In his appointment to the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM as a Practice Group Leader in Education Systems Design, Rich brings a combination of operating management skills, engineering training, philanthropic fund management, and experience in orchestrating strategic public/private partnerships at regional, state, and national levels. He is particularly focused on education as a complete system with solutions that must continuously work across the boundaries of public policy, practice, and multi-jurisdictional partnerships. His work has informed governors’ STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education policies across the country, along with national foundation strategies about education reform. He is the founder of a national movement called “engineers helping educators™” bringing the discipline of design and systems engineering to improve the process of education.
Prior to joining TIES and the founding of Indigo Strategies, Rich spent 30 years with the global research and development giant Battelle, including six technical and management careers. Among these roles, he was the founding general manager for their Medical Products Business Unit responsible for design and launch of several dozen products. He retired from Battelle as the corporate officer responsible for philanthropy operations. While leading that part of the organization as its corporate vice president, Rich intensified Battelle's work in education outreach. He founded Battelle’s Education Operations and designed an entirely new approach for businesses to help advance STEM education causes. He was a founder of Metro Early College High School in Columbus with The Ohio State University – a nationally-acclaimed, lottery based STEM public school that proved all children of all abilities can master STEM.
Four years later, as Metro saw all of its first high school graduates go to college, Rich had become the chief architect in expanding STEM secondary schools to five regions across Ohio, creating STEM network partnerships that formed in six states across the nation, and touching tens of thousands of students and teachers. As a funder, he also oversaw the organization’s philanthropic contributions of more than $100 million, largely in STEM and education grants. Rich was the founding Executive Director of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, and worked closely with leaders in others states to advance similar practices for state-based STEM networks. Rich also led Battelle’s efforts to assist several states in the STEM portions of their successful US Department of Education Race to the Top bids, including Ohio and Tennessee. In his role with TIES, Rich continues to assist states, colleges, and foundations across the country in adopting transformational practices in STEM education.
Rich has been recognized for his contributions to education and the economy. He received the Distinguished Service Medal from The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, a Distinguished Alumni Award from OSU’s College of Engineering, the Bioscience Leader of the Year from Ohio’s bioscience business association, and was recognized by the National Society of Black Engineers for his work to increase opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math among young minority students. He is proud to be among the recipients of the “Friends of Metro” award for help in establishing the Metro Early College High School. Rich holds a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University, and he has 3 U.S. Patents.
Rich has provided volunteer service to more than 20 non-profit boards of directors, and was among the founding board member for six new organizations serving education and community causes. He is a member of numerous national and state STEM education groups, including the National Governor’s Association STEM Advisory Panel. He is the chair of the OSU College of Biomedical Engineering External Advisory Board, a trustee with the Columbus State Community College, a board member for “I Know I Can” and the PAST Foundation. His wife Karen is an engineer with Battelle where she manages the quality system for their Medical Product Development Group. Karen and Rich have one son, Michael, who is a BA student at Capital University’s Conservatory where he is studying music technology.