RTI International managed the Lower Mekong Study, which was truly a team effort, led by two experienced consultants. Hayley Alexander focused on the private sector within the workforce development process among the selected countries, while David Feige focused on the educational institution side. They were the main survey designers, interviewers, and authors; their expertise informed the study, the findings, and the key recommendations and their backgrounds provide insight into the lens brought to the interpretation of the data collected.
Mr. Alexander is an economic growth expert with 30 years of experience working with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), business development service (BDS) providers, governments, and academia in eleven emerging markets. This includes 10 years working in an American SME, 18 years consulting to SMEs and BDS providers on long-term assignments in Eastern Europe and Africa, and three years as an independent consultant on short-term activities. Mr. Alexander’s broad United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank project experience include program design and start-up, technical direction, management, grant programs, monitoring and evaluation, consulting/training, and project closure. His areas of technical competency encompass institution building, BDS capacity enhancement, export development, policy and regulatory reform, and other competitiveness strengthening activities in multiple industry sectors. He has performed numerous assessments and studies to identify value chain linkage failures and market constraints, and the pathways to reengineering with BDS and other cluster members.
Mr. Feige is an economic growth and workforce specialist with 15 years of experience in international economic development. He has expertise in workforce development, competitiveness, value chain development, regional economic development, entrepreneurship and enterprise development, and technology-led economic development. In his most recent assignment, he conducted a desk review and provided input on the project approval document for youth and workforce elements for the USAID/Nigeria Mission. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Mr. Feige was a Director at Making Cents International, where he conducted technical assignments on economic growth projects with a particular focus on youth-inclusive economic development and youth economic empowerment. Before joining Making Cents, Mr. Feige worked for nearly 5 years for J.E. Austin Associates, a specialized economic development consultancy, where he conducted a wide variety of technical assignments in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. This included development of an enterprise diagnostic that equipped USAID missions to evaluate enterprise-level performance in response to changes in the enabling environment, training of new USAID economic growth officers in Thailand, and a survey of effective approaches to supporting high-growth entrepreneurship in developing countries.
The consultants worked under the guidance of RTI’s Workforce and Economic Opportunities team, comprised of Eric Johnson, Senior Research Economist, and Julie Lostumbo, Senior Economic Development Specialist.