The Research and Business Development Center (RBDC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Our mission is to provide undergraduate students with meaningful work experience to better prepare them for careers and life. Connecting students with clients to work on projects that deliver value to both student and client is central to this mission.


The RBDC provides value for a variety of clients. Our focus areas include agriculture, business, and computer tech. However, there are opportunities for all industries. Through RBDC’s value-added approach, research and products are completed with an attention to detail customized to the unique needs of each client.


We supply BYU-Idaho alumni with a great opportunity to give back. Providing projects for students can help alumni to stay connected and receive help on work that needs to be done. BYU-Idaho alumni also have the chance to personally help individual students enhance their learning through the experience of working on a project for a client.


BYU-Idaho and Ensign students can immerse in Applied Learning Projects (ALPS) while in school through the RBDC. This accelerates professional growth and provides tangible experience. Students perform research and develop products to provide solutions for our clients’ challenges. Industry professionals and faculty mentors assist students in delivering high quality results.

Meet the Team

John Ward

Executive Director

Ryon Brewer

Business Development Director

Scott Allred

Business Research Director

Wendy Heder


University Relations & Finance Manager

Kathryn Brandi

Business Research Manager

Mike Min


Data Science Program Manager

Olivia Larson


Project Manager

Libby Waite


Business Development Manager

A History of the RBDC

E Center

This non-profit organization was established in 2006 by Robert Pothier, a retired businessman and venture capital partner, to grow the local economy. It served an 18 county region, the E Center’s projects have brought hundreds jobs and millions of dollars in venture capital and other investment funding to Idaho,  western Wyoming, and southern Montana. The E Center averaged 75 projects per year. Through the course of its existence it served over 2,000 students from Brigham Young University–Idaho and Idaho State University. These students participated in research teams that equipped clients with information to support informed decision making.


Southeast Idaho Research Institute was a non-profit organization founded in 2010. Its primary purpose was to facilitate collaboration between researchers at Brigham Young University–Idaho and other institutions and organizations. The mission was focused on providing mentored research experiences to students while promoting scientific research and the practical applications of new technology. This was accomplished by creating dynamic mentored research opportunities, expanding research collaboration, enabling existing researchers to increase productivity, helping establish and develop new research programs, linking researchers to funding and helping area businesses and start-up ventures.

Kim Clark

Former President of BYU-Idaho

The E Center has a wonderful opportunity to be a catalyst for economic growth and development in Eastern Idaho. The area is poised to grow economically in a significant way. The E Center is facilitating this growth by creating a network of resources including ideas, entrepreneurs, businesses and capital. These resources can be dynamically aligned to stimulate the development of new enterprise and strengthen those that already exist. The opportunity is significant.

Merger of Two Like Minded Non-Profits Becomes the RBDC

In 2014, the significant decision was made to combine these two local non-profits in southeastern Idaho to leverage the strengths of each organization and to expand overall capacity. The E Center was merged into SIRI. Then, SIRI was renamed the Research and Business Development Center (RBDC) to reflect the new expanded mission. The legacy of both predecessors informed the desire for the RBDC to still serve clients, students and faculty with excellent opportunities that can ultimately impact the lives of each. The merger has created efficiencies and synergies that we are excited to utilize in order to scale our endeavors to reach an ever greater number of clients, students and faculty.

Contact Us Today!

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