January 2024 Community Events in Richmond

Richmond BizSense Economic Forecast panel 2024

With the New Year energy of January, I attended several economic forecast and research events

I attended the following:

My notes, impressions and takeaways are shown below. I attended as a creative business owner, curious as to how these topics might affect my business or my team. All opinions are my own, not necessarily those of the organizers, panelists or speakers at these events.

BizSense 2024 Richmond Economic Forecast

This breakfast event featured open networking before a moderated program of 2 sets of panelists.

I attended the fourth annual Richmond Economic Forecast, presented by PNC Bank. This event included two segments: the first featuring a panel discussion with local CEOs and business owners, followed by a slate of regional economists, all sharing their views of the year to come.

In partnership with the Robins School of Business, the event was held at the Jepson Alumni Center.

My personal notes and takeaways from each panelist are below.

Business Community Panelists

Brian Haney

Brian Haney, Kinsale insurance

2024 economic confidence prediction – 9
Brian’s economic observations for 2023
– neutral on par for 2023
– insurance industry is insulated, has a separate market cycle
– catastrophe driven industry – 5 of the largest catastrophes in last 6 years
– we hire people new to the industry, college grads, career switchers, hire for potential and aptitude, teach them the job
– we always get back to people, always bring people in
– growth plans, bought Anthem property at W Broad and Staples Mill
– consistent growth and needed to expand, purchased property, sold newer property, will refurbish old building as headquarters, want to give employees a nice environment
Overall final impression: 🙂 seeing a. positive economic trend, 😒 wars and conflicts have the capacity to hurt

John B. Levy

John Levy, John B. Levy & Co.

2024 economic confidence prediction – 7
– money is available but it takes more to do things
– DC used to be the best office market, now the worst
– never been a time with office transactions this low in 50 years
– in commercial, if you own something, you are likely ok
– transactions are down, volume is down, fewer deals being done
– lots of folks waiting for a big downturn, but in his view it’s just not happening

Mike Lindsey

Mike Lindsey, Lindsey Food Group

2024 economic confidence prediction – 10
– pricing of food and supplies drives up cost of food but drives our restaurants to perform more consistently
– with price pressures, we may lose menu items
– interest rates going up drive cost of commercial real estate so new projects may be on pause depending on square footage price
– fortunate to attract great talent, building good relationships, talent pipeline, show growth opportunity, we know to develop and take care of your people
– always hiring so we can capture great talent before we need it
– lunch crowd downtown is strong
– started in 2020, Lillie Pearl, 10 locations, 4 planned for 2024
– we have found a sweet spot to keep growing like this and our customers like what we do and keep supporting us
– closed restaurants because of growth and needing larger spaces, not because of poor sales
🙂 excited for enjoyment of customers eating out, 😒 worries – when will Lindsay Food Group not be popular?

Sarah Paxton

Sarah Paxton, La Diff

2024 economic confidence prediction – 7.5
Sarah’s economic observations for 2023
– very up and down through the year in 2023
– higher interest rates and inflation crowd out ability of folks to make larger furniture purchases
– Richmond has become a hub for warehouse distribution
– to keep competitive in attracting employees we must offer benefits, train team, try to stay on top of market pay to keep employees
– in our retail environment, there is no work from home
😀 Manchester space, 😒 AI threats, tricking of customer

Dee Ann Remo

Dee Ann Remo, Heritage Wealth Advisors

2024 economic confidence prediction – 9
– seeing clients thinking about valuation
– if you want same rate of return, may need to look outside of traditional markets
– allows employees to work from home
– we trust you, no better signal of a strong culture than saying we trust you to be flexible and manage your own career
– re-evaluate what is normal
– keep wealth – how to save taxes, how to deal with complexity, RVA is a great philanthropic environment
😀 get to work with people smarter than me

Jennifer Wakefield

Jennifer Wakefield, Greater Richmond Partnership

2024 economic confidence prediction – 10
– noticing that the initial business interest to announcement timeline takes longer
– interest rates make companies pause
– companies have been flooring it, then taking foot off the gas, hurry up and wait
– projects are 9-12 months
– smaller projects on the whole
– 100-200 job operations
– lots of alternative energy & data centers
😀 office has opportunity but it has to be a 5-star space & experience

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