February 15, 2023

BLOG | Dennis Alvord Elected to Chair the OECD’s Regional Development Body

Recently, Dennis Alvord, EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer, was elected to serve as Chair of the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In this role, DAS Alvord will chair RDPC meetings beginning with the next meeting in April 2023. His service as Chair will provide an important opportunity to help shape the priorities of the RDPC in terms of their cutting-edge research and policy analysis for policymakers and practitioners across the 38-member-country committee. RDPC’s research and analysis provide EDA and U.S. economic development practitioners with international best practices and policies in 21st century regional economic development.

Photo of Dennis Alvord
Deputy Assistant Secretary Dennis Alvord will serve as Chair of the OECD’s Regional Development Policy Committee.

Prior to his election as Chair, Alvord led the United States delegation to the RDPC. In that capacity, he was responsible for coordinating and harmonizing the activities of the delegation with those of the Permanent Mission of the United States to the OECD. The delegation works to advance U.S. interests and deepen multilateral cooperation through the deliberations of the full committee, as well as through the policy and statistical work of RDPC’s Working Parties on Territorial Indicators (WPTI), Rural Policy (WPRUR), and Urban Policy (WPURB).

“The objective of EDA remains firmly focused on the development of United States prosperity, however, effective development requires recognition of our interdependent world and the need for cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is committed to supporting a whole-of-government approach to advance the nation’s priorities at the OECD, which includes accelerating green growth, fixing the gender wage gap, and promoting competition.”

The OECD, based in Paris, France, was founded in 1961 with a mission to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being for all.  Today, the organization consists of 38 member countries and key partners who work with policymakers and citizens to establish evidence-based international standards and find solutions to a range of social, economic, and environmental challenges. Established in 1999 under the auspices of the OECD’s Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, the RDPC undertakes a rigorous research agenda and is a leading global forum for exchange among the OECD’s Members, Accession Candidates, Partners, and Observers on topics such as climate change, inclusive growth, regional development policies and other major national and global policy challenges. Its studies and working papers help inform research on development policy and shape discussion around key issues in economic growth. The RDPC has been instrumental in supporting EDA’s economic analysis, performance evaluation, and policy development, providing a valuable international forum for the U.S. to engage with other member countries on leading economic development approaches and policies.

“Drawing on its impactful regional development program implementation, history coordinating OECD visits and research at U.S. sites, and the facilitation of data exchanges, EDA is well-positioned to support the OECD secretariat, the U.S. mission, and the other member states as a key interlocutor between United States informational resources and international needs,” said Alvord. “EDA’s domestic responsibility leading the United States’ economic development agenda gives it a unique expertise and insight into place-based policy that can help facilitate the realization of U.S. global priorities through the OECD framework.”

In his role as Chief Operating Officer of EDA, Alvord served as  Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development during two U.S. presidential transitions. He previously served as executive director of BusinessUSA, and of the Department of Commerce’s CommerceConnect initiative. A 2015 recipient of the President’s Award for Customer Service, Alvord graduated from SUNY Cortland and received an MPA from George Washington University.

Joining Alvord on the U.S. delegation to the RDPC are Dr. Kurt Usowski of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dr. Karama Neal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Bryan Borlik of EDA’s Performance, Research and National Technical Assistance Division. The delegation’s work is supported by EDA’s Aminata Kamara and Aaron Weaver of HUD.