Economists to discuss outlook for 2022 at 28th luncheon

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From left to right, moderator Brett Biggs, international speaker Juhi Dhawan, national speaker David Altig and state and regional speaker Mervin Jebaraj

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 28th Annual Business Forecast Luncheon returns next month and will feature a panel of three distinguished economists who will speak on regional, national and international perspectives for the coming year.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28, 2022 at the Rogers Convention Center in the World Trade Center District in Rogers.

The Luncheon Business Forecast is coordinated by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Register now.

The lunch panelists are:

  • Moderator: Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart
  • International speaker: Juhi Dhawan, Senior Managing Director, Partner and Macrostrategist, Wellington Management
  • National Speaker: David Altig, Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • State and regional speaker: Mervin Jebaraj, Director, Center for Business and Economic Research

“Learning about global, national and regional economic forecasts helps us make informed financial decisions that impact our community, our businesses and our personal lives,” said Matt Waller, Dean of Walton College. “The trade forecast is exceptionally important this year given the uncertainty of inflation and the challenges of the supply chain.”

“Business and community leaders across the region have the opportunity to hear from economists on the path of the economy in the face of so much uncertainty. The state and the region can use this information to strengthen their organizations, ”Jebaraj said. “I am satisfied with the interest and level of participation in Business Forecast Luncheon every year. “

Sponsors to date for the Business Forecast 2022 Luncheon include:

  • Walton Presenting Partner – Walmart; Sam’s club
  • Walton Academic Partners – Greenwood Gearhart Inc .; RMP LLP – Lawyers
  • Walton Corporate Partners – Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield; Hunt; Cox Communications; Cushman and Wakefield | Sage Partners; Devereaux real estate investments; Bank of Regions; Steve Fineberg and associates; Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP
  • Walton Business Partners – American Electric Power Foundation; Buffington Homes of Arkansas LLC; CBRE Inc .; Centennial Bank; Colliers International; Conner & Winters LLP; Encore Bank; Entergie; Frost SARL; Hogan Taylor LLP; Iberiabank / First Horizon; JB Hunt Transportation Services; Iconic CPAs; Mitchell Williams Law Firm; Construction of Nabholz; Quattlebaum; Grooms & Tull SARL; Riverwood Homes; Simmons Foods Inc .; Smith Hurst PLC; Whisinvest Realty LLC


Brett Biggs is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Walmart. He is responsible for Walmart Enterprise Solutions, which includes all financial functions as well as global purchasing.

Biggs and his team are working to deliver on Walmart’s commitment. Prior to his current role, he held the positions of CFO for Walmart International, Walmart US and Sam’s Club. He was also senior vice president of international strategy, mergers and acquisitions and senior vice president of corporate finance. He was also senior vice president of operations for Sam’s Club.

Prior to joining Walmart in 2000, Biggs held various M&A and corporate finance positions at Leggett & Platt, Phillips Petroleum Co. and Price Waterhouse. He is involved in various civic functions, including serving on the board of governors of the American Red Cross and the board of the Walton Arts Center and the board of directors of the National Urban League.

Biggs also serves on the board of directors of Pepperdine University and is Walmart’s representative on the advisory board of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. At Walmart, he serves on the board of directors of the Walmart Foundation and is an executive sponsor of the Hispanic / Latino Resource Group.

Biggs holds a BS in Accounting from Harding University and an MBA with Honors from Oklahoma State University.

Juhi dhawan is the senior managing director, partner and macro-strategist of Wellington Management.

As a member of the company’s Global Macro Strategy Group, Dhawan leads Wellington Management’s analysis of the US economy. His work on growth, inflation, interest rates and economic policy is a critical contribution to portfolio managers and business analysts. She actively participates in investment strategy groups and works closely with investors to translate her work into investment ideas and themes.

Prior to joining Wellington Management in 1995, Dhawan held positions at the International Monetary Fund (1991 – 1992) and the World Bank (1992). She got her doctorate. (1995) and AM (1991) in economics at Brown University. She also holds a BA from the University of Delhi (1989).

David E. Altig is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

In addition to advising the President of the Bank on monetary policy and related matters, Altig oversees the Bank’s Research Division, which includes the Bank’s team of economists, the Regional Economic Information Network and the community and economic development function of the Bank. In this role, he leads the Atlanta Fed’s portfolio of research and engagement on Benefits Cliffs. He is also a member of the Bank’s management and discount committees and executive co-sponsor of the Bank’s Working Families employee resource network.

Altig is an assistant professor of economics at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He is currently elected vice president of the National Association for Business Economics, where he served as director from 2016 to 2019.

Altig graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He received his masters and doctorate degrees in economics from Brown University.

Mervin Jebaraj is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research.

During his time at the center, he was instrumental in the creation and execution of economic studies for clients such as the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Northwest Arkansas Council, Walton Family Foundation, Arvest Bank, the University of Arkansas and many more.

His work was noticed by the state business media. Arkansas Affairs and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal recognized Mervin in their 40 Under 40 lists and on the Arkansas 250 list. He is an exceptional source of business and economic expertise upon which journalists and businessmen draw to understand the impact of national and regional issues on. northwest Arkansas and Arkansas as a whole.

He makes presentations that share the centre’s expertise directly to over 5,000 people each year and tens of thousands more hear and see his economic analysis and commentary on television, radio and print media.

Jebaraj serves on the Community Development Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Arkansas National Airport and the Board of Directors of the Walton Center for the Arts.

For more information on sponsorships or reservations for Business Forecast 2022, email the Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton College of Business, JB Hunt Transportation Center for Academic Excellence, Suite 404, 1 University of Arkansas , Fayetteville, AR 72701, call 479-575-4151, fax 479-575-7687 or email: [email protected] To register online, visit the Business Forecast website.

About the Center for Business and Economic Studies: The Walton College Center for Business and Economic Research is a public service / outreach organization whose mission is to serve its constituents with the highest quality research support; fundamental and applied business and economic analysis; timely and relevant information on business, economy and related public policies; and other awareness raising activities. In addition to supporting research within the college, the center supports economic development by providing economic and demographic data and analysis to businesses, government and individuals. The center is actively working with the state’s economic development community to build Arkansas’ capacity to create high-skilled, well-paying jobs.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in over 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $ 2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. American News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. Find out how the U of A is working to build a better world on Arkansas Research News.

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