On Thursday September 22nd, the Rose Institute co-hosted the 2011 CMC-UCLA Inland Empire Forecast Conference at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. This second annual event was co-sponsored by the UCLA Anderson Forecast and Claremont McKenna College’s Inland Empire Center, a collaborative effort between the Rose Institute and the Lowe Institute for Political Economy. The conference aims to provide business and government leaders in the Inland Empire with independent economic analysis of the region and was attended by several hundred people.
After a brief welcome by Brock Blomberg, the dean of CMC’s Robert Day School of Economics, and Chris Meyers, the President and CEO of Cititzens Business Bank, the program began with the presentation of the national and state forecast by Jerry Nickelsburg, Senior Economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Mr. Nickelsburg presented a variety of economic data for the state of California, and stressed that economic recovery was still several years away. Next, Marc Weidenmier, professor of Economics at CMC and Director of the Lowe Institute, presented the Inland Empire Forecast. Professor Weidenmier focused on the particular challenges facing Inland Empire companies, especially when it came to real estate and logistics.
At 9:15, Larry Kosmont, President and CEO of Kosmont Companies, moderated a real estate panel. The panel featured Randall Lewis, Executive Vice President of the Lewis Group of Companies, Steve Ruffner, Southern California Coastal Division President of KB Homes, John Semcken Vice President of Majestic Realty, and Gerd-Ulf Krueger, Principal Economist at HousingEcon.com. Every member of the panel assured conference attendees that the real estate market, which crashed harder and longer in the Inland Empire than anywhere else in the state, would soon pick up. In particular, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Ruffner pointed to many new projects their companies were building, while Mr. Semcken described the exciting possibilities of placing a new NFL stadium in the Inland Empire.
Finally, Mary Jane Olhasso and Lisa Brandl presented an update on economic development in San Bernardino and Riverside County. Olhasso is the Administrator of the San Bernadino County Economic Development Agency, and Brandl is the Managing Director of Riverside County’s Economic Development Agency.
The Rose Institute would like to thank all of the sponsors of the event, especially the main sponsor, Citizens Business Bank. Other sponsors included RJ Romero, Lewis Group of Companies, Muni Services, County of Riverside Economic Development Agency, County of San Bernardino, City of Ontario, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Pechanga Development Corporation, Citrus Valley Association of Realtors, KPMG, Parke Guptill, and Morongo.
For more information on upcoming events, please see inlandempirecenter.org. For additional economic and political analysis and forecasting, visit inlandempireoutlook.org.