James Boomgard

President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim Boomgard has worked at the forefront of economic development issues for more than 30 years in more than 30 countries. For the past 26 years he has worked for DAI—with the exception of a two-year stint with FMC Corporation, where he was seconded to establish a large-scale farming operation in Eastern Indonesia.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Jim assumed progressively responsible roles at DAI, including serving as Senior Vice President of Business Development, Chief Operating Officer, and President. When he was unanimously elected Chief Executive Officer in 2009, he became only the fourth CEO in DAI’s 41-year history.

An economist by training, Jim is a leading development thinker in the areas of private sector, enterprise, and financial sector development; microfinance; and agriculture and agribusiness.

His work on small enterprise development in Thailand in the early 1980s, for example, laid the groundwork for much of the practical work on enterprise development that continues to this day. Subsequently, he helped design and later led the implementation of the Central Java Enterprise Development Project—one of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s first private sector-oriented development projects.

After that, he led USAID’s path-breaking Microenterprise Stocktaking Study, and in 1989 he was appointed director of the joint DAI-ACCION-Michigan State team that implemented USAID’s applied R&D project on microenterprise: the Growth and Equity through Microenterprise Investments and Institutions Project (GEMINI).

In the past few years, Jim has emerged as a leading figure in industry debates over aid effectiveness, regulatory compliance, and the value private sector firms bring to the development community. As CEO, Jim has final executive responsibility for all aspects of DAI's performance: operational, financial, strategic, and marketing.

  • Ph.D., agricultural economics (international agricultural development), Michigan State University
  • International Executive Program, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France and Singapore
  • Board member, Professional Services Council
  • Founding member and Chair, Council of International Development Companies
  • Member, United States’ Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid

“DAI, put simply, has an insatiable appetite to stretch. At our best, we combine what we know with what we have learned to tackle the next, bigger challenge. Our appetite to stretch moved the company from preparing reports to implementing projects; it challenged us to enter new technical areas and new geographies; it is driving us onward even now to find new ways to achieve our mission.”

— James Boomgard, addressing DAI's all-staff conference, February 2009