Mike Schwenk has more than 30 years of technical and business management experience in government, non-profit, entrepreneurial and corporate settings. For most of that time, he has championed numerous efforts to move research out of the laboratory and into the hands of business. If this can best be characterized as technology-based economic development, then it is fair to say that is his passion.
Mike has demonstrated leadership in technology transfer. Not only does he manage the award winning commercialization and economic development activities at one of our nation's national laboratories, but he has chaired two corporate councils comprised of six national laboratories dedicated to improving the innovation process. Mike has also served as Battelle's single point of contact to the Department of Energy on technology transfer matters, and is helping design an innovation agenda for the United Kingdom's first contractor operated national laboratory.
Mike offers a unique perspective on how businesses large and small can gain access to—and benefit from—the vast resources of our national laboratory system. He's seen it and lived it from all sides — from researcher to manager to economic developer to executive. He has taken this experience and developed a new "outcome driven" model designed to stimulate innovation and increase competitive advantage. He is a vocal advocate of private and public collaboration that pairs the best of government resources and private-sector know-how to solve the nation's most pressing challenges.
Nationally, Mike chairs the Industrial Research Institute's (IRI) Science and Technology Policy Committee and launched IRI's Managing Technology Transfer working group. He sits on the Public Policy Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council, including subgroups on Innovation and Energy. Mike is an active participant in the National Academies' University Industry Demonstration Project. He was an invitee to the National Science Foundation's Discovery-to-Innovation Project. Most recently he shared with the Council on Competitiveness those steps that can and should be taken to amplify and accelerate innovation in our country. He is a frequent speaker on all aspects of the innovation ecosystem.
Regionally, Mike was appointed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire to the board of the Washington Technology Center, a statewide economic development organization focused on technology and innovation. He is now board chair. He is heavily engaged with Washington State University (WSU), chairing the WSU Research Foundation. Closer to home, Mike chairs the Three Rivers Community Roundtable, a regional umbrella economic development organization. He recently helped in the startup of a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics high school. In 2008, he was named Tri-Citian of the Year, an annual recognition awarded to an individual in the community who has demonstrated "service above self," as well as outstanding leadership and contribution for positive development, economic growth and quality of life.