The Speakers

Our lineup of speakers include industry and economic experts focused on the U.S. and the state of Montana.

Patrick Barkey

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

Bryce Ward is the founder of ABMJ Consulting, a firm that provides economic analysis, testimony, strategic advice, conflict resolution, and project management to clients nationwide. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University and BAs in economics and history from the University of Oregon.

Kate Fuller

Kate Binzen Fuller is an associate 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.

Christina Henderson

Christina Quick Henderson is the founding executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit association of high-tech and manufacturing firms across Montana. Henderson is also an adjunct instructor of entrepreneurship, management and organizational behavior at the College of Business at the University of Montana. She holds an MBA from the University of Montana.

Samuel Scott

Samuel Scott is a Forest Economist with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana. He holds both a B.S. (University of Montana) and an M.S. (Virginia Tech) in Forestry. Prior to the Bureau, Sam served as an Economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and as a Silviculture and Timber Technician for the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Robert Sonora

Robert “Tino” Sonora is associate director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and director of health care research. He is the former director of the Office of Business and Economic Research at Fort Lewis College, where he also served as professor of economics. Sonora holds a master’s in international economics from the University of Essex, and a master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Ohio State University.

Joel Schumacher

Joel Schumacher is an associate extension specialist and extension family and consumer science program leader at Montana State University. He holds a master’s degree in applied economics from Montana State University. His research and outreach programs focus on consumer economics, agricultural finance and rural economics. He has authored or co-authored more than two dozen educational guides and presented more than 300 educational outreach programs.

Melissa Weddell

Melissa Weddell is the director of the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research at the University of Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University, an MBA from Southern Illinois University, and an undergraduate degree in Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship from Ball State University. She formerly served as the department chair and professor of Recreation Management at Appalachian State University.