Westat is one of the foremost professional services corporations of its kind. It had a humble beginning, back in 1961, as a partnership between three enterprising statisticians from the University of Wyoming: Ed Bryant, Ph.D., Don King, and Jim Daley. Their statistical services consulting company, Westat, a named derived from the contraction of “Western Statistics,” reflecting its roots in Wyoming, was incorporated in 1963. By 1966, the demand for Westat’s statistical services expertise was growing, particularly in the Washington, DC, area, so the company relocated its headquarters Montgomery County, Maryland.
In 1970, the company moved from Old Georgetown Road to Nebel Street to accommodate a growing staff. The business and staff continued to expand, so in 1981, Westat moved its entire operation to Research Boulevard in the City of Rockville so all employees could be under one roof. In the 1970s, Westat transitioned more into the survey business, conducting its first longitudinal study, its first national household survey, and its first large health study. In 1978, Westat established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, otherwise known as an ESOP. Employees became owners, where all staff have a stake in the company’s success, a unique situation that continues to motivate all its employees to offer the very best possible services and products.
In the early 1980s, Westat conducted its largest survey for the U.S. Department of Labor, which was followed by winning several large health and education projects that are ongoing today. The 1980s also saw a significant expansion in directing large-scale health investigations. In addition, Westat gained a broader range of clients, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Science Foundation, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and National Center for Health Statistics. The demand for Westat’s expertise increased in the second half of the 1980s, and its professional staff doubled over the decade.
Working Toward a Successful Future
Westat continued to diversify its business in the 1990s. Telephone centers opened around the country. A second building on the Westat campus was built. Revenues tripled and the staff doubled. The company closed the books on the 1990s as a quarter of a billion dollar company. Westat’s success carries on into the new century. Core capabilities include data collection and management, information technology, clinical trials, statistical research and survey methods, evaluation, and communications and social marketing.
The company’s physical presence in Montgomery County now encompasses a 27 acre campus of buildings—620,000 square feet of office space— including a café and fitness center for the 2,000 employees in the Rockville facilities. Westat is the eigth largest private employer in Montgomery County and the largest in the City of Rockville. More than 1,600 Westat employees reside in Montgomery County. Depending on the number of active projects at any time, up to several thousand data collection and processing staff work at Westat’s survey processing facilities, at its Telephone Research Center facilities, and at data collection sites throughout the Nation.