The Palouse Knowledge Corridor has selected Richard French to serve as the organization’s executive director. He officially assumed the position on Nov. 1.
“We are excited to bring Richard on board to lead the Palouse Knowledge Corridor,” said Brian Kraft, president of the Palouse Knowledge Corridor and assistant vice president for the Innovation and Research Engagement Office at Washington State University. “His experience working with the private sector and government organizations to expand business development, process improvements and technology advancement, and forward-thinking in organizational infrastructure will lend well to building a connection between university innovation and our regional business community on the Palouse.”
The Palouse Knowledge Corridor is a regional economic development organization with a commitment to developing Palouse-based activities that bring expertise and talent from other regional universities to engage with the local community. With two land-grant universities located eight miles apart, the Palouse offers a unique and largely unrealized opportunity for knowledge-based rural economic development. The Corridor provides connection to the research enterprises at both WSU and the University of Idaho and coordinates regionally to attract, retain and develop both talent and business.
With equal support from both WSU and UI, the Palouse Knowledge Corridor will align regional interests with research strengths and associated talent from both universities. French will be the first dedicated staff member to lead the Palouse Knowledge Corridor. As executive director, he will provide leadership, direction and oversight for the Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s operations, foster collaborative efforts with both universities, the private sector, economic development agencies, and the government, and promote the Palouse as a place enriched with economic opportunity.
“I am excited to provide leadership in forging a connection between university innovation and our regional business community to create a resilient economy for the Palouse region,” said French. “By maximizing our unique regional assets to stimulate new businesses and support continued growth of our existing organizations, the Palouse Knowledge Corridor will invest in the vitality, prosperity and quality of life for all residents on the Palouse.”
French previously served as president and CEO of Federal Engineers and Construction (FE&C), an organization focused on environmental remediation and nuclear construction across the Department of Energy Complex. Throughout French’s 15 years with the company, he held several positions including project manager, information technology manager, chief financial officer, and vice president for business development before taking the helm as president. Prior to FE&C, French served as project manager at Lockheed Martin Services, leading a team of software engineers, testers, and trainers. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Management from WSU.