CWU News

CWU Board of Trustees Elect New Chairman and Vice Chairman

Ronald Erickson

Robert Nellams

The Central Washington University Board of Trustees has unanimously elected alumni Ronald Erickson as chairman of the board and Robert Nellams as vice chairman.

Erickson, who was appointed to the board by former Governor Christine Gregoire in 2010, had previously served as vice chair. Nellams was appointed to the board by Governor Jay Inslee in 2016, and previously chaired the CWU Foundation Board of Directors.

“I’m delighted to have such skilled leadership amid so much change in higher education,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino. “Ron [Erickson] understands the imperative to base decisions and planning on data, and he is passionately committed to focusing that planning on enhancing the quality of education for all students.”

Erickson is founder, and chairman, of Know Labs, Inc., a molecular sensor diagnostic company. He was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Blue Frog Mobile, Inc.; chair and CEO of eCharge Corporation; and a co-founder, chairman, and CEO of GlobelTel Resources.

“It is an honor to be elected chairman of the Central Washington University Board of Trustees,” Erickson said. “It is especially meaningful given my strong connection to Central and the Ellensburg community. My father, Ed Erickson, a lifelong educator, was a former superintendent of schools in Ellensburg, professor at Central and the founding President of the Seattle Community College system. He was also a woodworking craftsman who gave me a gavel he had turned on his lathe. It was with great pride that I am able to use that gavel as chairman of the Central Board of Trustees, and extend the legacy of my family’s commitment to education.”

Erickson grew up in Ellensburg and graduated from Ellensburg High School. His ancestors homesteaded in the Kittitas Valley in 1876 and a cousin continues to farm the family’s homestead acreage. He holds a BA in History from CWU, an MA in American Studies from the University of Wyoming, and a law degree from the University of California, Davis.

Nellams, a 1981 CWU accounting grad, has served as executive director of the Seattle Center since 2006. He worked for more than a decade as the center’s deputy director and as director of patron services. For many years, Nellams has been an active member of the Breakfast Group, a Seattle-based non-profit service organization devoted to mentoring African-American and other low-income and at-risk male youth of color. He recently joined the board of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) where he serves on the board’s finance committee.

“My priority will continue to be to look at ways to help build bridges from our community to the excellent education and growth opportunities CWU has to offer,” Nellams said. “My campus experience in Ellensburg is the foundation of my professional success and I would love to see more students from Washington get that same opportunity.”

The Board of Trustees elects a chairman and vice chairman annually at its summer meeting. The chairman and vice chairman hold their positions for one year or until successors are elected.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,