Vic Richey (’79) returns to WKU as Hays Watkins Visiting CEO


Vic Richey (’79) returns to WKU as Hays Watkins Visiting CEO 

Vic Richey (’79), Chairman, CEO, and President of ESCO Technologies, Inc., a St. Louis-based technology company with subsidiaries operating throughout the United States and around the world, returned to WKU on March 31 to deliver a lecture titled, “Everything I Learned about Leadership I Learned in the Army.”

Richey has served with ESCO since 1985, holding a variety of positions with the company. In 2001, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer. In 2002, he assumed his current position. Prior to joining the company, Richey spent six years as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He received his undergraduate degree from WKU and his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

This visit marked the first time Richey had returned to his alma mater in nearly 40 years, but he has many fond memories of how WKU helped shape his successful career.  "It was a good fit for me,” he said. “A great place to go to school.”

During his time at WKU, Richey majored in Political Science and was very active in the Military Science program. “ROTC was really life changing for me,” he said. “They wanted to get you ready to lead people and so it was an interesting push and pull of holding your feet to the fire but at the same time knowing they had your back.”

During his lecture, Richey shared his leadership philosophy to an auditorium full of students and faculty. “I want people to understand there are no secrets,” he said. “It really is about treating people right, making tough decisions and giving people a good environment to excel in.” 

The Hays Watkins Visiting CEO program is an annual lecture series that features prominent business leaders who address leadership, ethics and best business practices. The series is made possible through a generous donation from WKU Alumni Association Lifetime Member Hays Watkins (’47), who is Chairman Emeritus of CSX Corporation in Richmond, Va.