OEDE staff are based on campus and in downtown Pensacola
Rick Harper, Ph.D., Executive Director and Assistant Vice President
Rick Harper's career as an economist began in 1979 at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where he was involved in all phases of various funded research projects. Rick received his Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University in 1989 and joined the UWF faculty that same year. He received his bachelor's degree from Guilford College in North Carolina.
Prior to coming to UWF, Rick lectured at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Other academic experience includes visiting appointments at ESSCA, in Angers, France, the University of Nottingham, England and University College, Cork, Ireland. His published scholarly research is largely in the area of government policy and its effect on the business environment.
Through UWF's Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, where he served as director, Rick worked with Florida businesses and government leaders on a variety of business research and economic development issues. He represented Northwest Florida on Governor Jeb Bush's Council of Economic Advisors from 2001 - 2006. He now serves as director of UWF's Office of Economic Development and Engagement.
Phyllis Pooley, MBA, JD, Director, Special Projects and Co-Director, Haas Center
Phyllis K. Pooley has lived in the Pensacola area since 1997. Originally from Virginia, she attended the College of William and Mary as an undergraduate and Washington and Lee University School of Law for her juris doctor degree. She received her MBA from the University of West Florida in 2001. Dr. Pooley began her career at UWF with the Haas Center as a graduate student assistant and was promoted to associate director in 2004. She joined the OEDE in 2011.
Brice Harris, Ph.D., Director, Strategic Initiatives and Co-Director, Haas Center
Dr. Brice Harris was appointed Associate Director of OEDE in August 2011. A Pensacola native, his career to date has centered on political, military, and economic affairs, and includes periods of service in federal and state government, as well as in the private sector. This includes tours of service as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control, respectively. He has also worked as a private contractor to OSD, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps Command & Staff College.
At the level of state government, Dr. Harris has served as Defense & Space Coordinator in the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida. He was integral to the commercialization of a software suite developed by the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research institute of the State University System of Florida, while serving as the Chief Operations Officer of a stage one technology company.
Dr. Harris holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida (1999); an M.S. in Defense & Strategic Studies from Missouri State University (2001); and a Ph.D. in Politics & International Relations from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom (2007). He has thus far published one book titled, "America, Technology, and Strategic Culture: A Clausewitzian Assessment" (Routledge 2008), which a leading peer-reviewed journal described as “a well-conceived, well-researched, well-written book” ('Book Reviews,' Survival, Vol. 51, No. 2, April-May 2009, pp. 208-209).
Donovan C. Chau, Ph.D., Associate Director
Dr. Donovan C. Chau was appointed Associate Director of OEDE in 2014. His career began a decade earlier in Washington, DC, where he was a professional staff member for the Select Committee on Homeland in the U.S. House of Representatives. During this time, he helped the Committee gain permanency and worked on border and transportation issues.
Upon leaving Congress, Dr. Chau was a subject matter expert for AMTI, a defense and homeland security contractor which was subsequently purchased by SAIC. Dr. Chau was the Africa desk officer, focusing on terrorist threats in and emanating from the continent of Africa. He provided research, analysis, and policy support to defense and homeland security contracts at the federal, state, and local levels.
In 2007, Dr. Chau entered academia as an assistant professor of political science, later promoted to associate, at California State University, San Bernardino. His teaching and research specialized on international politics in East Asia and Africa as well as national and international security. Dr. Chau has published multiple books, journal articles, monographs, book chapters, and book reviews.
Between 1996 and 2005, Dr. Chau earned a B.A. in literature/government from Claremont McKenna College, an M.S. in defense and strategic studies from Missouri State University, and a Ph.D. in politics and international relations from the University of Reading, United Kingdom.
Eric Miller, JD, Projects Coordinator
Originally from Texas, Eric attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables from 2005 until 2009, where he obtained degrees in finance and economics. After graduating from Miami, Eric attended the Florida State College of Law in Tallahassee, where he graduated in May of 2012 with a Juris Doctorate.
During the summer of 2010 Eric served as a Legal Intern at the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development. He joined the OEDE team in July of 2012 as Projects Coordinator.
Chris Burkart, Ph.D, Senior Research Economist
Formerly an instructor at Iowa State University, Dr. Burkart is working with a data analysis team to build databases and models centered around economic development. His work includes building partnerships with private and public sector entities to explore issues and find solutions to real-world problems in areas of economic development, including employment and allocation of capital. His specific projects include a predictive model for firm relocation, retrospective policy analysis related to economic development incentives, and higher education workforce mismatch.