November 2013 Conference Speaker Details

Industry Speakers

Adolfo Laurenti
Deputy Chief Economist
Mesirow Financial

Adolfo Laurenti

Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist and managing director, develops ongoing economic research and commentary critical to supporting clients and contacts of Mesirow Financial.Adolfo authors Themes on the Global Markets, a periodic newsletter providing insight into trends, issues and the forecast for the global economy. As an expert on the European economies,Adolfo is a new face in demand by the financial press and among local media. He also lectures at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Prior to joining Mesirow Financial in July 2007, Adolfo served as associate economist at LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO. There, he was responsible for tracking economic trends in the banking sector.

Adolfo was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for 2011. He was an Earhart Foundation Fellow in 2002. He received a Washington Society of Investments Analysts Scholarship and a Graduate Scholarship for Excellence in Academia from the Economic Club of Washington D.C.

Adolfo is a graduate of Bocconi University Business School in Milan, Italy. He specialized in industrial organization as a visiting scholar at the Center for Industrial Economics in Copenhagen, Denmark, and concentrated in financial economics at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Adolfo earned his master of arts degree in economics from George Mason University, where he also pursued doctoral studies.

Adolfo serves on the board of the National Association for Business Economics and is a member of both the American Economic Association and the Chicago Association for Business Economics. He is also a board member for the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.

Eugene James

Eugene James

Eugene James is the Atlanta regional director for Metrostudy, a national market intelligence company that specializes in researching the residential real estate market.

He has 27 years of real estate experience including conducting market studies for builders, developers and lenders and has advised state and local governments on multiple housing related issues. He served in various analytical and managerial capacities in the property tax appraisal industry including as past chief appraiser for DeKalb and Fulton counties. He currently serves as an executive board member for the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, and for HomeAid Atlanta, a non-profit providing housing for homeless women and children.

Eugene is a frequently requested presenter at local colleges and universities, homebuilder associations and financial institutions. He has been quoted as an expert by The Wall Street Journal, ABC and NBC news, NPR, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and others. He has been recognized by the media as one of Atlanta’s most influential people in real estate for the past seven years. In 2012 Eugene was the associate of the year for the Atlanta Home Builders Association.

Eugene graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, is a licensed real estate broker and a real estate appraiser.

Eugene is affiliated with numerous professional real estate organizations and volunteers with the Boy Scouts and as a basketball coach. Eugene is married and has two school-aged children.

William Strauss
Senior Economist and Economic Advisor
Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago

William Strauss

William A. Strauss is a Senior Economist and Economic Advisor in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which he joined in 1982. His chief responsibilities include analyzing the current performance of both the Midwest economy and the manufacturing sector for use in monetary policy. He produces the monthly Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index and organizes the Bank’s Economic Outlook Symposium and Automotive Outlook Symposium. In addition, he conducts several economic workshops and industrial roundtables throughout the year.

Mr. Strauss earned a B.A. in economics and geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University. He has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Webster University in Chicago. He currently teaches at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. At the latter institution, he was named winner of the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award in the Business and Professional Programs. He was recognized by the University at Buffalo as a Distinguished Alumni in 2012.

His research papers include analysis of the manufacturing sector, the automotive sector, the Midwest regional economy, the trade-weighted dollar, business cycles, and Federal Reserve payments operations.

Mr. Strauss has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows and quoted in the major business magazines and newspapers. He has also provided testimony concerning manufacturing issues to the U.S. Senate.

He is a past president of the Chicago Association of Business Economists; a past board member for the National Association for Business Economics; a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council; a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University at Buffalo; a member of the Advisory Board for the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, & Economic Growth and Development, a member of the Advisory Council for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Economic Education; a member of the Economic Advisory Committee for the Council on Competitiveness; and a board member of Global Midwest Alliance.