It is that time of year.  Like most businesses and organizations, we at the Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) are reviewing our 2016 activities and planning for the year ahead.  We are also planning our annual Economic Forecast Luncheon, which will be held Thursday, January 26th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Auburn.

At this year’s luncheon we will highlight one of Cayuga County’s target industries:  manufacturing.  According to the NY Department of Labor, Cayuga County is home to about 80 manufacturers who employ over 3,000 people and generated nearly $200 million in wages in 2015. Regionally, Central NY has over 700 manufacturers employing around 30,000 people, which generated over $2 billion in wages in 2015. Furthermore, many manufacturers sell products nationally and internationally, which brings revenues from other states and countries into these companies and our communities. According to the Brookings Institution’s 2015 Export Monitor, Cayuga County manufacturers exported over $307M in goods in 2014. This accounted for nearly 77% of the county’s exports that year. While industries and business have diversified in our county, manufacturing still has a strong economic impact.

To explore trends and conditions in manufacturing, our luncheon keynote speaker will be Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The NAM is a national association representing and advocating for manufacturers of all sizes in all 50 states. They act as a voice for the manufacturing community, advocating on its behalf on a wide range of policy issues. The NAM also provides access to information and research on the economic, business, and policy issues that manufacturers face.

As Chief Economist, Chad serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers and has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets. You can read more about Chad at

In his keynote address, Chad will be discussing the economic outlook for manufacturing in New York, the United States, and global economies.  This year’s luncheon will be a special opportunity for our local manufacturers to learn from an industry expert about potential challenges and opportunities.  As we are beginning a new year and a new administration, Chad has valuable insight into possible policy changes that could affect businesses on a global and local level.  If time allows, guests will be welcomed to ask questions of our keynote speaker.

Along with his expertise in the field of manufacturing, Chad has a strong background in entrepreneurship.  Before joining the NAM, he was the Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research for the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2002 to 2010 where he was tasked with researching the importance of entrepreneurship to the U.S. economy and highlighting various issues of importance to small business owners, policymakers and academics. Furthermore, Chad has researched the importance of educational attainment to both self-employment and economic growth. While Dean of the School of Business Administration at Robert Morris College in Chicago, Ill. (now Robert Morris University of Illinois), he created a business institute that coordinated students working with local businesses on classroom projects and internships, among other programs.

There will also be a presentation by our Executive Director, Tracy Verrier, exploring local and regional economic trends in various industries. CEDA’s 2016 Annual Report, which highlights the team’s projects and activities over the last year, will be distributed to guests at the luncheon.  The report will be available after the luncheon on, or the public is welcome to pick up a copy at the CEDA office.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 26th, at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Auburn.  You may register online by following the link on our homepage,  Not only is this luncheon an excellent way to kick-start the year with valuable insight into the economy, but it is also a chance to connect with fellow business leaders and elected officials who will be in attendance.  We hope you will join us for this great business community event next month and take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about what is ahead in 2017.

Originally published in the December 22, 2016, edition of The Citizen.