Monitoring Country Progress Team Lead
How does your role contribute to USAID's mission in Europe & Eurasia? I think and hope that I contribute to the Bureau's ability to act more strategically. Using evidenced-based analysis, we can take stock of progress as well as remaining challenges in the region through analysis grounded in data. In my early years in E&E, we were "graduating" countries from USAID assistance in large part on intuition and anecdotes and without a system to compare progress across countries. I helped design that evidence-based system and of course it's evolved quite a bit since then.
What are you proud of in your work? Over the years, I've helped recruit and empower
some very talented and uniquely-skilled
human capital for the Agency. Hiring empirical analysts for my "Monitoring Country Progress" team and helping to facilitate career advancement opportunities for them in other parts of the Agency is tremendously rewarding. I feel that's where my biggest impact has been and will continue to be. It's also been very gratifying to help the Agency advance the Journey to Self-Reliance metrics with the help of talented team -- Kraemer Lovelace and Mark Skeith.
What are you most excited about that's coming up?
Trips to the field are always the highlight of my work for me. Meeting with colleagues in the field gives me a reality check on my work and helps me to see the bigger picture of which I am a part. It's a chance to see the positive impact that we are making on people's lives. So, I'm most excited about my next TDY, wherever that may be...
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I biked from Seattle to Denver in the summer after completing my comprehensive exams, before embarking on the dissertation. Two and a half months on a bike; 2,500 miles; crossing the continental divided 11 times. Why 11? Once we got into Colorado, we decided to go west again to check out Utah!
What others say about Ron:
Ron is our friendly neighborhood Spiderman, known throughout the Agency for his trademark spider-chart and his willingness to share his economic expertise with staff less versed in the quantitative field. While always staying true to his economist roots, Ron is an innovator at heart, seizing on opportunities to push the analytical frontier at USAID and encouraging his team to experiment. He pioneered an analytical approach to monitoring and visualizing country progress that has been institutionalized in the Bureau's phase-out policy and, now, replicated Agency-wide in the Journey to Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps. He may be old-school when it comes to computer skills, but he is a cornerstone and trailblazer when it comes to shaping quantitative analysis at USAID.