Founding Sponsor of the Global Seal of Biliteracy and CEO of Avant Assessment
David is the CEO of Avant Assessment. He co-founded Avant in 2001 with his wife, Sheila, and Dr. Carl Falsgraf, formerly the Director of the Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon. At Avant, David has led the growth of Avant STAMP (Standards Based Measurement of Proficiency) into an online assessment in 14 languages that is widely used in K-16 programs to improve language program outcomes, and to award competency-based credit and the Seal of Biliteracy. Avant also developed and delivered the first online assessment of English proficiency for K-12 ELLs for the State of Oregon.
Earlier David was the founder of EARL, an iOS app that enabled people who had lost their sight to access thousands of digital newspapers, magazines, books and websites through speech recognition, text-to-speech technologies, and a patented on-the-fly language parsing technology for mobile devices; co-founder of Step.com, a Silicon Valley-based web service providing information on listed US companies to Japanese investors; and Managing Director of the Tokyo office of Kroll Associates, the world's leading investigation and security consulting firm. His experience working in Japan gave him a deep appreciation for the importance of language. As an investigator, David saw firsthand how both Japanese and western firms were victims of frauds or extortions when their expat managers did not understand the language or the culture of their host country. As a businessman he saw many opportunities lost because of the same lack of language or cultural understanding. That experience inspired him to co-found Avant.
David speaks Japanese and is happy to be living in Eugene, Oregon with Sheila and their two sons. He is on the Board of JNCL-NCLIS and serves on the ISO committee to establish international standards for educational assessment outside the formal sector. On the side he trains for, and occasionally runs marathons. He has a BA in the College of Social Studies and Japanese History from Wesleyan University, and long, long ago was a New England college wrestling champion.