Faculty feature: Meet Dave Garten

Portland State Professor Dave Garten
Dave Garten is a senior instructor in the MBA program,
as well as the Director of the Capstone program.

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

The short version of my bio is that my Intel years in the 80s and 90s gave me a ton of experience with strategy, business development, finance, marketing, team building and program management — this was the big growth period for Intel back in the day (“all boats rise with the tide”).

Then I joined with three entrepreneurs and we built SeQuential, a biofuels company that turns used cooking oil into biodiesel. We established the company and expanded it over 14 years, then sold it in 2018. I was the first CEO and learned to lead and build a company without the safety net of an established company.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

I love being able to use my experience to deliver content and ideas that are meaningful and helpful.

At the same time, I love learning. We get to become familiar with new industries in the classroom. And I have the luxury to spend time with students who generate new ideas and insights every day.

What classes do you teach in The Portland MBA?

I have been teaching at PSU since 2006. I started as an adjunct professor teaching Strategy and gradually added more responsibilities as I had more time. At this point, I am full-time MBA faculty and teach Strategy 1 and 2, Negotiation and an elective, Mergers and Acquisitions. I also manage the Capstone Program and co-teach Leadership Immersion. In the summer, I lead the international experience to South America.

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

We can redefine business to be about more than just profit. I am a big believer in the triple-bottom-line, and it makes long-term economic sense. We discuss this in the classroom, and I hope our work can help students be change agents in the business world.

I like to think that I was a change agent with the passion and energy I poured into SeQuential. We built a better company with an environmental mission, and the result was millions of gallons of biodiesel that burned 85% less carbon than diesel.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

You’ll see that my personal email is “daveoutside.” I am an active cyclist (bike commuter), runner, hiker and skier. In addition, I am a new empty-nester, having just launched two boys into college. So I have more time these days to spend with my partner Linda and the great outdoors.

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