Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roundtable Asks Hard Questions about Economy; the Independent Nonprofit Group Brings in Diverse Voices

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roundtable Asks Hard Questions about Economy; the Independent Nonprofit Group Brings in Diverse Voices

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMI LIVINGSTON

As proven by the recent downturn in the subprime mortgage industry, the national economy has a direct impact on local residents.

Local economist Marvin Edwards has been sharing that belief for more than 30 years. Edwards founded the Economic Roundtable of Jacksonville in 1975 to bring business and industry leaders to town to discuss economic trends and issues with local professionals and residents.

The roundtable offers five to seven presentations each year to discuss topics ranging from the insurance industry, the mortgage market and banking to local industries and what they mean to Jacksonville, said roundtable board President Peter Wynkoop.

Upcoming topics for the roundtable include Federal Reserve interest rates, the economic outlook for the next quarter and how the military bases in Jacksonville affect the local economy, Wynkoop said.

"We bring in a good mix of local and out-of-town folks to discuss topics of interest to our members - those issues that can affect Jacksonville," he said.

The roundtable is an independent nonprofit organization that offers a corporate membership for $250 a year, an individual membership for $30 a year and a student membership for $10.

Each event costs $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. The fees provide the sole funding for the roundtable, Wynkoop said.

A board of directors meets a few times a year to discuss possible topics and decide which speakers to present, Wynkoop said.

Members include Jerry Mallot of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and Fred Parvey from Fidelity National Finance.

The goal of the presentations is to provide information about economic trends and issues and discussion about their possible impacts, something that is becoming more important each day, Edwards said.

"[The economy] is affecting everyone's lives now, whether it's the price of oil or the fiasco in the mortgage market," Edwards said.

Expanding membership and providing more presentations each year are major goals for the roundtable, Wynkoop said. …

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