Richard Knowles is president of R.N. Knowles and Associates, Inc. (www.RNKnowlesAssociates.com). His focus is in helping organizations become more effective through the use of complexity theory and Self-Organizing Leadership. His work with teams at all organizational levels helps to open up the energy and creativity of the people, leading to extraordinary improvements in all dimensions of performance. He has worked for 17 years with teams in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the UK. The Safety Leadership Process™ he created is a highly effective tool in helping organizations achieve safety excellence.
He has broad interests and expertise. He helped to lead a market development group in commercializing new products for DuPont. In 1976, he moved into plant manufacturing assignments at Repauno, NJ, Chambers Works, NJ (as Assistant Plant Manager), Niagara Falls, NY (Plant Manager, 8/83-3/87), Belle, WV (Plant Manager, 4/87-1/95). In his final DuPont assignment in Wilmington, Del. he served as Director of Community Awareness, Emergency Response and Industry Outreach. This work was focused on helping to improve local sustainability with DuPont plants and communities. He was the 1992 Recipient of the DuPont Agricultural Products Crystal Award for the Championing of Human Potential. In 1995 he received the EPA Region III Chemical Emergency Planning and Preparedness Partnership Award. He retired from DuPont in 1996.
In his community activities he helped to establish industry/community dialogue groups such as the Industrial Liaison Committee in Niagara Falls in March of 1985, and the Belle, West Virginia Community Advisory Panel in early 1990. He was on the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now the American Chemical Council) Community Awareness and Emergency Response Task Group from 9/87 to 12/96 serving as Chairman in 1995-1996. From 1990 to 1995 he was a member of the WV State Emergency Response Commission. In 1991 he helped to found the State Chemical Working Group of the WV Environmental Institute. He played a leading role in Safety Street, Managing Our Risks Together, a 1994 groundbreaking risk communications effort in the greater Charleston, WV region. His work in Belle is featured in Tom Petzinger’s The New Pioneers, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1999 and Roger Lewin and Birute Regine’s, The Soul at Work, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2000. He has published a number of papers relating to self-organizing leadership and community outreach. He is an Adjunct Instructor at Medaille College in Amherst, NY and a member of the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.
He is co-founder and Director with his wife, Claire E. F. Knowles, of the Center for Self-Organizing Leadership. The not-for-profit Center focused on helping people in organizations develop coherence which enables them to significantly improve their performance. To help to broaden the understanding of these ideas he wrote The Leadership Dance, Pathways to Extraordinary Organizational Effectiveness,The Center for Self-Organizing Leadership, Niagara Falls, NY 2002. He tells of his own personal journey into this new way of leading, introduces the Process Enneagram © as a primary tool for organizational change and develops new ideas regarding the sustainability of the work.
Richard N. Knowles graduated from McDonogh School, McDonogh MD in 1953, from Oberlin College on Oberlin, OH in 1957 and received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY in 1961. He then joined the DuPont Company in research at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware where he began his work in the fields of agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, animal repellents process development and flame retardants; he received 40 U.S. Patents in this work