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Date: December 28, 2010
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

History Associates Authors the History of DAI – A Story of Business Success While Making a Difference

Historical research firm recounts the growth of DAI from a small firm into a global development organization.

History Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the publication of The First 40: A History of DAI.  Written by Dr. Kenneth D. Durr in celebration of DAI’s 40th anniversary, the history book captures the entrepreneurial spirit of the company, which grew from a three-person firm into a global leader in the international development industry.

“To commemorate our 40th anniversary, we wanted to show how our mission and values are woven into the fabric of the company and exemplified by the people who built it,” said James Boomgard, DAI’s President and CEO. “This book ably shows how these principles and players have made us a success – and have positioned us well for the transformation we see coming in the years ahead.”

“The founders of DAI had a novel idea,” added Dr. Durr.  “They believed that they could help improve the economic development of third-world nations and operate as a commercial business at the same time.”  Development Alternatives Incorporated was founded in 1970.  Its landmark 1976 study, Strategies for Small Farmer Development, challenged conventional wisdom about agricultural development, thereby raising the company’s profile in the development world and fueling future growth.

The company history highlights key turning points experienced by DAI as it grew and adapted to shifting U.S. foreign aid priorities.  It also introduces the reader to the people who helped build the company into a global enterprise operating in more than 50 countries and generating more than $400 million in revenues.  “A disciplined approach to doing business made this growth possible,” noted Dr. Durr, but “an unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world has been the company’s internal compass throughout.”

Dr. Durr is an accomplished historian who has published numerous works on labor, politics, and business-related topics including economic development.  To prepare the book, Dr. Durr and senior historian Dr. Jason Gart interviewed key current and former officers and staff.  A team of History Associates researchers conducted a thorough overview of the documents and images in DAI’s archives, and then supplemented their research through secondary sources such as books, newspapers, and trade journals.

The book is just one of a series of historical research projects that History Associates has done for DAI. The company also produced two videos for DAI, most recently a 25-minute promotional video for the firm’s anniversary celebration.  To review the book online in PDF format, visit the DAI website (, or contact Danielle Jaffee at DAI to request a printed copy.

About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit

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