Rick Smyre is an internationally recognized futurist specializing in
the area of building “capacities for transformation” in local
communities. A graduate of Davidson College and NC State University, he
is President of the
Center for Communities of the Future and is an
architect of the new field of “molecular leadership” and “community
transformation”. He is the past Chairman of the Board of the
American Association of Retirement Communities and has been on the staff
of the National Economic Development Institute for thirteen
Married for 44 years to Brownie Allen, Rick has three children, Cinda (42), Deric (40), and Beth (37). In the ’70s he was the CEO of a textile yarn spinning firm. As a result of his experience at the state and local level, to include chairman of a NC county school board and chairman of a county chamber of commerce, he understands issues local communities face when preparing for a different kind of economy and society.
Rick’s work emphasizes innovative concepts, methods, and techniques connected with the Communities of the Future idea in collaboration with a network of over 1000 individuals in forty-six states and six countries. The focus of this work is to develop “capacities for transformation” in the thinking and activities of citizen leaders in local communities, especially in rural areas.
His articles have been published on various web sites, and four papers, Beyond the Deck Chairs, It Is More Than Either/Or, The Third Aha, and The Three Triangles of Transformation, by the World Future Society’s Future Research Quarterly in 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Preparing 21st Century Rural Economies is a chapter in the book, Knowledge Economy, published in India in 2006. In June 2008, two of his articles will be published in the new book, Careers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.
Rick also authored Rewiring a Community’s Brain, Why Weak Signals? Preparing for a World in Constant Change, Financing the Seeds of Community Transformation, Building Capacities for a Digital World, Twenty First Century Transformers: Developing Transformative Student Leaders, Councils for the Common Good, Facilitating 21st Century Idea Incubators, Going Bananas in a Virtual World, and Looking to the Past, Lessons for the Future So Essential a Change, and coauthored A Tao for Understanding Context and Emerging From the Mist: Rise of a 2nd Enlightenment.
He focuses his work in several ways. He speaks internationally and has provided over 300 seminars, keynotes, and retreats over the last decade to introduce these “COTF System of Community Transformation” and “Second Enlightenment” ideas. He has spoken at the last thirteen World Future Society Conferences, Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde University’s Talking Thinking Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the National Computer Ethics Conference at the Brookings Institute in DC, and a national economic development conference in Toronto. Among the keynotes he has provided are the National Millennium Communities Conference in Houston for the US Institute of Justice; the national Council for Resource Development in Washington, DC; the Southeastern Civil Rights Conference in Atlanta; the North Carolina & Pennsylvania Rural Center State Conferences; the North Carolina Community College System; the TVA Quality Communities Conference; the Illinois State Association of Community College Administrators; the Mid West Economic Development Commission Conference in Minnesota; national COMBASE Conference, Denver, CO; the Tech Expo Conference in Arcata, CA; Scotland Tomorrow in Glasgow, Scotland; the state of Maine’s Economic Development Symposium, Region III of the National Association of University Student Personnel Administrators, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Symposium.
Of special interest to Rick is his work to help local communities (e.g. NC Step, Norfolk, NE; Urbana, OH, Potter County, PA;) prepare for transformational change: 1) as a strategic networker to develop new ideas such as Transformation Learning and Futures Institutes, and 2) as a “master capacity builder” to work with local community leaders to develop 21st century capacities to include skills for community transformation.