FEB. 18, 2003
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu

A prominent California building-trades executive and two key members of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will provide critical looks at the state's and region's economy during the third annual Kern County Economic Summit hosted by California State University, Bakersfield, the Kern Economic Development Corp., and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

Keith A. Woods, chief executive officer of the North Coast Builders Exchange in Santa Rosa, will discuss California's economy during his keynote remarks at the summit on Wednesday, March 26, at CSUB. Woods, who heads the largest organization of its kind in California and the third largest in the nation, has special insights into California's continued growth thanks to his 34 years of organizational management work including staff and executive positions with the San Jose, San Francisco and San Antonio, Texas, chambers of commerce. He served as president/CEO of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce for 13 years until being named to his current position in October 2000. A California State University, Fresno graduate, Woods was also an instructor for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for 22 years at seven universities around the nation. He serves as senior advisor on chamber trends for the California State Chamber of Commerce.

Gary Zimmerman, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will provide a national economic outlook. A veteran of 29 years with the Fed, Zimmerman is an expert on Western regional economic issues. His research has focused on the high-tech slowdown in the Western states, the effects of the Asian crises on the Western economy, and construction industries. He has also examined community bank performance, banking industry competition and Japanese banking activities in California. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from California State University, Hayward, and recently was a guest professor at the Economics University of Vienna in Austria.

Andrea Wolcott, group vice president and district community outreach officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will give an overview of the purposes and functions of the Fed, including its role in providing currency and check processing to financial institutions and the input of regional boards in the decisions of the Federal Open Market Committee.

"We are delighted that Mr. Woods, Mr. Zimmerman and Ms. Wolcott will join us to share their observations about the state and local economy," said Abbas Grammy, CSUB economics professor and one of the coordinators of the summit. "Their wealth of experience provide them with insights that will be valuable to all of us. We're very pleased they will be at the summit."

The purpose of the summit is twofold, Kern EDC President Patrick Collins said. "We want to provide a vehicle for better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our local economy within the context of larger economies, and to discuss the ways we can bring about and sustain economic prosperity to our region, which is experiencing rapid population growth."

Grammy echoed Collins. "The summit will provide an opportunity to learn how the key economic sectors help Kern County create jobs and achieve prosperity. Also, the summit will present perspectives on the strategies of economic development that would benefit the community."

The summit will begin at 7:15 a.m. with registration and a full breakfast, followed at 7:30 a.m. by welcoming remarks from CSUB President Tomas Arciniega and Kern EDC board Chairman Joe Drew.

Woods will open the conference with his keynote talk at 7:45 a.m.

Grammy will then present his findings on Kern CountyÝs economy at 8:15 a.m., followed by Zimmerman at 8:45 a.m. who will discuss the national economy and what is happening in the Western states. Wolcott will discuss the Fed's role in the economy at 9:30 a.m.

Following a 15-minute break, three areas of key importance to Kern County will be addressed:
 ´ Transportation will be discussed by John DeCesare, senior management consultant for West Coast Logistics.
 ´ Results of the Kern County Labor Market Study will be presented by the Wadley-Donovan Group, a Grubb & Ellis company.
 ´ Career and Technical Education Programs in California will be outlined by John Chocholak, president of the California Industrial and Technical Education Association.

Woods will conclude the conference with a closing talk at 11:30 a.m.

Anyone interested in Kern County's economic development is invited to attend, both Collins and Grammy said. Registration is $40 in advance, or $60 at the door, and includes breakfast and a midday snack. However, they said, space is limited so those interested in attending should get their reservations in early. Mail checks payable to Kern EDC attached to a registration form to Danielle McKinney, Kern EDC, 2700 M St., Suite 200, Bakersfield 93301.

For more information, please call the Kern EDC, (661) 862-5150, or Grammy at (661) 664-2466.