First Thursday Recap: 2023 Economic Forecast Panel w/ Business NC

A YouTube recording of the discussion is available. 

January 5th, a panel of educated business leaders, economic development drivers, and financial advisers gathered to discuss their economic predictions for 2023.

This discussion was the kick-off for our 2023 ‘First Thursdays’ Professional Development series.

First Thursdays are a monthly professional development series hosted by the Office of Graduate Business Programs. This series consists of a variety of presentation formats – ranging from panel discussions, to keynote speakers, to workshops – and they each address current topics of importance in the business world.

Thursday’s panel consisted of Dr. Mark Steckbeck, Representative Jason Saine, Adam Currie, Tony Copeland, Patrick Woodie, and Chuck Mattina.

Dr. Mark Steckbeck serves as an Associate Professor of Economics, Lundy Chair in Business Philosophy, and Director of the Truist Business Scholars program at Campbell University’s, Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.

“Over the last fifty years, when the FED raised interest rates to combat inflation a recession was sure to follow,” stated Dr. Steckbeck. “I do not believe this year will stary from that truth, however, I do believe we are at a unique point where unemployment will remain low.”

Representative Jason Saine serves the 97th district of North Carolina, Lincoln County, and is the Vice President of Business Development at Rogue Squadron Tech, Inc.

“As we hear from other state representatives on the shape of their economies, North Carolina steadily comes out as a front runner in economic viability and state-wide growth,” shared Jason.

Adam Currie serves as the Chief Banking Officer for First Bank (FBNC).

Adam provided an analogy that well represents our common cation to positive thinking since the start of the economic ramifications brought on by COVID-19. He shared, “Everyone is constantly looking for a ghost. They are internally riddled with the previous pressures brought about by COVID-19. They are hesitantly peaking around the corner (or next quarter) preparing for the next shoe to drop.”

He positively advised that he believes this year will serve as an equilibrium bringing the economy back into balance.

Anthony Copeland, former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, now serves as Senior Economic Development and Corporate Strategist at Brooks & Pierce.

“NC has secured a record number of jobs in capital investments since 2017,” stated Tony. “As we enter a possible period of recession, I believe NC is well set to combat periods of unemployment, thanks to these high periods of growth.”

Patrick Woodie is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the NC Rural Center.

“People are spending more time now considering the life they want to live and are consciously making choices that will lead them to it,” Patrick shared. “They desire less congestion and a chance to see the stars at night. This has led to the first time in the states history where the population is equally divided among urban/suburban spots and rural areas. This shows the potential for growth across the state, not just pocketed areas.”

Chuck Mattina serves as Senior Vice President of Insights and Analytics for Sales Factory.

“Consumer spending is intrinsically linked to consumer confidence,” advised Chuck. “Perception is reality for the consumer; Many are sitting, waiting, for the next shoe to drop, as prices at the gas station and the grocery store remain steep.”

Each panelist provided those in attendance with a nugget of knowledge to chew on as they contemplate their consumer behavior for the coming year. Overall, everyone agreed NC will enter some sort of recession, but they believe it will be mild for we are well positioned to handle the punches.

If you are interested in learning more about our graduate programs and/or other First Thursdays events, please visit our website and/or reach out to our Director of Graduate Programs, Somer Johnson (