Economic Forecast Breakfast features speakers, panels

Regional economist says Clark County looking healthier than in 2013

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor



The Clark County economy looks much healthier now than it did one year ago, but our uneven recovery is leaving far too many people behind.

That’s the message that Scott Bailey, regional economist for the state’s Employment Security Department, will deliver next week at The Columbian’s 2014 Economic Forecast Breakfast. Bailey is one of three keynoters at this year’s event, being held Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

Other keynote speakers will provide a national and local perspective. Jon Roberts, principal at TIP Strategies, an Austin, Texas-based consulting firm that assisted the Columbia River Economic Development Council in creating a countywide economic development plan, will discuss the county’s business strengths and weaknesses. Rick Goode, CEO of Vancouver-based Columbia Machine Inc., will share his insights into leading a company that has grown in large part due to its expansion into worldwide markets.

Betsy Henning, president of AHA! Marketing Inc., a marketing and communications firm located in downtown Vancouver, will serve as moderator for the second consecutive year.

In addition, the breakfast event will feature four breakout sessions, each featuring local speakers who will discuss growth prospects in their industries and professional fields. The breakout sessions are segmented by topic area: the “Exploring New Markets” session is aimed at providing information to businesses who are looking at growth possibilities in the greater Portland region, the Northwest, or export markets; the “Innovation & Imagination” panel looks at many facets of technology and its potential to strengthen existing businesses and create new ones; the “Building Local Businesses” panel includes speakers who will discuss issues affecting businesses that primarily serve Southwest Washington markets.

For the first time, the event will include a student panel with representatives from Washington State University Vancouver, Clark College and the Vancouver and Evergreen school districts. Robert Knight, president of Clark College, will serve as moderator

of a discussion by students about local educational and employment opportunities, as well as the students’ own career goals.

Tickets are $50 per person and include breakfast. Reserve seating is required, and reservations are accepted until noon Wednesday, Jan. 22. Tickets and additional information are available at A limited number of student tickets are available at no cost by calling Kate Sacamono at 360-735-4466.

The event, among the largest of its kind in the Portland-Vancouver region, generally attracts more than 400 attendees. It was first held in 1995 as an extension of The Columbian’s annual business forecast publication, which began in the 1980s. It is organized and presented by the newspaper’s news department. Riverview Community Bank is presenting sponsor. Event sponsors are The Management Group, BergerABAM, and Quail Homes.

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