SSU Economic Outlook Conference on Feb. 19 to explore North Bay economy, housing solutions

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Register for the event:

The Business Journal’s 26th annual conference in collaboration with Sonoma State University will include the year’s first comprehensive North Bay economic outlook and a panel on solutions to the housing crisis.

The SSU Economic Outlook & Housing Summit will be from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa.

SSU’s Dr. Robert Eyler will deliver his annual North Bay forecast as some observers are raising doubts about how long the longest economic expansion in U.S. history will continue.

“Dr. Eyler’s forecast is based on a one-of-a-kind model developed at SSU and has been highly accurate through expansions and recessions over the years,” said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger. “Are we at a turning point? He will tell us.”

In addition to Dr. Eyler, the Business Journal will present a panel of experts working to address the region’s housing crisis that was excascerbated by the loss of more than 5,000 homes in the October 2017 wildfires.

The panel will include:

Larry Florin, chief executive officer and president of Burbank Housing, the region’s largest affordable housing developer.

David Guhin, assistant city manager and director of planning and economic development for the city of Santa Rosa. Guhin is spearheading the city’s efforts to increase housing development, particularly downtown.

Karissa Kruse, president, Sonoma County Winegrowers, who will address efforts to expand the supply of housing for farmworkers.

David Bouquillon, president of Laulima Development, which has won approval in Rohnert Park to lead the $400 million mixed-use redevelopment of the city’s abandoned State Farm Insurance site.

Tennis Wick, director of the County of Sonoma -- Permit Sonoma, who is playing an instrumental role in the county’s rebuild and housing initiatives.

Jeff Schween, Realtor, Compass. A real estate agent since 1990, Schween writes a weekly real estate trends columnist for The Press Democrat and has sold over $620 million in properties. Compass has initiated a Design/Build program for local residents who lost their homes on the greater Eastside of Santa Rosa since the firestorms of 2017 and have 30 designs/builds underway.

“We are in a housing crisis, yes,” said Bollinger. “But we are also at a moment when as a community we can transform our entire approach to building housing. Not sprawl. But smart, people-oriented, transit-and-city-centered development to house our current residents as well as the next generation. The people on this panel know how to do it.”

Tickets for the event are $75 per person or $765 for a table of 10. Register at or call Annette Wirick at 707-521-5264. The event is underwritten by Exchange Bank.

Register for the event:

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