Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

An economist will offer his forecast for the Central Oregon economy and the former CEO of Intel will discuss the need for improvements in education Thursday at The Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend.

“If you're concerned about the 'fiscal cliff,' taxes, education, real estate, the stock market, the economy in general and how little old Central Oregon is going to be affected by this, then you're going to want to come to this conference,” said Keith Rivera, chairman of the Oregon Center for Economic Research and Forecasting and organizer of the event, the 2013 Oregon Business Conference and Economic Forecast.

“It's so people can plan, be prepared and be more knowledgeable about their own affairs.”

Since 2008, Rivera said, economist Bill Watkins has accurately predicted economic trends for Central Oregon at the conference.

Watkins, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University, is scheduled to present his forecast for the nation, state and region, with a primary focus on Central Oregon.

Also scheduled to speak are Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel; Katherine Klingensmith, senior economic and policy strategist for UBS FS Wealth Management Research; and Knute Buehler, orthopedic surgeon and former Republican candidate for Oregon Secretary of State.

“We need to talk about solutions, not just economic numbers that have been dismal and negative since 2008,” Rivera said. “Let's talk about what we can do to make things better in Central Oregon.”

Klingensmith said her focus will be the attractiveness of the U.S. as a place to do business, global economic competition and the national implications of new legislation.

Barrett said he'll discuss the importance of education for providing the training for jobs in biotech, health care, software development and other industries. They will be the path to creating new companies, products, services and wealth — not natural-resource based jobs, he said.

If you go

What: 2013 Oregon Business Conference and Economic Forecast

Where: The Riverhouse Convention Center, 2850 N.W. Rippling River Court, Bend

When: 7-11:30 a.m. Thursday

Cost: $100 through Wednesday; $125 day of event

Contact: http://oregon.clucerf.org/events