MTSU to honor alumnus at annual Economic Outlook C...

MTSU to honor alumnus at annual Economic Outlook Conference

Learn the latest forecasts for the Midstate and national economies as well as help Middle Tennessee State University honor one of its successful alumni at the annual Economic Outlook Conference this month on the MTSU campus.

Friday, Sept. 20, is the deadline to register for the half-day conference, which will take place Friday, Sept. 27, in the MTSU Student Union Ballroom. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., and the conference ends at 1:15 p.m.

Registration for the general public is $50 and can be completed online at

Joey Jacobs

The conference, which traditionally features regional, national and international economic experts, targets bankers, business owners and managers, community officials and leaders, business people, business and economics educators, students and others interested in the future economic growth of the region.

MTSU alumnus Joey Jacobs will receive this year’s Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award at the conference.

Jacobs is chairman and CEO of Acadia Healthcare, a rapidly growing behavioral health company based in Franklin, Tenn. He received his Bachelor of Science in accounting from MTSU.

Before joining Acadia, Jacobs cofounded Psychiatric Solutions Inc. and served as its chairman, president and CEO from April 1997 until November 2010. Before that, Jacobs served for 21 years in various roles with Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, most recently as president of the Tennessee Division.

With the conference taking place on the MTSU campus this year, first-year Jones College of Business Dean David J. Urban said the event provides a great opportunity for students to not only hear from some of the top economic minds in the country, but to also network with business leaders from throughout the region who attend the conference each year.

“Our goal is to make sure our students are prepared for the job market,” Urban said, adding that he’s focusing on developing mentoring opportunities for students to help them develop the “soft skills” needed to successfully launch their careers.

Other conference highlights:

Dr. David Penn, associate professor of economics, Department of Economics and Finance, Jones College of Business, and director of the Business and Economic Research Center at MTSU

Dr. David Penn

Dr. Don Ratajczak

David Darst

• Financial expert and author David Darst, managing director and chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York, will be the luncheon speaker. Darst is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, PBS and other television channels and has written articles for many of the world’s leading publications in his field.

• The morning speaker is conference mainstay Donald Ratajczak, nationally known economist and regent’s professor of economics emeritus at Georgia State University.

• Dr. David Penn, director of the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center, will again provide an in-depth update, with statistics and graphics, on the Midstate economy ranging from employment to housing to manufacturing.

The Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise, the Weatherford Chair of Finance, and the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center co-sponsor the conference.

For more information, call the Jones College of Business at 615-898-2764.

— Jimmy Hart (