Confirmed Speakers

Peter Zeihan

Peter Zeihan

Peter Zeihan is the founder of Zeihan on Geopolitics

Peter Zeihan, Author

1. What do you think is one of the top qualities of the Midwest? First, the Midwest has the greatest (free!) transportation system in the world in the greater Mississippi system, and even with the Jones Act in place, the Midwest still has the cheapest cargo rates in the world. Second, the Midwest region has the healthiest demographics in the Western world — that alone will help its economy grow strongly for at least the next 30 years. Third, the Midwest region has the best educational system in the U.S., and so it generates the best young labor force.

2. In your personal opinion, which is the Midwest location of the future? I’d start looking very hard at the Midwest’s secondary cities: Rochester, Des Moines, Lincoln, Fargo, Milwaukee, etc. They lack most of the overhang from the last industrial period and don’t have nearly the level of brownfield sites of the major hubs, so it’s far easier to apply new technologies and overhaul/redefine themselves. Think of what Pittsburgh has done. Now think about how much easier that would have been without the albatross of the old steel industry!

3. An interesting factoid about you? Born and raised in Iowa…but allergic to corn dust.

Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan

Recbecca Ryan is a Futurist
Steve Weitzner

Steve Weitzner

Steve Weitzner is a Principal at Silverlode Consulting

Steve Weitzner, Site Selection Advisor & Economic Development Thought Leader, Silverlode Consulting

1. What do you think is one of the top qualities of the Midwest? The people – highly productive, generally intelligent, friendly, helpful and welcoming of diversity.

2. In your personal opinion, which is the Midwest location of the future? Northeast Ohio. What can I say, I’m a homer! But with our access to unlimited fresh water and enjoying an increasingly moderate climate (we barely had a winter last year), we will be a place where people will want to be!

3. An interesting factoid about you? My alien abduction involved no unwanted probing of any kind.

Courtney Dunbar

Courtney Dunbar

Courtney Dunbar is Industrial Program Leader for Olsson Associates