Wilkes University

The Director

Congratulations to Rodney Ridley, named the 2017 Innovator of the Year by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce.

Rodney Ridley Sr. is the Executive Director of Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Rodney RidleyRodney Ridley Sr. was named Executive Director of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in 2014. Prior to his appointment at the Kirby Center, Ridley served as director of Wilkes’ Division of Engineering and Physics. Under his tenure in engineering, enrollment in engineering programs grew by 50 percent and freshmen applications to the programs grew 100 percent. He also was responsible for expanding the engineering program’s Industrial Advisory Board, establishing significant new corporate partnerships and infusing the engineering experience with exposure to business and entrepreneurial practices.

Bridge building was a hallmark of Ridley’s work as director of Wilkes’ Division of Engineering and Physics. It included partnerships that led to the donation of equipment and resources to the engineering program from partners such as Keystone Automation and Fairchild Semiconductor. In addition, programs to encourage STEM education in regional school districts included partnerships with Hazleton Area School District, Pottsville Middle School, Phoenixville School District in Chester County and, most recently, Wyoming Seminary.

Ridley also led the creation of four new engineering master’s degree programs in mechanical engineering, bioengineering, engineering management as well as a new bachelor’s degree program in physics.  A minor in engineering management was established.

He was instrumental in the creation of a surgical robotics lab, a microfluidics lab, an automated manufacturing lab as well labs for vibrations and materials analysis.

Active in many industrial and business advisory committees, Ridley serves on the NEPA Biomedical Research Implementation Committee (BRIC) and as a consultant on TecBridge Intellectual Asset Inventory Database Project.

Ridley joined Wilkes in May 2009. Prior to that, he worked as director of device and process development for Velox Semiconductor Inc. in Somerset, N.J., and a process engineer for Fairchild Semiconductor Corp in Mountain Top, where he continues to consult. He also was vice president and limited partner for Data Friendly Inc., in Philadelphia.

The holder of 27 patents, Ridley earned a doctorate in engineering science and mechanics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Lincoln University.