Statement by Kathleen Flanagan, Abt President and CEO
Rockville, Md. – Stephanie Wilson-Harvey, a beloved colleague who established Abt’s international development division, recently passed away.In this remembrance, former Abt President Wendell Knox shares how Stephanie worked across disciplines and her exceptional contributions toward creating the global company Abt is today.
“Stephanie joined Abt Associates in the mid-late 1970's just after completing her PhD in economics. She worked in the division that I managed, which focused primarily on program evaluations and social research projects covering various public policy topics in urban economics.
While she worked on domestic public policy projects in her early years at Abt Associates, she let me know early on that her real love was international marketing and development. She lobbied me aggressively to allocate funds to explore business opportunities at the World Bank and USAID. She was very persistent, and I ultimately provided the resources.
Stephanie led the international marketing effort and attracted talented senior staff, which expanded our capacity and our competitiveness for larger, longer term projects. Her first big win was in 1984: the Agricultural Policy and Programs project at USAID, valued at approximately $10 million over five years. Her team quickly expanded the portfolio by winning USAID’s Agricultural Marketing Project. These projects were the springboard for the development of many others. We created a separate international division in the mid-eighties, which she grew significantly over the next decade.
When I became president and CEO of the company in 1992, one of my major growth strategies involved expanding and diversifying the company's international business. Stephanie and I collaborated on that effort, and she led a significant diversification into international health systems and finance, which remains a cornerstone of Abt’s international work today. Stephanie led this division until she left the company in 2001.“
Today, Abt Associates’ international business has grown significantly, providing technical assistance and research services in over fifty developing and re-emerging economies around the world. Stephanie was a bold thinker and established the base and inspiration for our international development success. I had the pleasure of working alongside Stephanie for more than 18 years. She was a true entrepreneur and impressive leader who I learned from every day.
Stephanie was highly regarded by her colleagues at Abt and in the broader international development community. She will be missed.
About Abt Associates Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges. https://www.abtassociates.com