Mike Schwenk has more than thirty 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 served as Battelle’s single point of contact to the Department of Energy on technology transfer matters. He also serves as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s government relations steward, providing executive leadership for the Laboratory’s federal, state, local, and other policy-related activities.
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 accelerate discovery to deployment. 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 he serves on the board of the International Economic Development Council. Regionally, Governor Christine Gregoire appointed Mike to the Washington Economic Development Commission to bring fresh perspective and leadership to the state’s innovation agenda. He chairs the Washington State University Research Foundation, which is WSU’s technology transfer arm. Closer to home, Mike chairs the Three Rivers Community Roundtable, a regional umbrella economic development organization as well as the Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative. In 2008, he was named Tri-Citian of the Year, an annual recognition awarded to an individual in the community who has demonstrated outstanding leadership for positive development, economic growth and quality of life. He is a frequent speaker on all aspects of the innovation ecosystem.