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.

George Haynes

George Haynes is Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University.  His primary line of research is in agricultural and small business finance. His instructional responsibilities include conducting financial training for low resource borrowers and educating farmers and ranchers on the agricultural policy issues.

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.

Samuel Scott

Samuel Scott is a Forest Economist with the Bureau’s Forest Industry Research Program. He holds a B.S. (University of Montana) in Forestry and an M.S. (Virginia Tech) in Forest Economics. Prior to the Bureau, Sam served as an Economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and worked in timber and silviculture with both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. His primary research interests are statistical timber appraisal methods, employment and income impacts of the forest products industry across the West, and bioeconomic modeling.

Derek Sheehan

Derek Sheehan is an Economist with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). Derek Sheehan joined the Bureau as an Economist in 2021. He holds a MA in economics from the University of Montana and holds a BA in economics from Virginia Tech. Before attending UM, Derek served as an Agroforestry Specialist in Peace Corps Senegal. Derek’s research interests include applied econometrics, natural resource economics, health economics, real estate, and spatial statistics.

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.