Local economic forecast event to feature 3 keynote speakers



The Columbian’s annual Economic Forecast breakfast this year features three keynote speakers who will offer forward-looking perspectives on business outlooks for the state of Washington, the Portland metro region, and Clark County.

The Jan. 24 event also offers breakout sessions that will provide experts’ analysis on industries of critical importance to the local economy. Those panels will be offered twice, allowing breakfast guests to attend two of the sessions.

The forecast activities will run from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St. Cost is $50 per person or $500 for a table of ten, and includes coffee service and a full breakfast.

The event is presented by Riverview Community Bank. Its supporting sponsors are The Management Group, BergerABAM, and Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. In-kind supporters are, the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia River Economic Development Commission, and the City of Vancouver.

The keynote speakers are:

• Randall Pozdena, economist with the ECONorthwest consulting firm, who will provide a snapshot of Washington economic trends to watch for in 2013 and beyond. Pozdena will discuss state political and legislative issues that will impact Clark County’s economic prospects.

• Thomas Potiowsky, Portland State University’s economics department chairman, will provide a Portland/Vancouver Metro business perspective about regional economic issues that affect Clark County.

• Scott Keeney, president and chief executive officer of nLight, a Vancouver-based manufacturer of industrial laser products. Keeney will offer a local business owner’s perspective of the local economy, as well as the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of doing business in Clark County.

Betsy Henning, president of the Vancouver marketing firm AHA!, will serve as panel moderator.

Each of the three breakout sessions will feature four speakers with expertise in local business or economic development issues. Panelists will offer specific information about the business opportunities in 2013 within their areas of expertise.

The panel “Where We Live, Work & Shop” will focus on growth and development in the commercial, residential, and retail industries. Panelists are Paul Dennis, executive director, Camas Washougal Economic Development Association; Terry Wollam, broker, ReMax Equity Group; Deborah Ewing, vice-president/managing broker, Eric Fuller & Associates; and Brett Bryant, Oregon/Southwest Washington market executive for Heritage Bank. Columbian business reporter Cami Joner will serve as moderator.

The panel “Building Basic Industries” will look at Clark County’s economy in areas of trade, health care, and other well-established industries. Panelists are Kelly Parker, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce; Todd Coleman, executive director of the Port of Vancouver; Scott Bailey, regional labor economist for the state Employment Security Department; and Rainy Atkins, chief operating officer at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Columbian business reporter Aaron Corvin will be the panel’s moderator.

The panel “New Areas of Promise” will look at several emerging business and employment opportunities that have the potential to grow in the local economy. Speakers are John White, vice president, BergerABAM Engineers; Steve Hix, a serial entrepreneur who is founder of Circle Technology and inFocus; Dene Grigar, director of the Creative Media and Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver; and Alisa Pyszka, the city of Vancouver’s economic development division manager. Gordon Oliver, The Columbian’s business editor, will serve as moderator.

The first 50 high school or college students who register can attend at no cost, thanks to sponsorship of those costs by BergerABAM. Teachers who register five students also will be admitted for free. The offer is limited to phone registration. Others students can attend for a $30 fee.

Registration is available online at Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce or by calling the chamber at 360-694-2588.