The Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER) honored legendary former director of the University of Arizona’s Economic and Business Research Center (EBRC), Marshall Vest, with the Thayne Robson Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Association. AUBER is the premier professional organization dedicated to improving research in business, economics, and public policy in the United States. The award was presented at AUBER’s 2014 Annual Conference held this past October in Portland, Oregon.
Vest received the award for outstanding leadership in regional economics and policy, exceptional commitment to mentoring colleagues and students, not only at the University of Arizona during his 35 year tenure there, but also at sister institutions around the country through dedicated leadership and contributions to AUBER. “Marshall is one of the most prominent and well-known economists in Arizona… he built the EBRC’s Forecasting Project into the most visible and highly respected forecast effort in Arizona,” remarked Vest’s successor and current EBRC Director George W. Hammond. Commenting from personal experience Dr. Hammond went on to say that “Marshall always generously shared his expertise and insights with other center directors and aspiring center directors (like me)… he went far out of his way to make my transition to Director as smooth as possible, and is still happy to share his knowledge and insights.”
Since attending his first AUBER meeting in 1980, Vest worked tirelessly to ensure the success of AUBER, serving two terms on the board of directors: Vice President (2 terms), President-Elect, and President during 2003-2004. He was also Program Chair for both the Spring and Fall meetings, and organized and participated in numerous sessions over the years in both the research and director tracks, and hosted the 2004 Fall AUBER Conference in Tucson.
Under Vest’s leadership, Arizona’s Forecasting Project has been supported by major businesses and public-sector institutions from across Arizona. These include the Legislature of the State of Arizona, for which he and Alberta Charney developed innovative tax revenue forecasting models. Over the course of his distinguished career, Vest became one of the most quoted economists in the state, with thousands of press hits in print, radio, and television to his credit.
EBRC’s Economic Outlook events are now an Arizona institution. For almost 20 years, Vest and colleague Gerald Swanson, economics professor (now retired) and best-selling author, presented the national and regional forecast together to the Arizona community. Both presenters are justly famous for making sophisticated economic concepts and forecasts accessible, relevant, and even fun. “I always looked forward to Marshall and Gerry’s Outlook presentations because I knew everybody would leave laughing, asking questions, and knowing a whole lot more than they did before lunch!” said Maile Nadelhoffer, EBRC’s longtime webmaster.
When Vest retired in December 2013, he had a reputation as one of the most accurate and trusted regional forecasters in the United States, and left behind a center which is nationally recognized as a model for high quality and unbiased economic forecasting and analysis.