It has become customary to summon the help of professionals when a job needs to be done well. The process of economic development requires some good thinking, and so we have called on some professional thinkers. We are very lucky to have them with us today, and I think you will enjoy what they have to say. I will introduce two of them now. The panel that comes after this one will also feature Professor Julie Graham, and she will be introduced at that point. This panel features Erik Pages and Professor Gar Alperovitz. I will introduce first Erik Pages, who will talk for about a half an hour. Then I will introduce Professor Alperovitz, and he will talk for about a half an hour. We will use the rest of the time for questions from the audience.
Erik Pages actually received a bit of an introduction this morning from David Nikoloff. David Nikoloff, who, you will have noticed, has a presence and can be forceful and convincing, said that Erik Pages convinced him about some things. So, we know that Erik must be a powerhouse himself, and his vitae in fact highlights a number of accomplishments. Erik Pages is President and founder of Entreworks Consulting, which works with communities to develop networks of entrepreneurial energies. It is an area in which Erik has had much experience, and I’m just going to give you some of the highlights of that experience before turning the podium over to him.
Mr. Pages served, for example, as Policy Director for the National Commission on Entrepreneurship, which means that he has dealt with issues of national policy setting as well as at the local level. He also served as Director of the Office of Economic Conversion Information, and I find this very interesting, because, in that function, he led the efforts to assist communities affected by military-base closings and defense-plant shut downs. The issue of economic conversion is very important. Normally it involves working with communities experiencing a tremendous amount of economic difficulty and human pain, turning them from a condition of pain into a condition of renewed prosperity--not an easy thing to do! It is something that became a significant national issue with the ending of the Cold War, even if many people had been advocating it for a long time before that. So, Erik Pages has a lot of experience developing policies designed to transform local economies. He has also served as an advisor for the White House Conference on Small Business. And very interestingly and impressively, he was recently named by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of the next-generation leaders, a small cadre of "next generation leaders."
Lastly, let me also mention that he is a local person—I was going to call him a local boy, but I don’t know if it would have been proper to call him a local "boy." He’s from Reading, although he also has lived in Lancaster County. He went to school at our sister competitor College, Dickinson--but we do not hold that against him, and we welcome him with great enthusiasm.