November 2016 Industry Speakers

Industry Speakers

Michael Drury
Chief Economist
McVean Trading & Investments, LLC
Michael Drury is the chief economist for McVean Trading & Investments, LLC. He joined the firm in 1992, after serving for five years as senior economist with Allen Sinai at Shearson Lehman Brothers and its successor firms. Michael began his career in New York in 1982 as senior economist at A. Gary Shilling and Company. He received his B.S. in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Michael assesses macroeconomic developments around the world to help develop hedging strategies using futures markets in interest rates, currencies and industrial materials. He travels extensively in the United States and China, as well as to Japan, Europe and Latin America. Michael is the author of McVean Trading’s “Weekly Economic Update.” He is the chairman of the Global Interdependence Center, president of the Economic Club of Memphis, was the founder and first president of the MidSouth Association for Business Economics (a chapter of NABE), and is a member of the National Business Economic Issues Council (NBEIC) and a non-resident member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. Michael lives in Germantown, Tenn. with his wife, Mahrou, and has three children.

Paul Thomas
Principal & Co-founder
Economic Stories LLC
Paul has recently taken an early retirement from Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California after an eleven year stint as Manager and then Director of a group called Market Sizing and Forecasting. From 2005 until his retirement this past June, Paul was Chief Economist for Intel.
Prior to joining Intel, Paul was Chief Economist and Managing Director of Continental’s Revenue Analysis and Forecasting team in Houston, Texas. Before that, Paul was Senior Economist at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California. And before that, Paul was a faculty member in the Economics Department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Paul holds a Ph.D. in Business Economics from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds an M.S. degree in Social Science and a B.S. degree in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

In his business positions, Paul has given many talks on the state of the world and U.S. economies, the information and communications technology industry, and the airline and airline manufacturers industries. His earlier academic research focused on the study of risk, uncertainty, and insurance and on organizational theory.

Paul is active in the National Business Economics Issues Council, the Conference of Business Economists, the Council of Economic Advisors for the California State Treasurer, and the National Association for Business Economics steering committee on Big Data.
Paul and his wife, Kim Thomas, an economics professor retired from Whittier College in Whittier, California, are in the process of forming a small economic research firm called Economic Stories LLC in Port Townsend, Washington. Paul’s talk at the GSU Economic Forecasting Center this November will be a report on some of their current research.

David Palinski
Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Georgia Aquarium


David Palinski is the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Georgia Aquarium. He started at Georgia Aquarium as vice president and controller in May 2013. As senior vice president and chief financial officer, he is responsible for all accounting and finance operations.
Palinski comes as a seasoned professional with over twenty years of diverse and intense accounting and management experience. Most recently, he was with Allconnect, Inc. as vice president and controller for a private equity backed company that saw growth from $20MM to $100MM during his tenure. While at Allconnect, David developed a very strong organization in accounts payable, payroll, accounting, tax and reporting. During this time he led major projects that included total operational support and IPO readiness. This included pre-clearing the company’s revenue recognition policy with Ernst and Young’s National Office and having the Company become Sarbanes Oxley compliant.

Prior to Allconnect, Palinski was involved with leading MCI’s revenue and accounts receivable functions out of bankruptcy, responding to all investigate report during the fraud investigation and leading the restatement of the financial statements, becoming Sarbanes Oxley compliant and becoming current on all Security and Exchange reporting. In addition, Palinski had a great progressive career in transportation and logistics with Ryder Systems Inc. out of Miami, Fla. and Allied Holding Company Inc. out of Decatur, Ga. Palinski began his career in public accounting with the largest agricultural auditing firm in Illinois (IAAA).

Dave and his wife Mary live in Suwanee, Ga. and have four children and three grandchildren. His hobbies include golfing, running, family, animals and attending church.