Rick Walsh joined the Board of Directors in 2019 after serving on the Board of Managers — Florida from 2012 to 2020. He brings experience in corporate governance, strategic business planning, regulatory requirements, and a personal commitment to health care delivery, higher education and community. He serves as Vice Chair for the Board of Directors and Chair for the Nominating and Governance Committee.
He is chairman, CEO of the Knob Hill Companies, an investment and strategic consulting firm committed to assisting established, and emerging businesses develop and thrive, and has recently worked to help elevate entrepreneurship in the Central Florida Region. 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 chairs the Board of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, LSQ Holdings and several start-up companies. He was also recently awarded the UCF Foundation Board Emeritus status and successfully led the $500 million UCF Ignite Capital Campaign.
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, OneBlood — The Southeastern U.S. Blood centers, MD Anderson Florida, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and the National First Jobs Institute.
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 of the "50 Most Powerful People in Orlando" by Orlando Magazine.
He grew up on the plains of South Dakota and Iowa, and today manages a partnership that owns and operates a horse and cattle farm in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. He first landed in Florida as a Navy Hospital corpsman, where he assisted in eye, ear, nose and throat surgery at the U.S. Naval Hospital Orlando. Mr. Walsh holds a Master’s 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 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Commerce in 2013.
He and his wife Trish supporti many philanthropic organizations.