Sun, April 21, 2024

Mondays with Rick: Economic Outlook Breakfast

Editor’s Note:

On Thursday December 9th, the Annual Hull College of Business Economic Forecast Outlook was held at the Jaguar Center at AU’s Summerville Campus. Our Josh Heath attended and reported on the job crunch and not-so-great inflation news shared at the breakfast. Click here for more detail.


Dean Rick Franza hosted the event for the business community and shares his insights in his regular, weekly column. Some of his comments were edited for brevity and clarity.

ABD:  Rick….were you pleased by the turnout?

Rick: Very much; so we had about 100 registrations. We hosted guests from many industries like state economic leaders based in Augusta, bankers, financial planners, CPA’s, manufacturers, small business owners and some faculty and deans from our campus.

Networking was very spirited and demonstrates people are glad to be out and about with their colleagues….almost as important as information. Last year, Simon did it virtually with a series of videos and questions from the community.

ABD: Any surprises?

Rick: Two things… how much retail has surged in our area in terms of jobs and spending. (Simon has pointed out that jobs have increased from 24,000 to 29,000 since). People have money and are spending it.

Dr. Simon Medcalfe is an economist at AU’s Hull College of Business and a weekly ABD Columnist. He delivers his forecast each year at this time. Photo by Hull College

Also, one of the five students who worked on an SRS economic study with Simon was there. I was surprised at how much insight was put into the study and the magnitude of the economic impact to our community. It is north of $2 BILLION! The SRS workforce is about to get bigger with a new mission and a new plutonium processing facility. Their workforce is getting older and they too are having hiring challenges.

ABD: Why does Hull College of Business host this each year?

Rick: For us it’s a way we can say “thank you” to the business community. Companies send their people to talk to our students and visit our classes throughout the year and give them real world information and sometimes jobs.

Also, I talk with a lot of business leaders who come to the breakfast and they look forward to it because of insight Simon provides.

Dr. Rick Franza is the Dean at AU’s Hull College of Business and participant in our weekly “Mondays with Rick” series. Photo by Hull College

They want to plan as best they can for the coming year. I also think what drives people to come is that Simon presents this in a digestible way that’s very friendly to non-economists and it’s entertaining.

The free breakfast is always great and we thank Wells Fargo for their endowment to pay for it!

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