2017 Users' Conference Speakers
W.E. Upjohn Institute for employment research
Jim Robey is the Director of Regional Economic Planning Services at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. His research focuses on regional economic, education, economic development, and workforce development issues across Michigan and the nation. He prepares annual employment forecasts for southwest Michigan’s metropolitan areas, directs the production of Business Outlook for West Michigan, and provides economic insights for regional economic development across northwest Ohio, and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. He has additionally coauthored research on a variety of national and regional issues.
Dr. Robey received his Ph.D. in Urban Studies (1997), with an emphasis on Economic Development, and his Master’s degree in Public Administration (1993) from the Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.
George Erickcek is Regional Consultant at W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. His research agenda focuses on regional economic issues across the state of Michigan and the nation. Recently, he led a research effort that forecasted and analyzed future labor demand and supply conditions in west Michigan. He has coauthored papers on a variety of national regional issues, including the impact of education and medical institutions on their regions. He has also served as co-editor of Economic Development Quarterly, a national journal that explores economic development issues, since 2001.
Mr. Erickcek received an MA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981.
Claudette Robey, Regional Economic and Workforce Development Specialist, is experienced in policy-based research analysis leading to the development and implementation of strategies and outcomes in the areas of economic and workforce development, city management, public finance, and public policy issues. She also serves as the managing editor of Economic Development Quarterly, the foremost journal in national economic development research, policy, and practice. She works with clients at the local, regional, state, and federal levels on projects focusing on economic and workforce development, economic development strategy, strategic planning, program evaluation, and public policy issues. Ms. Robey has more than 30 years of experience in editing and writing news, research-based, analytical, policy, technical, narrative, and business publications for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Her experience also includes applied research, technical assistance, focus group facilitation, and project coordination and management. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Economic Development from Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Nicholls State University.
Robert Carey is Director of the Regional Economic Analysis Laboratory (CU-REAL) at the Strom Thurmond Institute. CU-REAL performs economic and fiscal (government revenue/expenditure stream) impact assessments for both public and private sector clients. Dr. Carey has been performing economic impact analyses since 2006, both through CU-REAL and his private consulting practice, Regional Transactions Concepts, LLC. He is an adjunct professor in the Ph.D. in Policy Studies program at Clemson University and has taught economic development theory at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Additionally, he has taught in the Master of Public Administration program and in Political Science.
Dr. Carey received a Master of Arts in Economics and a Ph.D. in Policy Studies, with a concentration in economic development, from Clemson University.
Alfred Morrissey is Corporate Economist at National Grid. He conducts economic analyses of National Grid programs and supports electric and reports on the energy market outlook. Mr. Morrissey brings over 25 years of experience to the field of energy analysis.
Mr. Morrissey earned his Master's and Doctorate degrees in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Illinois department of revenue
Hector Vielma is Senior Economist for the State of Illinois. He recently co-authored and presented a study on the impacts of raising the minimum wage on Illinois.
Dr. Vielma holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT district
Shah Dabirian, Ph.D., is a Program Supervisor and economist and has been with the SCAQMD for over twenty five years. Shah has conducted numerous costs & benefits analyses of stationary, mobile, area source regulations, NOx and SOx Trading (RECLAIM Program), fleet rules, and toxic regulations. Shah has used REMI since 1992 to analyze the regional macroeconomic impacts of the air quality regulations and air quality management plans in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes the counties of Los Angeles and Orange, and portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, encompassing a region with a population of 17 million, 10 million jobs, 20,000 miles of highways, 450 miles of passenger rail, six commercial airports, and two large marine ports.
Shah has presented his work as a guest lecturer and continuously designs, manages, and conducts research projects recommended by the businesses, environmental communities, Scientific Technical Review committee, Ethnic Advisory Committee, and Small Business Assistance office within the SCAQMD’s jurisdiction.
Anthony Oliver is an Air Quality Specialist in Socioeconomic Analysis at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. During his time at the district he has analyzed of the cost, benefits, and economic impacts of the regional clean air plan and air quality regulations.
His research background is in environmental and energy economics, where he has authored articles analyzing energy and climate policies using price-endogenous sector modeling.
Dr. Oliver earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master’s from Purdue University.
City and county of san francisco
Ted Egan is the Chief Economist of the City and County of San Francisco, and directs the Office of Economic Analysis in the City Controller’s Office. The office prepares independent economic analysis of all important new city legislation.
His office has published over 100 economic impact reports on policy issues like the minimum wage, affordable housing, business taxes, land use planning, sporting events, and short-term rentals. During this time at the City, he has served as an expert witness on the economics of same-sex marriage, and won a Good Government award for his work designing the City’s business tax.
Before joining the City, he spent ten years working as for ICF International, managing economic development strategy projects across North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and lectured in the Economics and City Planning departments at Berkeley for ten years.
university of nevada, las vegas
Jinju Lee is an Economic Analyst at the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV.
Ms. Lee holds a Master's degree in Applied Economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Luis Nieves-Ruiz serves as Economic Development Manager for the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. He coordinates economic development projects and activities for the Council's eight-county region including the implementation of the region's Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). His areas of professional expertise include economic impact and industry cluster analyses, planning research methods, and food systems planning. Mr. Nieves-Ruiz is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Connect Florida Statewide Leadership Institute, Leadership Florida's program for young professionals.
Mr. Nieves-Ruiz holds a Master's Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University.
East central florida regional
Eric McClellan is a Senior Economist at CDM Smith. With 29-years of experience in freight and passenger transport across all modes (road, air, water, rail, and transit), Mr. McClellan leads economic analyses of transport feasibility and impact studies. Having worked in nearly two dozen countries across five continents, he helps private and public-sector clients understand the economic and financial implications of proposed infrastructure improvements and policy changes. Mr. McClellan uses economic models and processes to assess project feasibility (both financial and economic) and impacts (jobs, income, GDP, etc.), given unique project constraints and opportunities.
Mr. McClellan earned his Master's of International Business Administration from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.
University of massachusetts
Rod Motamedi is a Research Manager at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute with over eight years of experience conducting economic and policy impact analyses, economic development and regional competitiveness assessments, and industry footprint studies. Prior to joining the Donahue Institute, Mr. Motamedi was a senior economic associate at Regional Economic Models, Inc. He is an expert in the application of economic models to high-visibility issues around the U.S. and internationally.
Mr. Motamedi earned his Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Tom Peake is a Research Analyst at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. He conducts economic impact studies for clients in state government, higher education, and the private sector, and analyzes public and proprietary primary and secondary data in order to provide clients with insight on the policy issues facing their communities.
Mr. Peake holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Council of the district of columbia
Jennifer Budoff serves as Budget Director for the Council of the District of Columbia, leading the Council's oversight of the District's $13.8 billion operating budget and $1.2 billion capital improvement plan and making vital investments in Council priorities such as affordable housing, school improvement and tax reform. Ms. Budoff has leveraged her expertise in economic development finance in various capacities throughout the District, with prior experience as Committee Director of the Council's Economic Development Committee and Senior Project Manager at the National Capital Revitalization Corporation.
John MacNeil is a Senior Budget Analyst at the Council of the District of Columbia. He leads the REMI analysis that supports the Budget Office's economic impact assessments of Council legislation and advises Councilmembers and staff in their budget oversight of the District transportation and public works agencies.
Susanna Groves is a Senior Budget Analyst for the Committees of Health and Human Services at the Council of the District of Columbia. She previously worked for Pew Charitable Trusts, the Migration Policy Institute, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Ms. Groves holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Rockford Metropolitan agency for planning
Colin Belle is a Metropolitan Planner at the Region 1 Planning Council located in Northern Illinois within the Rockford Metropolitan Planning Area. He has been employed with the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning, now the Regional Planning Council, for nearly 6 years.
Prior to joining the Regional Planning Council Mr. Belle was employed with Empire State Development as well as the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation in the Planning and Programming Division.
Mr. Belle is in charge of running the regions 3 county Travel Demand Model and REMI model. He also specializes in Land-Use and Regional Growth, Transportation Systems Planning, Congestion Management and Impact Forecasting.
Mr. Belle earned his Masters of Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Albany.
Connecticut center for economic analysis
Peter Gunther is Senior Research Fellow at Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis (CCEA) within the School of Business at UConn, and also serves as President of Smith Gunther Associates Ltd., a modestly sized economic consultancy based in Ottawa, Canada. In the last fifteen years, he has undertaken at least 75 REMI applications, many of which required estimates of complex amenities. From 2002-2006, he served the International Government Authority on Development as the Resource Person for the Wealth Sharing Table of the Sudanese Peace Negotiations. More recently, his international studies have focused on the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Basin for the Great Lakes Commission. Within Canada, his work has concentrated on evaluation of various federal government projects, studies of multi-occupational medical teams for more efficiently delivering healthcare, improvements in the blood deliver system, and innovative medical diagnostic tools.
Mr. Gunther received his master's degree from the University of Toronto.
Association of Bay Area Governments
Cynthia Kroll is Chief Economist and Assistant Director of Integrated Planning and Research for the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). She oversees the Economic Development and Forecasting Group within Planning and Research, and is responsible for the regional forecast, agency research related to economics and demographics, and the regional economic development efforts for the two organizations.
Dr. Kroll earned her Masters and PhD degrees in City and Regional Planning from the University of California Berkeley.
Bobby Lu develops regional economic forecast models and analyzes regional trends of the Bay Area. His current work emphasizes on understanding labor market and supporting local and regional economic development efforts. He joined ABAG as a regional planner and analyst in fall of 2014.
Mr. Lu received his Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
George Fulton is currently Director Emeritus and Research Professor Emeritus of RSQE, the forecasting unit in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Fulton has been forecasting economic and fiscal activity in the state of Michigan for four decades. For this work he has received many commendations and special tributes, including from Governor Snyder, the Michigan legislature, and University of Michigan President Schlissel. His most recent reports—coauthored with Donald Grimes of the University of Michigan—focus on the current demographic and economic outlook for Michigan, its counties, and the Detroit region over the next 30 years.
Dr. Fulton received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.
University of Michigan
institute for research on labor, employment, and the economy
Energy Policy Division,
Government of Saskatchewan
Fred Olayele facilitates applied research and public-private dialogue on a wide range of policy issues. He has used the gravity model, input-output model, computable general equilibrium model and other proprietary economic impact modeling software to analyse a wide range of policy initiatives.
Dr. Olayele has taught several applied and theoretical economics classes at the University of Regina, and International Business in the MBA program at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. His academic research interests span trade policy, climate and energy policy, economic development, natural resources, strategic management, multinationals, foreign direct investment and emerging markets.
Dr. Olayele has presented on trending economic policy issues at major conferences. He earned his PhD in Economics from Lancaster University, and a Master's degree from the University of Victoria, Canada.
Rhode Island Department of Revenue
Joseph Codega Jr. is a Senior Revenue Policy Analyst at the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, Office of Revenue Analysis. His current areas of professional focus include evaluation of economic development tax incentives and data analysis related to the implementation of a recent property tax reform. Joe previously held the position of Senior Economic and Policy Analyst in the Rhode Island Office of Management and Budget. Prior to receiving an MPA from the Public Policy Program at Brown University, Joe worked as a high school social studies teacher and earned an AB from Princeton University.
Alberta Economic Development and Trade
Laura Adkins-Hackett is a Senior Economic Research Analyst with the Department of Economic Development and Trade for the Government of Alberta. In her roll Laura provides economic analysis to support a wide variety of government initiatives and policies, touching on topics such as investor tax credits, orphan wells and trade. Laura earned her Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Ottawa.
National Federation of Independent Business Research Center
Michael J. Chow is Lead Data Analyst/Economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Center. Prior to joining NFIB, Michael briefly served in government by working at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in the White House and for the Office of the Chief Economist in the Department of Labor under Secretary Chao. A recipient of the NABE Abramson Scroll and the NABE Contributed Paper Award, both of which are awarded by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) for outstanding papers in the field of business economics, Michael has been invited to present research at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and at the NABE annual meeting. He holds a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, an M.Sc. in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics, and an M.A. in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Michael Wilkerson is a Project Director and Senior Economist at ECONorthwest. He brings over 10 years of private-sector experience as an economic consultant and as an analyst in the financial services industry. Mike studies urban economics for both public and private sector clients—with a focus on land use, transportation, and real estate development and how they interact with the regional economy. Using a data-driven approach that focuses on spatial analysis, he conducts housing market analyses, development feasibility studies, TOD implementation studies and master plans, economic impact analyses, and provides expert testimony. He regularly presents at national conferences on topics related to real estate economics, including the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute. Mike holds a Ph.D. in economics from Claremont Graduate University and is currently an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.
Marley Buchman joined ECONorthwest as an associate in 2017. He specializes in economic impact modeling, statistical programming, and data analysis, providing insights across a wide range of economic, education, and urban development projects. Before joining ECONorthwest Marley worked as a Senior Economic Associate for Regional Economic Models Inc. While at REMI Marley modeled the economic and fiscal impacts of changes in transportation, taxation, energy, and environmental policies across the U.S. He has experience in machine learning, data visualization with Shiny, and is an expert in both using REMI models for policy analysis, and statistical programming in R.
The City of Kansas City
Kolbe Krzyzanowski is currently under contract with the City Manager’s department of the City of Kansas City and has previously worked as a consultant with the other organizations such as the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Center for Economic Information, and Downtown Council. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri - Kansas City with an emphasis economic development and is concluding his master’s degree in the same field.
Kolbe’s work focuses on the development and use of data for public policy decision making and the evaluation of development transactions between government agencies and private developers. Kolbe’s work academically and professionally centers on the contextual understanding of data, rigorous and ethical analysis, and sound data-based strategic planning.
Kolbe champions and interdisciplinary approach to economic development, He is working with Kansas City to create and implement dynamic development strategies across multiple departments and organizations.
Kolbe lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Alia.
Colby T. Lancelin
Atlanta Regional Commission
Colby Lancelin joined the Atlanta Regional Commission in March 2001. Mr. Lancelin serves in the position of Principal Planning Coordinator. He is the long-range socioeconomic planning forecaster and econometric modeler in the Research and Analytics Division with the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Mr. Lancelin manages the division’s Long-range Planning and Scenario Planning programs to meet ARC’s vision, mission and objectives for regional planning and intergovernmental coordination. Primarily, he responsible for developing the region’s employment and population forecast controls for the Atlanta Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Mr. Lancelin coordinates the ARC’s data outreach initiatives promoting the visibility and public value of ARC’s data resources and products. He provides customized analytical tools to support external planning partners and regional stakeholders as well as divisions within the agency.
Mr. Lancelin is the program manager of the agency’s Economic Analysis Program providing custom impact studies and economic assessments on developments of regional impact within the Atlanta Region. His work focuses planning resources around key regional issues assisting communities and civic leaders with measuring socioeconomic impact and assessing the cumulative effect of implementing various policies, development spending, and alternative transportation investments and revenue-generating resources in the region.
Mr. Lancelin received a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of South Alabama specializing in research methods in urban and economic geography and is a member and past president of the Atlanta Economic Club. In addition, he is a member of the Council for Community and Economic Research and holds the Certified Community Researcher (CCR) designation.
Tennessee Technological University
Yolunda Nabors is a Lecturer in Economics at the Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Ms. Nabors has analyzed the economic impacts of the university, business, nonprofits, and sports using the REMI model. She has authored or co-authored a number of economic impact and benefit analysis studies.
Before joining the faculty at the Tennessee Tech, Ms. Nabors served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in Economics from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a member of the American Economic Association, the National Economics Teaching Association, and Omicron Delta Epsilon.
Sandia National Laboratories
Vanessa N. Vargas is employed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and is the Lead Economist for the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC). While at SNL she has lead and contributed to numerous research efforts ranging from the economic impacts of natural and man-made disruptive events to long-term chronic issues such as drought and climate effects. The tools and research efforts as part of NISAC have focused on the interdependencies between engineered systems and human systems. She earned a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Natural Resource and Environmental Economics at the University of New Mexico.
Kavet, ROckler & Associates
Nicolas Rockler is an economic consultant specializing in regional economic impact measurement, modeling, and assessment. He has more than 35 years experience as a regional economist. Recent project work has included economic analyses of proposed high voltage electrical transmission lines in Vermont and New Hampshire, impacts of proposed new minimum wages in Vermont, and economic characteristics of the craft-brewing industry in Vermont.
Dr. Rockler has served on the staff of the Multiregional Planning Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While there, he conducted research for the Economic Development Administration on the long-run impact of public infrastructure investment, for the Joyce Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Dr. Rockler completed his Ph.D. at MIT with his dissertation titled, "Regional Economic Performance and Public Infrastructure Investment." He received BA and MA degrees in regional science at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to attending MIT, Dr. Rockler was a senior economist at Data Resources, Inc. (DRI, now Global Insight, Inc.) and F.W. Dodge, both subsidiaries of McGraw-Hill, Inc. at the time. During that time, Dr. Rockler developed timeseries estimates of capital stocks for all U.S. counties and led the development of econometric models for the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Prior to work at DRI, Dr. Rockler worked as an economic analyst at Abt Associates, Inc., contributing to economic program evaluation studies for various federal agencies, including estimating 20 regional metropolitan areainput-output models for the Economic Development Administration. He also worked as a regional economist in an architecture, engineering, and planning firm (now part of AECOM, Inc.) in Roanoke, Virginia, where he prepared economic impact estimates and models for public works project evaluation on behalf of the US Army Corps of Engineers.