Rich Naser, Jr.
Rich Naser serves as president of the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship and the USD Discovery District as part of his role directing Entrepreneurship and Innovation initiatives for the economic development organization Forward Sioux Falls. These initiatives focus on developing the human capital, early-stage funding and research infrastructure necessary to support high-growth businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Rich has led Zeal (formerly the South Dakota Technology Business Center) since it was formed as a nonprofit in 2002. He continues to lead the organization while also helping to spearhead the development of the nearby GEAR Center and USD Discovery District – all aimed at creating both an entrepreneurial environment and the most significant possible impact for stakeholders.
The GEAR Center is home to USD’s biomedical engineering program and serves as an incubator for the Discovery District, an 80-acre innovation community combining learning, working and living that will include 26 buildings totaling 1.1 million square feet.
Rich’s career in economic development started with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in 1994. With a passion for collaboration, he successfully brings together civic, government and private business to support entrepreneurial initiatives.
Rich serves on several boards and committees to foster these relationships, including Southeast Technical Institute’s Computer Information Systems Advisory Council, the University Center Advisory Council and the Kirby Science Discovery Center Advisory board.
Rich was recognized for his commitment, dedication and achievement in entrepreneurship with the 2015 The Spirit of Enterprise–an award given annually by the Enterprise Institute to an individual directly responsible for helping shape the entrepreneurial culture of the state of South Dakota.
Rich is a graduate of South Dakota State University. In his free time, he enjoys following the MotoGP racing series and spending time with his wife, Rebecca, and children Dillon, Anna and Rebecca.