Asheville Metro Economy Outlook announces keynote speaker Dr. Michael L. Walden

September 12, 2018


William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and member of the Graduate Economic faculty with NCSU to speak at 19th Annual Metro Outlook October 3rd

Asheville, N.C., September 7, 2018 – Distinguished economist Dr. Michael L. Walden will keynote the 19th Annual Asheville Metro Economy Outlook, set to take place Wednesday, October 3rd at the new Amherst Ballroom at Biltmore Estate. A masterful teacher, researcher and writer, Dr. Walden’s expertise includes consumer economics, regional economics, public policy and the North Carolina economy. His keynote address will include features of the greater Asheville area based on research from his recently published book, North Carolina Beyond the Connected Age: The Tar Heel State in 2050, connecting dots that exist between issues such as the environment, public policy and education.

“Greater Asheville has established itself as the major economic engine of western North Carolina, and the region’s economic reputation will continue to expand in the decades ahead.  Importantly, Asheville has now diversified its economy beyond tourism, and economic diversification is one of the major keys to a region’s sustained vitality,” said Walden.

In addition to identifying some of the key challenges and trends facing business owners in the future, Walden will offer valuable strategies and insights for businesses who wish to stay informed and ahead of the market.

“Dr. Walden’s research highlights opportunities and connections around complex issues communities face every day, especially as they face a variety of change agents,” said Heidi Reiber, Director of Research for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC.

Dr. Walden has a Ph.D. from Cornell University and has been at NC State since 1978.  He has daily radio programs aired on stations around North Carolina for which he has won two national awards.  He has appeared on NBC, CBS, The Fox Report and PBS.  His biweekly column, You Decide, is carried by more than 40 newspapers in the state. He directs the semiannual economic forecast, The North Carolina Economic Outlook, and has also co-written three “economic thrillers” with his wife.

Dr. Walden was a Visiting Professor at Duke University and has served on several local and state level commissions, including the Governor’s Welfare Reform Task Force, the School Capital Construction Legislative Study Commission, and on the staffs of the State and Local Fiscal Modernization Study Commission and the UNC Tomorrow Commission.

The luncheon is open to the public and will be held in the new Amherst Ballroom on Biltmore Estate starting at 11:30 a.m. with networking, followed by the program from noon-1 p.m. Cost to attend is $40 for Asheville Chamber members, $45 for the public. Attendees will need to register in advance on the Chamber’s website:

The Metro Economy Outlook is produced annually by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and is presented this year by DHG and Parsec Financial Management. Sponsors include Johnson Price Sprinkle PA, ERC Broadband, HomeTrust Bank, Samsel Architects PA, Duke Energy and Carolina Alliance Bank, and is supported by Western Carolina University.

The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions.  The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment.  The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5×5 Campaign. Visit


For more than 120 years, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has supported the community as a member organization of business and community leaders dedicated to building community through business by growing jobs, advocating for a business-friendly environment and helping businesses thrive. Located at 36 Montford Avenue, the Asheville Chamber is also home to the Asheville Visitor Center, serving more than 200,000 visitors each year, and to the Asheville Shop, showcasing many local products and Asheville gifts. Learn more at