During two short but significant weeks in 1989, a devastating neurological disease transformed Randy Pierce from a healthy and ordinary young man to a blind man completely uncertain of his future. Randy’s passion for experience encouraged him to use adversity as a positive catalyst for growth and opportunity, resulting in such amazing adventures and honors as his earning his second-degree black belt; achieving historic hiking accomplishments in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Africa’s highest peak (Mount Kilimanjaro), and Machu Picchu in the South American Andes; winning a national marathon championship and running three consecutive Boston Marathons; competing in Tough Mudder events; and being inducted as a fan into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
A New Hampshire native, Randy earned his BSEE from the University of New Hampshire in 1988 and enjoyed a successful career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a hardware design engineer. But as his progression toward total blindness moved forward, Randy transitioned in 1994 from engineering to a variety of volunteer projects such as tutoring and martial arts instruction, which allowed him to develop and hone his teaching and presentation skills.
Fast-forward to today, when Randy is the founder and President of 2020 Vision Quest, an organization that leads and inspires students and professionals to reach their peak potential while providing financial support for crucial vision services. Randy is also immediate past Chairman of the Board of Directors of Future in Sight (formerly the New Hampshire Association for the Blind), and a past president of the Hudson, NH Lions Club. Randy’s and 2020 Vision Quest’s accomplishments and accolades are well chronicled at 2020visionquest.org, but a few recent highlights include:
- Randy received a Spirit of New Hampshire Volunteer Service Award in 2017.
- In 2016, he received the Jo Adcock Service Award from Future in Sight.
- The University of New Hampshire’s Alumni Association named alumnus Randy as the 2015 winner of its Award of Excellence for Outstanding Service.
- Toastmasters International named Randy a winner of its 2015 Communication and Leadership Award.
- New Hampshire Magazine included Randy in its recent “ItList” of significant leaders in the state.
- Randy and Quinn were also featured in the February 2014 airing of an NHPTV episode with host Willem Lange titled “Hiking in the Dark,” which won a Boston/New England Emmy for Outstanding Magazine Program/Special.
- Randy’s short story about the life of his dog guide Quinn was published in 2014, and he’s currently writing a retrospective of his life and learnings thus far.
Randy delivers riveting, positive, and powerful messages that help organizations lead members to their very own versions of “reaching their peak potential.” He has delivered keynotes and motivational presentations to hundreds of corporations, among them the Bank of New Hampshire, Google, TJX, Johnson & Johnson (DePuy Synthes division), and Yankee Candle. A two-time TEDx presenter, he has also spoken to organizations outside the for-profit corporate world, including YMCA regional leadership, the NH Society of Engineers, the Perkins Institute Vision Conference, the Massachusetts state DECA Association, Waypoint Adventure, the University of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Randy has also delivered commencement addresses at the University of New Hampshire, White Mountain Community College, and several NH high schools.
In addition, Randy visits and delivers presentations to public school students; he is proud to have presented at no charge to over 65,000 New England students.
Several compelling videos highlight Randy and Quinn’s historic hiking achievements; the founding/beginning of 2020 Vision Quest; Randy’s fall 2014 TEDx Amoskeag Millyard (Manchester NH) “Vision Beyond Sight” and his fall 2015 Springfield MA “Transition Trauma and Social Risk Management” presentations; his and Quinn’s feature roles in NHPTV’s Emmy-award-winning “Hiking in the Dark;” Oberto’s 3-minute feature on Randy in its “Heroes of Summer” series; and his New England Patriot fandom. The latter documentary was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award. Randy has also appeared on local and national radio shows, including NPR, and on multiple national television shows—most notably Rosie O’Donnell, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Best Damn Sports Show Period.