Reflections on the 2013 Workforce Boardroom Conference

Posted on October 10, 2013 by Admin

Chmura Economics & Analytics recently presented its second annual Workforce Boardroom Conference. The conference theme was Illuminate to Innovate, and it brought thought leaders from a variety of disciplines together to discuss smart solutions to some big challenges facing our regions, states, and nation.

The event kicked off with a presentation from Marge Connelly, who brought her unique insight and private sector perspective on customer-centered innovation from her career in financial services and higher education. Following are some other highlights from the event.

Federal Issues, Sequestration and Your Economy

Chmura has been researching defense spending, the sequestration, and their impacts on state and regional economies. The team has developed one of the most complete datasets on federal defense spending ever constructed, and Chris Chmura’s remarks were designed to identify, inform, and inspire defense-dependent communities to action. Data-Driven Decision Making

Jay Dougherty, partner at Mercer and co-founder of the Workforce Sciences Institute, shared his candid experience with companies making location decisions today. He emphasized the use of quantitative data analysis to optimize the location, labor, cost of doing business, and business climate of a corporate decision.

Chmura team member Dan Meges joined Bruce Stephen of Monster Government Solutions to talk about workforce planning and the use of Real-Time Labor Intelligence. Monster, which started the online job posting revolution, is now manipulating its massive database of candidates and openings to help create a clearer picture of labor supply and demand. This perspective is invaluable for communities and higher education working to better align their program offerings with market trends.

Chmura’s chief statistician, Greg Chmura, took the stage to share some interesting analysis on the connection between education, innovation, and job growth. His research built on findings of the Fund for Our Economic Future in northeastern Ohio. The research is surprising - innovation and job growth don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Measuring What Matters – New Paradigms for Economic Development

One of the goals of the conference was to challenge traditional thinking about economic development and Ed Burghard of the Burghard Group’s talk on the American Dream Composite Index (ADCI) did not disappoint. Ed suggested the audience push away from traditional outcome measures such as job creation and capital investment and instead focus on the well-being and satisfaction of the populace.

Ed has partnered with Xavier University to advance the ADCI, which uses household survey data to measure the pulse of the American sentiment. It’s a holistic measure that includes five components, including economic, a well-being, societal, diversity, and environmental indexes.

Four Business Perspectives

The conference brought four unique and valuable business perspectives to the forefront. The first was from a return presentation by David B. Trebing, General Manager, State and Local Relations for Daimler. David shared the new reality for manufacturers operating in a competitive, dynamic, global marketplace. This reality includes the need to locate production facilities in growing and emerging markets, a push towards cost reduction and efficiency, and the need for a qualified workforce.

The second business topic was presented by Carlos Solari, VP at Wilkitech. Carlos’s remarks enlightened the group on emerging trends in the cyber security industry and what communities need to know to attract and retain businesses in that sector.

Jeff Harris with Xerox Services spoke on the relationship between innovation, people, and the environment, and what that means for business and communities today. His futuristic remarks about the shifting trends in the definitions of work and the workplace prompted healthy discussions over lunch about how economic developers will adapt.

The conference closed with some practical public relations strategies from Hope Katz Bibbs, founder and president of The Inkandescent Group, LLC. Hope has helped many entrepreneurs and early-stage companies transform their innovative ideas into growth, and she shared her ideas about what it takes to help a new enterprise launch successfully and get the attention it deserves.

What’s Next?

It was an exciting two days in Richmond and Chmura thanks the engaged attendees and speakers. Now, we’re busy planning for 2014. If you would like to learn more about the 2014 conference, contact Maggie Bishop at

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.