Economic Outlook Conference

Experience the 20th annual Economic Outlook Conference

Gain insights, share knowledge, and engage in meaningful discussions surrounding national and regional economic conditions, challenges, and potential policy solutions. Interact with industry experts, economists, business professionals, and academics.

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Inclusive Labor Policies: Adapting Regulations to the Changing Nature of Work

Discover the complex impacts of international migration on the U.S. labor market at our upcoming conference. Renowned economists Dr. Santiago Pérez and Dr. Evgeniya Duzhak will present their latest research on immigrant experiences and labor market dynamics. Joining them are esteemed local and regional economists like Dr. Yurim Lee, Dr. Dave Reich, and Dr. Anneliese Vance-Sherman, who will offer valuable insights into the macroeconomy and local labor market. Additionally, immigration specialists and practitioners Dr. Claudia Wright, Dr. Wei Yen, and Jon DeVaney will provide perspectives from their experiences working with immigrant populations. Economics students will also share their research.

Conference Speakers

  • Jon DeVaney

    Jon DeVaney has served as the President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association since September of 2014, when the Association was established through the merger of four existing tree fruit industry organizations. In this capacity he oversees industry education and training, data collection and reporting, and state and local government relations activities for the state’s apple, pear, and cherry producers.

    Mr. DeVaney has an extensive background in agricultural policy and politics. Prior to the formation of the WSTFA, Jon was the Executive Director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association from November of 2009. He previously served as a long-time staff member for former Congressman Doc Hastings, as Washington State Director of USDA Rural Development (2005-2009) and as Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at the Northwest Horticultural Council.

    He also serves on numerous boards and committees, including as a past Chairman of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, a member of the Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services Advisory Committee at the Washington Department of Employment Security, and on the Workers Compensation Advisory Committee at the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.  Jon currently serves as the Chairman of the Boards of the Yakima County Development Association, the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency, and the Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing.

    Jon has a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.A. from Georgetown University, both in history.

    Headshot of Jon DeVaney

  • Dave Reich

    Dave Reich is the Executive Director and Chief Economist for the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC). The members of the ERFC are made up of eight legislators and three executive branch members. Each quarter, Dave and staff prepare an updated Washington economic and state revenue forecast for review and approval by the ERFC members and use by state government officials in budgeting and planning. Prior to joining the ERFC, Dave was Director and Chief Economist for the Office of Economic and Financial Analysis at King County. That group prepared the official economic and revenue projections used in the County’s budget process. Dave holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington.

    Headshot of Dave Reich

  • Wei Yen

    Dr. Wei Yen is a Senior Research Scientist at the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM).  His current research focus is health services with special interests in access to health care and health care workforce. Dr. Yen has extensive experience in using survey data and administrative data for his research. His prior professional experiences include the following (in reverse chronological order):

    • Senior Research Associate at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy conducting research on long-term outcomes of mental health services
    • Associate Director of the California Health Interview Survey at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
    • Executive Policy Analyst and Research Investigator during his first tenure at OFM working on health coverage research and the Washington State Population Survey
    • Research Associate at the Washington State University’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center working on the longitudinal Family Income Study.

    Dr. Yen received his MA and PhD degrees in Sociology from Washington State University and his BA degree in English from Southwest University (China).

    Headshot of Wei Yen

  • Yurim Lee

    Dr. Yurim Lee serves as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Central Washington University, having earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research spans the fields of macroeconomics and international economics, with a primary focus on investigating the impact of self-employment on labor markets, business cycle dynamics, and policy reforms. Recently, Dr. Lee has diversified her research interests to include interdisciplinary studies such as financial readability and sentiment analysis.

    Headshot of Yurim Lee

  • Claudia Wright

    Dr. Claudia Méndez Wright is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at CWU. Her professional experience includes working for the advertising and marketing industry as a qualitative consumer/UX researcher. Her publications and conference papers explore topics of consumer culture, qualitative research, migration, and gender. Her current research interests explore the cultural definitions of motherhood and the intersections of identities and migration.  She will be sharing findings from her research on Colombian immigrant mothers in the U.S.: "Mother, Migrant, Colombian: Experiences of Highly Qualified Migrant Women in the U.S. Labor Market."

    Headshot image of Dr. Claudia Mendez Wright

  • Santiago Pérez

    Santiago Pérez is an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Davis, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He specializes in economic history and applied microeconomics, with a focus on topics related to immigration and inequality. 

    Headshot image of Santiago Perez


Conference Speakers (Cont.)

  • Evgeniya Duzhak

    Evgeniya Duzhak is a Regional Policy Economist in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Evgeniya joined the bank in 2015 as an Education Research Advisor where she conducted research related to economic education and evaluated education programs developed by the Economic Education group. Prior to joining the Fed, she was a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and on the faculty of the City University of New York’s Zicklin School of Business.

    Evgeniya has published her work in many academic journals and has presented at leading academic conferences.

    Evgeniya holds a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics from Novosibirsk State University in Russia, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kansas.

    Headshot image of Dr. Evgeniya Duzhak

  • Anneliese Vance-Sherman

    Anneliese Vance-Sherman is the Chief Labor Economist for the Washington State Employment Security Department. Prior to this role, she served as a regional economist for over 13 years, covering the local labor markets in Northwest Washington and the Seattle area. Anneliese works closely with economic and workforce development partners, the media, and others providing labor market intelligence to inform strategic decision-making.

    In addition to her work with the state, Anneliese serves on several boards and advisory groups including the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference, the Seattle Economics Council, and the Skagit Population Health Trust. She has also served on several educational advisory committees for Washington K-12 institutions, colleges, and universities.

    Prior to state service, Anneliese was a visiting fellow at the Border Policy Research Institute and instructor at the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University.

    Anneliese has a Ph.D. in economic geography and a master’s degree in economics both from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

    Headshot of Anneliese Vance-Sherman

  • Amy McGuffin

    Amy McGuffin is the Chief Executive Officer of the local Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. McGuffin has been with the chamber for 12 years overseeing the day-to-day operations of a 500+ business member organization with small and large businesses, leading regional institutions, diverse non-profits, and companies from a multitude of industry sectors throughout the region. With the help of her staff, the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce’s purpose is to create a positive social impact in the lives of their members and the communities they serve. Their Chamber has two beliefs: the first is that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams. The second is that businesses can and should play a role in addressing societal challenges. The Chamber promotes tourism and coordinates economic development initiatives from one end of the county to the other.

    The Chamber also promotes business growth and development with a wide range of services and tools, from publications and web services to educational seminars and leadership development for a new generation of entrepreneurs. She has long embraced – and experienced – the notion that change is constant, and those who navigate through change the best often succeed. Not all changes turn out for the best, but she believes it’s always right to ask yourselves if there are new, different, and better ways to approach how you do things. Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.

    Headshot of Amy McGuffin

  • Roslyn Moes

    Roslyn Moes has served as an international student advisor for the past 25 years, the last 17 of which have been at Central Washington University.  She is an expert at F-1 visa regulations, the type of visa required for foreign students to study in degree programs in the United States.  She has assisted hundreds of students throughout the years in navigating those regulations, including the process for working in the United States. If approved for work, it is also her responsibility to monitor F-1 students for up to three years after the completion of their degree.

  • Rachel Mahnke

    Rachel Mahnke is an experienced digital advertising professional, for the past five years she has worked as a Senior Account Manager for Large Client Sales in the Travel Vertical at Google. Rachel excels in building strong client relationships, collaborating with global product and sales teams, and using data-driven insights to develop strategic advertising solutions that exceed business growth targets. Rachel is also a recognized leader within her sector for driving the #IamRemarkable initiative, empowering external partners and presenting at TED 2022 in Vancouver. Her background includes optimizing paid search campaigns at a Seattle start-up, managing Groupon's US affiliate marketing program, and working on Amazon Fresh's advertising team.

    Rachel Mahnke Headshot

  • Laurel Orr

    Laurel Orr is a researcher at Numbers Station working applying generative AI to data tasks. She graduated with a PhD in Databases and Data Management from Paul G Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and then was a PostDoc at Stanford working for Chris Ré in the HazyReserach Labs. Her research interests are broadly at the intersection of artificial intelligence, foundation models, and data management. She focuses on how to train, customize, and deploy foundation models to data tasks. This includes problems around data curation and management for RAG systems, efficient model training and inference for batch workloads, and prompting paradigms for high performant, customized models.

    Laurel Orr Headshot

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