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History of Hezel Associates

Dr. Richard Hezel founded the company in 1987 as an outgrowth of his faculty position in telecommunications and mass communications at Syracuse University.  Initially consulting and conducting research on distance learning and telecom solutions as a faculty member, Hezel Associates first conducted research for the Annenberg/CPB Project, Statewide Coordination of Educational Telecommunications, a foundational study of distance learning in the USA.  Hezel Associates replicated that study several times over the next 12 years. 

Throughout the 1990s distance learning, telecommunications, and technology studies—policy research, market analysis, and evaluation--constituted the mainstay of Hezel Associates’ business.  Research and consulting for state education and administrative agencies from Hawaii and Alaska to Florida and Maine, along with market research for major telecom companies kept our small team busy.  For colleges and universities contemplating entry into distance learning, Hezel Associates created its Business Plan for Distance Learning and initiated its market research services around institutions’ development of new academic programs and new revenue sources.  In turn, market planning evolved into strategic planning for higher education and non-profit organizations, including large international health NGOs like the World Health Organization and Habitat for Humanity International.

Our evaluation practice had roots in the 1970s and early 1980s with Richard Hezel’s participation in some of the early Children’s Television Workshop (later Sesame Workshop) program studies.  As a company Hezel Associates began evaluating early satellite distance learning programs and later consortia of online learning projects, mostly funded by the US Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.  After 2000, topics of teacher professional development, literacy, and STEM fueled the growth of our evaluation organization.

From 1987 to 2013 Richard Hezel guided the company through start-up and growth in capacity, areas of expertise, employees, and reputation.  He appointed Dr. Kirk Knestis as the CEO to direct the strategic implementation and manage the company’s operation, while Richard Hezel remains active as Chairman of Hezel Associates and provides internal and external strategic consulting.

Like any small business, Hezel Associates is founded on opportunity and entrepreneurship.  We add to the recipe our focus on client service, quality research and consulting process, improvement and growth.  It’s a recipe, we believe, for doing good in the world while our company does well to sustain our cherished values.