Top USAID contract awardees: A primer

By Lorenzo Piccio 10 June 2013

Click here to view a larger version of the graphic.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s obligated funding for its top 20 contract awardees in fiscal 2012 accounted for nearly three-quarters of its contract spending that year. Against the backdrop of ongoing budget pressures in Washington, USAID also recorded a significant increase in its contract spending. USAID awarded more than $4.9 billion in contracts in fiscal 2012 -  representing a 9 percent increase from fiscal 2011. While USAID awards the bulk of its contracts to for-profit groups, nongovernmental organizations also win a sizeable chunk of the agency’s contract funding.

Since the Clinton administration, USAID has channeled the bulk of its contract assistance through multiyear, umbrella agreements called indefinite quantity contracts. Designed to streamline the U.S. aid agency’s procurement, IQCs allow only pre-qualified firms or nonprofits to bid on a contract. Amid USAID Forward’s push for more competition at the agency, however, USAID officials have indicated that the agency intends to reduce its reliance on IQCs, in part, by awarding more stand-alone contracts.

In addition to fostering more competition, bolstering USAID’s engagement with local organizations is another key objective for the USAID Forward reform drive. USAID has pledged to course 30 percent of its overall assistance through country systems — governments, local businesses and local NGOs — by 2015. In fiscal 2012, firms based outside the United States won only 4 percent of USAID contracts.

Here are the top 20 USAID contract awardees, based on data from, for fiscal 2012.

1. Chemonics
Founded: 1975
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
President and CEO: Susanna Mudge
Obligated USAID contract funding: $653.5 million
With more than 3,000 staff worldwide, Chemonics designs and implements projects in a wide range of technical areas including financial services, private sector development, health, and democracy and governance. The international development company has experience working in 145 countries.

2. John Snow Inc.
Founded: 1978
Headquarters: Boston, Mass.
President: Joel Lamstein
Obligated USAID contract funding: $465 million
John Snow Inc.’s 500 U.S.-based professionals and 1,600 host country staff provide technical and management assistance to public health initiatives worldwide. Over the past 35 years, JSI has implemented projects in 106 countries. JSI’s nonprofit arm, the JSI Research and Training Institute, is a top USAID grant implementer.

3. Partnership for Supply Chain Management
Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Arlington, Va.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $429.5 million
Counting 13 member organizations, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management procures and distributes essential medicines and supplies for more than 1 million people on treatment through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PFSCM was established by the JSI Research and Training Institute, and Management Sciences for Health.

4. Tetra Tech
Founded: 1966
Headquarters: Pasadena, Calif.
Chairman, CEO, and President: Dan L. Batrack
Obligated USAID contract funding: $249.8 million
Tetra Tech’s global team of 14,000 professionals provide planning, design, implementation and applied research services in areas including construction, agriculture and economic growth, democracy and governance, energy, and global security. In recent years, Tetra Tech has strengthened its positioning in the aid industry through its acquisition of firms including ARD and DPK, as well as the international development arm of PA Consulting.

5. DAI
Founded: 1970
Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
President and CEO: James Boomgard
Obligated USAID contract funding: $216.4 million
Named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011, DAI has expertise in the areas of economic growth, environment and energy, governance, health, ICT, stability as well as in the corporate sector. DAI currently works in some 60 countries across the globe. A joint venture of DAI and Nathan Associates is ranked 15th in this list.

6. Abt Associates
Founded: 1965
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
President and CEO: Kathleen L. Flanagan
Obligated USAID contract funding: $211.8 million
With a presence in nearly 40 countries, Abt Associates’ practice areas include education, environment and climate change, food security and agriculture, and international health. Abt Associates was also named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011.

7. Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp.
Founded: 1988
 Overland Park, Kan.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $185.7 million
Black & Veatch’s approximately 10,000 professional staff provide engineering, consulting and construction services in more than 100 countries worldwide. Black & Veatch affiliate, the Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., serves the U.S. government market.

8. Creative Associates International
Founded: 1977
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
President and CEO: M. Charito Kruvant
Obligated USAID contract funding: $153.4 million
The second-largest women-owned company working with the U.S. government, Creative Associates International has expertise in education, governance, stabilization and post-conflict transitions. Since its founding, the firm has operated in 85 countries in in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Founded: 1990
Headquarters:Los Angeles, Calif.
Chairman and CEO: John M. Dionisio
Obligated USAID contract funding: $145.1 million
Public policy and economic institutions, democracy and governance, humanitarian response and stabilization, and industrial and commercial area development are among AECOM’s core areas of expertise in its international development practice. One of the leading firms involved in engineering work in global development, AECOM was named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011.

10. Louis Berger Group
Founded: 1953
Headquarters: Morristown, N.J.
Chairman: Fredric S. Berger
Obligated USAID contract funding: $138.2 million
With nearly 3,000 employees in 35 countries, the Louis Berger Group provides engineering, architecture, program and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services. LBG’s areas of expertise include development economics, energy, public administration, and reconstruction and recovery.

11. Engility (formerly International Resources Group)
Headquarters: Chantilly, Va.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $102.8 million

12. Deloitte Consulting LLP
Headquarters: New York, N.Y.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $84.2 million

13. FHI 360
Headquarters: Durham, N.C.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $79.8 million

14. Management Systems International
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $76.7 million

15. DAI/Nathan Group
Obligated USAID contract funding: $75.8 million

16. RTI International
Headquarters: Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $72.8 million

17. University Research Co.
Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $67.7 million

18. Management Sciences for Health
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $64.7 million

19. Aircraft Charter Solutions Inc.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $63.3 million

20. International Relief and Development
Headquarters: Arlington, Va.
Obligated USAID contract funding: $52.8 million

See our 2011 ranking of USAID’s top private sector partners. Check out more funding trends analyses online, and sign up as an Executive Member to receive the information you need for your organization to thrive.

About the author

Lorenzo Piccio@lorenzopiccio

Lorenzo is a contributing analyst for Devex. Previously Devex's senior analyst for development finance in Manila, he is currently an MA candidate in international economics and international development at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Lorenzo holds a bachelor's degree in government and social studies from Wesleyan University.

Join the Discussion


Duke University 2015


Ending a global disease


Democracy Matters 2 Annual Democracy Forum