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Pat Barron (BBA '75) giving the keynote address "The
Economy: Where Are We Today and Where Are We

The outlook for economies around the world, cybersecurity threats, changing tax rules, big data, and a new index of Florida stocks were among the financial topics discussed at the annual University of Miami Business ForUM, presented by the School’s Department of Accounting on June 17.

Housing production and consumer spending are helping to drive the U.S. economy forward this year, said Patrick K. Barron (BBA '75), retired first vice president and chief operating officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in the ForUM’s keynote address "The Economy: Where Are We Today and Where Are We Headed?"

Analyzing leading global economies, Barron said Latin America's overall performance has been relatively weak with the exception of Mexico, which has a positive outlook for 2016. “China’s economy is resilient, Japan is steady, and India has the world’s fastest-growing large economy with steadily increasing trade with the U.S.” Barron said.  Europe continues to make a slow recovery from recession, with Germany and the United Kingdom being solid performers.

joe echevarria distinguished alumnus business forum

The "Distinguished Alumnus Award" was presented to Joe
Echevarria (BBA '78) by Sundaresh Ramnath, associate
professor and accounting department chair.

As for the United States, Barron expects the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow about 2.5 percent in the second quarter. Wage growth is improving and inflation is not a threat, although Barron does expect a modest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this year.

“But political uncertainty and our tax laws are dampening the U.S. economic outlook,” Barron said. “We need to put aside our political differences and create an economic climate that brings companies back on shore rather than pushing them out. We also need tax incentives for people to hire and invest here. With those kinds of changes, we can get the U.S. economy back on track with an annual growth rate of 3 to 3.5 percent.”

Barron, who now chairs the School of Business Administration’s Board of Overseers, said strong education programs are necessary to prepare Millennials for high-wage jobs.  “With the graying of America and slower immigration, there are fewer new workers entering the labor force,” he said. “We must make the most of that talent through education and training.”

The keynote session was followed by panels on “Cybersecurity,” “Big Data,” “Managing Accounting Change,” the “Tax Legislative Outlook,” and the “South Florida Business Outlook.”

Also during the ForUM, Charles "Charlie" Calhoun, who was an accounting professor and chair from 1977-87 was presented with the “Distinguished Faculty Award” for his accomplishments over the decades.  While the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” was given to Joe Echevarria (BBA, ’78), the retired CEO of Deloitte LLP. Reflecting on his college experience, Echevarria said, “This great university took a chance on me as a marginal kid more than 40 years ago. I have learned that anything can happen in life, and that everyone can make a difference.”

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