Rich grew up in Boston and learned how to sail as a young boy.
He earned an AB degree from Harvard, an SM degree from MIT, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with the citation: "For his distinguished sailing career and his dedication to educating schoolchildren worldwide."
He's been a math teacher in the Boston Public Schools, a defense analyst in Washington DC working on B-52s and cruise missiles, and he worked at Wind Ship Development.
He also has served as Trustee of two, college-level, in the field, accredited science semesters: Sea Education Association in Woods Hole; and The School for Field Studies in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Along the way, he continued sailing, becoming the youngest winning skipper of the Newport-Bermuda Race in 1980 aboard the 42' ketch Holger Danske.
In the early 1990s, Rich founded sitesALIVE!, which became his true passion. sitesALIVE! creates school programs that connect K12 classrooms to adventures and expeditions worldwide. Says Rich: "Excite a kid with bats, bugs, and snakes in the rainforest, or with gales, flying fish, and dolphins at sea, and they will pay attention, not knowing what will happen next. Then the science, geography, and math flow freely." By his program voyages (3 world records on clipper ship routes, San Francisco - Boston, New York - Melbourne, and Hong Kong - New York), as well as 70 content-providing partnerships with accredited field schools worldwide, sitesALIVE! has produced 75 full semester, live, interactive programs for K12.
Following this mission, a primary objective of sailing the Vendée Globe was to create a global school program off that uniquely global ocean event.
Rich has won:
- the 2001 Innovators in Education Award from the Newspaper Association of America Foundation
- the SuperAchievers' Award from the American Lung Association
- the Blue Water Medal from the Cruising Club of America
- and the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club.