Natesh “Tesh” Rao is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995 and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. During a 20-year career as an officer and naval aviator, he completed 12 deployments, flew more than 4,000 hours, 238 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and made 775 landings on multiple aircraft carriers. Tesh served in several squadrons culminating in the opportunity to serve as a commander of a squadron in his final tour. Additionally, he was a special assistant and senior aide to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe from 2009-2012 where he was responsible for conceptualizing and designing the organizational force restructuring of NATO.
After completing active duty service in January, 2016, Tesh became a partner at Starbucks where he worked on the government affairs and public policy team helping to advance global social impact initiatives. During this time, he established the Starbucks-No One Left Behind partnership and was instrumental in helping Starbucks hire its first three Afghan interpreters. Active in their community, Tesh and his wife Lisa, worked with neighbors to provide the newly hired Afghan families at Starbucks with basic needs, financial assistance and community support.
Tesh transitioned into athletics at Arizona State where he is currently a Senior Associate Athletic Director. He focuses on revenue generation, business development, advancement of global initiatives for the department and leadership development of student-athletes.
Tesh has traveled extensively, lived in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Belgium, and is fluent in French and Kannada (South Indian). Tesh is a sports enthusiast who enjoys traveling and spending time with Lisa and their two young children.