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Majors & Degrees

Andrea Thompson named CEO of DSU Applied Research Corp

October 4, 2023

Andrea Thompson has been named CEO of the Dakota State University Applied Research Corporation.

Thompson is a South Dakota native with a long career in national security, foreign policy, intelligence, cyber and emerging technology, and strategic policy. She spent over 25 years in the Army as an intelligence officer, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After retiring from the Army, she continued building senior executive experience in government and the private sector, as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the U.S., Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and VP of International Programs at Northop Grumman.

“Andrea is the perfect individual to lead DARC,” said President José-Marie Griffiths.

DARC was recently established as a non-profit corporation that is affiliated with but separate from DSU. Its mission is to serve as a management company, working to develop, operate, and expand the DSU Applied Research Lab (DSU-ARL). The Lab is currently located on the Dakota State campus in Madison, and will expand to Sioux Falls in a building that is currently in the design stage.  The Corporation will be responsible for operating the Lab that will support important national security research with government, military, business, and industry partners.

“Andrea has experience with all these potential partners. That experience, along with her expertise in international negotiations and relationships, and her highly effective leadership skills, will allow her to develop this organization to deliver strategic outcomes in national security and business fields,” Griffiths stated.

“Andrea Thompson is a South Dakota native, and we are fortunate enough that she is bringing her skills and experience back here to her home state,” said Governor Kristi Noem.

“This is a perfect example of the advantage that DSU’s Applied Research Corporation is bringing the state of South Dakota. Andrea’s work to develop cybersecurity workforce opportunities right here in our state promises a bright future for our kids and grandkids. DSU’s cyber industry is not only keeping South Dakota students in-state for college, it’s bringing our out-of-state students back home for professional opportunities. Welcome back to South Dakota, Andrea!” Noem stated.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), also commented on this announcement.

“We are pleased to welcome Andrea Thompson as CEO of DARC,” said Rounds. “The relationship between DARC and Dakota State University will allow for the expansion of cybersecurity research within the Madison and Sioux Falls communities. This is an excellent step in the continued development of additional job opportunities for young people to stay in South Dakota.”

Sara Venhuizen, Hardware Engineering Manager at Aerostar, is chair of the DARC Board of Directors.

“The DSU Applied Research Corporation board is very happy to bring Andrea Thompson on board as our CEO,” she said. “Andrea's extensive background in national security and the U.S. military is an excellent fit with DARC. We are excited to welcome Andrea back home to South Dakota to lead current and future efforts to promote cyber security research in our state."

Miles Beacom, CEO and president of First PREMIER Bankcard, ARC board member, echoes those sentiments.

“As a member of the DARC board, I am thrilled to welcome Andrea Thompson to the team as CEO,” he said. “She has a tremendous resume and her work with this organization will solidify cybersecurity as South Dakota’s next big industry and accelerate the growth in the scientific and technical services workforce. The Applied Research Center will be an incredible asset to our state and our nation.”

Thompson is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and has master’s degrees from Long Island University and National Defense University. She co-authored “Achieving Victory in Iraq: Countering an Insurgency,” and serves on advisory boards for international, national, and state boards.

She will begin her duties on Nov. 1, and is "excited to be coming home to lead this amazing team,” she said. “DARC, the Dakota State University Applied Research Corporation, will create opportunities for our cyber professionals, students, and businesses. Our tech expertise will contribute not only to the safety and security of our businesses, cities, and state but also to our regional and national security.”

Thompson noted that DSU is leading the nation in so many innovative academic sectors and corporate growth is a natural next step. “With over 700,000 unfilled cyber positions across our nation, I want every tech grad in South Dakota to have the opportunity to fuel their passion and do what they love, and to be able to do it in the great state of South Dakota,” she stated. She will work with Stacy Kooistra, the Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel for DARC, who took on this role earlier this year.

For more information on DARC, visit dsu-arc.org.

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