Management Team


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Stephen Khovananth

Stephen Khovananth, P.E. leads Ascendant and its efforts in development, construction, and facility sustainment operations. He supported numerous clients as a Program/Project Management consultant and was Director of Development, Design & Construction at Host Hotels & Resorts, a Fortune 500 Lodging REIT. Mr. Khovananth also served in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps managing complex, mission critical projects and leading teams in the U.S. and overseas. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Construction Manager (CCM), and LEED AP (ID+C).  He holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Los Angeles, a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii, and a master's degree in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University.

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Michel Jichlinski

Michel Jichlinski brings over 30 years of experience in infrastructure development. His expertise covers a broad spectrum, from the management of operations of AEC firms to the structuring of Infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships and the organization and management of complex programs and projects. His technical know-how includes the planning, design, financing, and construction of infrastructure and development projects in the United States, Western Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub Saharan Africa. Mr. Jichlinski has provided advice to governments, companies, developers, and financial institutions. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of CG/LA Infrastructure and former President and COO of The Louis Berger Group, a global A/E firm.

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Christina Avgerinos

Christina Avgerinos offers over 15 years of professional experience in the infrastructure sector, with significant experience supporting a variety of public and private sector development programs worldwide. Christina has successfully managed several large-scale and complex technical advisory assignments for infrastructure investment in countries such as Thailand, Brazil, India, and Greece.  She is currently directing Ascendant’s Research and Analysis work with USTDA and SelectUSA, overseeing a multi-disciplinary team of analysts with regional, sector, legal, and foreign language expertise. She holds a bachelor's degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, a master's degree in Public Policy from The George Washington University, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

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Veronica Faust

Veronica Faust brings over ten years of experience supporting U.S. federal government clients with trade and investment projects. As Ascendant’s Director of Global Operations, she supports administrative and operational needs across Ascendant programs. She also directs Ascendant's research and analysis work with SelectUSA, overseeing a team of analysts and serving as a subject matter expert in support of the services provided, including report writing, due diligence, evaluation, and data analysis. Prior to her current role, she held the position of Project Manager for Ascendant’s research and analysis services contracts with both SelectUSA and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. She holds a master's degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). 

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Kimberly Aagaard

Kimberly Aagaard is the Project Manager for Ascendant’s research and analysis services contract with SelectUSA. She has developed her research and data analysis skills in international trade and foreign policy from prior roles working with the U.S. Department of State, think tanks, and the private sector. Kimberly holds a master’s degree in International Security with concentrations in East and Southeast Asia and Global Trade Policy from Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs as well as a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from Santa Clara University.​ 

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Haley Beckett

Haley Beckett is the Project Manager for Ascendant’s Investment Services Support team at SelectUSA. Previously, she served as a Deputy Project Manager and Senior Research Analyst for Ascendant’s research and analysis program services contract with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Prior to joining Ascendant, Haley gained valuable experience in international trade and investment through positions at the Institute of International Finance, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of State. Haley holds a master’s degree in International Economic Relations from American University’s School of International Service and a bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics and Chinese Language and Culture from Wittenberg University. 

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Casey Gorrick

Casey Gorrick is the Facility Security Officer for Ascendant and directly supports construction and facility management activities worldwide. She brings over 10 years of experience supporting U.S. federal government agencies in Security, Construction, and Logistics. Casey maintains highly effective Security Programs, in full compliance with government and company policies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in Business Administration and multiple security program management certifications.​ 

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Liz Sutton

Liz Sutton is the Project Manager for Ascendant’s research and analysis program services (RAPS) contract with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Prior to her current role as Project Manager, Liz served as a Senior Due Diligence Analyst on Ascendant's RAPS contract with USTDA. Before joining Ascendant, Liz was a Research Analyst at the global law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she supported attorneys in the firm’s energy, aviation, project finance, and white-collar crime groups.  With more than 12 years of professional experience, her areas of expertise include research, due diligence, analysis, project management, knowledge management, and training.  Liz holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Michigan. 

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