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Tech Bisnow
January 11, 2012
Washington’s Top Prognosticator

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Forget about Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos, or Bret Baier. When reporters, business people, and policymakers need an economic snapshot of the DC region, they call GMU prof Steve Fuller. When the President needs advice on handling Congress, he calls Steve. OK, we fudged a little on that last one. Our point is that Steve is the go-to guy for everything on the regional economy. We found out so much more about him on a recent Tuesday morning.
GMU regional economist Steve Fuller
Before we get a look at the man behind the numbers, we asked Steve for his latest regional forecast. Live it up now because the region won’t be growing at the same clip. By 2013-2014, we will be trailing the national economy. Since federal spending is such a major part of our economy (in 2010, it was 40 percent, with Fairfax County getting the most federal contracting dollars of any county in the country), and those dollars will be cut back, other industries like hospitality and health care will be challenged to make up the difference. Now before you start packing your bags, Steve says the local economy will still be one of the most robust in the country behind NY, LA, and Chicago. We survived the recession after all and pulled out faster than any other place.
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Regional economist Steve Fuller
Steve, an avid sailor since owning his first boat in ’65, shows off his 43-foot Hinckley. While much of his economic snapshots and forecasts come from publicly available government info, after over 35 years in the business, he has some gut instincts about what’s happening. He moved here in 1967 after studying at Cornell, and was one of the first economists to study the Washington economy. (Anacostia was the first area he analyzed.) He started looking at the government’s monthly federal contracting data when it became publicly available in 1979. It’s been his focus ever since. At 71, (yes, you read that right) Steve has a target retirement in mind. And that’s where it stayed. Sorry, our charm couldn’t get it out of him.
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Steve Fuller
Steve, who has two adult children and four grandchildren, just got back from 12 days of sailing from St. Lucia to Grenada with his wife. No newspapers, no phones, no economic wisdom to dispense for nearly two weeks. It’s that middle-of-nowhere solitude that helps Steve do his best thinking. Or it could be the fact that John Lennon used Steve’s boat, before he owned it, to sail from Maine to Bermuda. Steve didn’t know this before buying the 35-year-old boat. John, who would have been the same age as Steve, had hit a song-writing rut and needed to think. He sailed with a captain and then returned to put together his last album (Double Fantasy), which Steve says was undoubtedly inspired by the sail. Steve even has John’s signature in the boat’s log and a quote he attributed to Truman Capote: “There is no place like nowhere.” Steve will be at our Economic and Political Forecast event on Jan. 24. Come hear more of his forecasting.

Listen, About Last Night
Do you still think Huntsman is the just the name of the guy who saved Snow White? It's time for a crash course in politics. We’re thrilled to host two of Washington’s top political analysts tomorrow morning. Ann Compton has been ABC’s chief White House correspondent for years (she was the only broadcast journalist on board Air Force 1 with President Bush after 9/11) and Linda Douglass was President Obama’s spokesperson during his 2008 campaign, inauguration, and healthcare initiative after taking office, as well as chief congressional correspondent for CBS News before that. If you want to know what the experts think about the GOP race or how they match up with the President, this is the place to be in Washington this week. Jan. 12. Sign up now!

Out Of This World
NASA Launch program
A small business in Lanham, Md., will be doing big things for NASA under a $138.1M contract for its Launch Services Program. a.i. Solutions will provide services to prepare and launch NASA’s next generation of scientific and exploration spacecraft. The contract life is potentially five years. a.i. has been working on products and services like satellite navigation, flight dynamics, and IT security for space access since 1996. Its other customers include the Missile Defense Agency, Air Force, and NOAA.

Hillcrest Dominates at CES
Hillcrest Labs Dan Simpkins
Apple and Microsoft may be pulling out of going to the annual Consumer Electronics Show, but life is good there for Hillcrest Labs’ Dan Simpkins. His Rockville, Md.-based company launched a new set of products and customers at the show this week in Las Vegas. Some of those new customers include LG Electronics, Warpia, ASUS, and Texas Instruments. Hillcrest recently introduced the second generation of its natural motion control software and Freespace products, which electronics manufacturers use for remote controls. Some of the company’s products also won CES innovation awards for design and engineering. Looks like the show has a new sweetheart.
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