Mary Karen Wills

Board Member

Mary Karen Wills

Mary Karen Wills Ms. Wills leads the Government Contracts practice area for the Berkeley Research Group (“BRG”). BRG is an expert services consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and litigation consulting across many industries and competencies. She is responsible for overseeing the Government Contracting practice area’s activities, including serving as an expert on client matters and, executing projects successfully. Ms. Wills is an expert in the field of government contract accounting, administration, and compliance. She has over 30 years of experience providing regulatory consulting, auditing and accounting, and financial advisory services to Companies and Organizations that range from middle market to the Fortune 100. Ms. Wills has in-depth experience with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”), the Cost Accounting Standards (“CAS”), and other Federal government procurement regulations.

Ms. Wills’ expertise includes working with companies in virtually every industry, including professional services, aerospace, defense, higher education, health insurance, manufacturing, information technology, telecommunications, professional services, construction and engineering, high tech, energy, biotech, and not-for-profit industries, most of whom receive Federal contracts. She specializes in advising commercial companies how to adapt practices to conform to the complex government contracting regulated environment.

Ms. Wills has experience with all forms of government contract acquisition matters, from competitive procurements to commercial item exemptions, as well as GSA Schedule and other Government-Wide Acquisition Vehicles. She has expertise assisting companies obtain GSA Schedules, undergo audits of GSA Schedules, and defending in asserted price reduction matters. She assists throughout the entire life cycle of government contracts, as well as providing expert advice on a myriad of complex government contract accounting and contract administration related matters.

Ms. Wills has worked with companies on due diligence assignments, as well as complex transaction structuring and post-acquisition integration. She is an expert at assisting organizations as they restructure for competitive purposes, including the strategic, organizational, cost accounting, and other regulatory impacts associated with mergers and acquisitions. Ms. Wills has also directed special investigations, fraud investigations, alleged False Claims investigations, Qui Tam/whistleblower allegation investigations, and other litigation consulting assignments. She has assisted companies prepare and deliver voluntary disclosures, whereby results and findings were presented in connection with settlement negotiations. She has testified as an expert witness on varied matters, including False Claims, lost profits, damages, government contract claims, and other disputes. Ms. Wills has been admitted under protective orders before the Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims for bid protest and other matters and as a testifying expert. Ms. Wills performed financial statement audits of publicly-traded and private companies as a partner with Arthur Andersen. She has extensive experience preparing and analyzing financial statements and disclosures, and in applying and adhering to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, with special expertise relating to government contracting industry accounting and audit matters.

Ms. Wills received her B.S. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Virginia, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

Robert Kipps

Board Member

Robert Kipps

Robert Kipps Bob Kipps has over 20 years of experience in providing transaction advisory and financial consulting services to aerospace/defense and technology firms. He has provided transaction advice to more than 50 firms, including:
 
  • InfoReliance
  • Fusion Technology
  • IMT
  • Danya International
  • Gleason Research
  • Pro2Serve
  • 7Delta, Inc.
  • GlobalNet Services, Inc.
  • Commonwealth Technology
  • General Dynamics
  • ASM Research
  • Invertix Corporation
  • IDL Solutions
  • NEK
  • Emergint Technologies
  • Ray Group International
  • Guident Technologies
  • DSA Detection
  • 2020 Company, LLC
  • WBB Consulting
  • WINS
  • HPTi
  • FedConcepts
  • Adaptive Materials
  • CenTauri Solutions
  • EchoStorm Worldwide
  • TechniGraphics
  • Alion Science & Tech.
  • Comframe
  • OAO Technology
  • PerformTech
  • Phoenix Consulting Group
  • Labat-Anderson
  • Oberon Associates
  • Gray Research
  • Project Performance Corp.
  • Kadix Systems
  • Datatrac
  • Engineered Arresting Systems
  • Affiliated Computer Services
  • Geo-Centers
  • Vredenburg
  • Foster-Miller
  • Zen Technology
  • Deltek
  • Quality Research
  • Argon ST
  • Morgan Research
  • bd Systems
  • IITRI/Alion Science & Tech.

Prior to founding KippsDeSanto & Co. in 2007, Bob was Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey’s Washington DC office, and a leader of its Aerospace Defense Government industry group. He was also with Peterson Consulting and Tucker Alan, where he advised aerospace/defense, engineering, construction, and technology companies.
 
Bob was recognized as the Dealmaker of the Year – Investment Banker by the Association for Corporate Growth’s National Capital Chapter. He is on the Board of Directors of Information Systems Laboratories, Inc., Easter Seals of the Greater Washington-Baltimore Region, and is a past member of the Advisory Board for the McIntire School of Commers at the University of Virginia. Bob is a frequent speaker on mergers and acquisitions involving aerospace/defense and technology firms and often provides market commentary to The Washington Post, GovConExec, Washington Business Journal, WashingtonExec, and Washington Technology, among others.
 
Bob received his B.S. in Commerce, with distinction, from the University of Virginia. He is registered with FiNRA as a General Securities Registered Representative and Principal (Series 7, 63, 24, and 79).

Susan Acker-Walsh

CREO CEO & QED Advisory Board

Susan Acker-Walsh

Susan Acker-Walsh Susan Acker-Walsh offers a powerful blend of entrepreneurial drive, vision, and keen business acumen that uniquely equips her to launch complex business initiatives and bring them to fruition, create new businesses and develop them into major players in their market space, and adeptly support virtually all functional areas within an organization.

Energized by growth and change, she has served as a “Jill of All Trades,” holding the titles of Chairwoman, CEO, Chief Executive, COO, President, SVP, and VP at various points in her career. In all of these diverse roles, she has consistently delivered results, spearheading business turnarounds, imposing order in chaotic situations, identifying business opportunities and conceiving business ideas, and operationalizing and executing those ideas flawlessly. Before launching CREO in 2015, Susan served as President and COO at SciMetrika, a population health research organization, where she led initiatives focused on planned growth and business execution. Before joining SciMetrika, she spent 13 years with SRA International as VP and Director of Health & Civilian Government. She joined SRA via acquisition where she played an instrumental part in the complex integration of Constella Group into SRA’s new Global Health Sector. She was retained to help lead this effort after serving integral roles on Constella Group’s Executive Leadership Team as SVP of Corporate, Organization and People Development and as the Corporate Compliance Officer. As head of Constella’s Corporate Development function, she initiated and led an acquisition strategy that brought Constella into new global markets, doubled the company’s size overnight, and set EBITDA on track for ninefold growth to $18M. Previously, Susan led her own environmental health and safety start-up company.

These varied roles have provided invaluable immersion experiences in high-growth and entrepreneurial environments, including the unique experience of building and growing a venture-backed start-up where she raised nearly $20M from Silicon Valley investors.

Susan has an MBA from top-tier Kenan-Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She serves as an Adams Advisor at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. She is a William C. Friday Fellow, an Emmy Award–winning film producer, an alumna of Springboard Enterprises, and an active member of the local community, having served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations.

Neelima Grover

Founder & Chairperson

Neelima Grover

Neelima Grover Ms. Neelima Grover founded The QED Group in 1998. Since 2006, she has served as the Chairperson of QED’s Board of Advisors, working closely with the QED executive team on business strategy, developing a long-term vision, and implementing new initiatives. With a background and expertise in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), she built QED with the strong values of producing high quality, practical, and innovative solutions.  

Ms. Grover is passionate about improving the effectiveness and efficiency of development programs. She founded QED with the belief that M&E can be a powerful tool when it is combined with knowledge management and learning. M&E provides information about what works and what doesn’t, while knowledge management and learning systems ensure that information is shared and can be used to make better programming and policy decisions. She is excited about the use of technology in developing effective and innovative M&E and learning solutions to address development challenges.  She is also keenly interested in the growing area of impact investing and social entrepreneurship.

Ms. Grover is a strategic thinker and is adept at building teams. Throughout her work, she has been able to effectively combine her strategic thinking with her technical skills in evaluation to provide effective and practical solutions. Her technical background is in evaluation, survey design, and combining qualitative and quantitative evaluation methodologies. She has managed several large-scale evaluations for U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among others. She has also worked on projects for multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, as well as several foundations. Ms. Grover has worked in Eastern Europe, Asia, The Middle East and the Caribbean. She holds an M.A. in public policy.

Ms. Grover is a regular speaker at events and conferences. She also works closely in mentoring budding entrepreneurs and business owners.

Wendy R Bradford

Vice President Human Resources and Operations

Wendy R Bradford

Phone : 9785512365

WENDY R. BRADFORD Mrs. Wendy R. Bradford is the Vice President of Human Resources and Operations for The QED Group.  Mrs. Bradford started at QED in August 2011 as the Director of Human Resources. She has over 20 years of professional experience in management and leadership positions. Mrs. Bradford has had the opportunity to provide leadership in strategic planning, organizational development, recruitment and selection, compensation, benefits, and employee relations, both domestically and internationally.

As the Vice President of Human Resources and Operations, Mrs. Bradford is responsible for providing leadership to the entire Human Resources function, Office Administration, and Information Technology.  Mrs. Bradford has a passion for developing innovative programs, policies, and processes for company operations in order to recruit and retain qualified staff. She also handles legal compliance, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and training and development. As a strategic Human Resources professional, it is also her responsibility to provide Human Resources leadership to support the vision, mission, goals, and values of QED.

In today’s extremely competitive work environment, Human Resources and operations have to expand to encompass many important roles that require the ability to adapt to and address the demands of an increasingly diverse and demanding workforce, as well as globalization. Mrs. Bradford has enjoyed seeing how the evolution of the HR profession and the expansion of Operations have helped organizations grow and aid employees to adapt to the current demands and ever-changing requirements of the world of business and international development. It gives her great joy and pleasure to help employees and organizations be successful in a competitive and demanding field.

Mrs. Bradford has a Master’s in Business Administration, with a specialization in Human Resources and a Bachelor of Science in Law from California Southern University.

Ami Henson

Senior Director, Programs

Ami Henson

AMI HENSON Ms. Ami Henson is an international development expert with more than 20 years of experience. Ms. Henson is currently the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director at QED, providing technical and managerial oversight to MEL support projects in Egypt, Afghanistan, Uganda and Iraq. She also oversees DC-based Knowledge Management and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Programs. 
 
Formerly she was Chief of Party for USAID’s Kenya Program Support Project, a five-year project designed to deliver M&E and related services for USAID/Kenya.  Prior to this, Ms. Henson was the Chief of Party for USAID M&E support projects in Pakistan, South Sudan, and Sudan, where she managed significant technical, procurement, and staffing challenges in constantly changing and challenging environments. She has also worked directly for USAID on the Sudan Task Force in Washington, DC and as the USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) Country Representative for Sudan. 
 
Ms. Henson holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wheaton College.

Archil Nikuradze

Director of Finance

Archil Nikuradze

ARCHIL NIKURADZE Mr. Archil Nikuradze joined QED in 2015 as Director of Finance. He oversees the QED's accounting and finance activities and guides strategic financial planning. Before joining QED, Mr. Nikuradze worked with ACDI/VOCA for nearly 13 years. During this period, he also worked in Georgia as the finance manager on a USAID-funded program. He later served as Director of International Accounting and Assistant controller. 
 
While at ACDI/VOCA, Mr. Nikuradze instituted the billing department in the company along with a consolidated billing process which reduced the cash collection cycle by 10 days and increased company reserve funds up to US$ 4 million. He also upgraded the field financial reporting system and introduced semi-automated reports, which shortened the reporting time and increased accuracy of the reporting data.
 
Mr. Nikuradze has expertise in the areas of financial reporting and analysis, investment/cash management, international accounting, government contract accounting, business process improvement and asset management. He is a certified public accountant and hold a BS and MS in economics from the Georgian Technical University.

Eric Benschoter

Director of Strategic Markets

Eric Benschoter

Eric Benschoter Mr. Eric Benschoter has over 17 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation of foreign assistance projects, program design, data management and integration, and reporting. He has conducted or supported performance evaluations in 17 countries and across a variety of sectors including climate change, agriculture, humanitarian response, natural resource management, research and education.  

Mr. Benschoter is currently QED’s Deputy Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, and has managed a variety of projects for QED for over eight years. He began working with QED as the Team Leader for the Microenterprise Results Reporting Project, managing a web-based data collection system and backend database of microenterprise development projects spanning nearly 100 USAID operating units. Later, Mr. Benschoter provided evaluation and forensic audit services to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) for post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Iraq, funded by the U.S. government.  Currently, Mr. Benschoter oversees several evaluation mechanisms providing M&E and assessment services to USDA, USAID and the Department of State.  

Prior to QED, Mr. Benschoter served for nine years in the USAID Office of Agriculture and Office of Private Voluntary Cooperation as an evaluation analyst, providing programmatic oversight for the long-standing John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer program and the Cooperative Development Program.  

Mr. Benschoter received duel Bachelor’s Degrees in International Affairs and French from Florida State University, and completed a Master’s Degree in International Development Studies at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. 

Darlene Irby

Director of Global Health Solutions

Darlene Irby

Darlene Irby Ms. Irby has over 13 years of experience in International Development in the area of global health technology and strategic information, and  an  additional 10+ years of experience in domestic health care through senior positions at Georgetown and George Washington University.   Ms. Irby currently holds the position of Director of Innovations and Data Hub in addition to the Director of Global Health Solutions, where she will be responsible developing  innovative approaches and solutions to expand to new markets and leading the integration of global health and information technology across QED practice areas
 
Prior to working at QED, Ms. Irby was the Senior Practice Director and Director of Informatics at Palladium where she led a global informatics portfolio of 150 staff and 20+ prime and sub partner projects across 15 countries. Ms. Irby also served a Principal and Co Principal investigator for Strategic Information projects covering Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia, Cambodia and Tanzania. She has effectively deployed digital and mobile systems at over 1000 sites and facilitated the effective design of scalable, interoperable technologies including mobile, OpenHIE, DHIS2, and point of care/EMRs.
 
Ms. Irby holds a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Economics and International Studies from Elmira College in New York and a MPIA in Economics of Development and International Political Economy from the University of Pittsburgh along with several other certificates and trainings. Ms. Irby speaks basic French.

Siddhi Aryal

Asia Regional Director

Siddhi Aryal

Siddhi Aryal As the Asia Regional Director, Dr. Siddhi will be representing QED in the region and will lead in strategic planning and program analysis by reviewing, analyzing, capturing and reporting development, business, and economic indices and identifying new strategies for growth and consolidation of QED offerings. He comes to QED after having worked with a number of international development organizations, including Malaria Consortium, Pact, FHI360 in regional management and technical roles.
 
Dr. Siddhi Aryal brings more than 16 years of experience in directing and leading donor-funded health systems strengthening (HSS) programs and service delivery programs in the Asia and Africa regions.   He brings a depth of expertise in technical leadership in the areas of health system strengthening, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation complemented by hands-on management of complex regional health programs.  As a skilled leader, he also offers expertise in strategic design, planning, stakeholder coordination, and project management.  Dr. Aryal has worked closely with national, provincial and district government counterparts, working in partnership to develop strategic plans, operational frameworks and key policies to improve the overall health system. As a seasoned project director, Dr. Aryal is well versed in program leadership and has directed regional health programs with budgets of up to $20 million and more than 17 sub-grantees from multiple donors including USAID, DFID, CDC, Chevron and GFATM.  Dr. Aryal is a skilled facilitator and relationship builder – he has brought together multi-partner forums with representation from civil society, development agencies and governments bodies. 
 
Siddhi has a PhD in Global Health Systems Development from Tulane University, New Orleans, USA (2015) and a MSc in International Health, joint degree from University College London in London, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (2007).

Jennifer Dahnke

Deputy Director for Learning

Jennifer Dahnke

Jennifer Dahnke Ms. Jennifer Dahnke’s career in knowledge management (KM), learning, and international development began over 15 years ago – just as the field of KM (and the internet) was emerging. 

In her current role as QED’s Deputy Director for Learning, she supports several KM and learning activities such as the USAID Feed the Future Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development Project (KDAD) and the USAID/Uganda Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Program (The Learning Contract). This has provided the opportunity to work on a wide variety of assignments: facilitating the development of the National Forum on the State of the Ugandan Child; capturing closeout lessons from USAID/Ecuador; assessing evaluation utilization; conducting a Mission monitoring, evaluation, and learning assessment; and building capacity for collaborating, learning, and adapting approaches. 

Previously, Ms. Dahnke served as Chief of Party for the USAID Knowledge-Driven Microenterprise Development (KDMD) project, working with a wonderfully talented team to find and implement creative solutions to KM and organizational learning. Through KDMD’s work with various USAID operating units, including E3, BFS, PPL, IDEA, and the Jamaica Mission, the team planned and hosted events; created communications messages and products; captured and shared information via webinar, audio, and video recordings; developed training courses, both online and in person; built websites; evaluated programs and activities for continuous quality improvement; facilitated dialogue and online discussions; synthesized information and big ideas for ease of use; organized strategic planning processes; and identified, documented, and shared lessons learned and best practices. Taken together, these activities provided a comprehensive platform for KM and learning.

Prior to joining QED, Ms. Dahnke worked in Network Development with Collaborative Communications Group where she led KM and communications strategies to inform and improve public education. She also worked as a program manager with United Way of Metro Chicago/ Americorps, as an English Instructor with WorldTeach in Ecuador, and as an afterschool teacher and literacy tutor with community programs in Boston. Ms. Dahnke started her career as a Managing Editor with Women and International Development at Michigan State University (WID-MSU), where she published the WID Bulletin and organized a variety of events with MSU’s International Center programs. 

Jennifer received an EdM in international education development from Boston University and a BA in international relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University.

Ingrid Orvedal

Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Ingrid Orvedal

Ingrid Orvedal In her 10 years of multi-sector experience in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), Ms. Ingrid Orvedal has provided technical and logistical management support and oversight, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. She has shared her expertise in M&E through a range of capacity development activities, including numerous training activities for donors and implementing partner staff, as well as one-on-one mentoring and technical assistance activities.

As QED’s Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, Ms. Orvedal supports the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) practice area portfolio of development projects and developing new business. Her work focuses on support to QED’s field teams in Egypt, Uganda, Afghanistan, and Iraq as they provide direct support to USAID Missions in evaluation, performance monitoring, and learning.

Before joining QED, Ms. Orvedal provided in-country technical support in evaluation, performance monitoring, and learning to USAID Missions in South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia through the South Sudan Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking (SUPPORT) Project, the Kenya Support Services Project (KSP), and the Ethiopia Performance Management Support (EPMS) Project.

A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia, Ms. Orvedal holds a Master’s Degree in Global Public Health from George Washington University, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology from Boston College.

Expertise: Evaluation Design and Management, Performance Management System Support, Capacity Development and Training, New Business Development

 

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