Rich’s background is as an entrepreneur who specializes in organizational leadership, strategic planning, and project management, but his passion is bringing communities together. Previously to this position at One Palouse, Rich was the President, CEO and Board Chair for an environmental remediation and nuclear construction company, responsible for $15 Million annual revenue and over 100 employees. He is a problem solver, communicator, and champion for organizational effectiveness. Rich has seen firsthand the challenges small businesses face, and how with community support, these hurdles can be reduced or eliminated. He graduated university in the Palouse, and is returning to the area after living in the Tri-Cities to bring his knowledge and expertise to the region.
Brian Kraft is the Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Research Engagement (IREO) within the Office of Research at Washington State University (WSU). In this role, he is focused on building research partnerships with public and private sector interests that serve to translate innovative research at WSU into meaningful societal impacts. Brian has a long track record of building successful collaborations in areas ranging from research translation and development of student training programs to the implementation of organizational change initiatives. He holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a PhD in Chemistry and has served WSU in roles ranging from technology evaluation to programmatic development over the last sixteen years.
Dr. Christopher T. Nomura is vice president for research and economic development for the University of Idaho. Prior to his current role at the University, he served as the vice president for research and professor of biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF). Throughout his academic career, he has published and co-authored more than 70 original articles in refereed scientific journals and book chapters and holds four U.S. patents. In 2011, he received the SUNY ESF Exemplary Researcher Award for his contributions to biopolymer production and has received special recognition for his mentorship of student researchers.
Francis is a past co-chair of the Palouse Knowledge Corridor and the Be The Entrepreneur Bootcamp. He came to the region in 1979 to attend the University of Idaho and now engages his engineering, psychology, theology, and political science degrees to design psychological research experiments which answer relevant complex questions. His Political Interaction research lab works to discover ways to improve the current political process. Francis serves on Pullman’s City Council and co-leads Pullman 2040. He is a former president of the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and former president of the Association of Washington Cities.
Karl Webber has served as District #1 Commissioner for the Port of Whitman County since 2020. He is a 30-year resident of Tekoa, Washington and the President/Principal Consultant of KB2 Performance Management Systems, a management consulting business that serves small to large manufacturing companies across the state. Karl is privileged to serve on the National Western Region Board of The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the governing board for all chapters west of the continental divide.
Tom Handy has lived in Whitman County just outside Pullman since 1984. After graduating from WSU in Broadcast Communications, he spent 16 years working at WSU as a Broadcast Engineer. Then after purchasing Pullman’s Historic Old Post Office building in 2000, he embarked on an entrepreneurial path starting and running businesses which have evolved into what is currently Paradise Creek Brewery.
Tom has been very active in the community for the last several decades having many leadership roles in organizations like the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Whitman County Business Development Assoc, Whitman County Historical Society, Pullman Downtown Association and many others.
Tom Lamar has served as Latah County Commissioner since January 2015. Since 1990, He has been the executive director of Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI), a broad-based conservation organization and 26.2 acre Nature Center based in Moscow. In that role he has worked with many Latah County landowners on stream restoration projects. He is a founding member of the Latah Trail Foundation, and taught Conservation Leadership for 6 years at the University of Idaho. Lamar holds a master’s degree from Washington State University and a bachelor’s from the University of Delaware.