2018 General Information

MSCI 2018 Economic Summit
Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
Schaumburg, Illinois
August 20-21, 2018

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MSCI Conference APP for iPhones & Androids

If you have an iPhone, MSCI has a convenient Conference App which will provide you with all the details of the conference, speakers, current attendance list, session room locations, property maps and other helpful information.  Go to the App Store and search for MSCI.  If you have an Android phone, go to Google Play to download our app.

What to Wear

What to Wear
Conference attire is business casual. Remember, meeting room temperatures and personal comfort zones vary widely; it is recommended that you bring a sweater or jacket to the sessions. Schaumburg’s average high and low temperatures in August are 84ºF high and 59ºF low.

Questions or Assistance

For questions or assistance, contact:

Rose Manfredini
Vice President, Membership & Events
(847) 485-3008–rmanfredini@msci.org

Briana Dee
Senior Membership and Events Coordinator
(847) 485-3021–bdee@msci.org

Conference Registration

Your registration fee covers admittance to conference sessions, lunch on Monday, refreshments, Monday evening reception and dinner, breakfast on Tuesday morning and refreshments. You will also receive a link to be allowed access to presentations from the meeting—an invaluable resource.

Member Pricing
Member pricing is for employees of MSCI member companies.

Register on or before June 20: $1,795
Register on or before July 20: $1,995
Register after July 20: $2,195
Register an Emerging Professional (those with 7 years or fewer of industry experience): $795*

Group Discounts
This pricing applies to the third or more professionals from the same company and is only available to MSCI members.  The discounted emerging professional registrations do not count towards the three registrations required.

Register on or before June 20: $1,595
Register on or before July 20: $1,795
Register after July 20: $1,995

Non-Member Pricing
Check your company membership status here. Interested in becoming a member and saving $600 or more? Learn more about membership here.

Register on or before July 20: $2,395
Register after July 20: $2,595


Monday, August 20

Monday, August 20, 2018

9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Registration Desk Open

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Flat Rolled Council Meeting (closed to council members)

11:15 AM – NOON

Noon – 1:00 PM
U.S. and Global Outlook:  Economics, Politics, and Policy
The U.S. and world economies appear poised for their best performance in 2018 in a decade, but what risks lurk around the corner? Learn the key drivers of economic growth, perspectives on key policy debates, likely movements with inflation and interest rates, and possible paths for budget deficits.
Robert F. Wescott, Ph.D., president, Keybridge Research

1:00 – 1:30 PM
Refreshment Break

1:30 – 2:15 PM
Trade – What You Need to Know Now

An expert panel will discuss the latest on international trade and its impact to the economy and your business
Robert Weidner, president & CEO, Metals Service Center Institute
Ronald K. Lorentzen, senior international trade advisor, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
William M. Hickey, chairman, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp.
Richard T. Marabito, chief financial officer, Olympic Steel, Inc.
Barry Zekelman, executive chairman & chief executive officer, Zekelman Industries

2:15 – 2:45 PM
MSCI Momentum Monitors 
Keybridge Research will introduce the new MSCI Momentum Monitors.  These quarterly end market forecast reports are available and will predict important metals end market activity.
Robert F. Wescott, Ph.D., president, Keybridge Research
Elizabeth Rust, senior economist, Keybridge Research

2:45 – 3:15 PM
Refreshment Break

3:15 – 4:15 PM
Concurrent Breakout Sessions I

  • Infrastructure
    Outlook for federal and large-scale private projects in roads, bridges, ports and high-speed trains
    Tony Nash, founder & chief executive officer, Complete Intelligence
  • Appliances
    Forecast for home appliances in the U.S. and Canada
    Kevin Girdharry, manager, policy and data analysis, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • Renewable Energy
    Outlook and trends for geothermal, wind, solar, and biofuels
    Lauren Saidel-Baker, CFA, economist, ITR Economics
  • Aerospace
    Expected changes for commercial, defense and private aircraft
    Richard Aboulafia, vice president, analysis, Teal Group Corporation

4:30 – 5:30 PM
Concurrent Breakout Sessions II

  • Commercial Construction Investment
    Outlook for commercial real estate & power generation projects
    Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America
  • Oil & Gas
    Outlook for oil, natural gas and fracking
    Laura Speake, Ph.D., regional chief economist, Caterpillar
  • Defense
    Forecast for U.S. Navy, U.S. Airforce, U.S. Army procurement and federal spending
    Bill Edgar, senior analyst, Edgar LLC

5:45 – 6:30 PM
Receptions by Product Division

  • Aluminum
  • Bar Products
  • Flat Rolled
  • Plates & Shapes
  • Specialty Metals
  • Tubular

6:30 – 8:30 PM
Dinner with Entertainment
Enjoy dinner and test your luck at casino night entertainment; revel in the flair of poker, roulette, craps and black jack without ever having to leave the property. We guarantee fun & prizes!

Tuesday, August 21

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

7:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Registration Desk Open

7:00 – 7:30 AM

7:30 – 8:30 AM
Economic Outlook 2019

Get  the  inside  analysis  of  the  current  performance  of  both  the  U.S.  economy  and  the  manufacturing  sector  as  it  relates  to  monetary  policy  and  the  role  of  the  Federal  Reserve  Bank.
William A. Strauss, senior economist & economic advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

8:30 – 9:00 AM
Refreshment Break

9:00 – 10:00 AM
Concurrent Breakout Sessions III

  • Heavy Equipment
    Outlook for agricultural, construction, industrial machinery, mining equipment and heavy truck manufacturing
    Don Johnson, Ph.D., former chief economist, Caterpillar
  • Residential Construction
    Outlook for the housing market. Learn how builders’ sentiment and consumer confidence are impacting housing starts
    Robert Dietz, Ph.D., chief economist, National Association of Home Builders
  • Truck & Trailer
    Outlook for truck and truck/trailer
    Eric Starks, CEO & chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence
  • Automotive Tier 2 & Tier 3
    Hear the outlook for automotive after-market parts
    Shane Norton, director, IHS Markit

10:00 – 10:30 AM
Refreshment Break

10:30 – 11:30 AM
Concurrent Breakout Sessions IV

  • Automotive & Light Truck
    The complete outlook for North American automotive and light truck output
    Michael Robinet, director, global production forecasts, IHS Automotive
  • Rail
    Outlook for rail cars and rail infrastructure
    Eric Starks, CEO & chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence
  • Food Service, Food Processing & Medical Equipment Outlook
    Outlook for the food service and processing industries as well as medical equipment
    Lauren Saidel-Baker, CFA, economist, ITR Economics

11:45 AM – 2:30 PM
Council Meetings*

  • Affiliate Committee
  • Bar Products Division Council
  • Plates & Shapes Council
  • Tubular Products Council

*Closed to council members only

PLEASE NOTE: For the most up-to-date meeting schedule, please download the MSCI Conference App for iPhone and Android phones.  Go to the App Store or Google Play and search for MSCI.

Wednesday, August 22 - Pricing Optimization - One Day Seminar


Pricing Optimization – One Day Seminar

9am- 3pm

Is your pricing structure simple, data driven and consistent, or is it erratic, unpredictable and overly complex?  Take control!  Learn “complexity management” – a method to simplify and standardize your pricing structure for maximum efficiency while making your unique value proposition clear to your customers. Learn how leveraging data can provide a competitive advantage. Level up your pricing game with the tools you need to achieve the right pricing solutions for your business with this program.

What you will learn:

  • The impact of pricing best practices on net margins and return on investment
  • Key pricing best practices with quick, powerful impact
  • How to direct, motivate, and implement pricing best practices through the sales force
  • Using pricing to control costs and investments as well as gross margins
  • How to execute pricing optimization with simple tools (spreadsheets) or simple logic (sales force techniques)

Who should attend:

  • Owners and Executive Leadership interested in strategic planning for growth and profitability
  • Sales management
  • Pricing specialists

Open to Members only: $795 or $695 with Economic Summit registration

Taught by F. Barry Lawrence, Program Director, Industrial Distribution Program, Director of the Thomas and Joan Read Center, and Director of the Global Supply Chain Laboratory at Texas A&M University

Register for both the Economic Summit and Pricing Optimization, and you will receive a $100 discount on the Pricing Optimization Seminar

Hotel & Travel

About Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center

The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel is located 12 miles northwest of Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Please contact the hotel directly to arrange for accommodations.

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
1551 Thoreau Drive
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone:  1-866-204-0549
Website:  https://renaissance-hotels.marriott.com/renaissance-schaumburg-convention-center-hotel 

Online reservations can be made here:  https://aws.passkey.com/go/MSCIEconomicSummit2018

Room rates (single/double occupancy): $195.00 plus tax

It is recommended that you make your hotel accommodations early to ascertain availability. MSCI cannot guarantee availability or the room rate after Friday, July 13, 2018 or when the MSCI room block is filled – whichever occurs first.

Transportation Information

Transportation Information
The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel is approximately 20 minutes from O’Hare International Airport.

National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car
We are proud to announce that National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car along with its subsidiary Enterprise Fleet Management are MSCI member companies!

MSCI supports its member by suggesting that you also support Enterprise and/or National when renting a car during MSCI conferences. MSCI has negotiated discounted rates for your benefit. For faster service and reward options please enroll into Emerald Club. Emerald Club members are recognized at both National and Enterprise so please reference your Emerald Club number and Account Number XZ15W61 when reserving at both National and Enterprise. Counter bypass is available through National Car Rental. Reservations with Enterprise and National can be made by phone or online by clicking here.

Alpha Taxi and Limousine Service 
Alpha Taxi & Limousine Service provides transportation from O’Hare Airport or Midway Airport. Advance reservations are required; please call 1-800-282-7098 at least 24 hours in advance. To make arrangements, please have the exact arrival time, airline and flight number available.

Embarque also provides transportation from O’Hare International Airport. Advance reservations are required; please call 312-983-6323 at least 24 hours in advance. To make arrangements, have the exact arrival time, airline and flight number available. Rates will be quoted at that time.

Taxi Without Advance Reservations
If you will be traveling to the hotel by taxi from O’Hare airport, make certain to request a suburban cab company. A suburban cab will cost approximately $65.00 one way.


Don’t miss the opportunity to generate new leads and raise positive awareness of your company. Be a MSCI Economic Summit sponsor and build on your relationships within the metals supply chain.

There are a number of outstanding sponsorship opportunities. For more information and to secure your sponsorship, speak with Monique Kaiserauer at (847) 485-3004.

Deadline to submit artwork is Friday, July 20. Limit one sponsor per event, unless otherwise noted.

$7,500 Level 

Includes one complimentary registration*, signage, listing in the conference app and display of literature. Meal sponsorships also include a reserved table.

Choose from:

  • Lunch August 20
  • Dinner August 20 sponsored by Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.
  • Breakfast August 21
  • Room Drop of company literature or takeaway item August 20
  • Room Keycards provided upon check-in sponsored by Steel Dynamics, Inc.
  • Bound Notebooks or Padfolios provided upon registration
  • Bottled Water provided throughout the conference
  • Conference Badges sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
  • Economic Summit Mobile App

*Complimentary registrations are valued at $1,795 for members and $2395 for nonmembers (no cash value)

$5,000 Level

Includes signage, listing in the conference app, and display of literature.

Choose from:

  • Charging Station for mobile phones and tablets
  • Mints
  • General Session WiFi sponsored by BMO Harris Bank

$3,500 Level 

Includes custom napkins, signage, listing in the conference app, and display of literature in the registration foyer.

Product Division Receptions, August 20
Choose From:

  • Aluminum Products Reception sponsored by Hydro
  • Bar Products Reception sponsored by Nelsen Steel Company LP
  • Flat Rolled Products Reception sponsored by CRU
  • Plates & Shapes Reception sponsored by Bayou Steel Group
  • Specialty Metals Reception sponsored by American Stainless Tubing, Inc.
  • Tubular Products Reception
  • Refreshment Break August 20 or August 21 sponsored by Red Bud Industries, Butech Bliss,  Band Braner Loopco 

$2,000 Level

Includes signage and listing in the conference app.

Breakout Session August 20 or August 21
Choose From:

  • Aerospace sponsored by Kaiser Aluminum
  • Appliances
  • Automotive Tier 2 and Tier 3 After-Market Parts
  • Automotive & Light Truck
  • Commercial Construction Investment Outlook
  • Defense
  • Food Processing & Food Service Outlook
  • Heavy Equipment sponsored by National Tube Supply 
  • Infrastructure
  • Oil & Gas Rail
  • Renewable Energy
  • Residential Construction
  • Transportation: Truck & Trailer


Richard Aboulafia, vice president, analysis, Teal Group Corporation

Richard Aboulafia is vice president of analysis at Teal Group and manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field and has advised numerous companies, including most prime and many second-and third-tier contractors.  Aboulafia writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecast tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. He also writes publicly about the aviation field and military defense including Military Technology, Naval Forces, Military Simulation and Training and has a regular column in AIAA’s Aerospace America. He is frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications.  Before joining Teal Group, Aboulafia analyzed the jet engine market at Jane’s Information Group, served as an aerospace industry consultant for an international trade advisory company and supported research projects at the Brookings Institution. Richard earned a master’s degree in war studies from the University of London and a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

Robert Dietz, Ph.D., chief economist, National Association of Home Builders

Robert Dietz, Ph.D., is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Policy for NAHB, where his responsibilities include housing market analysis, economic forecasting and industry surveys, and housing policy research. Dr. Dietz has published academic research on the private and social benefits of homeownership, federal tax expenditure estimation, and other housing and tax issues in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Housing Research, the National Tax Journal and the NBER Working Paper series. He has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy on housing and economic issues. Prior to joining NAHB in 2005, Robert worked as an economist for the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, specializing in revenue estimation of legislative proposals involving housing, urban development, and other business tax issues. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio and earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the Ohio State University in 2003.

Bill Edgar, senior analyst, Edgar LLC

Bill Edgar is an independent advisor to data analytics and strategy companies in the aerospace, defense, economics and national security fields.


Over his career, Bill has advised companies and governments around the world, providing market development and business strategy, and supporting a variety of defense industrial base and national security research efforts. His professional experience includes stints with Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, and Jane’s, a leading data and information company specializing in military, aerospace and transportation. Currently, Bill is leading a research initiative designed to support science, technology and innovation strategies across the Army’s military research and development community.

Bill has conducted numerous international presentations and interviews on security and defense industry issues, and he has provided expert testimony to the US Congress.”

Kevin Girdharry, manager, policy and data analysis, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers

Kevin Girdharry joined AHAM in 2014 and serves as Manager of Policy and Data Analysis. Kevin provides extensive economic and impact analyses for issues related to AHAM’s government relations policy positions in both the U.S. and Canada. This includes energy efficiency regulations, ENERGY STAR, and end-of-life management issues.

Prior to joining AHAM, Kevin served as an economic and research analyst for the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (now the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada), publishing research papers and articles on various Canadian economic, social policies and accounting themed topics for a broad spectrum of audiences. Prior to this, Kevin worked as an Operations Executive and in product forecasting for the Estee Lauder Companies Inc. in both the United States and Canada.

Kevin holds a Master of Science in Economics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He completed his undergraduate studies at York University in Toronto, obtaining a double major degree in Economics and Information Technology.

Don Johnson, Ph.D., former chief economist, Caterpillar

Don Johnson retired from Caterpillar Inc. in late 2014 and consults part-time on economic issues through his company, Precision Economics Inc. He focuses mostly on the U.S. and European economies. His Caterpillar career encompassed 43 years, the last 11 as Chief Economist. Most of his career was spent in Economics or Treasury. His experiences included following most major economies in the world, forecasting demand for construction equipment and analyzing exchange rate issues.  Don has a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. His economic interests are macroeconomics and international economics.

Ronald K. Lorentzen, senior international trade advisor, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Ron Lorentzen joined Kelley Drye & Warren as a senior international trade advisor in May 2018, following a 37-year career with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  Most recently, Ron served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and the Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement & Compliance (E&C).  In this capacity, he led a staff of 300 professionals in E&C’s enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements to defend U.S. industries and workers from unfair pricing by foreign companies and unfair subsidies to foreign companies by their governments.  Ron was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of E&C and advised senior Department, Administration and Congressional officials on a broad range of trade law and policy matters.

Ron was elected several times by the membership of the Steel Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris to serve as that body’s Vice Chairman and, in 2017, its Chairman.  Likewise, Ron served as the U.S. Chairman of the North American Steel Trade Committee, a government/industry forum for exchanging information and coordinating policy views among the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States on internal trade, external trade and competitiveness matters affecting North American steel producers and markets.  Previously, Ron served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Negotiations in Commerce’s Import Administration.  In that capacity, he oversaw work on a broad range of policy issues and served as a lead U.S. negotiator on trade remedy rule issues in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Earlier in his career, Ron was the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs.  In that capacity, he helped coordinate the United States’ overall participation in the work of the World Trade Organization, including the 1996, 1998, and 1999 WTO ministerial conferences.  At USTR, Ron was chiefly responsible for U.S. policy concerning WTO rules governing trade remedies, the trade-related aspects of competition policy, and industrial policy measures.  During his tenure at USTR, Ron headed the U.S. delegation to the WTO Subsidies Committee, co-led the U.S. delegation to the WTO Working Group on Trade and Competition Policy, and led the U.S. delegation to the Working Group on Trade Remedies in the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations, among other responsibilities.  Before joining USTR, Ron served in several positions in the Commerce Department’s Import Administration, where he was a key member of the U.S. negotiating teams to the GATT Uruguay Round negotiations on subsidies and antidumping practices and worked extensively with Executive Branch and Congressional staff on the development of U.S. implementing legislation following the Uruguay Round’s completion.

Ron’s service in government was recognized with numerous awards, including the prestigious Presidential Meritorious Senior Executive Rank Award (2011), the Department of Commerce’s Stephen C. Kaminski Memorial Award (2006), the U.S. Trade Representative Office’s Kelly Award (1999), and numerous Gold Medal, Silver Medal, and Bronze Medal awards from the Department of Commerce.

Ron was born in Ashtabula, Ohio.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and International Studies from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and a Masters degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.  During his academic years, Ron studied one year at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and a year at Johns Hopkins’ Bologna Center in Bologna, Italy.

Tony Nash, founder & chief executive officer, Complete Intelligence

Tony Nash is the CEO and Founder of Complete Intelligence, a data technology firm using the world’s largest proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning platform to forecast commodities, currencies, equity markets, economics and international trade.

Previously, Tony built and led the global research business for The Economist (EIU) and the Asia consulting business for IHS (now IHS Markit). He has also been a social entrepreneur, media entrepreneur, writer and consultant.

Tony is a frequent public speaker and leader of closed door dialogues with business and government leaders on markets, economics, risk and technology. He is a contributor to leading global media (BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, etc) and has served as an advisor to government and think tanks in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing and Washington DC.

Tony is an international advisory board member for Texas A&M University and a non-executive director with Kredit Microfinance Bank in Cambodia. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in Business Management from Texas A&M University.

Shane Norton, director, IHS Markit

Shane Norton is a director within the consulting division of IHS Markit and is responsible for managing IHS Markit consulting engagements across a variety of industries including automotive, automotive aftermarket, manufacturing, aerospace & defense and others. Norton has been with IHS Markit and predecessor companies since 2001, working within the Automotive Markets Division prior to moving to the Economics and Country Risk Consulting Group. He currently manages IHS Markit’s automotive aftermarket forecast, which is sponsored by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Auto Care Association and is utilized with the Auto Care annual Factbook.

Michael Robinet, director, global production forecasts, IHS Automotive

Michael Robinet was promoted to managing director in the IHS Global Insights Automotive Consulting practice in November 2011. From March 2010 until late 2011, Robinet served as the director of Global Vehicle Production Forecasts for IHS Automotive. Before the purchase of CSM Worldwide by IHS in 2010, Robinet was vice president, Global Vehicle Forecasts since 1996. In his role as a managing director in the global consulting practice, Robinet will use his experience as a leader and innovator in global production forecasting, tracking future product programs (FPPs), analyzing sourcing and production strategies to serve OEM, supplier and government entities throughout the global industry. Robinet has over two decades of experience in automotive forecasting, strategic analysis and manufacturing finance. Prior to joining CSM Worldwide, he worked at various research companies and was schooled in finance at a major Tier 1 supplier. He has been widely quoted by worldwide print, radio and TV media on a variety of industry topics.

Elizabeth Rust, senior economist, Keybridge Research

Elizabeth Rust is an Economist at Keybridge, where she focuses on macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, economic policy analysis, and economic modeling. She holds a Master’s degree in International Economics and European Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America

Ken Simonson is the Chief Economist at the Associated General Contractors of American. He joined AGC of America in September 2001. Ken’s weekly one-page email newsletter for AGC, The Data DIGest, provides 8000 readers with the latest economic news relevant to construction. He also sends out a variety of state-specific information. He is interviewed and quoted almost daily by local and national media, including The Wall Street JournalUSA Today, Business Week, and CNBC. In addition, he has written eight booklets explaining tax provisions in plain English, and he contributes frequently to a variety of business and professional publications and conferences.

Ken has 35 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues. Before joining AGC, he was senior economic advisor in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Earlier, he was vice president and chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. He also worked with the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and an economic consulting firm.
Ken was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts advising the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. Ken is a board member of the National Tax Association and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and is author of “Digging into Construction Data,” published in NABE’s journal, Business Economics. Since 1982, he has co-chaired the Tax Economists Forum, a professional meeting group he co-founded for leading researchers and policy makers among tax economists. He is vice president of Community Tax Aid, an organization that prepares returns for free for low-income taxpayers. Ken has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA in economics from Northwestern University, and has taken advanced graduate economics courses at the Université de Paris, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.

Lauren Saidel-Baker, CFA, economist, ITR Economics

Lauren Saidel-Baker is an economist at ITR Economics. She provides economic consulting services for small businesses, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies across a spectrum of industries. Her work on ITR’s Business Advisory Team plays a vital role to the institute’s overall success.  Since joining ITR Economics, Lauren has brought enthusiasm and in-depth insights regarding various industry trends. Her engaging and charming personality always exceeds the expectations of her audiences, both internally and externally, while her experience in the financial industry supports a deep understanding of the usability of ITR Economics’ programs. Lauren graduated cum laude with honors in economics and a double major in religion from Wellesley College. In addition to her academic accomplishments, Lauren is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA).

Laura Speake, Ph.D., regional chief economist, Caterpillar

Laura joined Caterpillar in her current role in 2014. She is driven to develop a deep understanding the energy markets today, how the changes that are occurring in the near term and what the future may look like. Her experience from 19 years in the energy business cutting across technologies and fuels offers a unique perspective on the energy landscape of the future and the implications for Caterpillar. Dr. Speake’s responsibilities include developing deep understanding of the macroeconomic conditions that drive the Electric Power, Marine, Oil & Gas and Industrial segments of the E&T business. She supports the Sales and Operations Planning department by providing the top down forecast of the business segments across regions. She also has responsibility for forecasting oil, gas and diesel prices for the corporation. And is personally driven to help foster a deeper understanding of the changing energy landscape, megatrends and what the implications may be for the company. Laura has extensive prior experience in the Energy sector, having spent 15 years with Southern Company, one of the largest electric utilities in the US and its subsidiaries. She has a broad range of experience both as a forecaster and wholesale business development in the electric utility industry.

Laura holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Clemson University.

Eric Starks, CEO & chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence

Eric Starks is CEO and chairman of FTR, Freight Transportation Intelligence, an industry leader in freight transportation forecasting. Eric has spent his entire career in the freight transportation sector and is a leading researcher in freight modal share analysis and forecasting.  His background includes research in both rail and truck freight movements and asset equipment purchases.  He is currently one of the premier Industry forecasters on transportation equipment demand for rail cars, commercial trucks and trailers. Starks is an active member of the transportation community and holds a position on the Board of Directors for the National Industrial Transportation League.  Eric holds a BS in Finance from Indiana University.

William A. Strauss, senior economist & economic advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

William A. Strauss is a senior economist and economic advisor in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which he joined in 1982. His chief responsibilities include analyzing the current performance of both the Midwest economy and the manufacturing sector for use in monetary policy. He organizes the Bank’s Economic Outlook Symposium and Automotive Outlook Symposium. In addition, he conducts industrial and manufacturing roundtables throughout the year.

Strauss has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Webster University in Chicago. He currently teaches at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. At the latter institution, he was named winner of the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award in the Business and Professional Programs. He was recognized by the University at Buffalo as a Distinguished Alumni in 2012.

His research papers include analysis of the manufacturing sector, the automotive sector, the Midwest regional economy, the trade-weighted dollar, business cycles and Federal Reserve payments operations.

Strauss has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows and quoted in the major business magazines and newspapers. He has also provided testimony concerning manufacturing issues to the U.S. Senate.

He is a past president of the Chicago Association of Business Economists; a past board member for the National Association for Business Economics; a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council; a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University at Buffalo; a member of the Advisory Board for the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer and Economic Growth and Development, a member of the Advisory Council for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Economic Education; a member of the Economic Advisory Committee for the Council on Competitiveness; a board member of Global Interdependence Center; and a member of the Council of Great Lakes Governors Maritime Advisory Committee.

Strauss earned a B.A. in economics and geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University. He is a Certified Business Economist™ (CBE), the certification in business economics and data analytics developed by the National Association for Business Economics. It documents a professional’s accomplishment, experience, abilities and demonstrates mastery of the body of knowledge critical for a successful career in the field of economics and data analytics.

Robert Wescott, Ph.D., president, Keybridge Research

Robert F. Wescott is Founder and President of Keybridge Research LLC, an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC, that has served global financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and leading industry associations since 2001. Dr. Wescott has more than 30 years of professional experience working on global macroeconomic and public policy issues. He is a frequent speaker to business and financial audiences around the world about financial markets, economic trends, and geopolitical risks. He also testifies as an expert before U.S. Congressional committees on economic and financial policy matters.

Dr. Wescott served for four years as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council at the White House and as Chief Economist  at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Wescott holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Barry M. Zekleman, executive chairman & chief executive officer, Zekelman Industries

Zekelman is responsible for all aspects of business at Zekelman Industries. He started out at Atlas Tube and assumed ownership, along with his brothers, with his father’s sudden passing in 1986. In 2006 Atlas became part of the company now known as Zekelman Industries, with Barry Zekelman as chief operating officer (COO) of the corporation. He became CEO and president in 2008. In 2010 he became executive chairman, and returned to the role of CEO in 2013. Zekelman was born and raised in Windsor, ON. He received his early education in Windsor and later attended York University in Toronto, ON.

Important Deadlines and Policies

A full refund will be issued for cancellations received in writing by MSCI by 5:00 pm Friday, July 20, 2018. cancellations received in writing by MSCI by 5:00 pm before Friday, August 3, 2018, will receive a refund of 50% of registration fees paid. No shows and cancellations received after that time will not be eligible for refunds. Substitutions may be made at any time. Written cancellations or substitutions will be accepted by contacting Briana Dee.

MSCI reserves the right to cancel the Pricing Optimization One-day Forum due to lack of enrollment.

*Bring an Emerging Professional

Seasoned  professionals can bring an emerging professional with 7 or fewer years of industry experience for just $795.  To register an emerging professional and for more details call Briana Dee at 847-485-3021.

The discounted emerging professional registrations do not count towards the three registrations required for the Group Discounts pricing structure.

MSCI Antitrust Policy

MSCI conferences strictly comply with all U.S. antitrust laws.  As a conference attendee and/or presenter, we ask that you review and adhere to the MSCI Antitrust Policy.

Content Policy

The content  (including, but not limited to, slides, charts, video-clips, etc. ) presented at MSCI conferences is proprietary and presented solely for the benefit of conference attendees. The conference content should not be disseminated or re-transmitted in any way (e.g. electronically, via audio tape, etc.) to the public or third parties.

Entertainment Policy

Entertainment and/or company meetings should never be scheduled at the same time as official MSCI business or a social event.  This includes breakfast sessions, business sessions, and evening group functions.  MSCI recommends that company entertainment be planned prior to the opening or following the conclusion of Economic Summit.  Please respect MSCI’s policy in extending and accepting invitations.

Press and Sponsorship Policies

This event is closed to the press. Only event sponsors may distribute products or promotional materials at MSCI venues.  Please contact Monique Kaiserauer at (847) 485-3004 if you are interested in becoming a sponsor.

Registrant/Participant Image and Voice Agreement

Registration for attendance and/or participation at MSCI Conferences and other associated activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to permit MSCI’s to use and distribute (both now and in the future) the registrant or participant’s image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions, audiotapes or other digital or electronic recordings of such event and activities.