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March 12, 2014

Sharing Perspectives With Maryland Leaders

Senior Vice President Dave Beck welcomes attendees at the annual economic breakfast at the Richmond Fed's Baltimore branch.

By Margaret Burns

More than 120 alumni of statewide and regional leadership programs recently gathered at the Richmond Fed's Baltimore branch for an annual economic forum featuring two Bank economists and Baltimore's Community Development manager. In its seventh year, the informational breakfast hosted by Dave Beck, Richmond Fed senior vice president and Baltimore regional executive, is designed to offer Maryland business, government and nonprofit leaders perspectives on regional and national economic issues and an opportunity to exchange valuable economic information.

"Of all the alumni leadership events, this is the best attended," said Amanda Zinn, Leadership Baltimore County president and chief executive officer. "The sessions are informative, the presenters are top-notch and I always leave knowing more about complex economic issues from insights gleaned from the presentations, the printed resources from the Federal Reserve Bank or the question and answer exchange."

"This annual forum delivers so many opportunities for our Bank and staff to share our perspectives with leaders from across Maryland who are involved in determining policies that affect economic growth," Beck said. "The event is energizing and informative, and it's a significant opportunity to build new connections with regional leaders and to inform and influence their understanding of the Federal Reserve and the work we do for America's economy."

During the Feb. 19 event, Richmond Fed Regional Economist Andy Bauer highlighted recent developments in the U.S. energy sector that make our nation more energy independent and have positive implications for the growth of manufacturing in the United States. Bauer offered a detailed explanation of natural gas "fracking" and the extraction of natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale region, which borders Maryland's westernmost counties.

Bob Carpenter, economist in the Richmond Fed's Supervision, Regulation and Credit department, provided an analysis of the labor markets and why they remain hampered by slow growth. Carpenter also provided an economic perspective on the impact of potential changes in the national and local minimum wage rates, and reviewed new research on the long-term unemployed and members of disadvantaged groups.

Zinn, of Leadership Baltimore County, said, "I left with a broader understanding of the challenges faced by the long-term unemployed, as well as the new opportunities with the technological revolution in the energy markets. How can we marry this challenge with this opportunity?"

Ellen Janes, Community Development senior manager, also provided an overview of the Richmond Fed's Community Development efforts and upcoming events such as our continuing "Redefining 'Rust Belt'" series with the Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia Reserve Banks.

"We always enjoy our breakfast at the Federal Reserve and are grateful to Dave Beck and his team for their hospitality," said David Sachs, Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) Leadership director. "The annual breakfast provides a great opportunity to bring together leaders from the regions' civic leadership programs."

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