Higher education is a future-oriented business – educating and preparing the leaders of tomorrow. But what is the future for colleges and universities themselves? In an economy that increasingly rewards knowledge and expertise, the need to cultivate and grow a competitive, skilled and educated workforce is more vital than ever. Yet the way we do this and the way we pay for it has come under the microscope in recent years. This year’s Economic Outlook Seminar examines the question of how Montana’s higher education system returns value to all of us who live and work here.
The keynote – The Future of Higher Education in Montana – will be presented by Robert Nystuen, vice chair of the Montana University Board of Regents. He is president at Glacier Bank in Kalispell and a resident of Lakeside. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Steve Bullock to the board of regents, which is responsible for the Montana University System. His selection for the board of regents reflects the strong connection between Montana’s higher education system and the business community, “a relationship that is increasingly vital in the modern economic landscape,” according to Nystuen.
This half-day seminar and luncheon will highlight the latest economic trends for local, state, and national economies. BBER economists Patrick Barkey and Paul Polzin will present economic forecasts for each seminar city and industry specialists will provide an outlook for Montana’s important sectors: nonresident travel, health care, real estate and housing, agriculture, manufacturing, forest products and energy.
On an ongoing basis, the bureau analyzes local, state and national economies; provides annual income, employment and population forecasts; conducts research on manufacturing, forest products, health care and survey research at its on-site call center. It publishes the award-winning Montana Business Quarterly and presents its annual economic outlook seminars in cities throughout Montana each year.
The 43rd Annual Montana Economic Outlook Seminar will travel to nine cities across the state.
Venue: Great Northern Hotel
Address: 835 Great Northern Blvd.
Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Address: 2520 14th St. SW.
Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Address: 3720 N. Reserve St.
Address: 27 N. 27th St.
Venue: The Commons
Address: 1794 E. Baxter Ln.
Coming soon: Learn about communities hosting the webcast.
Venue: NorthWestern Energy General Office
Address: 11 E. Park St.
Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Address: 1840 U.S. 93 S.
Venue: Central Montana Education Center
Address: 773 Airport Rd.
Venue: MSU Northern Hensler Auditorium
Address: 300 13th St. W.
Our lineup of speakers include industry and economic experts focused on Montana.
Robert Nystuen is vice chair of the Montana University Board of Regents and has been a community banker for 40 years. Since 2004, he has been market president of Glacier Bank. He has been associated with the board of trustees of Flathead Valley Community College since 2002 and served as board chair for eight years. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Steve Bullock to the board of regents, which is responsible for the Montana University System.
Patrick Barkey has served as director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research since 2008. He has been involved with economic forecasting and policy research for more than 30 years, in both the private and public sectors. Before moving to Montana, he served as director of the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State University in Indiana for 14 years. He holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.
Bryce Ward is associate director at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and director of the bureau’s health care research program. Bryce has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in economics and history from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the bureau, Bryce spent nine years providing expert testimony and policy analysis as a Senior Economist at ECO Northwest, a Portland, Oregon-based consulting firm.
Paul Polzin is director emeritus of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He has studied the Montana economy extensively for the past 35 years with particular emphasis on the natural resources industry. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University. His work has been published in journals, such as the Annals of Regional Science and he has testified before Congress in a House committee.
Norma Nickerson is director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, which oversees a variety of tax-funded projects, contracts and research in the recreation industry. She is the author of three books, is a board member of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and associate editor of the Journal of Travel Research. She received her Ph.D. in recreation and leisure from the University of Utah.
Todd Morgan is director of Forest Industry Research at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He oversees research related to timber harvesting and primary wood products manufacturing throughout the Western United States. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters and earned a master’s in forestry from the University of Montana. Prior to joining the bureau, he was a research silviculturist for the Texas Forest Service.
George Haynes is an agricultural policy specialist with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. He is a former professor with the MSU Department of Health and Human Development and earned a doctorate in consumer economics and housing from Cornell University. His contributions to the field of consumer finance and economics have produced over 35 journal articles, five book chapters and over 45 monographs.
Kate Binzen Fuller is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. She holds a masters and Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis. Her research focuses on economic farm management decision-making, including understanding and interpreting USDA programs and policies, responding to pests and diseases, and issues surrounding leasing and land values.
Pam Haxby-Cote is director of Montana’s Department of Commerce. She previously served as executive director of the Butte Local Development Corporation, was a senior economic development specialist for Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Butte regional director and economic development director for Sen. Jon Tester. She was regional director for the Montana Blackstone LaunchPad program and co-founded Montana GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science).
Andrea Surratt is the city manager for the city of Bozeman, Montana. She has more than 26 years of municipal government experience and was previously the assistant city manager for the city of Hickory, North Carolina. She has served in a number of roles in local government, including the planning and community development director for Moore County, North Carolina and town manager and director of planning for the town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
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View pictures from the 42nd Annual Economic Outlook Seminar.
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Regular tickets include the seminar, the Montana Economic Report, lunch and a one-year subscription to the Montana Business Quarterly ($35 value). Continuing education credits are available, as well as a discount for Montana University System faculty, staff and students (Discounted price $25).