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Regional Economic Indicators Forum (R.E.I.F.)

National Bank of Commerce, in cooperation with the College of St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Superior, has initiated a long-term study of our area’s economic indicators. The research will be ongoing and focusing on trends for a territory that covers 15 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Participating sponsors of the study are NE MN Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and UW-Superior Small Business Development Center, the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County, APEX, BusinessNorth and the Development Association.

March 29 Speaker, Toby Madden

Toby Madden, Economist,
Speaker and Author

Toby Madden is an experienced economist that seeks to help you make better financial decisions. He is a speaker, author, consultant, and the founder of Power Parametrics LLC, a boutique financial advising firm that uses statistical models and surveys to forecast the economy.

Toby understands that the topics he covers in his speeches can be a bit dry, or at least when it is presented by the wrong person. So he does things a little differently, he makes it entertaining, relevant, and most importantly, beneficial to you and your organization. While he does present his audience with hard data, he makes sure to keep you, his audience, engaged, asking questions, telling stories, and making a few jokes.

Toby is the author of the book Club Fed, which takes an inside look at the good, the bad, and the fixable of the Federal Reserve. He also published numerous articles for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis for over Twenty Years. Toby taught undergraduate and masters level economics courses at Hamline University, University of St. Thomas, and Augsburg College. He worked at TCF Financial for five years in investments and management reporting, and for five years at Ernst & Young as a senior consultant in the financial services industry group.

He received his undergraduate degree in accounting and his MBA from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and completed coursework for his Ph.D. in applied economics. Toby is a certified public accountant, certified management accountant, and a licensed real estate broker. He has also served as president of the Minnesota Economic Association, as a board member on the Minnesota Council on Economic Education, the Saint Paul Academy of Finance, and on the Minnesota Council of Economic Advisors.

The Goals of the project are to:

  • Support business owners in their business decisions by gathering key local economic indicators and trend information
  • Develop specific economic indicators for this region that are not readily available to decision makers
  • Develop tools to assess our progress in economic growth. Prepare baseline measures that will allow comparison with other regions and measure future progress of the region
  • Track the region’s participation in the “new economy” and development in the high tech arena
  • Bring professionals together with business owners for discussion about the local economy and related critical issues in a collaborative, non-political environment
  • Create a business recruitment and retention tool by publishing the information

The REIF Region is a 15-county area that covers Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The 8 counties of Minnesota include the Arrowhead Region — Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties — along with Pine County. The 7 counties of Wisconsin include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, and Washburn.

The R.E.I.F. is governed by a steering/advisory committee comprised of representative(s) from:

  • National Bank of Commerce
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • SBDC – MN
  • SBDC – WI
  • UMD
  • UWS
  • Resources such as APEX and the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County will be utilized as needed.

Meet the Regional Economics Faculty Research Staff.

To view the  R.E.I.F student research presented at the breakfast forum on October 27, please click here:

2015 Annual Report

March 2015 Full Report
March 2015 Presentation
October 2014 Full Report
October 2014 Presentation 
March 2014 Full Report

The next breakfast forum event will take place:

Date: March 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 am - 9:00 am
          [Breakfast + Networking from 7:00 - 7:30, Program will start promptly @ 7:30]
Location: DECC Harbor Side Ballroom
Topic: Mining