Media Alerts / Story Ideas

Week of Oct. 9, 2012

Published on October 9, 2012


The University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business announced recently that it will add the Institute for Regional Forecasting (IRF) to its range of centers and institutes.

In addition, the IRF will welcome a new executive director with the appointment of Robert W. “Bill” Gilmer, Ph.D., who most recently served as senior economist and vice president in charge for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

“The integration of the Institute for Regional Forecasting into the Bauer College will add to the resources that we are able to provide the Houston business community,” said Dean Latha Ramchand. “With Bill at the helm, the institute will continue to provide the quality information on the Houston economy it has become known for and complement the college’s existing portfolio of industry expertise.”

In his role with the Federal Reserve, Gilmer had oversight of operations in West Texas and southern New Mexico, including annual shipment and receipt of over $10 billion in cash to regional banks. He served as senior economist in the organization’s research department and co-managed the 11th District regional economic research, giving 40 to 50 speeches or public presentations per year on regional economic conditions.

“Bauer and the University of Houston play a very important role in the city’s economic picture,” Gilmer said. “I’m excited to join the college as executive director of the IRF and look forward to focusing on Houston’s unique business cycle, driven by the U.S. economy, oil and global growth.”

The IRF was previously housed within the university’s Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) and holds biannual symposia to give a real estate and economic outlook for the area. The fall symposium, titled “Houston 2012-2013: A Sparkling Diamond of Many Facets — Medical, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals and the Port,” and featuring Stewart Title Guaranty Co. senior vice president and chief economist Ted C. Jones, will be held Nov. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The institute was founded in the mid-1990s and led by now professor emeritus Barton Smith, who helped to shape its signature programming and economic forecasts.

“Thirty years ago, Houstonians were in desperate need of an independent source of information about the local economy, unencumbered by the spin that special interests wished to put on the region’s status and prospects,” Smith said. “Amazingly, both local and national analysts at the time didn’t really understand what made Houston’s economy tick. That gap was filled by the University of Houston through the Center for Public Policy and its offshoot, the Institute for Regional Forecasting.  During those years, UH not only provided forecasts but was dedicated to educating Houstonians about the factors that influenced the region’s future. At times there were words of warnings; other times promises much more optimistic than most others embraced.

“Under the directorship of Bill Gilmer, the IRF at the Bauer College has its best chance of continuing that tradition,” Smith added. “Bill Gilmer has the academic skills, the detailed knowledge of the local business community, and the willingness to speak objectively to the community. Thus, I’m greatly encouraged that the traditions built up over the past 30 years will continue. Houston needs it!”

To schedule an interview with IRF leadership, see Media Contact section to the left.


Posted Under: Media Alerts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.