Bo Roberts and I were young at the same time, both from Knoxville and we both peaked in 1982. Other than that, we’ve never met.
Bo has written a book with a title longer than some of my best columns. Flaming Moderate: A Riveting Journey and Quest to Save Democracy is available for purchase at major online retailers, at some bookstores, and directly from the author. For information and to pre-order, visit www.flamingmoderatebook.com.
I always figured Bo for a Democrat, but he has chosen a trio of East Tennessee Republicans to feature in his new book: Howard Baker Jr., Lamar Alexander and Bill Haslam. He weaves some personal narrative into the story. His earlier book, Forever Young, chronicles his career as “the youngest ever (at the time) …”
- Newspaper editor in the country
- Cabinet-level chief of staff for a Tennessee governor (the late Buford Ellington)
- Vice president of the University of Tennessee system (where he directed development, alumni affairs, public service and public relations)
- CEO of an international exposition (president of the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville)
- Cherokee Bluff condos (he either developed them, marketed them or maybe just lived there)
The fair drew over 11 million attendees (12 from Canada and the rest from around here with season passes, going after work every day for six months to drink beer and perform the chicken dance at The Foundry). Under Bo’s leadership, 21 nations participated including the People’s Republic of China. He directed a staff that grew to 10,000 employees. He retired the fair’s $30 million loan and escaped to Nashville before our town’s economy tanked.
He went on to co-found a marketing firm in Nashville and write the occasional op-ed piece.
Bo says: “Flaming Moderate is more than a recounting of personal experiences – it’s also a call to action. It’s about the power of individuals to make a difference while confronting adversity while collectively shaping a better future.”
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.