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Karl Theisen

Sr Director, Operations
University Staff, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5001

Theisen is responsible for executing operational objectives to advance the Biodesign Institute’s mission and vision, and to promote sustainable growth as an organization.

Most recently, Theisen founded a strategic business unit of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU to connect its vast research, workforce development, and student engagement resources with local and global industry partners. He was also ASU’s lead for launching the Institute of Automated Mobility (IAM) announced by Arizona’s governor in the Fall of 2018, to form a public-private research consortium focused on advancing automated vehicle safety, science and policy. From 2015-2016 Theisen was the Managing Director for ASU in Vietnam, leading in-country operations for several large-scale, capacity-building programs valued at over $35M, focused on modernizing engineering and technology higher education. Previous to that he led the development and delivery of professional and executive education programs for the Fulton Schools of Engineering, led the global expansion efforts for Thunderbird School of Global Management, spearheaded execution of ASU’s global engagement vision through the former Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, and was a leading member in establishing the first foreign owned and operated university in Southeast Asia, RMIT University Vietnam.

Theisen’s career spans the private sector and higher education, and includes nearly 12 years of living and working abroad. He has led the operations for higher education, IT and management consulting services, and established both a new international university as well as international operations for several academic institutions. Theisen has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and held a number of leadership roles responsible for academic and executive program design and management, recruitment, program and business development operations, marketing, research management, industry engagement and development, and student services.

Theisen’s industry experience focused on business process improvement and business management systems consulting for KPMG Asia Pacific, Exact Software, and a technology distribution subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. He received his BS in Industrial Engineering from Northern Michigan University (Marquette, MI) and MBA from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). Theisen founded and co-chaired an industry committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and has spoken widely about the importance of industry-education linkages at industry and education conferences.