Richard J. Smalling

Executive in Residence, Center for Positive Organizations

Managing Director, Rolling8, LLC

Rich is a servant leader, advisor, consultant, author, husband, father, and friend. From 1994 to 2019, Rich led American Innovations, a provider of solutions that help the energy industry comply with regulations and operate safely. With a great team of engaged colleagues, Rich helped grow AI from start-up to middle market. Along the way, Rich became passionate about positive leadership and thriving organizations. After his successor took over as CEO in 2020, he continues to serve the team as board chair and part-time consultant. In August 2021, he published Practically Positive – a book he wrote as a note to his younger self about creating thriving organizations.

Rich is an Executive in Residence to the Center for Positive Organizations at the Michigan Ross School of Business. He is the chair of the advisory council for the Dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Rich is a founder and board chair of Austin Together which encourages sustained collaborations among nonprofits in Central Texas. He is on the board of Prisma Renewable Composites and an advisor to CLB Wines. He is a mentor with Ceresa – the first truly inclusive leadership platform designed to serve all rising leaders. Rich works part-time with Riverbank Consulting Group which helps clients create and sustain culture change. Rich is Managing Director of Rolling8 which serves as a vehicle for his consulting practice and his family’s philanthropic fund.

Rich was on the board of Origin Materials for five years, until it went public (ORGN) in June 2021; Origin is the world’s leading carbon-negative materials company. From 2003-15, he was a member of the board of directors of Creative Action, an Austin nonprofit delivering interactive art-based programs that help young become 4C students. Rich is a former member of the board of Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Austin and a former board member of the NACE Foundation. He was also on the board of Garrison Brothers, the first legal bourbon distillery in Texas and maker of the finest bourbon on the planet. 

Rich received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1985.  Over the next six years, Rich worked as a development engineer with Borg Warner and General Electric in West Virginia, France, The Netherlands, and Kentucky. In 1993, Rich received an MBA from the University of Michigan and began working for FMC in Philadelphia. Rich loves to spend time with his wife Anne and daughters Marina and Samantha, especially if it involves good food, travel, music, comedy, golf, biking, hiking, or pretty much any other game or sport you can come up with. Rich and Anne have lived in Austin, Texas since 1995.

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