Donor Spotlights

Boyd Center Named for Haslam Alumnus

Boyd Center Named for Haslam Alumnus

After a generous financial gift from Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd this spring, the Center for Business and Economic Research bears a new name – the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research.

President and CEO of Knoxville-based Radio Systems, Boyd attended the Haslam College of Business from 1975-1979. “Some of my favorite courses were in economics,” Boyd recalls. “I had the great Tony Spiva as one of my professors.”

In 2013, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Boyd as a special advisor on higher education. In that role, he reconnected with his alma mater. “We were constantly citing work by CBER on higher education policy,” says Boyd. “Most importantly, their work on the Drive to ’55 helped us forecast not only the types of degrees we would need but the specific careers, as well as the oversupply and undersupply of degrees between now and 2055, which was immensely useful.”

When Boyd became the state’s commissioner for economic development in 2015, he ran into more of the center’s work. “To my surprise, they were doing economic analysis for the Tennessee Department of Economics and Community Development,” he says. “At every turn, our state is using the work of Bill Fox and the team to inform our policy decisions.”

Impressed by the diversity and value of CBER’s work, Boyd decided to make a naming gift to the center. “By giving back to the center, I give back to my university and support our state,” he says. “And the Boyd Center’s reach goes beyond Tennessee. The foremost experts in the nation on state tax policy are at the Boyd Center, and people from around the country utilize their research.”

Bill Fox, Boyd Center director, says the center has a long history of focusing on tax policy but has expanded its scope more recently. “In the last twenty years, we’ve really broadened our role over the range of public policy issues that confront not just Tennessee but the nation,” Fox says.

“Today, we do a lot of work on education, the welfare program, the labor force and unemployment issues, in addition to tax.”

Fox and other center researchers worked closely with Boyd on the Tennessee Promise initiative. “While he was designing the program, we did a lot of the analytical work,” says Fox. “We worked with the administration as it was implemented, and we analyzed the original program, Knox Achieves, which Randy started here in Knox County. He was able to use it as an example of how successful Knox Achieves has been in getting people into two-year schools.”

While the Boyd Center’s research impacts many facets of state public policy, its reach extends much further. “All together, we work in about fifty countries on public policy issues, and we’ve worked in around twenty states doing this same kind of advising.” Fox has personally worked in Bosnia, Rwanda, Egypt and Gaza, consulting with local leaders about economic issues following political and ethnic unrest in some of those areas.

Some of the Boyd Center’s faculty address issues related to United States federal policy. “Don Bruce has done a lot of work on tax impacts on entrepreneurship and focused on the federal income tax,” says Fox. “And Leann Luna has worked extensively on 529 college savings plans. We also handle e-commerce questions, and we’re very involved in debates across the country about the right approach to collecting state taxes from remote vendors.”

Fox is grateful for Boyd’s investment. “We are so pleased to be associated with him,” says Fox. “He has taken public service to a new level through his personal commitment to improving the quality of life for everyone around him through such areas as higher education and economic development.”

Dean Stephen L. Mangum sees the Boyd Center’s presence at the college as a tremendous strength. “Because of its existence, we’re able to build in additional economists who have joint appointments between the center and the economics department, giving us a stronger economic base in the college,” he says. “It has such great visibility, particularly in Nashville, making it easy for government officials to see the value of the state’s investment in UT.”

Mangum sees Boyd’s naming gift as an investment rather than a donation. “Randy Boyd is a recognized, successful entrepreneur who has devoted so much of his time to public service and shown great creativity in starting initiatives such as Tennessee Promise,” says Mangum. “Given his many professional accomplishments and contributions to the well being of the citizens of Tennessee, it is exciting to honor Randy through the naming of the Boyd Center.”

A Family Affair: Pat and Paul Green

A Family Affair: Pat and Paul Green

Paul and Pat Green came to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1977 from Bristol, Tennessee, to pursue their college degrees together. “We were dating at the time,” says Paul. “Pat majored in industrial engineering, where she was one of only two or three female students in the program.” Paul chose to study finance at the Haslam College of Business, while also taking on a full-time job as student manager at the Presidential Cafeteria on campus.

Paul learned a great deal about communication, time management and leadership from his role at the cafeteria. “It was a fantastic job,” he says. “I managed about 400 student workers, and it taught me to schedule my day so I could fit in my coursework.”

Meanwhile, he enjoyed getting to know his classmates and faculty in business. “At first, UT’s campus felt so big and crazy to me,” he says. “It was nice to find such a tight-knit atmosphere in the business school.”

The Greens graduated in 1982 and married in 1983. Pat went to work at Union Carbide in Oak Ridge as an industrial engineer. “About seven years later, she came to work with me at Morgan Stanley,” says Paul. “She created my contact management software before there was such a thing, and helped me leverage myself and the business to where we are today.”

After a few years at Morgan Stanley, Pat chose to become a stay-at-home mom, raising the Greens’ three children, Bradley, Daniel, and Alex. During that time, Paul managed accounts at Morgan Stanley for some twenty-five years before transitioning to UBS in 2008. “It’s important to manage people’s money properly, and their goals and expectations and life dreams along with that,” he says. “More important is the relationship you have with that family.”

Paul and Pat have passed on their love for UT to their children. Bradley attended the University of Alabama, but both Daniel and Alex chose the Haslam College of Business. “Today, Daniel works with me at UBS, and Alex is one of the top eventing riders in the United States and the world,” says Paul. “She runs Dry Ridge Farm, a 200-acre equestrian facility in Loudon, where we board about forty horses.”

Through the years, Paul and Pat have stayed involved at the Haslam College of Business. They started the Green Family Scholarship in the early 1990s to benefit child and family studies at the College of Health and Human Services. The Greens shifted the scholarship to the Haslam College of Business when their children became students. “I felt that it’s important for me to help kids other than my own to get through college,” says Paul. “The Green Family Scholarship has been around for a long time and it will continue on.”

The Greens provide support for the yearly Financial Management Association trip where Haslam students are able to visit investment legend Warren Buffet. Paul also shares career expertise with numerous students by speaking to John Hoffman’s management classes at least once a year. In addition, he serves on the board for the Laporte and Haslam Torch funds.

“I think it’s important to stay active,” Paul says. “Without my education at UT and Haslam, I don’t think I’d be close to where I am today. It’s been instrumental in my growth as a citizen.”

Beautifying Rocky Top: Ernie and Bonnie Cadotte

Beautifying Rocky Top: Ernie and Bonnie Cadotte

An avid soccer player, biker, swimmer and gardener, Ernie Cadotte spends much of his free time enjoying the great outdoors of Tennessee. His wife, Bonnie, shares his passion for nature, especially the mountains.

The Cadottes came to Knoxville in the 1970s when Ernie joined the faculty at the Haslam College of Business. Today, Ernie studies learning processes, assessment, entrepreneurial decision-making and customer satisfaction as the college’s John W. Fisher Professor of Innovative Learning.

Ernie and Bonnie raised their three children, Joseph, Kate and John, in East Tennessee. “We came here from the Detroit area,” says Bonnie. “Knoxville is smaller, slower-paced and has been a great place to raise a family.”

Soon, though, the outdoor-inclined Cadottes noticed the lack of natural beauty on the Knoxville campus. “It’s a wonderful educational institution, but there was a lot of cement,” says Ernie. “The campuses I’d been on previously all had beautiful landscapes, open spaces, and wooded areas.”

Before construction began on the Glocker Building, Ernie noticed that the tennis court across the street had been repurposed as a parking lot. “I looked at that and started talking with some people about it,” he says. “I suggested, ‘When they’re done, why don’t we turn it into a park?’”

As demolition and construction began on the new Haslam College of Business building, the Cadottes met with university planners and spearheaded a campaign to create a campus park next to the new building. “Bonnie and I met with central administrators and proposed the idea of putting a small park where that tennis court was,” Ernie says. “The idea was that Bonnie and I would donate money and if the Haslam fund and the university would donate the same amount, we’d have a decent pool from which to work.”

The funding did in fact come together and as the park idea progressed to the planning stage, Ernie and Bonnie remained involved, meeting with campus administrators and landscapers throughout the process. “The traditional way of thinking was very functional,” Bonnie says. “We went back and forth, and they eventually agreed to a more open plan with less cement. It was a little bit of a shift for UT to be more interested in soft spaces, trees, wide lawns, spots to sit and read and places to meet people instead of just walkways.”

Through the efforts of the Cadottes, the park took shape as Blueberry Falls, a combination of two of Ernie’s favorite outdoor elements. “I love waterfalls, and even built one in our backyard at home,” he says. “The other thing is, I love fruit and have a big berry patch in my yard with 200 blueberry plants.”

As the ideas took shape, university officials jumped on board. “Everybody fell in and started to get excited about it.” Bonnie says. “Willow Ridge Garden and Landscaping of Oak Ridge designed the water falls and did a great job. It’s become one of the most photographed places on campus.”

Later, the Cadottes also helped to expand Blueberry Falls beside the new student union and are especially happy with the cascades they added to the park. There are more than sixty blueberry bushes throughout the park for everyone to enjoy in June.

The Cadottes continue to enjoy the process of seeing UT’s campus cultivate green spaces. “Students are working hard, and they need places to rest, to talk to their friends and to get outside,” Bonnie says. “They need beautiful places.”

“For me, the thanks is in the giving,” Ernie says. “This campus is my home, and who wouldn’t want to make their home more beautiful?”