Mike Ragsdale
Professional Summary

Mike Arms

Mike Ragsdale is president of Tennessee Strategies, providing consulting services to a diverse client base statewide.

Prior to founding Tennessee Strategies, Mike Ragsdale had successful careers in business, public service, and education. Ragsdale served two terms as Knox County Mayor, from 2002 to 2010, leading a county of nearly 430,000 citizens with a budget of over $640 million. During his administration, Ragsdale’s priorities included education, economic growth, seniors, and a more efficient government.

During his second term as Mayor, Ragsdale also served as President of the County Executives of America, an organization of more than 700 chief elected county officials. He also served two terms as president of the Tennessee Association of County Mayors.

For 16 years, Ragsdale served as Executive Vice President and Partner at Barber & McMurry Architects, Planners, and Consultants. During this time he was twice elected to the Knox County Commission.

Ragsdale's career began at Pellissippi State Technical Community College, serving first as Director of Admissions and Records and later as Dean of Administrative Affairs.

Ragsdale currently serves as the Vice Chairman for EDSouth Board of Directors, one of the country's largest student loan corporations. He is on the Board of Directors for both the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association and for TnAchieves, a state wide student scholarship program. Additionally, Mayor Ragsdale serves on the advisory board for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Knoxville and the Jefferson Cocke County Utility District Board of Directors.

During his tenure as Knox County Mayor, Ragsdale received the Vision Award from Technology 2020 and the prestigious “Courthouse Award” from the National Association of Counties. He also received the Outstanding Service Award from the Disabled American Veterans of East Tennessee and the “Military Order of the Purple Heart.”

He is a lifetime member of the Optimist Club of Knoxville, and served the organization’s president. He is also past president of the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville, American Red Cross, Junior Achievement, and East Tennessee Discovery Center. He served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Knoxville Sports Corporation, Knox Area Chamber Partnership, and was Chairman of the Knox County Tourist Commission. Ragsdale is a 1989 graduate of Leadership Knoxville and has completed Harvard University's Mediation Program of Study.

Upon achieving his bachelor’s degree, Ragsdale earned the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Torchbearer Award, the highest University award given to students. He holds a Master's in Education from Auburn University and a doctorate in education from the University of Tennessee. Ragsdale is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee and graduated from Cleveland High School.