With an African crested porcupine as a greeter at the Knoxville Zoo venue and the precocious parrot Einstein going through her 200+ paces, the Knoxville American Marketing Association's Honors Awards celebration raised the bar for fun and adventure—and for recognizing the standouts among us. The annual KAMA Honors event pays tribute to an outstanding professional and recognizes KAMA's chapter leaders while raising funds to provide scholarships for exceptional students majoring in marketing at the University of Tennessee.

For his leadership role in our regional community and for his diligent work and tireless commitment to Governor Haslam's Drive to 55 initiative, Radio Systems Corporation Chairman and CEO Randy Boyd was awarded Outstanding Marketing Professional.

Through his acceptance speech, Randy encouraged those gathered for the Honors event to visualize the plight of Tennessee's undereducated and to become familiar with Drive to 55's critical higher education mission. Randy described his thoughts and emotions at being appointed Special Advisor to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, expressing humility in the face of the enormous "Workforce Ready" challenge and revealing rugged determination as he spoke passionately about the bold action of the Tennessee Promise.

The Tennessee Promise is part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school. By the year 2025, 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree to get a job; today, only 32 percent of Tennesseans qualify.

For the Boyds, KAMA Honors was a family affair. Jenny, Randy's wife, and her musical group, Good Thymes Ceilidh Band, shared their love of music, infusing Knoxville Zoo's gorgeous outdoor space with spirited Celtic tunes. Check out some pictures from the event!

Other KAMA Honors awards: 

• Locander Award: Lisa Rupchak, President Elect, U.S. Cellular
• President's Award for Volunteer of the Year: Daniel Monday, Vice President Technology, Slamdot
• Star Award: Erica Beck, Vice President Brand Design, Moxley Carmichael
• Randy Boyd Marketing Scholarship: Shelby Ellis
• Townes Lavidge Osborn Marketing Scholarship: Carolyn Joseph
• Circle of Eagle awards: The University of Tennessee Medical Center, Schaad Companies, Laura Spica, Deanene and Tom Catani, Frank Nystrom, Kate Vitasek

Sponsors for KAMA Honors were the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the Knoxville News Sentinel, High Resolutions and Designsensory.