Profiles of Change - Tennessee

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam was sworn in as governor of Tennessee on January 15, 2011. After graduating from college, Haslam returned to Knoxville and began working in his family’s chain of gas stations. The Pilot Corporation grew from 800 employees to more than 14,000 employees in 39 states by the time he left to run for Knoxville mayor. Haslam was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and has balanced six consecutive city budgets, achieving Knoxville’s lowest property tax rate in more than 50 years. Haslam graduated from Emory University in 1980 and is an elder at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville.

Jamie Woodson

Jamie Woodson is President and CEO of SCORE and has been a leading figure in spearheading Tennessee’s efforts to better prepare students for college and the workforce. Prior to leading SCORE, she served for more than 12 years in the Tennessee General Assembly in both the House and Senate. As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and later as Senate Speaker Pro Tempore, Jamie was a key leader in efforts to identify and support effective teaching, overhaul Tennessee’s K-12 education funding formula, raise academic standards for Tennessee students, turn around low-performing schools, and expand high-quality public charter schools in Tennessee. In addition, she was a key leader in Tennessee’s work to transform public higher education by aligning Tennessee’s postsecondary system and the state’s economic goals through changes in academic, fiscal, and administrative policies. Jamie received a Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards has served as the President and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber since September of 2002. He serves on the Tennessee State Board of Education, the Board of Trustees for the Great Schools Partnership, and is chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation representing the Workforce Committee. Under Mike’s leadership, the Knoxville Chamber was named the 2011 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and also received Four-Star Accreditation from the US Chamber of Commerce. He directed the development of an Education Management Information System for the Knox County Schools district, which transforms the massive amount of data the school district routinely collects into actionable knowledge. Mike is a former retail developer, and prior to that he served for 17 years as CEO of the Public Building Authority of Knox County and the City of Knoxville.

Governor Phil Bredesen

Phil Bredesen took office as Tennessee's 48th governor on Jan. 18, 2003. In November 2006, he was reelected in a landslide victory, reportedly becoming the first governor in over a century to win all 95 counties in Tennessee. Before serving as Tennessee's governor, Bredesen served as mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999. Prior to entering public service, Bredesen worked in the health care industry. Between research trips to the public library, he drafted a business plan at his kitchen table that led to the creation in 1980 of HealthAmerica Corp., a Nashville-based health care management company that eventually grew to more than 6,000 employees and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company was sold in 1986. Phil Bredesen earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University.

Learn more >