As a land grant University, WSU Tri-Cities is committed to meeting community needs and preparing career ready graduates. To that end, the university created a visionary program, Executives-In-Residence.  These executives serve the WSU Tri-Cities students as mentors and career coaches and assist faculty through in-class guest lectures, resource development and program implementation. This program aims to capture the wealth of knowledge held by retired executives who want to give back to their community by helping educate WSU Tri-Cities students.

Specifically, these executives and experts work with students to:

  • develop students skillsets through mentored projects
  • advise students on their prospective career choices
  • provide insight into industry practices
  • help students connect classroom based theory to practical “real world” experience

Executives support faculty as well:

  • Executives extend the University’s connections in the community by engaging industry partners with WSU faculty
  • Advocate for industry needs and challenge, so that WSU Tri-Cities can enhance its ability to deliver a world class curriculum that addresses these emerging needs
  • Serve as a resource for faculty doing research

In essence, WSU Tri-Cities Executives-In-Residence expand the boundary of the campus into the community, the boardroom, the reach and the world.

Current Executives-In-Residence

Misipati Semi Bird

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Misipati Semi Bird is the Director of Organizational Development for the U.S. Department of Energy. Mr. Bird has an extensive career in the government sector, having worked for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the State Department. Mr. Bird specializes in workforce development, organizational leadership and building collaborate partnerships. Mr. Bird is also a combat veteran, having served with distinction in a number of U.S. army leadership roles. Semi Bird is available to support students interested in careers in the government sector, are looking for insight into leadership skills and/or need a mentor.


John Fulton


John Fulton is a WSU graduate. Mr. Fulton is the retired CEO of CH2MHill at Hanford. Mr.Fulton served as the chair of the Development Committee for WSU Tri-Cities Advisory Council Tri-Cities. He has 40 years of experience leading operations and projects, including 33 years in U.S. Department of Energy nuclear project management. He has managed multi-billion-dollar programs, improved safety performance, and ensured cost-effective project completion on schedule and within budget. Previous assignments include the Idaho Cleanup Project, Miamisburg Closure Project, Hanford Tank Farms Contract, and Washington Closure Hanford. Most recently, he served as the as Senior Vice President for the CH2M HILL Nuclear Business Group, providing direction and leadership for all of the DOE projects managed by CH2M HILL across the United States, as well as all other CH2M HILL liabilities management projects for North America and Asia.


Andrew Hesser


Andrew Hesser has more than 20 years experience teaching project management, earned value, operations research, mathematics and computer science at undergraduate and graduate levels for eleven universities, colleges and schools, including WSU Tri-Citites.  Mr. Hesser is a retired navy Colonel who served at every tactical level in the Marine Corps from rifle and weapons platoon leader to Commander of the 7th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, CA.  Colonel Hesser’s responsibilities included the logistics readiness of a 16,000 Marine division and $480 million of equipment and supplies.  He has also served as the manager for various programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he provided analytical and technical management support, development of hardware and software specifications and test plans and interface management for the environmental management of the Hanford Nuclear Site.


Michael Kluse



Michael Kluse is the retired Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. As Laboratory Director Mr. Kluse was a chief executive and was responsible for an annual budget of over $1 billion and for a staff of 4,300. Mr. Kluse also served as a Senior Vice President for Battelle. Mr. Kluse is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost experts in Homeland Security, and has an extensive background in high performance computing techniques in the design, development and analysis of advanced weapon and aerospace systems. Mr. Kluse also served in the U.S. air force as an officer.  Mike Kluse is available for students who desire insight into careers in computer sciences, national security, management, national laboratory employment and/or are seeking a mentor.

Bryan Mohler


Bryan Mohler is the recently retired Director of Quality and Assurance at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he was responsible for the systems, processes and tools that articulate organizational strategy, align resources with its implementation, generate the data needed to assure performance integrity and its validation.  Bryan began his career in 1980 teaching marketing, management, economics and statistics at Washington State University (WSU) on the Pullman campus. During his 34-year career with Battelle, he also served as the director of Quality and Assurance at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and worked across all DOE National Laboratories to establish effective assurance systems.  Bryan is available to provide insight or mentor students who are interested in business management careers.


Robert (Bob) Popielarczyk, P.E.




Robert Popielarczyk has thirty eight years experience in the design, construction, startup and operations of nuclear and chemical facilities. He also has twenty eight years experience in management, leading technically complex, first-of-a-kind projects and programs to successful completion. Mr. Popielarczyk retired for CH2M HILL in 2014 where he served as Vice President for the Soil and Groundwater Remediation Project. Mr. Popielarczyk has served in the community since 1987, and is a subject expert on the Hanford cleanup. Mr. Popielarczyk is a professional engineer. Bob Popielarczyk is available for students who are looking into careers at the Hanford site, project management, engineering careers and/or seeking a mentor.


For more information on how to become an Executive-In-Residence, please contact Marisela Garza, interim director of development of Advancement & Community Engagement.