Growing up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, Fred Brown was raised with a passion for cowboy culture and thinking. He spent his childhood roping steers, training horses, and competing in rodeo. Today Fred, his wife Leslie, and their four daughters live on a ranch just north of Spokane, WA, where they run a quarter horse breeding program and rodeo practice facility.
Fred attended Gonzaga University and earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering. At Gonzaga, he developed a lasting love for philosophical thought and the discernment of purpose. After graduation, Fred attended Texas A&M where he achieved a master of science in civil engineering. Fred spent time as a design engineer, a software engineer and a professional rodeo cowboy following his days at university. In 1987, Fred discovered his calling and founded ECSI – the beginning of a long line of businesses he would be part of.
Fred is an entrepreneur committed to creating contributory organizations: companies that create local jobs and benefit as many people as possible. He has started – or been part of starting – 11 businesses since ECSI. These businesses are diverse, ranging from software companies to grass-fed beef farms to investment funds.
Currently, Fred is the CEO of Next IT Corporation, a company he founded in 2002 in Spokane. Next IT is a technology company that designs and implements Intelligent Virtual Assistants, which allow people to interact with an organization’s website or other electronic assets by simply engaging in a conversation. Prior to founding Next IT in 2002, Fred founded LineSoft (now part of Itron), which created software that allowed utility companies to distribute electrical power in the most efficient manner possible.
Fred mentors members of the Spokane community in horsemanship and roping. He has stayed active at Gonzaga by cheering on the basketball teams and sitting on the board of trustees, and his commitment to mentoring students in career discernment and entrepreneurship led him to found Gonzaga’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Fred regularly spends time with his Father, Jim, who has been a strong influence in his life.