Todd Buchholz speaks to Park City businesses
Political advisor, author and economist Todd Buchholz addressed the local business community during the Park City Chamber/Bureau Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon Thursday. His message to the crowded room was simple, despite the fact that his speech bounced from complex economic concepts such as the economic crisis in Greece, overseas markets and political policies: it may be a treacherous time, but now is the time to innovate, develop and invest.
Buccholz’s ideas covered a large-scale perspective he discussed issues mostly at the global and national levels but he also meant it to apply locally.
"In Italy under the Borges, you had murder, bloodshed, terror, but they produced Michelangelo and Da Vinci, the Renaissance," Buchholz said to the crowd.
"In this perfect storm made up of sinking cruise ships, pirates from Somalia, the bitterest political infighting, the most frightening financial meltdown, now is the opportunity for prosperity."
Buchholz was named one of the "21 Top Speakers for the 21st Century" by Successful Meetings Magazine and served President George W. Bush as a director of economic policy in the administration. He has taught economics at Harvard University and is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal as well as a commenter on PBS.
"He’s a dynamic speaker on subjects that can be pretty dry," said Craig McCarthy, the Chamber Director of Member Services. "He really pulled together several pieces of the economic puzzle."
President and CEO of the Park City software company Nextrust Tyler Walton said he was interested in the national scale of Buchholz’s talking points. In particular, Walton was interested in the educational shortfalls of the American public education system in regard to math and science.
"The importance of education is one of the more important points he made," Walton said. "Our kids aren’t hungry for the types of jobs that are growing in America. They’ve had a comfortable lifestyle, but they’ll still have to compete with kids who didn’t have those same comforts, kids who prepared themselves to do the work that the world needs."
Wells Fargo Vice President Greg Robinson came from Salt Lake City to hear about the housing crisis.
"He did talk about housing, this glut of houses on the market and the inventory we still have to work through," Robinson said. "I’m in the business of financial advice. For people here, this is a resort town. I want to know when he sees a rebound for real estate."
Buchholz’s take on real estate was darker than on other aspects of the economy. For places like Park City that specialize in luxury home sales, it may be a while before the very affluent are willing to buy more properties, he said.
"We’re beginning to see rising prices for homes in places like Manhattan," Buchholz said, "but there’s still a lag between rising prices in central cities and rising prices in resort areas. The money will come back but not at a quick pace."
But not to end on a sour note, Buchholz said there are reasons to be hopeful.
"The economy is getting firmer and confidence is rising slowly," he added. "That’s especially true for the more affluent people who would come to places like Park City."
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Leaders in Park City and Summit County this week approved identical resolutions essentially opposing a Utah Department of Transportation concept for a major redo of the S.R. 248 entryway.