Vice President, Social Policy and Economic Research Practice Director

Rockville , MD
Closing date
Dec 12, 2023

View more

Executive, Vice President
Full Time
Career Level
Experienced (Non-Manager)

Job Details

Westat is an employee-owned corporation providing research services to agencies of the U.S. Government, as well as businesses, foundations, and state and local governments. Westat's research, technical, and administrative staff of more than 2,000 is located at our headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, DC.

Westat is committed to building a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusivity, belonging and equity for all. We believe that our greatest strength draws on the different backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences of our employees.
Westat's Social Policy and Economics Research Practice ensures social and economic programs provide their participants with effective and equitable services. Our work-which includes program evaluation, capacity building, performance monitoring, and policy-relevant reporting-is designed to help programs achieve excellence. Our staff are experts in programs providing food and nutrition, disability, workforce development, family support, transportation, and other services. 


As Vice President, Social Policy and Economics Research Practice Director, you will direct a multidisciplinary team of over 100 staff. You will be the Practice's executive business leader and report to the Senior Vice President and Human Services Sector Lead. You will guide the Practice's strategic planning process and oversee a large portfolio of research, evaluation, and capacity-building projects. 

You will lead an extraordinarily talented staff of researchers and technical assistance providers. The team is highly collaborative; our collegial work environment is central to our success. Your key responsibilities as Practice Director will include setting forth and executing the business strategy, being accountable for business development, ensuring project quality, and supervising talent management. 

Major Responsibilities

Business Strategy

•     Develop and execute a strategy that (a) enables Westat to expand the meaningful work we do supporting social policy and economic programs, and (b) creates continued opportunities for all Practice staff to perform intellectually challenging work, to grow professionally, and to advance in their careers. 
•     Establish a strategic direction for the Practice in line with Westat's business goals. 
•     Lead the portfolio of business with the Practice's key clients: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS's) Administration for Children and Families, the HHS's Administration for Community Living, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Social Security Administration, other federal agencies, and philanthropic foundations. 
•     Develop and promote thought leadership that promotes Westat's expertise to create a competitive edge, attract new clients, and recruit the best talent.
•     Foster collegiality while maintaining accountability among the Practice's management team.

Business Development

•     Oversee capture and proposal development activities to grow the Practice.
•     Vet new opportunities that align with strategic plans and corporate business targets. 
•     Engage routinely with senior staff on bid decisions and priorities.
•     Collaborate across Westat to bring the full range of company capabilities to bear to ensure successful business development.

Maximize Revenue

•     Establish an operating plan for the Practice in alignment with Westat's overall strategic direction.
•     Establish and monitor expectations for direct and indirect expenditures within the Practice.
•     Collaborate with Westat's Finance and Contracts departments to oversee Practice finances. 
•     Work across all Practices to staff projects and optimize resource utilization.

Project Execution and Quality

•     Maintain Westat's culture of client satisfaction to ensure we continue to achieve the highest client ratings.
•     Conduct project risk reviews and develop risk mitigation strategies.
•     As needed, develop or update policies and procedures to continually strengthen the quality of our work, be more cost-efficient, and streamline operations.

Talent Management

•     Mentor leaders within the Practice.
•     Attract and retain talent for the organization. 
•     Oversee staff supervision and staff development efforts. 
•     Ensure hiring plans are in place to support project execution.

Basic Qualifications

•     An advanced degree at the master's level; doctoral degree preferred. 
•     A minimum of 15 years' experience conducting research and/or technical assistance in a government contracting organization.
•     Strong strategic vision combined with experience developing and executing business strategy. 
•     Demonstrated business development leadership.
•     Experience overseeing research projects examining social policy and economic programs (predominantly at the federal level) with a strong commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. 
•     A performance record of bringing innovation to research, evaluation, and capacity-building projects.
•     Recognized thought leadership, including conference presentations, published work, and relationships with key federal agencies.
•     Demonstrated communication skills.

This role is eligible for a remote work arrangement with travel to Rockville, Maryland, estimated at 30 to 50 percent.

Westat offers a well-rounded and comprehensive benefits program focused on wellness and work/life balance. Subject to plan requirements, employees may participate in:
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Vacation Leave (20 days per year)
  • Sick Leave (10 days per year)
  • Holiday Leave (7 government holidays and 2 floating holidays per year)
  • Professional Development
  • Health Advocate
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Life and AD&D Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Health Savings Account


Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law.



Westat, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, DC, is an employee-owned research corporation serving agencies of the U.S. Government, state and local governments, businesses, and foundations. We conduct surveys and program evaluations, provide statistical research, and offer related services. Our multiproject environment provides career opportunities in health, energy, education, transportation, the environment, human services, and the workforce. We combine the relevant research area expertise

Company info
1600 Research Blvd

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert