Introducing NORDP’s first executive director: Keith Osterhage

The NORDP Board is pleased to announce that we have hired Keith Osterhage as our first executive director. We can no longer say that we are an all-volunteer organization, but we think this is an important step in our long-term sustainability.

Keith Osterhage is a native of Northwest Ohio, growing up in a small agricultural community, the oldest of five children; his late father was one of 14, his mother one of six children. From this small community he went on to attend Ohio Northern University, graduating summa cum laude, with majors in history and political science. He was the first student in ONU history to graduate in two and one half years.

His academic program advanced to The Ohio State University where he completed two master’s degrees, an M.A. in Political Science, and an M.A. in Public Administration. These two programs gave him skills in social science research and methodology as well as public policy analysis and program evaluation. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he was a graduate fellow in government at Georgetown University and was selected to participate in the Kissinger seminar series, taught by Dr. Henry Kissinger and Dr. Bill Hyland. His professional training continued as he received the Management Development Program (MDP) Certificate from Harvard University for higher education administrators, and then became one of the first 110 Certified Research Administrators (CRA) in the United States. In 2011-2012 he completed a Temple University Leadership Academy Certificate.

Since 1986, Osterhage has worked in leadership positions in higher education and as an independent consultant, with leadership posts at American, George Washington, Rutgers, Marquette and Temple Universities. Keith has worked in state, local and federal agencies, and has designed grant and contract competitions and evaluated demonstration projects. He has also served as a proposal reviewer for federal agencies. In 1992, he was recruited by the NIH Extramural Associates program to assist and train small institutions (primarily HBCUs, and HACUs—Black and Hispanic-serving institutions) to set up sponsored program offices, policies and best practices for research development and growth. His work in local government included welfare and public works programs. His work in the business world included work for an SBA 8(a) minority-owned small business, where he wrote proposals and conducted program evaluation and provided management support for programs at federal departments, including Energy, EPA and DOD. He has also served as an independent consultant to both for-profit and nonprofit entities regarding proposal development, bidding strategies, as well as providing policy assessment and benchmarking of best practices and standards.

Osterhage has managed pre-award, post-award, financial and regulatory compliance, technology commercialization, staff training, faculty development, and research development functions. His range of experience has included small, medium, and large institutions, as well as public and private ones. At each place of employment, his charge has been to either rebuild a process or to enhance and maximize performance. His knowledge of Washington agencies and work in business led him to focus on three key areas:
• the culture of the organization he served, and how he needed to understand it to influence and affect positive change
• the customer service orientation he developed working in the for-profit consulting world, in order to ensure timely and quality service to those affected—investigators, senior administrators and sponsors
• the need for continuous process improvement, as sponsored programs and research development have faced an ever-changing landscape of rules, regulations, compliance requirements and technologies during the last 20 years.

His work includes more than $3 billion in proposal submissions, and management of more than $1 billion in awards from government, industry, and foundations. Osterhage has led coordination and support for large-scale projects in translational science, formation of I/U CRCs, a large genetic banking repository and dozens of international projects. He also has keen interest in faculty development and funding success for their research endeavors.

As a resident of the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, Osterhage will support NORDP from his home office and has ready access to federal agencies and the numerous foundations and associations located in the DC area relevant to the NORDP mission and its members. He also anticipates efforts to grow NORDP membership, working with vice presidents and provosts for research across the country, as well as foundations, associations and government agencies, adding to the sponsor base for NORDP, and working to implement the directives of the NORDP Board in support of NORDP members.

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