Together, Bill Evans and Jim Sullivan co-founded the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities in 2012. They each bring to this endeavor outstanding reputations as scholars and leaders in the field of applied economics. Importantly, they share a passion and extraordinary commitment to using their talent and time to improving lives and reducing poverty. The combination of nationally renowned expertise and deep personal and professional commitment to this work shapes the foundation, growth and success of LEO. In 2019, Heather Reynolds joined LEO as the inaugural Managing Director after serving as CEO and President of one of LEO's first provider partners, Catholic Charities Fort Worth. Reynolds notes, "Having experienced LEO’s potential for impact directly at Catholic Charities Fort Worth, I am honored to join the team to help make LEO’s vision a reality."
"Working with local agencies on LEO projects has been an amazing experience. Our hope is that the partnership of their innovative ideas and our academic methods can identify programs that provide families in need with a brighter future.” - Bill Evans
Inaugural Managing Director
M.S.S.W., University of Texas Arlington, Executive M.B.A, Texas Christian University
Heather Reynolds holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Texas Christian University, a master’s in social work from The University of Texas at Arlington, and an Executive MBA from Texas Christian University. Reynolds served as president and CEO at Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) for 14 years. Under her leadership, Catholic Charities grew tenfold locally and catalyzed an unprecedented expansion of its programming across several states. Reynolds will direct LEO’s pursuit of its newly launched five-year strategic plan, through which it seeks to influence poverty policy and support the culture of evaluation among service providers to people experiencing poverty nationwide.
Rev. Thomas J. McDonagh, C.S.C., Professor of Economics
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Research Interests: poverty, inequality, welfare and tax policy, consumption, saving, and borrowing behavior of poor households
Jim Sullivan is an applied microeconomist whose research examines the consumption, saving, and borrowing behavior of poor households, and how welfare and tax policy affects the well-being of the poor. He has been a visiting scholar at the National Poverty Center and a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Harris School. His current LEO projects include evaluations of a community college persistence and completion program, a holistic case management program, a homelessness prevention program, and an affordable housing program.
Department Chair/ Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Economics
Ph.D., Duke University
Research Interests: labor economics, public finance, health economics, and the economics of education
Bill Evans is an applied microeconomist who has worked on topics in labor economics, the economics of education, public finance and health economics. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a faculty affiliate for two on-campus research groups: the Kellogg Institute and Institute for Education Initiatives. Bill’s current LEO projects include evaluations of a juvenile diversion program, a holistic case management program, transitional care for low-income seniors, and refugee resettlement.