Prior to joining the faculty in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006, Dirk Schaefer was a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Durham University in the United Kingdom and a senior research associate at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. He also held part-time positions as an Assistant Professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Aalen, and as a lecturer at two private IT Academies in Esslingen and Dresden. In addition, Schaefer was the managing director of an IT consulting firm, which he founded in 1999. Schaefer began his career as an apprentice toolmaker with one of Germany's leading metal forming companies, where he specialized in CNC machining and the manufacture of compound tool sets for knuckle joint presses. Prior to working in academia, Schaefer gained experience as a software engineer in the area of CAD system development. Schaefer also has experience in research and development on the boundaries between engineering and information technology principles. His longstanding work has addressed product modeling, variant design technology, product life-cycle management, interdisciplinary ECAD-to-MCAD integration, design-with-manufacture integration, standardized product data exchange, and knowledge management. His current research focuses on the "Scholarship of Integration" and the "Scholarship of Education."