Rud Browne’s Background

Rud Browne is a great example of the self-starting entrepreneur who took a good idea and made it into environmentally-friendly jobs that has been a hallmark of Washington State ingenuity. Originally from Australia, Rud has worked around the world, but chose Bellingham as home because of its beauty and its people.

Rud started his business (refurbishing and re-marketing high tech equipment) from his apartment in 1989 with nothing more than an idea and $30,000. In 1990 he opened an office in Whatcom County, moved his family here in 1994 and became an American citizen determined to contribute, serve and make this great place even better.

Over the years Ryzex grew into a multinational company which employed 360 people, 140 locally. Rud sold Ryzex in 2011, and now helps other young companies become successful in their economic and environmental sustainability efforts. “I remain the same passionate guy blending business and environmental needs which create jobs, make a profit and care for our environment all at the same time,” he said.


  • Being married to a great life partner for 29 years and together they have raised two wonderful children and are now blessed to have their first grandchild

  • Provided meaningful, well paid employment with benefits for 100’s of people.

  • Experienced first-hand the positive impact that providing employment can have on a person.

  • Learned how to recycle 100% of the waste generated from the Bellingham facility each year.

  • Provided funding and program materials for Sustainable Connections’ to start the popular “Towards Zero Waste” campaign which resulted in over 300 businesses and schools implementing programs to reduce their waste by at least 50%.

  • Private Pilot, former Aircrew member in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

  • Invited to be one of 100 leaders chosen each year from around the country to participate in the Department of Defense JCOC program. Visited Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard facilities in the Middle East to gain a better understanding of the challenges that our young men and women face in the armed services, and how to be more supportive of them.

  • Navigated the cultural, legal and administrative challenges of starting up businesses in five countries which in turn sold products to a further 60 others.

  • Trained in the FEMA Emergency Incident Command System in order to be better able to serve in time of crisis.

Rud Browne: 23 Years of Community Service

Current Service:

    • Current Chair of Whatcom County Council (Councilmember elected in 2013 and reelected in 2017)

    • Member of the Council’s Finance and Administrative Services Committee

    • Member of the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization

    • Member of the Washington State Association of Counties Legislative Steering Committee

    • Member of the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee

    Previous Service:

    • Chair of the Whatcom County Finance and Administrative Services Committee

    • Member of the Whatcom County Planning and Development Services Committee

    • Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry board

    • Whatcom Council of Governments Board

    • Whatcom County Ethics Commission member

    • Chairman, Young Presidents Organization (Northwest Chapter)

    • Vice President for Ethics for the Vancouver Board of the Entrepreneurs Organization

    • Brigid Collins Child Abuse & Family Support Center Board

    • Whatcom Community Foundation Board

    • Western Washington University CEME Advisory Board

    • Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access Steering Committee

    • Whatcom County Developmental Disabilities Board

    • Whatcom County Intergovernmental Tribal Relations Committee

    • Northwest Clean Air Agency Board

    • Bellingham City Club Board

    • Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board

    • Former Aircrew member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary

    Major Recognitions & Awards:

    • Whatcom County Business person of the year – 2004

    • Sister Brigid Collins Award – 2005

    • Winner of an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award – 2007

    While Rud owned and managed Ryzex, it received numerous awards such as:

    • 2008 – One of the Heroes of Zero – Businesses That Don’t Waste

    • 2008 – Bellingham Business Journal – Most Environmentally Responsible Business

    • 2008 – Finalist – Seattle Times People’s Pick: Most Eco-Friendly Company

    • 2007 – Bellingham/Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce Green Business of the Year

    • 2007, 2006 – Puget Sound Business Journal, Largest Private Companies in Washington State

    • 2007 – Recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Washington State

    • 2006 – Recognized by Inc Magazine readers as one of the Top two Greenest US businesses

    • 2006 – Northwest Business Monthly, Great Places to work

    • 2005, 2004, 2003 – Puget Sound Business Journal, Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies

    • 2005 – Northwest Business Monthly, Top 100 Private Companies