Rick Walsh joined the Florida Board of Managers in 2012, bringing experience in corporate governance, strategic
business planning, and regulatory requirements, and a
personal commitment to health care delivery, higher education, and community.
He is Chairman and CEO of the Knob Hill Companies, a media, investment, and strategic consulting firm committed to assisting established and emerging businesses develop and thrive. Prior to founding Knob Hill, Mr. Walsh was Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs of Darden Restaurants, and a founding member of the leadership team that took Darden public in 1995. He also served as a member of Darden’s Executive Committee and as a trustee of the Darden Restaurants Foundation. At Darden, Mr. Walsh helped establish health care plans and wellness initiatives for all employees.
Mr. Walsh currently serves on the Boards of the National First Jobs Institute, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, MD Anderson, Seaside National Bank and Trust, Blue Orb Software Inc, ABC Wine & Spirits, LSQ Holdings, Florida’s Blood Centers, and several start-up companies.
Past Chairman of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce and Chairman Emeritus of the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees, Mr. Walsh is also a former board member of the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce, the National Employment Policy Institute, and the National Restaurant Association. He served on the Governor’s Florida Tourism Council, the Governor’s Task Force on Affordable Healthcare, Enterprise Florida, and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
Mr. Walsh has been recognized as Orlando Business Journal’s “Businessman of the Year,” one of “Florida’s 100 Most Influential” by Florida Trend magazine, one of the “25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida” by the Orlando Sentinel, and one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Orlando” by Orlando Magazine.
Mr. Walsh grew up on a cattle ranch in South Dakota and today manages a partnership that owns and operates a horse farm in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. He first landed in Florida as a Navy corpsman, where he assisted in eye, ear, nose, and throat surgery at the Naval Hospital Orlando. Mr. Walsh holds a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. He received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1985.