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Dr. Dirks is director of the Global Institute of Sustainability and director of LightWorks, an Arizona State University initiative that capitalizes on ASU's strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. He is also the Julie Wrigley Chair of Sustainable Practices and a professor of practice in the School of Sustainability and former member of the Board of Trustees for Sustainabiity @ ASU. Before joining ASU, Dirks was the president of BP Asia-Pacific and the president of BP China. In China, he grew BP from an operation with fewer than 30 employees and no revenue to more than 1,300 employees and revenues of about $4 billion in 2008. Dirks received a Ph.D. in chemistry from ASU in 1980. He was the first doctoral student to work in the Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis (now the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis).