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University Relations
800 Hotz Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

FAX 479.575.4745


FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nationally Recognized Economists to Be Featured at Walton College 2008 Business Forecast Luncheon

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas will host a panel of nationally recognized economists for its 14th annual Business Forecast luncheon on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008. The event, coordinated by the Walton College Center for Business and Economic Research, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers, Ark.

The panelists include:

  • Moderator: Warren A. Stephens, chairman, president and CEO, Stephens Inc., Little Rock, Ark.
  • International Outlook: David R. Kotok, chief investment officer, Cumberland Advisors, Vineland, N.J.
  • National Outlook: Carl E. Steidtmann, chief economist, Deloitte Research, New York, N.Y.
  • State and Local Outlook: Katherine A. Deck, director, Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton College of Business, Fayetteville, Ark.

 “Once again, the Walton College is fortunate to have an extraordinary panel of economists agree to share their forecasts for the coming year,” said Walton College Dean Dan Worrell. “We believe the opportunity to hear the unique perspectives offered by these accomplished individuals provides tremendous value to business and civic leaders from northwest Arkansas, the region and the state.”

Worrell added, “This event is part of the outreach activities of the Walton College through the Center for Business and Economic Research. We especially want to acknowledge the strong support of our sponsors who made this event possible. Their generosity will also enable more than 60 students to attend this year’s program. Last year, more than 1,100 business and community representatives attended the lunch.”

The sponsors to date for the 2008 Business Forecast luncheon include the following:

  • Walton Academic Partners: AEP SWEPCO, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., First Security Bank/Crews and Associates, Stephens Inc., and Wal-Mart/Sam's Club;
  • Walton Corporate Partners: Greenwood and Associates Inc., Southwestern Energy Co., and Stevenson Tree Farms; and
  • Walton Business Partners: Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arvest Bank Group, the Center for Retailing Excellence, Cooper Communities Inc., the city of Fort Smith, Friday, Eldredge & Clark, Jodi and Dan Grubb, Hall Estill Law Firm, McKee Foods Corp., Moore Stephens Frost Financial Group, Rebsamen Insurance, Regions Bank, Tullius Taylor Sartain & Sartain, Tyson Foods Inc., and Wright, Lindsey, & Jennings LLP.

Stephens became senior vice president of the Stephens Inc. Capital Market Group after launching his career in the Corporate Finance Department at Stephens Inc. He serves on the board of directors of Alltel Corp. and Dillard’s Inc. and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Washington & Lee University. He is chairman of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Board, and the Episcopal Collegiate School Foundation Board. He serves on the board of directors for the Little Rock Boys Club. In the past, Stephens served on the NASD District Conduct Committee concluding his service as chairman and has served as chairman of the board of the Arkansas Arts Center and the Capital Campaign to renovate the current theatre for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Stephens is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he received a bachelor of arts in economics, and Wake Forest University, where he received his Master of Business Administration.

Kotok co-founded Cumberland Advisors in 1973. His articles and financial market comments have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and other publications. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Kotok currently serves as a director and program chairman of the Global Interdependence Center and is a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council, the National Association for Business Economics, the Philadelphia Council for Business Economics and the Philadelphia Financial Economists Group. He previously served as a commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority, on the Treasury Transition Teams for New Jersey and a board member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and as chairman of New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. He holds a bachelor of science in economics, a master of science in organizational dynamics and a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Steidtmann works with clients assessing business strategies. His research has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Women's Wear Daily, USA Today and The New York Times. Steidtmann has appeared on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, CNBC and the Nightly Business Report. Previously at PricewaterhouseCoopers, he authored or co-authored more than 400 publications. He has served as vice president with Nakagama & Wallace and as senior adviser and economist for the American Productivity Center where he acted as the technical adviser to the White House Conference on Productivity. Prior to that, he was an economics instructor at the University of Colorado and worked with Mountain Bell and IBM. In 2003 Steidmann was selected by Consulting Magazine as one of the 25 most influential consultants. He holds a doctorate in economics, a master’s degree in statistics, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Colorado.

Kathy Deck is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Walton College. Her research interests include local economic development, industry market structure, and education and health care economics. In providing applied economic research as part of the outreach mission of the Walton College, Deck has managed studies for a variety of clients including: Arvest Bank Group, Southwestern Energy and the cities of Fayetteville, Bentonville and Lowell. Deck also acts as a media resource for economic analysis of current events and trends. Deck earned a bachelor of arts in economics from the College of William and Mary and a master of science in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the Center for Business and Economic Research, Deck was the antitrust economist for the Arizona attorney general.

The Walton College Center for Business and Economic Research is a public service/outreach organization whose mission is to serve its constituents with the highest quality research support; basic and applied business and economic analysis; timely, relevant business, economic and related public policy information; and other outreach activities. In addition to supporting research within the college, the center supports economic development by providing economic and demographic data and analysis to business, government and individuals. The center also actively works with the economic development community of the state to build Arkansas’ capacity to create high-wage, high-skill employment.

Registration forms were mailed this week. For more information on sponsorships or reservations for Business Forecast 2008, contact the Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton College of Business, Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, (479) 575-4151, fax (479) 575-7687, or e-mail: cber@walton.uark.edu. To register online, visit the Business Forecast Web site at:  http://cber.uark.edu/busfor.



Kathy Deck, director, Center for Business and Economic Research
Sam M. Walton College of Business
(479) 575-4151, kdeck@walton.uark.edu 

Dixie Kline, director of communications
Sam M. Walton College of Business
(479) 575-2539, dkline@walton.uark.edu