University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Business Forecast Luncheon

Each year, the Center for Business and Economic Research hosts the Business Forecast Luncheon, gathering national and international experts to discuss the economic outlook for Arkansas, the nation and the world.

2016 Business Forecast Luncheon

Friday, January 29, 2016 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
John Q. Hammons Convention Center
World Trade Center District - Rogers, Arkansas


Moderator: Bill Dillard

Bill Dillard

Bill is a Vice President at Dillard's, Inc., based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with responsibilities for the Beauty, Home and Accessories areas of the business.  He is entering his twenty-first year in the retail/fashion industry.  Since joining Dillard's in 1994, Bill has served in several areas at Dillard's, including area selling management, buying, product 

and merchandising.  He also lived and worked in Hong Kong, working directly with overseas manufacturers as an agent for fashion retailers.

He serves on the boards of eStem Public Charter Schools, Arkansans for Education Reform Foundation, St. Vincent Health Systems, Young Life and Search Ministries.

Bill received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin.  He also received a master's degree in business administration from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, in 1999. 

Global Forecaster: Michael Drury


Drury is the Chief Economist for McVean Trading & Investments, LLC.  He joined the firm in 1992, after serving for five years as Senior Economist with Allen Sinai at Shearson Lehman Brothers and its successor firms.  Michael began his career in New York in 1982 as Senior Economist at A. Gary Shilling and Company.  He assesses global macroeconomic developments to help develop hedging strategies using futures markets in interest rates, currencies and industrial materials.

He is the Chairman for the Global Interdependence Center, a Philadelphia based non-profit, serves on the Executive Board of the National Association for Business Economics, the founder and first President of the Mid-South Association for Business Economics (a chapter of NABE), a member of the National Business Economic Issues Council (NBEIC) and a non-resident member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and is the author of McVean Trading's "Weekly Economic Update". 

Drury received his BS in Economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Domestic Forecaster: Kevin Kliesen


Kevin L. Kliesen is a business economist and Bank Officer in the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  He joined the Bank in 1988.  In his position, he analyzes current U.S. macroeconomic and financial market developments. He also reports on and analyzes economic conditions in the seven states of the Eighth Federal Reserve District, managing the Bank's Burgundy Books and developing various materials and information sources for the Bank's outreach efforts.

Kliesen was instrumental in the development of the St. Louis Fed's Financial Stress Index and the St. Louis Fed's Price Pressures Measure. From 2006-2013, he taught Economics, part-time, at Washington University.  Kliesen is a member of the American Economic Association, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), and the Association of Christian Economists.  In September 2011, he was recognized as a NABE Fellow, one of the organization's highest honors.

He holds an M.A. in Economics from Colorado State University.

Regional Forecaster: Kathy Deck

Kathy Deck

Deck is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Walton College at the University of Arkansas. Her research interests include local economic development, industry market structure and education and health care economics.

In providing applied economic research as part of the outreach mission of the center, Deck has managed studies for a wide variety of business, non-profit and governmental organizations in the state of Arkansas. Deck also acts as a media resource for economic analysis of current events and trends.

Deck earned a B.A. in economics from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the Center for Business and Economic Research, Deck was the antitrust economist for the Arizona attorney general.

Thank you to our 2016 Business Forecast Luncheon Sponsors!


Walton Presenting Partner

Walmart/Sam's Club


Walton Academic Partners

Center for Retailing Excellence

Greenwood Gearhart, Inc.


Walton Corporate Partners


Frost, PLLC

Reece Moore Pendergraft LLP

Smith Hurst PLC

Tyson Foods, Inc.


Walton Business Partners


Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP

HoganTaylor LLP

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

McKee Foods

Regions Bank

Regions Insurance

City of West Memphis

Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP


Walton Media Partners

Celebrate Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Talk Business & Politics


Sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Walton Presenting Partner
    $10,000 includes two tables of ten with Level I priority seating and two tables for students
  • Walton Academic Partner
    $5,000 includes one table of ten with Level I priority seating and one table for students
  • Walton Corporate Partner
    $3,000 includes one table of ten with Level II priority seating
  • Walton Business Partner
    $2,000 includes one table of ten with Level III priority seating

For more information contact

Center for Business and Economic Research
Sam M. Walton College of Business
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
PH: (479) 575-4151




Forecast Speaker Archive

Business Forecast 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015
John Q. Hammons Convention Center
World Trade Center District - Rogers, Arkansas 

  • Moderator: John James, Founder, Acumen Brands
  • International Speaker: Carl Tannenbaum, Chief Economist, Northern Trust
  • Domestic Speaker: John Silvia, Managing Director & Chief Economist, Wells Fargo
  • Regional Speaker: Kathy Deck, Director, Center for Business and Economic Research