Chris Kalish, 50, of Pleasantville, New York, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Botswana August 2nd to begin training as a Community and Economic Development Volunteer. Chris will live and work in a community to improve its local government and participate in a secondary project to help meet community development needs. As an older volunteer, Kalish believes the insight he has gained from years of experience will prove beneficial during service, though knows he will miss his family in those two years overseas.
“I have two children in college and they are looking forward to learning more about Africa and my assignment,” he said. “They are a big part of who I am and I look forward to communicating with them while I’m abroad.”
Chris, who currently lives in East Hartford, Connecticut, is a graduate of Ardsley High School in Westchester County, New York. He then attended Columbia University School of Engineering, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 1987.
As an innovation and technology consultant, Chris has more than 25 years of experience in Information Technology and systems architecture. He served as president and CEO of The IP Factory – a non-profit corporation based in Connecticut that combines technology and business processes to develop companies – and former director and chief technology officer of the General Electric edgelab research facility, for which he managed strategic corporate initiatives from New Product Introductions (NPIs) and Market Entrance Strategies to stochastic risk modeling and econometrics. Prior to his tenure at GE, Chris also worked as a Technical Fellow at PepsiCo to develop global systems architecture and technology strategies. Chris is the immediate past chairman of the Connecticut Technology Council, a statewide association that represents more than 2,000 technology companies in the realm of innovation. His research background includes parallel systems and hardware, compiler design and applied studies in emerging technologies, such as biometrics, sales force automation, and broadband wireless technologies.
Additionally, Chris has served as director of the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Westchester County Regional EMS Council, advisor to the county executive of the Westchester County EMS Advisory Board and member of the president of the University of Connecticut’s Advisory Board for Technology Commercialization. He has also volunteered with the American Red Cross, American Heart Association and Alzheimer’s Association.
During the first three months of his service, Chris will live with a host family in Botswana to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, Chris will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Botswana, where he will live and work for two years with the local people.
“As an engineer, researcher, and volunteer, I approach all challenges with an analytical lens and try to treat all colleagues with respect and empathy,” he said. “I hope that I leave Botswana with a measurable impact on their quality of life, economic condition, or standard of care.”
Chris joins the 107 Connecticut residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 3,393 Connecticut residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
Click here to learn more about Peace Corps Volunteers who are making a difference in their golden years.