Strategic Partners

Anirban Basu

Anirban Basu

Anirban is Chairman & CEO of Sage, an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore, Maryland that he founded in 2004. Mr. Basu is among the most recognizable economists, in part because of his consulting work on behalf of numerous clients, including prominent developers, bankers, brokerage houses, energy suppliers, law firms and business associations.

Mr. Basu has written several high-profile economic development strategies on behalf of government agencies and non-profit organizations, including co-authoring economic development strategies for Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland. Among other things, Anirban serves as the chief economist to Associated Builders and Contractors (national) and as chief economic advisor to the Construction Financial Management Association.

In recent years, he has also focused upon health economics, the economics of education and economic development. He currently lectures at Johns Hopkins University in global strategy. In 2007 and then again in 2016, Mr. Basu was selected by the Daily Record newspaper as one of Maryland’s 50 most influential people. The Baltimore Business Journal named him one of the region’s 20 most powerful business leaders in 2010. Over time, Mr. Basu has had occasion to serve on many boards, including the boards of First Mariner Bank, the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Baltimore City Public School System, and Union Memorial Hospital. He is presently chairman of the Maryland Economic Development Commission and the Baltimore County Economic Advisory Committee. He was recently appointed to the University System of Maryland Foundation Board and is also on the Board of the Archdiocese of Baltimore School System and the Lyric Opera House. Mr. Basu earned his B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1990. He earned his Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Master’s in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. His Juris Doctor was earned at the University of Maryland School of Law in 2003. His doctoral work in health economics has taken place at UMBC.

Email Anirban Basu

(410) 522-7243



Shari Gnolek

For over 25 years, Shari Gnolek has solved problems and developed solutions by using statistics to draw clear conclusions from complex data. She has extensive experience designing experiments, developing models, analyzing and visualizing data, and communicating results in a way that is understandable to all audiences. Her background in Engineering with a Masters degree in Statistics provide an ideal springboard to tackle tough problems across widely different industries and applications.

Her early work focused on predicting equipment reliability, and improving quality and production capability in industrial manufacturing environments. From there, she moved on to designing and analyzing studies to improve the image quality of space-based visible, infrared, and radar imaging systems. She has published research based on work she did for a local university (Modeling Change and Variation in U.S. News & World Report College Rankings: What would it really take to be in the Top 20?) that describes a model she built which accurately reproduces the outcomes from U.S. News college rankings. Shari currently serves as a Statistical Analyst for a Higher Education consulting company where she specializes in building models to predict student enrollment and retention.

Shari's community service interests are also diverse. She is actively involved with the Friends of Webster Trails and currently serves as the organization's President. Her good-natured therapy dog accompanies her on local nursing home visits, and she recently joined up with Big Brothers Big Sisters and serves as a youth mentor.

When she's not working you will find Shari outdoors camping, biking, kayaking, or hiking whenever possible, even through Rochester winters.

Email Shari Gnolek

(585) 327-7070



Stephen J. Hershey Kroes, M.P.A.

Stephen J. Hershey Kroes, M.P.A.

Steve Kroes brings 27 years of experience in public policy analysis, nonprofit leadership, and public-sector consulting. He has worked extensively with elected officials grappling with complicated policy issues, serving as a subject-matter expert on advisory boards and commissions, working as a trusted, nonpartisan advisor to governors, legislators, and regional and local officials. He has extensive experience working with print and broadcast news media to make complicated policy issues accessible to the public.

Steve most recently served 16 years as president of Utah Foundation, which focuses on economic, workforce, and quality-of-life issues in the Intermountain West. He has focused much of his work on public and higher education policy, public finance, economic issues, infrastructure, and voter engagement. His earlier experience included 10 years with California Taxpayers' Association, including serving as its vice president. There, his specialties were media outreach, legislative advocacy, local government finance, and developing unlikely collaborations with public agencies and other interest groups. He recently moved back to northern California and brings his network of western connections and policy experience to his work with CGR, providing a local connection to clients on the West Coast.

For eight years, Steve taught in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Utah. Community volunteer positions have added important variety and interest to his career, serving on the Utah Governor's Commission on Education Excellence, Utah Economic Council, Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service, Prosperity 2020 Founders Council (a business organization advocating for public education), Utah Health Data Commission, leadership of the Governmental Research Association, two chamber boards, his city planning commission, and other activities.

Steve is a dual national of the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and he just wishes he had the accent to prove it.

Email Stephen J. Hershey Kroes, M.P.A.

(585) 327-7070



Dr. Tahir Rauf

Dr. Tahir Rauf

Dr. Tahir Rauf has over 35 years of experience across profit and not-profit industries. He has worked in financial services using innovative techniques to optimize processes with big data analytics. Dr. Rauf's expertise spans predictive modeling, budget development, costs control strategies, risk management, analyzing financial plans, endowments and gift management, grants administration, programs evaluation studies, activity costing, and feasibility studies. He has prepared dashboard reporting of operation metrics with recommendations to senior management. Throughout his career, he has served in leadership roles.

In his professional roles, he has served in senior leadership positions as a Revenue and Expense Analyst at Citicorp, Senior Planning Analyst at Preferred Care (HMO), Senior Financial Decision Support Analyst at Strong Memorial Hospital, and Finance and Planning Manager at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Rauf has extensive skills in information management. He has prepared advance spreadsheet-based models, interfaced mainframe databases and set-up internal data warehouse using MS Access, and designed and produced automated decision-support reports for senior management. He focuses on systems technology-based practices and problem solving. Dr. Rauf research interests include higher education, program evaluation, financial budgeting, efforts studies, financial and economic analysis, forecasting models, costing studies, and decision support systems.

Dr. Rauf holds a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) degree in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Rochester, where his dissertation focused on program evaluation. Dr. Rauf has also earned an M.S. in Business Management and Master of Public Administration with an emphasis on Financial Management/Information Management from State University of New York, at Brockport.

Email Dr. Tahir Rauf

(585) 327-7070