Shezad Habib

Founder, President and Managing Director


Barbara Rudin, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President


Anne Chamberlain

Director, Research and Evaluation


Laura Lanier, M.S.

Senior Director, Technical Assistance


Kim McCarley, MBA

Director, Business Development


Dan Geller, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow


Shirley Eng, M.S.

Associate Director, Business Solutions


Patricia Garcia-Arena, Ph.D.

Associate Director, English Language Learning and Early Learners


Marc Mannes, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Children, Youth and Families


Andy Simpson

Associate Director, Information Technology


Hoke Wilson, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Food and Nutrition


Shezad Habib

Founder, President and Managing Director

Overview

Shezad Habib is a dynamic and energetic leader who has provided consulting and advisory services to the international community for over 15 years. He has assembled and managed multiple large-scale team for complex local and international consulting projects. Through his leadership, MSG has helped provide strategic insight across federal agencies, as well as Fortune 500 clients in the energy, health, and technology sectors. Mr. Habib serves on the Board of multiple organizations and has conducted business in more than 30 countries. Mr. Habib excels at relationship management and bringing stakeholders together to create the right teams to meet our client’s needs. Mr. Habib is responsible for overseeing Manhattan Strategy’s growth, strategic planning, and external relationships with clients, vendors, and partners.

Prior to joining Manhattan Strategy, Mr. Habib was a Senior Strategist and Primary Research Expert at Kaiser Associates, an international consulting firm serving Fortune 50 clients. He is a senior advisor to the Institute of Behavior Psychology’s board of directors, and a member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the M&A Roundtable Committee in New York City. Mr. Habib received the Business Man of the Year Award from the National Business Advisory Council (2006) and the First Generation Entrepreneurship Award from the National Association of Entrepreneurship First Generation Council (2011).

Education

Columbia Business School

CCBP, Entrepreneurship, Management & Growth, 2010-2012

New York University

Advanced Coursework, Organization Behavior

Colby College

B.A., Economics and Administrative Sciences


Taimur Amjad, MBA

Managing Partner

Overview

Mr. Amjad oversees MSG’s operational and financial infrastructure for delivering high quality solutions to clients and strategic and tactical investments to position the firm for long-term growth. Mr. Amjad has over 15 years of experience in helping clients improve organizational performance and service delivery. He has been a trusted advisor to Global Fortune 500 firms and over a dozen federal agencies. He has advised clients in evaluating and enhancing program performance, aligning strategy, vision and goals, creating effective human capital management strategies, reducing cost and improving efficiency, marketing to and management of customers and stakeholder groups, and in planning and launching meetings and events.

Key Successes

  • Led MSG’s Federal Government practice, transforming the business into new service areas and over a dozen federal agencies
  • Managed over 150 projects for government agencies and Fortune 500 firms
  • Developed innovative solutions and results for clients including:
    • Location Affordability Portal for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development
    • Shared Services Benchmarking Tool for the Department of the Treasury
    • Employee Recognition System for the U.S. Department of Education
    • Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for International Development Grants
    • Performance and Goal Assessment System for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Experience & Expertise

Services

  • Program Evaluation
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Best-Practice Analysis
  • Cost and Performance Benchmarking
  • Training / CBT
  • Grant and Peer Reviews
  • Meeting and Conference Planning
  • Growth and Go-to-Market Advisory
  • Market Entry

Program/Sectors

  • Public Education
  • International Development
  • Housing and Transportation
  • Science and Innovation
  • Public Finance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Global experience in energy, infrastructure, consumer goods, communications, pharmaceuticals, and other industries

Education

University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School

M.B.A., Finance

Babson College

B.A., Finance and Entrepreneurship

Background

Prior to MSG, Mr. Amjad was a Vice President at the Corporate Strategy practice of Kaiser Associates, a boutique management consultancy in Washington D.C. Mr. Amjad led business development and engagement delivery for the firm, servicing Global Fortune 100 clients in the areas of growth strategy, go-to-market analysis, organizational improvement, and strategic due diligence. Mr. Amjad has addressed global challenges for firms in the energy, technology, wireless communication, consumer goods, healthcare, retail, infrastructure, industrial goods, and several other sectors with experience in Latin America, Africa, South and South East Asia, and Europe.


Barbara Rudin, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President

Overview

Dr. Rudin is the Senior Vice President for Operations and Programs at MSG. In this role, Dr. Rudin oversees all corporate departments focusing on efficient processes and maintaining consistent high-quality standards for staff and clients. Dr. Rudin has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in federal consulting and has contributed to significant growth of small businesses as they grew into large corporations. Dr. Rudin holds a doctorate in Child and Family Development and has managed a variety of research and technical assistance projects focused on Head Start, early education, and family needs in the military services. She has worked across many federal agencies including the Administration for Children and Families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, she has served in senior management roles for work in the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Education

University of Georgia

M.S. and Ph.D., Child and Family Development

University of Florida

B.A., Psychology


Anne Chamberlain

Director, Research and Evaluation

Overview

Anne Chamberlain leads the Research and Evaluation practice at MSG. She has been conducting and managing the research and evaluation of complex policies and programs for 20 years. Ms. Chamberlain has extensive experience conveying research from concept through dissemination stages. Her work has addressed a variety of issues in workforce development, education, and human services. Methodologically, Ms. Chamberlain works across quantitative and qualitative approaches, often building mixed-methods designs to maximize the utility of both. She has directed randomized controlled trials of education and disability employment initiatives and is also an expert in the use of interview, focus group, observation, and document-review techniques. Ms. Chamberlain works to ensure that the wide variety of stakeholders within each project are acknowledged and invested in a high-quality, actionable evaluation.

Prior to joining MSG, Ms. Chamberlain was a senior research associate with IMPAQ International and Director of Program Evaluation at Social Dynamic where she led numerous studies on workforce development, education, and human services. Ms. Chamberlain is an active member of the American Evaluation Association.

Education

University of Maryland Baltimore County

ABD, Public Policy - Evaluation

Syracuse University

M.S., Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation


Wendy Smith

Vice President, Business Services

Overview

Ms. Smith oversees internal activities at MSG relating to operations and performance and provides project leadership and Corporate Officer management for select MSG contracts crossing multiple disciplines. She is currently Corporate Officer for MSG’s Peer Monitoring, Performance Management, and Logistics Support contract with Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is also MSG’s Project Director for its program evaluation contract with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and for MSG’s blanket purchase agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for business process re-engineering services.Formerly, Ms. Smith was a Project Director and Senior Advisor with the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), working on Congressionally mandated oversight of federal programs and providing direct consulting to federal agencies to improve operations. For over 25 prior years previously, Ms. Smith was a senior official with the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she managed federal international trade and export promotion programs.

Key Successes

  • Served as a Senior Advisor to the Chief Financial Officer of the FBI in re-engineering the financial, planning, and budget operations of the (then) $7 billion Bureau
  • As Director of the Trade Information Center, successfully consolidated the U.S. Government’s inter-agency export assistance call center with multiple country and regional counseling programs to create an integrated, award-winning customer service operation and website on doing business in most areas of the world
  • Oversaw 21 trade advisory committees comprising over 500 representatives of U.S. companies and trade organizations to support U.S. trade negotiations and policy development

Experience & Expertise

Services

  • Organizational Improvement
  • Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
  • Process Re-Engineering
  • International Trade and Development
  • Program Management

Best-Practice and Comparative Program Analysis

  • Grant and Peer Reviews
  • Meeting and Conference Planning
  • Policy Development and Analysis

Professional Organizations

Created and edited Ask the TIC, a column on technical aspects of international business, published monthly for three years in Business America magazine and on www.export.gov. Chief Editor and primary or contributing author for the following President’s Export Council publications: U.S. Trade in Transition, Maintaining the Gains; Coping with the Dynamics of World Trade; and The Export Imperative.Authored or contributed substantially to 11 formal studies of the National Academy of Public Administration

Board Positions & Memberships

Former Member, Board of Directors, Washington Studio School (10 years)

Education

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

BA, Economics

U.S. Department of Commerce, Senior Executive Service Development Programs


Laura Lanier, M.S.

Senior Director, Technical Assistance

Overview

Laura Lanier leads the Technical Assistance (TA) practice at MSG, overseeing national projects supporting education reform and workforce development. She has over 20 years of experience providing project management, client solutions, and technical assistance on career and adult education, early learning, English language learners, postsecondary education and career development to at-risk populations. Ms. Lanier has led numerous local, state and national level education and workforce reform efforts to improve outcomes for lifelong learners. She is the training advisor for the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) initiatives where she informs best-in-class technical assistance and training programs to State and Local Education Agencies.

Prior to joining MSG, Ms. Lanier was the Director of Education Programs at Kratos where she served as a consultant to state and local education agencies as well as national education reform offices, such as the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, in the areas of project implementation, professional development, state and local partnership development, and technical assistance. Ms. Lanier is the previous project director for America’s Career Resource Network and the Accelerating Student Success through Credit-based Transitions project. She is a member of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE).

In 2018, Ms. Lanier was selected as one of the top 100 female professionals in Charlotte for the inaugural edition of KNOW Charlotte! KNOW is an annual publication featuring dynamic women from virtually every industry. Nominated and selected because of her DC-based Education and Workforce Development work with leaders, as well as juggling single momming on a daily basis, Ms. Lanier is considered a trendsetters, influencer and woman to watch.

Education

The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina

M.S., Clinical Counseling

College of Charleston

B.S., Psychology


Tony Myers, PMP

Vice President, Management and Technology

Overview

Mr. Tony Myers joins MSG with over 15 years of experience in strategic planning, technology solutions, grants management, and business process improvement (BPI). Tony will oversee MSG's management consulting and technology divisions, as well as support many of the firm's business development and product development efforts. Prior to joining MSG, Tony served as the Vice President of Technology and Management Solutions at Catapult Technology, a premier management and technology solutions firm.

Tony has worked across the Federal Government. He recently managed the development of an enterprise-wide Contact Management (CM) strategy for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; directed a BPI initiative to streamline the technology acquisition process for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and developed an Enterprise Architecture (EA) strategy for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Finance Center. Tony has also worked for a national education association and an international philanthropy where he oversaw technology operations, policy, and planning.

Key Successes

  • Oversaw the Project Management Office (PMO) at the General Services Administration (GSA) responsible for modernizing enterprise IT systems.
  • Developed and implemented information technology solutions for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Information Systems (DIS).
  • Directed a Business Process Improvement (BPI) initiative for the OCIO, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to streamline the Department's technology acquisition process.
  • Managed the development of an enterprise-wide Contact Management strategy for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve veteran services via enhanced customer service capabilities.
  • Oversaw the development of a Human Capital strategy for the Joint Taskforce - Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (JTF-AFIC) in support of the 2009 presidential inauguration.

Experience & Expertise

  • Strategic Planning
  • Program/Project Management
  • Software Development
  • Business Process Improvement/Reengineering
  • Human Capital Management

Education

University of Maryland

Graduate Studies in Technology Management

George Mason University

Bachelor of Science, Public Administration

Honors & Awards

Project Management Institute

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Villanova University

Advanced Masters Certificate in Applied Project Management


Kim McCarley, MBA

Director, Business Development

Overview

Ms. McCarley is a seasoned, creative, and dynamic strategic planner and management executive with more than 15 years of business development experience, including leading capture management, partnership and relationship management, and proposal development teams. As the Director of Business Development, Ms. McCarley managed the day-to-day activities of the department to include business development, capture, proposal management, partner engagement, and outreach. With more than 18 years of professional management experience, including developing and improving strategic management systems and processes, Ms. McCarley also is an experienced manager, project leader, and marketer. She designs, implements, and maintains management processes and marketing programs, including development of appropriate marketing collateral materials, Web sites, and social media engagement that reflect the corporate brand.

Prior to joining MSG, Ms. McCarley served as Vice President of Business Development at Danya International LLC where she was responsible for developing and executing short- and long-range comprehensive plans and programs to meet and exceed revenue objectives.

Education

University of Phoenix

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Washington Adventist University

Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration


Dan Geller, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow

Overview

Daniel Geller is a Senior Fellow and the former Director of Research and Evaluation at MSG. He is an accomplished researcher with over 35 years of experience in program evaluation, policy research and analysis, and research design, including the management of large-scale data collection efforts and analysis of resulting data. He has directed the evaluation and study of many highly visible programs for public sector clients and through this research provided critical input to inform policy and to assess the extent to which programs achieve their objectives. Dr. Geller’s work includes efforts aimed at assessing program participation, impact evaluations and outcome assessments, quality and adherence to procedures, program integrity and error, and policy implications of program operation. This includes assessing the integrity and operations of programs targeting underserved populations and measuring the error rate in determining eligibility and distributing benefits. He has led numerous quantitative studies using primary and secondary data on a nationally representative sample of participants, designed research using experimental and quasi-experimental methods, and conducted qualitative and process evaluations to gain additional insight into programs and their impact. He has presented findings and reports to policy leaders and in response to Congressional requests.

Dr. Geller has worked in partnership with top policy analysis and research firms, methodological and subject-matter experts at major institutions, and public policy organizations. Prior to joining MSG, he was the Vice President at Insight Policy Research and a principal at ICF where he designed and conducted effective quantitative and qualitative evaluations that enabled clients to demonstrate the accountability and achievements of programs.

Education

City University of New York

Ph.D., Social Psychology

Vassar College

B.A., Psychology


Daniel Barone

Director of Business Development


Lauren Amos, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Research and Evaluation

Overview

Lauren Amos has nearly 20 years of experience in research, evaluation, and technical assistance with a focus on programs and initiatives designed to address disparities and disproportionality in K-16 education, juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Dr. Amos work has largely applied behavioral and social science research and evaluation methods (e.g., cognitive mapping, quasi-experimental designs, case studies, expert-novice studies, usability testing, data and text mining, data visualization, focus groups, web and learning analytics, trend analysis, agent-based modeling, implementation fidelity assessment, cost-utility analysis) to help such clients as the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and New York City Public Schools make data-driven decisions; set policy; manage risk; forecast and simulate outcomes; measure effectiveness; assess stakeholder and end-user needs; influence consumer and constituent practice, behavior and belief; and facilitate organizational change.

Dr. Amos specializes in the design of data tools for practitioners and technical assistance resources having developed numerous training and technical assistance resources including data dashboards, webinars, toolkits and practitioner guides on such topics as cultural competence and implicit bias, crisis intervention, trauma-informed care, behavior management, gender-specific programming, transition services, multi-tiered systems of support. Prior to MSG, Lauren was a senior researcher for the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

Education

Northwestern University

Ph.D., Learning Sciences with specialization in cognitive development and adolescent literacy assessment and instruction

Duke University

B.A., Public Policy Studies and English


Shirley Eng, M.S.

Associate Director, Business Solutions

Overview

Shirley Eng has over 20 years of experience in best practices research and business process improvement for private and government sector organizations. She has managed over 50 market research and data collection projects for public and private sector clients. These projects include Fortune 500 clients in the energy, health, and technology sectors and government contracts with the General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Federal Reserve Banks, The Federal Deposit of Insurance, among others. Ms. Eng has extensive experience developing strategies to enhance operational and financial performance and, thus, improve internal and external customer satisfaction.

Prior to joining MSG, Ms. Eng worked at American Express and Salomon Brothers on multiple process improvement initiatives within the finance and credit card operations. These initiatives include data quality improvements, competitive benchmarking and research, activity-based management, modeling and risk management, shared services process optimization and overall information management system and process improvement.

Education

Columbia University

M.S., Strategic Communications with a focus in Market Research

B.A., Organizational Psychology and with concentrations in Economics and Computer Science


Mela Emam

Director, Finance and Accounting

Overview

Mela has been the Finance Manager at Manhattan Strategy Group (MSG) since 2008 reporting directly to firm management. Mela provides corporate financial policy and direction and leads all financial administration, business planning, accounting, contract funding and budget management. As a member of the senior leadership team, Mela works closely with several motivated and engaged MSG project managers to ensure compliance against project budgets, schedules, and performance. Mela also conducts earned value management analysis to inform leadership of any advanced needed course corrections.

Mela also manages all aspects of client and external contracting including subcontract agreements, vendors, reporting and management against government vehicles, SBA reporting, and consultant/partnership/teaming arrangements. In her 20 years of experience, Mela has helped to transform several small organizations to prime contractors in providing global service to the US Government and private companies worldwide.

Experience & Expertise

Services

  • Earned Value Management (EVM)
  • Customized System Accounting
  • Financial Management Integration in support of forecasting, transparency, and accountability
  • Financial documentation compliance in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
  • Professional Organizations

    • American Accounting Association (AAA)
    • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Network
    • Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors
    • Accounting & Finance Professionals on NOVA & DC Metro Region
    • Non-Profit Accounting & Grant Management (NPO

    Education

    San Jose State University

    B.A., Accounting and Post-graduate courses


    Patricia Garcia-Arena, Ph.D.

    Associate Director, English Language Learning and Early Learners

    Overview

    Dr. Garcia-Arena has over a decade of experience in federal project management, with a strong subject matter expertise in education, child development, bilingualism and working with English learners and their families. Dr. Garcia-Arena has led both research and technical assistance projects, providing direct technical assistance to school districts across the country. For instance, prior to joining MSG she worked with state educational agencies to create tools and resources, based on the best available research, which assisted districts throughout the state in implementing practices to improve student achievement. Dr. Garcia-Arena has also created a wide range of technical assistance resources and products, including online courses and English-Spanish bilingual formative assessments to measure pre-kindergartener’s literacy skills. She has significant experience in reviewing services that districts provide to ELs as a foundation for providing research based technical assistance.

    Education

    Stanford University Graduate School of Education

    Ph.D., Psychological Studies in Education

    Harvard University Graduate School of Education

    Ed.M., Human Development & Psychology

    Tufts University

    B.A., Psychology & Child Development


    Sally Wade, Ed.D.

    Senior Program Associate

    Overview

    Dr. Sally M. Wade serves as a member of the MSG Education Team, specializing in leadership, technical assistance, professional development, grants management, program evaluation, publications development, research to practice, public presentations and group facilitation. She is a results-oriented, systems change agent, with a proven success record in implementing creative strategies, promoting long-term alliances, and creating sustainable program improvement. Dr.Wade has over 20 years of experience working at the national, regional, state, university, and local level. She is an author, speaker, technical assistance provider, project manager and sought after thought leader.

    Prior to joining Manhattan Strategy, Dr. Wade was a Program Associate with the Southeast Comprehensive Center and Southeast Regional Educational Laboratory at SEDL headquartered in Austin Texas. She was founder and director of the Florida Partnership for Family Involvement in Education at the University of South Florida where she worked as a faculty member for over ten years.

    Key Successes

    • Concurrently managed multiple multi-million dollar contracts with diverse education agencies
    • Served as principal investigator and project director at the university level on three competitive federal grants totaling over ten million dollars
    • Managed federal flow-through IDEA funds for a State Department of Education
    • Served as a regional technical assistance provider for a six state region
    • Developed strong partnerships with educators and community organizers throughout the nation• Designed publications to bring research to practice
    • Served as lead in implementing over nine statewide initiatives encompassing colleges, districts and schools
    • Provided leadership on numerous family engagement initiatives and programs

    Experience & Expertise

    Services

    • Professional Development
    • Technical Assistance
    • Program Improvement
    • Formative Evaluation
    • Group Facilitation
    • Sustainable Collaboration

    Select Subject Areas

    • Family Engagement
    • Early Childhood
    • Exceptional Student Education

    Presentations & Publications

    • Numerous invited keynote presentations to educators and business groups throughout the US and internationally, including Canada, Russia, China and Sicily
    • In demand workshop presenter at conferences and professional development seminars including:
      • “Improving Low-Performing Schools”
      • “10 Ways Family Engagement is Like Fishing”
      • “ADHD: It’s a Brain Thing”
      • “Church Leaders Assuring Student Success (CLASS)”
      • “Family Reading Parties”
    • Reaching the Hard-to-Reach Parent, in Threshold: exploring the future of education (2006)
    • Parenting Influences on Intellectual Development and Educational Achievement, in Handbook on Parenting: Theory and Research to Practice (2004)
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    Education

    Nova Southeastern University

    Ed.D., Education Leadership

    St. Louis University

    Post-Graduate Program, Special Education

    University of Arkansas

    M.Ed. Exceptional Student Education

    Hendrix College

    B.A., Elementary Education

    Honors & Awards

    • 2003 Florida Association of Teacher Educators Excellence in Teacher Education Award
    • 2002 MetLife Foundation Teacher-Parent Engagement through Partnerships National Award


    Sue Liu, M.S.W.

    Associate Director, Adult Education and Workforce Development

    Overview

    Sue Liu is a strategic, results orientated leader with over 15 years of experience managing workforce and adult education initiatives, legislative and policy advocacy, policy analysis, policy-to-program implementation, and technical assistance efforts to increase higher education and workforce training opportunities for individuals with barriers to work and education. Ms. Liu’s expertise includes developing and delivering technical assistance, conducting best practice research, and engaging and facilitating subject matter experts in policy reform discussions.

    Prior to joining MSG, Ms. Liu has held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). She completed a special assignment for the leadership of the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services where she was the lead technical expert working with DOL and ED on Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation with a focus on ACF programs. She was part of the group working on the reauthorization of the then Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and was a key staff member on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) program. This unique combination of project management experience; a deep nuanced understanding of DOL and ED programs; extensive knowledge in WIOA and education policy make her an asset an adult education and workforce.

    Education

    Washington University

    M.S.W., in Social and Economic Development Policies and Studies

    University of Utah

    B.A., in Political Science


    Marc Mannes, Ph.D.

    Associate Director, Children, Youth and Families

    Overview

    Marc Mannes has over 25 years of experience in federal service, contracting, research, and policy and program improvement in early childhood education (ECE), child and family services, and child welfare. Dr. Mannes has led national training and technical assistance (T/TA) centers, and directly delivered technical assistance on evidence-based practices to federal maternal and child home visiting program grantees; and state, county and municipal public child welfare and behavioral health agency leadership and practitioners to support effective implementation of evidence-based practices. He provided national leadership for an extensive portfolio of state and regional Head Start T/TA contracts serving hundreds of grantees. As part of his responsibilities he developed a national online Program Leadership and Management Professional Development initiative for Head Start grant directors to enhance program performance. He is a contributing author on topics such as Balancing Family-Centered Services and Child Well-Being: Exploring Issues in Policy, Practice, Theory, and Research (2001) and Other People’s Kids: Social Expectations and American Adults’ Involvement with Children and Adolescents (2003).

    Prior to joining MSG, Dr. Mannes was a former federal staff at the Administration for Children and Families where he served as the national training expert in child welfare and formulated T/TA initiatives. At the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice his role concentrated on actively supporting the design and delivery of intensive in-home family preservation and family support services. With the National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare, the first national entity dedicated to promoting the use of evidence-based practices in the child welfare field, the emphasis was on meeting the behavioral and mental health needs of child welfare involved children, youth and families. During my stint at Search Institute my responsibilities encompassed promoting the positive youth development, protective factor oriented, and research-based Developmental Assets to young people, families, schools, communities, and national and international youth-serving organizations.

    Education

    Cornell University

    Ph.D., Human Services Studies

    Indiana University

    M.S., Education


    Andy Simpson

    Associate Director, Information Technology

    Overview

    Andrew Simpson leads all technology related activities at MSG including IT project management, web design, web and mobile application development, database administration, data security and web hosting. He brings passion and innovation, demonstrated through the design and development and multi-project use of a proprietary Technical Assistance framework, TotalTA, and also through his innovative thinking for developing effective Communities of Practice. Mr. Simpson has extensive experience leading teams through the design, development, testing, deployment and maintenance of technology solutions including event websites and mobile apps, communities of practice, content management systems, and rich data-driven solutions. He also ensures that all technology-based solutions comply with Section 508 Accessibility, NIST and FISMA standards for Federal technology solutions, and agency-specific regulations.

    Education

    Shenandoah University

    B.B.A., Information Systems in Computer Technology


    Amara Berhane, M.L.A.

    Logistics and Human Resource Manager

    Overview

    Ms. Berhane has 15 years of overall experience in meeting planning and administrative support for national and international meetings, including 5 years of experience in grant review management specifically with the Department of Education (ED). As a logistics coordinator and competition specialist, she has provided end to end management of on-site and electronic reviews for the federal government. Ms. Berhane also has extensive experience in review panel management, which includes reviewer identification and recruitment; creation and production of reviewer materials and packages; distribution and collection of assigned grant applications and packages; coordination of travel and lodging accommodations for federal on-site grant reviews; and coordination of orientations for TA to grant reviewers.

    Experience & Expertise

    Services

    • Federally Compliant Peer Reviews
    • Peer Review Process Management
    • Development of Grant Review Procedures
    • Training Materials Development
    • Budget Development & Management
    • Conference Planning and Management
    • Organization and Staff Development

    Education

    Georgetown University

    M.L.A., Public Policy

    Wheaton College

    B.A., Psychology


    Hoke Wilson, Ph.D.

    Associate Director, Food and Nutrition

    Overview

    Dr. Wilson has over 30 years of experience as a lead social science analyst for the Federal Government and as a project director and principal investigator on a variety of large, complex research and evaluation projects for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). As a social science analyst with the FNS Office of Policy Support, Dr. Wilson gained knowledge of the constraints and stresses facing FNS. Dr. Wilson has also led efforts for the Departments of Homeland Security and ED, the Food and Drug Administration, and NSF. As a project director, he is especially adept at building team relationships that invariably lead to optimal outcomes for all stakeholders. He is currently leading the estimation of The Extent of Trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: 2015 – 2017 for FNS. The estimation uses millions of SNAP transaction records, descriptions of authorized retailers, and investigative outcomes from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the Office of the Inspector General and State and local law enforcement. The methodology employs an iterative data raking procedure to ameliorate the upward bias that would be a natural by-product from the use of investigative data.

    Previously, while with Economic System, Inc, Wilson produced an “Understanding the Anti-Fraud Measures of Large SNAP Retailers”. The purpose of the study was two-fold. First, the study sought to understand why large food retailers (supermarkets and superstores, primarily) consistently exhibit the lowest estimated levels of SNAP trafficking among all FNS store types. The second purpose of the study was to discover whether these retailers’ practices are uniformly effective and might be applied by retailers of other sizes and with fewer resources. Wilson’s familiarity with the “loss prevention” practices of large SNAP retailers provides insight into what would qualify as an atypical transaction at this class of stores.

    Education

    University of Maryland, College Park

    PhD, Political Economy

    MA, Government and Politics

    University of Florida

    MA, Economics


    Wendy Houston

    Project Director

    Overview

    Wendolyn (Wendy) Houston has more than 25 years of project management, logistics coordination, conference planning, training and technical assistance, and database development experience, supporting both Federal and private- sector clients. Ms. Houston’s work includes management of multiple peer review, training, technical assistance, logistics, and consulting initiatives as well as information management support. She combines technical expertise developing and maintaining database and budget tracking systems, budget management and cost control capability for simultaneous multiple projects, and substantive understanding of the issues that impact children and youth at risk.

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    Experience & Expertise

    Services

    • Federally Compliant Onsite Peer Monitoring
    • Peer Monitoring Process Management
    • Development of Onsite Monitoring Procedures
    • Federal Program Startup
    • Training Curriculum Development
    • Budget Development & Management
    • Conference Planning and Management


    Sancta Watley, M.A., PMP

    Project Director, Grant & Program Support Services

    Overview

    Ms. Watley is a dynamic and energetic project leader with a proven track record. For more than 20 years, she has successfully directed multi-million dollar private- and federal-sector contracts requiring a high level of planning and organization, including complex meeting planning projects of up to $15 million in value. As Project Director for numerous high-profile federal initiatives she utilizes independent business judgment to cultivate high-performance teams and enhance collaborative efforts among stakeholders. As part of conducting project implementation and quality assurance oversight for Federal contracts, Ms. Watley developed standard operating procedures, policies, templates, and QA monitoring processes to implement industry best practices.

    Ms. Watley has a broad range of experience in financial management, budget development and monitoring, contract management, and client relationship management. She has provided event planning and management for trainings, symposiums, conferences, and roundtable discussions. Her responsibilities have included managing contracts and projects using industry standards; maintaining client and stakeholder relations; preparing work plans and closeout reports; and training, managing, and mentoring staff. She also takes the lead on designing, implementing, and analyzing the results of meeting evaluations and surveys, providing MSG’s clients with valuable insight and customer feedback from meeting attendees.

    Experience & Expertise

    Services

    • Conference Planning and Management
    • Training Materials Development
    • Organization and Staff Development
    • Logistics Cordination
    • Quality Control

    Clients

    • U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
    • U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration
    • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    • National Science Foundation

    Education

    Certified Project Management Professional (PMP)

    Villanova University

    Master Certificate, Applied Project Mangement

    Regent University

    M.A., Human Service Counseling

    Flordia Memorial College

    B.A., Business Management

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