Eco-Nomics TM

Designing Sustainable and Resilient Systems

Joseph Fiksel

During a career of over 40 years, 
Joseph has worked in industry, 
government, applied research, 
management consulting, 
and academia 
Biography of Joseph Fiksel

Dr. Joseph Fiksel is an author, management consultant, researcher, and educator who retired from The Ohio State University in 2018. His notable publications and real-world projects have advanced both the science and practice of sustainability and resilience, and he gained an international reputation as an expert in risk management, supply chain sustainability, and large-scale systems modeling.

A native of Montreal, Joseph began his career at DuPont of Canada, and later founded the Decision & Risk Management group at Arthur D. Little, Inc. After a stint in Silicon Valley, he became Vice President for Life Cycle Management at Battelle, where he also directed the Responsible Care® program. His consulting clients have included leading multi-national companies such as 3M, Apple, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly, Ford, General Motors, Nestle, Owens Corning, and Procter & Gamble.

Joseph led several major projects for the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a consortium of over 40 leading U.S. companies, producing tools and publications that capture the business value of environmental excellence and sustainability. He directed a $2.5 million study of the global cement industry on behalf of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), leading to a consensus action plan in 2002. He helped the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to develop an international framework for sustainable materials management.

In 2005, Joseph joined the Integrated Systems Engineering department at The Ohio State University where he co-founded the Center for Resilience with Prof. Bhavik Bakshi. The center secured private and public sector grants, and engaged faculty and students in developing innovative computer-based tools for decision-makers. From 2010 to 2014, Joseph served as the Special Assistant for Sustainability at the U.S. EPA, helping to embed sustainability, resilience, and systems thinking into the agency’s programs. He led a team that earned the agency’s award for research excellence in 2013.

Returning to Ohio State, Joseph launched into a new venture under the Discovery Themes initiative. He became Executive Director for the interdisciplinary Sustainable and Resilient Economy program, co-led with Prof. Elena Irwin. In this role, he developed collaborations with major companies, government agencies, and non-profits to evaluate and improve the sustainability and resilience of enterprises, communities, and global supply chains. This innovative program continues to flourish, with over 150 affiliated faculty members from across the university.

Joseph has served on numerous advisory and editorial boards, including the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for ISO 14000. He was an officer and founding member of the Society for Risk Analysis, and has testified on risk analysis to Congress and the White House. He has published over 100 articles and 5 books, and has been a frequent invited speaker at business and professional conferences throughout the world. Joseph earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Stanford University, and an applied mathematics degree from La Sorbonne, University of Paris.