Economic Trends Breakfast to focus on year ahead in business

BizTimes Milwaukee invites readers get a sneak peek of the New Year in business at the annual Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast, to be held on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Italian Community Center in downtown Milwaukee.

The 2014 conference will provide business leaders with a sneak peek of the year ahead in business.

The featured panelists will include:

  • As in past years, the opening remarks at the conference will be delivered by Michael Knetter, Ph.D., an economist and president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Knetter serves as a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He serves as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund. He previously served as an associate dean of the MBA program and professor of international economics in the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He also served as a senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisors for former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Knetter will provide his annual macro-economic outlook for the year ahead.
  • Sue Marks is the CEO of Pinstripe & Ochre House, the world’s largest independent provider of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and strategic talent management solutions. Brookfield-based Pinstripe acquired Ochre House of the United Kingdom in July of 2013, creating a global organization that includes more than 800 employees, serving 90 clients in 43 countries speaking 26 languages. At the conference, she will share her insights about the emerging trends in hiring.
  • J. Timothy Ferry is president of Racine-based InSinkErator, a division of of Emerson Electric Co. InSinkErator is the world’s leading manufacturer of food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers. Ferry will provide insights about advanced manufacturing and assess the outlook of the U.S. housing market.
  • Steve Laughlin is the chief executive officer of Laughlin Constable, a creative, full-service advertising agency with offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and New York. Laughlin is an accomplished brand strategist, creative director and writer for a “Who’s Who” of American brands, including Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Bon-Ton Stores, Fruit of the Loom, Claussen Pickles, Lawn-Boy, and Wisconsin Tourism. Laughlin will discuss which industries are poised for expansion and which industries are poised for contraction. He also will assess the latest trends in digital marketing and communications.
  • Katherine Gehl is president and chief executive officer of Gehl Foods Inc., a Germantown company that operates the nation’s largest aseptic diary facility. She is the fourth-generation to lead the family-owned company. Gehl Foods, founded in 1896, is a food manufacturing company producing low-acid aseptic, shelf-stable dairy products such as cheese sauces, puddings, smoothies, diet and health drinks. The company has approximately $250 million in annual sales and 300 employees. Gehl will discuss the latest trends in food and beverage (FaB) manufacturing, as well as emerging consumer trends.

The 2014 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast will be followed by breakout sessions for business leaders. The topics of the breakout sessions will include: “M&A: building Wealth Through Your Business;” “Tax Update and Planning for 2014;” and “Is it Time? Do I Have Enough? Planning for What?”

To register to attend the 2014 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast presented by BizTimes, visit

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