The Future is knowledge-based economic development:

The Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s unique value proposition in the local economic development ecosystem relates to the word “knowledge” in the organizations name. The two unique elements this organization offers are:

  1. Meaningful connectivity to the research enterprise at both Washington State University and the University of Idaho; and
  2. The ability to operate across state lines and coordinate regionally on efforts to attract, retain and develop both talent and business.

Palouse Knowledge Corridor: Board of Directors

President, Brian Kraft

Brian Kraft is the Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Research Engagement within the Office of Research at Washington State University. Within 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 focused on technology commercialization to the development of student training programs to the implementation of organizational change initiatives.  Specific WSU initiatives Brian is currently leading include; The efforts to implement the recommendations of the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which aims to support and incentivize students and faculty to embrace a culture focused on impacts and outreach; The Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) Program, which serves as a faculty networking group to disseminate best practices and connect experienced and aspirational faculty focused on public engagement; The WSU I-Corps site which is a training funded by NSF focused on helping scientists and engineers evaluate product-market fit; The Small Business Development Center, which represents a statewide network of 30 small business advisors funded by the SBA; The Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiative which aims to better integrate technology focused economic development with undergraduate training in entrepreneurship. Brian holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a PhD in Chemistry and has served Washington State University in roles ranging from technology evaluation to programmatic development over the last fifteen years.

 

 

Vice President, Toni Broyles

Portraits of Toni Broyles staff in the President's Office

Toni Broyles is the Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives within the Office of the President at University of Idaho (UI). Within this role she is leading key stakeholder engagement to grow revenues and resources, coordinating presidential level strategy across the institution and state legislative affairs, and community relations . Broyles career started at Washington State University (WSU) in energy management focused on utility service and contracts, energy conservation, and monitoring of infrastructure and assets. She then transitioned to the Director of External Relations at the UI College of Business & Economics, where she was active in building and branding Idaho Entrepreneurs and worked on starting an angel fund to benefit start-ups from U of I and WSU. Broyles returned to WSU as Director of Development & External Relations for the College of Arts & Sciences, and also staff the WSU leadership on strategy for leadership gifts and corporate partnerships before joining UI in July 2019. Broyles has undergraduate degrees in marketing and information systems, and MBA from University of Idaho. She serves on the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and volunteer coaches for the Moscow School District.

 

 

 

Treasurer, Francis Benjamin

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.

 

 

Treasurer, Francis Benjamin

Francis is the 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 served on Pullman’s City Council from 2003-2015 where he specialized in Economic Development. He is a former president of the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and former president of the Association of Washington Cities.

 

 

Additional Directors:

Tom Handy

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. This is his first term in Public Office.

 

Karl Webber

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.

Karl and his wife, Dianne, make their home in Tekoa, Washington.