Global development leader Earl Gast has been appointed the new President of University Research Co., LLC (URC). With 30 years of experience in government and private industry, Gast is a talented professional with proven expertise in the public and private sector leading strategic, results-driven programming.
“We are pleased to have someone of Earl Gast’s caliber and breadth of experience take the helm of URC to further the legacy started by Melvyn Estrin over 50 years ago of providing innovative, evidence-based solutions to health and social challenges worldwide,” said Suellen Estrin, URC’s Chairman and CEO. “Gast brings an excellent perspective on the global business environment with a proven track record of execution and leadership.”
An Accomplished Career in Global Development
Prior to joining URC, Gast served as Executive Vice President for Programs at Creative Associates, leading the implementation of all programs across more than 30 countries. He previously served as Senior International Advisor for the global law firm, Covington & Burling, LLP, where he advised many of the largest U.S. and international companies on their investment strategies.
Before that, Gast spent more than two decades with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2012, he was sworn in as the Assistant Administrator (AA) for the Agency’s Africa Bureau overseeing a $7 billion portfolio that provided assistance to more than 40 countries, including USAID’s largest health portfolio.
As AA, Gast initiated new partnerships and presidential initiatives and leveraged funds from multiple global organizations to achieve greater scale and results. He led three major initiatives: Power Africa, Trade Africa, and the Young African Leaders’ Initiative, building partnerships with the private sector and helping shape a new paradigm for economic development to support large-scale transactions in the power sector. That model has carried over into the new Prosper Africa Initiative.
Gast spent more than 20 years living abroad as a foreign service officer, serving in 10 different assignments. Overseas assignments included mission director appointments to Ukraine, Afghanistan, and briefly to Colombia.
As USAID’s mission director in Afghanistan, he oversaw the Agency’s largest overseas program, which provided $4 billion in the areas of agriculture, economic development, health, education, and governance.
Gast served as director of the board of TradeMark East Africa, the largest aid-for-trade organization, and as an expert for the Center for Strategic and International Studies task force for Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance.
Gast’s arrival marks the end of the three-year tenure of current URC President Jay Wechsler. Wechsler commented: “Earl brings a wide depth of experience that will further URC’s mission to provide innovative, evidence-based solutions to health and social challenges worldwide. I, and all URC, look forward to working with him.” URC Board Chairman and CEO, Suellen Estrin, commends Wechsler for his service as President and for his commitment to the company for over 30 years.
URC works with underserved communities worldwide to improve the quality of health care and social services. With its non-profit affiliate, Center for Human Services (CHS), URC currently manages projects in over 30 countries, including the U.S.
Since 1965, URC has earned a reputation for technical excellence and innovation through work with national governments, the private sector, and U.S. federal, state, and local agencies. Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, URC has worked in 90 countries.