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gradually acquired a reputation of being 'negative' on California,"
Hensley recalls. "There was a certain amount of bitterness about
our forecast, that we were part of the problem and that we were
creating a sense of anxiety that didn't need to be there. Eventually
all that faded, and everyone went in our direction. Even we underestimated
the magnitude and severity of what was happening, and all of us
were sort of humbled by what ultimately came down."
their gloomy predictions, Hensley says, the Forecast never got any
flak from the state government. "Governor Wilson was actually one
of our big supporters, and he never had anything but good things
to say about the Forecast," Hensley says. In fact, Wilson appeared
as keynote speaker at the Forecast's June 2001 conference, which
focused on the state's energy crisis. "It would be fun to be the
bearer of good tidings," the former governor told the crowd. "It
is more fun if you can be pleasantly surprised. But what's most
important is to be accurate, and [the Anderson Forecast] has been
with its remarkable record."
Hensley -- now vice president of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in New
York -- left UCLA in 1993, Kimbell took over the directorship of
the BFP once again. He appointed economist Tom K. Lieser Ph.D. '77
as executive director of the forecast in 1997 and spent the last
year of his career at the Forecast as co-director with Daniel J.B.
Mitchell, professor at the Anderson School and at the School of
Public Policy and Social Research. When Kimbell retired to his hometown
of Amarillo, Texas, in 1999, Mitchell became the sole director from
July 1999 to June 2000, followed by Leamer.
this story nears publication, the Forecast staff is preparing for
its December conference, "California in the Global Marketplace,"
and will celebrate its 50th anniversary by inviting former directors
and prominent staff for a reunion. Dan Mitchell, Larry Kimbell and
David Shulman M.B.A. '66, Ph.D. '75 -- former finance economist
with the Forecast and now managing director at Lehman Brothers,
Inc. -- will be there, and Bob Williams has been invited. Yoshi
Inaba, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., will
address the morning session.
attendance will be Anderson School Dean Bruce Willison '70, himself
a businessman. "Going back decades now, the Forecast has built a
strong reputation for its accuracy," Willison says. "But two important
things are happening: First, we're reaching out to the business
community and providing this insight and guidance as to what's happening
behind the numbers. Secondly, we're reaching further into our own
school to incorporate more faculty and student involvement, where
we have a variety of expertise that cuts across industries and into
a lot of different sectors."
insight is the name of the game, says Leamer.
what I'm trying to emphasize," he says. "The forecast is an educational
Soderburg is senior editor for UCLA Magazine.