The Honorable Ron Ramsey, class of 1978, the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus, comes from a long line of ETSU graduates, including his grandmother, mother, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. His wife, Sindy, and all three of the couple’s daughters also attended his alma mater. Ramsey started his own small business, a surveying company, just three years after graduating with a degree in industrial technology. Ron Ramsey and Associates has since grown into a real estate and auction company, licensed in Tennessee and Virginia, with a staff that has a half-century of combined auction experience.
Ramsey, who has been named “The Best Lawmaker for Business in Tennessee” by Business Tennessee magazine for his success in passing pro-growth policy to improve the state’s business climate, was elected by the First District of Sullivan County to serve two terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives for the 98th and 99th General Assemblies. In 1996, he won election to the State Senate, representing Tennessee Senate District 2, which encompasses Johnson and Sullivan counties, and has held numerous senate leadership positions through the years. He is now the first GOP Senate Speaker in Tennessee in 140 years and the first from Sullivan County in over 100 years. In the 2008 elections, Ramsey led Tennessee’s Republicans to a gain of three senate seats and a solid five-seat majority. That same year, he was elected chairman of the Tennessee Delegation to the Republican National Convention. In January 2009, the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association named Ramsey its national chairman.