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Idaho Economic Outlook Symposium

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2024 event! Next year’s event is set for January 24.

Interested in being a sponsor or speaking? Email Iris Buder at irisbuder@isu.edu.

The Idaho Economic Outlook Symposium brings industry professionals and business owners together to learn about and discuss the economic outlook of the state’s key industries - healthcare, finance and retail. Idaho’s overall outlook will also be discussed, with an emphasis on personal income forecasts, population growth, tax revenue forecasts, state expenditures and workforce development.

Speakers from 2024

Keynote Speaker Becky B. Potts

Salt Lake City Regional Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Becky B. Potts is vice president and regional executive of the Salt Lake City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In this role, Becky engages with members of the business and banking sectors as well as with community and government leaders across Utah and Idaho as part of the Bank’s commitment to understanding and reflecting the people it serves. She is a senior leader who represents the San Francisco Fed in the region and oversees the Salt Lake City Board of Directors and Advisory Councils, including their contribution to monetary policy decisions.

John Abreu

Chief Financial Officer, Portneuf Medical Center

Abreu has served as the CFO of Portnuef Medical Center since November 2009. His focus at has been on patient, physician and employee satisfaction initiatives, while at the same time managing the hospital through continued service line growth and the ongoing need to meet the needs of the community. In 2022 he was recognized by Ardent Health Services as CFO of the Year.

Iris Buder

Associate Dean, MHA Program Director and Associate Professor of Economics, Idaho State University

Dr. Iris Buder teaches undergraduate courses in the economics of health care, labor economics, microeconomics, econometrics, mathematics for economics, and economic issues. Her research interests in the area of health economics include analyzing the economic costs of diseases, conducting cost-effectiveness analyses for public health interventions, and researching health disparities. Her research interests in the area of labor economics include labor market disparities, occupational prestige, and wage disparities. She currently serves as a board member for Health West Community Center.

Doug Chambers

President and CEO, Lookout Credit Union

Doug Chambers is the President/CEO of Lookout Credit Union. Doug was born and raised in Pocatello, attending Pocatello High School before receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University. He later received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Idaho State University College of Business. Doug is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership and a nationally certified business lender. He has been working in the credit union industry for 18 years, 10 of which he has worked at Lookout Credit Union.

Doug has a passion for helping others succeed. Recently, Lookout Credit Union was named one of the best credit unions to work for in the nation. Doug believes firmly in the difference a credit union can make in communities, with credit union members and with partners like Idaho State University.

Sidney Davis and Sheldon Phillips

Co-Owners, Extreme Rush

Karl Geisler

Associate Professor of Economics, Idaho State University

Dr. Karl Geisler received his Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno. As a regional economist his research primarily examines how economic activities spillover between jurisdictions, such as how casinos impact employment in host and adjacent counties. 

Zach Jewkes

MBA Student and Bengal Solutions Business Consultant, Idaho State University

Zach Jewkes is a part of the Masters in Business Administration program. He graduated from Idaho State University with a double major in economics and political science, spending his summers doing professional sales intern work in Washington, DC for the Idaho Senate.

He currently works as a business consultant for Bengal Solutions.

MiaCate Kennedy

Chief Executive Officer, Bannock Development Corporation

MiaCate Kennedy I, is the CEO of Bannock Development Corporation. With over 15 years of experience in the field, MiaCate has a proven track record of driving growth and profitability in both established and startup companies, economic development, growth, and technology.

MiaCate is a lifelong learner and stays up-to-date on the latest developments in the technology industry; she is working on a dual masters, Economic Development Certification (CEcD), CEH, and quantum physics. She is passionate about leveraging technology to solve complex business problems and has a deep understanding of emerging trends and technologies in relation to economic development.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, MiaCate is also actively involved in the community. She serves on the board of several organizations and is a strong supporter of community programs that strengthen the vitality of families and businesses.

John Ney

Director of Walter Brown Center for Sales Excellence and Professional Development, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Idaho State University

John teaches in the marketing department and loves it! Prior to ISU he served as the Senior Manager of Customer Operations and Marketing for the start-up cell phone company Syringa Wireless LLC, from 2007 – 2012. Syringa Wireless grew to approximately 15,000 customers and 22 retail stores during that time. John has extensive experience in marketing and management, having been Vice President of Customer Operations at Project Mutual telephone (PMT) in Rupert, Burley and Twin Falls, Idaho. Prior to that, he worked for GTE/Verizon for eight years in Everett WA, Dallas TX, and St. Louis MO, where he held progressive positions of responsibility and finished with Verizon as the Manager of Customer Quality in the Customer Contact Division. John also does private consulting work in the areas of marketing, management and customer service. 

Brian Osberg

President and CEO, Connections Credit Union

Brian Osberg is the President/CEO of Connections Credit Union and has been with the Credit Union for over 35 years. During his tenure, Brian has grown the credit union from $25 million in assets to over $240 million serving more than 22,000 members across Southern Idaho. In 2013, Brian successfully changed the credit union name and merged three different credit unions into Connections, creating one cohesive and successful Credit Union.

Brian is a dedicated believer of the credit union movement. He wants all credit unions to succeed regardless of their asset level. He understands the difficulties that smaller credit unions face and therefore lends a hand in any way he can. In the past he has helped other credit unions in various ways including providing policies and procedure examples, facilitating planning sessions, explaining regulations, finding and correcting accounting issues, and providing ways to increase income revenue.

Throughout his career, Brian has been very active in the betterment of the credit union system. He has served on numerous committee  Brian believes Connections Credit Union provides essential services to the communities it serves and looks forward to expanding those services to additional underserved areas using the Credit Unions Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) initiatives.

Brian is looking forward to passing the torch this summer to Jamie Simmons as he retires.

Mindy Ward

Owner, Breath Yoga Community

Mindy started her journey practicing yoga in 2017. Growing up in Jerome, Idaho as a multi-sport athlete, she found that the sports she grew up playing led to a life full of activity and structure and a solid base for her future, realizing almost immediately that yoga was an amazing compliment to her personal and professional life. In 2019-2020, her father became terminally ill after many years of struggling health, and she spent many days traveling back and forth to her hometown to visit him. During that time, a high school friend invited her to join her at a local hot yoga class to leave the stress for an hour and just BREATHE. Mindy was hooked, and yoga became an integral part of her emotional support system during that time.

In 2021, she decided she wanted to further her practice and bring hot yoga to Pocatello. She attended the Pure Yoga Instructor Training Program in The Dalles, Oregon and became certified as a 200HR RYT. Upon completion the fire burned even stronger, so she decided to take the next leap and open her own studio, desiring to build a yoga community committed to introduce yoga to new students, while still challenging and growing experienced students… affordably.

Ryan Ward

Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Citizens Community Bank

Ryan Ward has work with Citizens Community Bank for 25 years. He currently serves as EVP and chief lending officer overseeing all commercial, residential, and consumer lending. Ryan started as a mortgage and residential construction loan officer for nine years and served as SVP and senior real estate lender prior to his current position. Ryan was born and raised in Pocatello and graduated of the ISU College of Business in 1996 with a degree in marketing and was honored with the Outstanding Student for College of Business at graduation. He also completed the Pacific Coast Banking School in 2005 at the University of Washington. Ryan is married to Mindy and they have two active boys who are 16 and 12.

Don Zebe

Don Zebe

Eastern Idaho Associate and Partner, Colliers Commercial Real Estate

Don Zebe is a 19-year veteran in commercial real estate and has an established wealth of experience and knowledge in leasing, investments, land acquisition, development, 3PL logistics and site selection. His professional career has been based on setting realistic goals and providing unprecedented service to his clients. Don’s business philosophy is the driving factor of his success.

Don has a history of representing some of the most active clients in Eastern Idaho such as Portneuf Health Trust and Idaho State University Foundation, as well as closing several notable retail and distribution transactions involving Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Old Dominion, Amazon and FedEx Ground.

Don joined the Colliers team in May of 2018 when Colliers Corporate acquired CBC Advisors in Salt Lake City, Utah. Don has a broad and extensive knowledge of commercial real estate and specializes in Eastern Idaho.