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Left to right: Harvey Hopson, BW International MBA program director and panel moderator; Thomas Waltermire, CEO of Team NEO; Michael Weidokal ’94, executive director of ISA; Linda Bluso, BW Business Division chair; Kevin Jacques, BW’s Boyton D. Murch Chair in Finance; Scott Monaco, president of the BW MBA Association; and Adam Beach, BW-MBAA Board

BW Hosts Expert Panel to Assess 2013 Economic Outlook at Home and Abroad

"We're crawling" one expert says of the current economic recovery in Northeast Ohio, but there are reasons for hope in the mixed bag of financial figures.

On the world stage, China will be the United States’ greatest economic rival in the years to come, and greatest potential partner. On the national front, most signs point to slow, uneven growth for 2013. Here in Northeast Ohio, a number of economic indicators that have traditionally lagged far behind the national averages are keeping up in the current slow recovery, sparking optimism.

These are a few of the conclusions drawn by the authoritative panel of economic experts assembled by Baldwin Wallace University's Business Division, in partnership with the BW MBA Association. The trio shared “Economic Insights: Global, National, Regional” on Wednesday night at BW’s Center for Innovation & Growth.

Emerging Markets Provide Competition, Opportunity

Michael Weidokal ’94, the Luxemburg-based Executive Director of ISA (International Strategic Analysis) provided analysis of global economic opportunities and challenges. Weidokal, who studied business and international relations as an undergrad at BW, identified Indonesia and the Philippines as two of the emerging markets to watch, along with sub-Saharan Africa. “As these economies develop, there is more international competition than ever before,” Weidokal, said. And, while growing exports mean Northeast Ohio’s economy is “ever more tied into global markets,” Ohio businesses “do not have too much exposure” to the economic woes of Europe and Japan.

National Recovery Will Continue to Grow in "Fits and Starts"

Kevin Jacques, BW’s Boyton D. Murch Chair in Finance and former a former U.S. Treasury economist, dissected the national economy for the audience of about 100. Examining conflicting reasons for both optimism and pessimism, Jacques predicted growth of two to three percent in 2013 but warned, “this is not likely to be linear improvement, but growth in fits and starts.”

Northeast Ohio Numbers Hold Some Surprises; Reason for Optimism

Thomas Waltermire, CEO of the economic development organization, Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO), said of the region’s growth, “We are crawling.” But Waltermire sees a silver lining in the region’s ability to keep pace with the overall national recovery. “I think that’s really interesting and specifically has to do with the diversification that has taken place over the past two decades.”

Waltermire, who also serves as a BW Trustee, noted that Northeast Ohio is now one of the strongest areas for venture capital investment between the coasts. He quoted Moody’s as projecting a 17 percent expansion of the Northeast Ohio economy in the next decade. ”When you look at the jobs that will be needed to support that growth, we will have a skilled people problem to solve.”

BW Serving as Business Information Hub

“BW is committed to leading valuable discussions like these for the benefit of our students and the regional business community,” said Linda Bluso, chair of BW’s business division.

Upcoming 2013 events of interest to the businesses and nonprofits include a February 5 Sustainability Briefing designed to reduce the impact of storm sewer and power fees, CIGtalks with rock and roll entrepreneurs EarthQuaker Devices on February 12 and solar leader Bold Alternatives on March 19, an appearance by Content Marketing guru Joe Pulizzi on February 25, and a Spahr Lecture on sustainability featuring Fairmount Minerals CEO Chuck Fowler on March 5. For more information, call 440-826-2325.

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