Rich grew up in the great Pacific Northwest, just north of Spokane. He graduated from Mead High School (go Panthers!), where he lettered in soccer and graduated as valedictorian.
He attended the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and graduated as a Distinguished Graduate in the Class of 1999. The Academy offers an unparalleled four-year education, including leadership, character, and service. While here, Rich began his lifelong drive for learning outstanding leadership, and the ability to win people and resources to accomplish a mission.
- B.S. Aeronautical Engineering, with Mathematics minor
- Cadet Flight Commander, Air Force parachute wings, Cadet glider wings, Senior project design lead, Woodland Survival instructor
As a result of his performance at the Academy, Rich was offered a graduate degree at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. During his time there, he joined the research team at the Lean Aerospace Initiative, and completed US Aerospace Industry research to improve efficiency and effectiveness. While here, Rich received the benefit of interacting on a daily basis with some of the world's finest technical minds, including Chief Scientists, Nobel Laureates, and industry founders.
- S.M. Aeronautics & Astronautics, Class of 2001
- Thesis entitled "Value Stream Analysis and Mapping for Product Development”
Rich served a total of 15 years in the military, beginning with the Academy, transitioning to B-1 pilot, then Academy professor, and operations planner.
As a pilot, he served in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, accumulating more than 450 hours of combat flight time in the B-1. Rich flew out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, and graduated from flight training programs in both Mississippi and Texas.
- US Air Force Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal recipient
- Flight Commander, Company Grade Officer of the Year award, Military Leadership award, Arctic Survival training
Rich returned to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to serve as engineering professor and instructor pilot. While there, he directed the cadet flight test program (flying the T-41), and established an exchange program with the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra, Australia.
- Company Grade Officer of the Year, Outstanding First Year Instructor award, Squadron Officer School distinguished graduate
- National Test Pilot School short course graduate
In his final military position, Rich served as an operations planner for the international military team in South Korea, working closely with the military and political leadership of both the United States and South Korea.
Rich has traveled to over 100 countries, and has offered years of service to developing communities, in cultures of all kinds. Some of his favorite endeavors include providing pro-bono business development work in still-developing countries. He helped to found the first modern ambulance company in Haiti, where he later served as operations director and Emergency Medical Technician (HERO Client Rescue, Port-au-Prince, Haiti). He provided business and venture development for the only youth community center in the poorest area of the Western Hemisphere, where the director is now a CNN Hero for 2019 (Sakala Youth Community Center, Cite Soleil, Haiti). Here are some other terms of support from around the globe:
- Kingston YMCA, Kingston, Jamaica, business development and swimming instruction program
- Israeli vegetable/fruit/olive industries, community farming and business development
- Tuberculosis Clinic, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, program manager
- Mercy Ships galley and outreach program, aboard Africa Mercy, Cotonou, Benin
- Archeological dig programs, Tyra (Ukraine), Ibida and Teleac (Romania)
- Enstiti Travay Sosyal & Syans Sosyal, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, professor of Social Science and Basic Medicine
- Mita Pyahu Roga and Fundacion Santo Domingo, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, children's homes youth mentor and caretaker
- Miracle Hill Children’s Home, South Carolina, emergency shelter youth mentor and caretaker
- Volunteer Fire Fighter, Tye, Texas, Rookie of the Year award
Rich has taken opportunity for some rewarding adventures, from mountain expeditions, to Galapagos diving. He was named the 228th person to complete the Seven Summits, to include Mounts Everest, Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson, and Kosciuszko. He once drove a 1987 Ford van (named "Gert") to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and joined the Mangueira Samba School in full costume for their parades. As well, he is a finisher of the Boston Marathon, and has scuba dived many of the world's most famous locations, including with Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands.
Rich is certified as a:
- Professional Engineer (PE) in Washington State, in the field of Mechanical Engineering
- Commercial Pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with over 1,100 total flight hours
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) by the National Registry of EMTs
I'd love the opportunity to support you as the next governor of Washington.
- Rich Millard