryville in Blount County, Tennessee. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee and began his career in economic development with the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Borden has held additional economic development positions including Executive Vice-President of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Blount County Industrial Board and Smoky Mountains Visitors Bureau. He was appointed by then-Mayor Victor Ashe as Director of Economic Development for the City of Knoxville.
Mr. Borden later moved into the private sector where he has held executive positions in the staffing industry, banking industry, call center/outsourcing business, and commercial real estate & development. Mr. Borden has now come "full circle" and is excited to be back involved in what he calls "direct" economic development. Borden resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Assistant Commissioner, Communications & Marketing
Prior to that, Mr. Brewer has a lengthy career as an executive in the Tennessee media. He has served as the editor of the Nashville City Paper and the Lebanon Democrat, leading both daily newspapers to national journalism awards.
He also was the national president of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2007 to 2008, leading the effort to see a national shield law for reporters successfully pass the U.S. House of Representatives in a landslide vote.
Mr. Brewer also worked as the executive director of the Beacon Center in Nashville, the state’s only free market think tank. There he oversaw the launch of Tennessee Watchdog, the state’s only non-profit investigative reporting website.
Prior to joining the Haslam administration, he was the politics and government editor of the Tennessean. During that time, he also served as chair of the Tennessee Press Association’s government affairs committee.
Mr. Brewer is a native of Knoxville, and holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee.
Assistant Commissioner, Administration
Ms. Davis brings nearly three decades of finance and administrative experience to TNECD having served in a focused array of positions within state government. In addition, Ms. Davis serves as a governor’s appointment to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. She has also served as a governor’s appointment to the Southern Growth Policies Board.
Ms. Davis has held positions in the state with Board of Probation and Paroles, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Finance and Administration’s Division of Budget, and the Tennessee Legislature Office of Legislative Budget Analysis. Additionally, Ms. Davis served as the director of higher education information systems for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Fiscal Affairs sector.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Ms. Davis is very involved in community organizations including the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Women’s Council, the UT Alumni Association Board of Governors, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She resides in Smyrna, Tennessee with her husband, Elder James G. Davis, Esq.
Sharon Kolb serves as General Counsel to the Department of Economic and Community Development.Ms. Kolb graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2004 and was as the managing editor of the law review. Upon graduation she served as law clerk to Judge Holly Kirby on the Tennessee Court of Appeals. In 2005, Ms. Kolb began practicing securities law and financial industry regulation at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in their Memphis and Nashville offices until joining TNECD in 2011. Read More
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Kolb worked in the financial services industry with companies such as Stephens, Inc., Charles Schwab and Waschka Capital Investments. She assisted with the writing and editing of the nationally published book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Rich,” guest hosted an investment based radio program “Money Talk,” and taught numerous seminars on investing.
Ms. Kolb served on the board of directors of Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that provides interview appropriate clothing for economically disadvantaged women, and has provided pro bono legal services through various legal non-profit organizations.
A native of Arkansas, Ms. Kolb holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Arkansas State University and a Master of Arts in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Assistant Commissioner, Strategy
Ms. Rolli was a volunteer consultant to Governor Haslam’s Top-to-Bottom review team, charged with ensuring the Governor’s key priorities were reflected in the direction and scope of the department. She was Campaign Manager for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s winning primary re-election.
Outside of government, Ms. Rolli was an owner-manager at WorldStrides, the country’s largest student travel organization and now a portfolio of the Carlyle Group. She co-founded a small advertising business and was a public high school teacher. She earned a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and her MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. She is a member of the regional board of Teach for America.
Ms. Rolli is a Tennessee native and following nearly a decade of frequent moves due to her husband’s military service, the couple and their young son are glad to call Nashville home.
Assistant Commissioner, Rural Development
Senior Advisor, Grant Programs
Senior Advisor, Fiscal Policy
Commissioner Boyd’s Executive Assistant