County's economic outlook kicks off 25th season for Washtenaw Economic Club

February 21, 2023 Fran LeFort

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University of Michigan economists Gabriel Ehrlich (left) and Michael McWilliams (center) deliver the 2022 Economic Outlook for Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor SPARK's Meissa Sheldon served as moderator for the event.



The 25th season of the Washtenaw Economic Club will kick off Tuesday, March 14, with the much-anticipated 2023 economic outlook presented by University of Michigan faculty.

Economists Donald Grimes and Gabriel Ehrlich will present their annual forecast from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College, which sponsors the Washtenaw Economic Club. The luncheon event will be hosted in the Morris Lawrence Building on campus, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor.

The outlook for the county is based on payroll employment growth, unemployment and consumer inflation rates and looks ahead to employment changes in a wide array of industries.

Grimes and Ehrlich, Directors of the University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, are well-known national economists and authors who have worked with state and federal agencies to analyze policy and generate long-term economic forecasts and demographic projections.

Specifically, Grimes has worked for many years with the Michigan departments of Transportation and Treasury and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and has been involved in research projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Ehrlich is coauthor of The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2022-2023 and The Michigan Economic Outlook for 2022-2023 and previously worked as an economic forecaster and analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His work has been discussed in the Economist, the Financial Times and The Washington Post.

“This annual forecast is highly-regarded because of the caliber of speakers and is always well attended. Our business and community members look forward to the perspectives and insights from all of our experts because the topics are relevant to their day-to-day operations,” said Brandon Tucker, Vice President and Chief Workforce & Community Development Officer at Washtenaw Community College.

The Washtenaw Economic Club is in its 25th year, with Washtenaw Community College hosting since 2010. The club offers a forum to identify and discuss economic issues that directly impact the business community.

Three additional luncheons will be hosted throughout this new season. All will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Morris Lawrence Building on the WCC campus.


Small Business and the Entrepreneurship Scorecard

On May 11, Brian Calley, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, will speak on “Small Business and the Entrepreneurship Scorecard.” Calley is a director of a publicly traded community bank, a trustee of Oakland University and sits on various boards. He served as the State of Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor from 2011-2018 and previously as a lawmaker in Michigan’s House of Representatives.


Cybersecurity: Are You Vulnerable?

On September 14, David Behen, Co-Founder and Chief Client Success Officer of SensCy based in Ann Arbor, will speak on “Cybersecurity: Are You Vulnerable?” Behen has held executive IT roles in the private and public sectors for more than 20 years and served over six years in Governor Rick Snyder’s cabinet as Director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and Chief Information Officer.


Future Energy Demands: The Role Natural Gas will Play in Electrification

On November 9, Cedric Flowers, Vice President of DTE Gas, and H.J. Decker, Director of Sales and Marketing at DTE Gas, will speak on “Future Energy Demands: The Role Natural Gas will Play in Electrification.” As Vice President for DTE Energy’s natural gas utility, which provides service to 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan, Flowers is responsible for managing utility gas operations, including construction, transmission, distribution, storage and planning of DTE’s natural gas system within applicable federal, state and local regulations. Decker is responsible for industrial and residential natural gas sales and marketing, home appliance repair marketing and operations, natural gas procurement for utility customers and midstream transportation and storage services..


Business organizations and community members are invited to attend the luncheons. Seating is limited. Visit the Washtenaw Economic Club for information about individual tickets or business sponsorships.


If You Go

WHAT: Washtenaw County Annual Economic Outlook

WHEN: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

WHERE: Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor

HOST: Washtenaw Economic Club


Tags: Economic Outlook, Washtenaw County, Washtenaw Economic Club

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