economy

Attendees of the upcoming UCCS Economic Forum will hear a slightly different presentation compared to the past few years.

“The national economist and myself will be talking about the next U.S. economic downturn,” said Tatiana Bailey, executive director of the UCCS Economic Forum. “Colorado Springs and the state have been outperforming the nation … in recent years, and I don’t see that changing, per se, but I do think that within the next year and a half we will have a national downturn, which is different from the past when everything has just been up, up, up.”

The annual UCCS Economic Forum, which showcases economic information for the Pikes Peak region, will be Oct. 4 at the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave.

“I do about 40 presentations or so a year and it always amazes me that people in this community keep showing up for so many of them,” Bailey said. “This is the largest one, with typically about 600 people, and it’s really just to inform the community about what’s happening in the economy.”

During the forum, a Wells Fargo economist will speak first about the international and national economies with an opportunity for questions, then Bailey will give her presentation on the state and area economy.

“I usually have a Q&A but this year I’m actually going to bring up Mayor John Suthers, Dirk Draper from the [Colorado Springs] Chamber & EDC and Susan Edmondson from Downtown Partnership to answer any questions from the audience,” Bailey said.

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Government officials as well as local business owners and Realtors typically attend the forum.

“It’s for those people who like to know what’s going to happen, because it is the one time a year I focus a little more on forecast,” Bailey said. “I try to talk about the trends up until now and year-to-date and then this is where we think we are going to end up in 2018 and 2019.”

Amy Reid, CEO of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, said Realtors receive continuing education credit for going to the forum.

“It is very, very helpful to us as an industry to understand what is happening economically in our community,” she said. “[Bailey] does a great job of synthesizing the role the real estate market plays in our economy.”

Reid says the local real estate market is dependent on the local economy.

“What our average wages and salaries are affects the real estate market and who is buying homes,” she said. “If we are seeing net migration in, that affects us as well.”

Ron Chernak, president of [business brokers] The FBB Group Ltd., said his firm founded the forum more than 20 years ago.

“We were looking for an unbiased, authoritative source of economic data for the Southern Colorado region, so that business owners, such as me, can make informed decisions and planning going forward,” he said. “We thought that the University of Colorado, specifically UCCS, would be the best source for that information because of their economic department and the fact that they had students perhaps that could get involved and do research and benefit from the experience.”

Chernak also was part of the hiring process when Bailey was brought on board to lead the forum five years ago.

“Previous to Tatiana, we had a number of professors … that were involved with the forum but those professors also had full-time jobs teaching,” he said. “It was decided that it would be better to have one full-time person working with the forum and responsible for the information and growth and dissemination of information from the forum.”

Bailey stood out from other candidates for the job partly because of her knowledge of insurance and health care, Chernak said.

“At the time she was hired, the country was going through — and of course it is still going through — some issues relating to insurance and health care costs and Tatiana had a background and experience level in health care,” he said. “We have been very pleased with her energy and the exposure that she has created for the forum in the community.”

Bailey said she surveys attendees for feedback following each year’s forum.

“It’s amazing to me when I ask why they come, ‘Is it networking? Is it this or that?’ and typically or oftentimes the highest thing they rate is the local presentation,” Bailey said. “I think that speaks to how engaged this community is and how much it likes to know about what is happening, and that’s really the main focus of the forum is just to inform.”

Go to uccseconomicforum.com for more information and to register for this year’s forum.