LANCASTER – Bill Watkins, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University, has accepted the invitation to address the annual Business Outlook Conference of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Friday, Feb. 22 in Lancaster.
Scott Cummings, chairman of the 2013 Business Outlook Conference, said Watkins was invited on the basis of his record in providing accurate, unflinching forecasts about the economic pulse of California, western states and the rest of the United States, for more than 15 years.
Cummings said Watkins is known to be a plain-spoken, no-holds-barred economist who studies the data and tells it like it is.
Watkins said in a biographical profile that he is blessed with the ability to “provide the simple-to-grasp explanations that are based on rigorous analysis of complex things. Sometimes it seems that we within the academy forget that our job is to make things easier to understand, not more difficult.”
Watkins joined California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks in June 2009 as executive director of the new Center for Economic Research and Forecasting and as an associate professor of economics. He is also helping to launch CLU’s new Master of Science in Economics program, which focuses on forecasting and applied research.
Prior to coming to CLU, Watkins served as the executive director of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Economic Forecast Project. In his nine-year tenure, he expanded the project’s publications and geographic scope and enhanced its reputation. Previously, he served as an economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.
Watkins has been widely published in academic journals, news media and new media and is quoted regularly by news organizations throughout the world.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration-finance from California State University, Northridge, and both master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from UCSB.
The Antelope Valley Business Outlook Conference has a track record of attracting leading economists who clearly address not only national and state economic projections, but also bring the forecasts to pinpoint interests of the Antelope Valley.
Economists who previously spoke at AV Business Outlook Conferences include: Dr. Christopher Thornberg, former economist for the UCLA Anderson School of Business and founder of Beacon Economics; Brad Kemp, also from Beacon Economics; Dr. Nancy Sidhu, senior economist and vice president for LA Economic Development Corp.; The late Jack Kyser, chief economist for LAEDC.
In earlier years, bank economists were featured speakers, including: Dr. Duane Paul, senior economist for the Bank of America, Dr. Howard L. Roth, senior economist at Security Pacific Bank, and Thomas L. Thompson, senior economist at the Crocker Bank.
Economist Dr. Alfred Gobar, president of Alfred Gobar and Associates, made several appearances in earlier years. His company researched and published uniquely local and regional economic studies and reports for the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance (GAVEA.)