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Governor names four new appointees to Council of Economic Advisors

Governor Jay Inslee announced UW Professor Justice Marlowe, researcher Desmond O’Rourke, former Starbucks and Seattle City Light economist Nina Sidneva, and Matthew Gardner the chief economist at Windermere Real Estates as new appointees to his Council of Economic Advisors this week.

The council was established in 1984 by then-Gov. John Spellman to advise the governor on state budget, tax policy, the issuance of debt and debt management, cash management, and other fiscal matters that reflect upon the overall financial condition of the state as well as national developments that affect state policies. It is currently composed of eleven members.

In making appointments to the council, the governor considers individuals who represent major economic sectors of the state and have knowledge of timely and significant economic issues. The new appointees share a high level of economic training and experience, but their varied backgrounds will likely add variety of perspectives on relevant economic concerns including local finance, agriculture, energy policy, and real estate – all hot button issues in 2018 and likely 2019.

Professor Justin Marlowe Evans School of Public Policy & Governance  endowed Professor of Public Finance and Civic Engagement, and serves also as the school’s associate dean for academic affairs. His research and teaching focus on public financial management and public-private partnerships. He has authored more than 50 articles on issues of public finance, including state and local taxes, public pension liabilities, government accounting, public-private partnerships and more.

Desmond O’Rourke, from Pullman, has a PhD in Agricultural Economics and is the owner of Belrose, Inc. Dr. O’Rourke retired as director of the IMPACT Center for international marketing at Washington State University in May 2000, which he lead for over 20 years. He now conducts business and marketing analysis in deciduous fruits and publishes several newsletters including the World Apple Report, World Apple Review, World Pear Review, World Kiwifruit Review and World Sweet Cherry Review.

Nina Sidneva, received her PhD in Economics from the University of Washington. She has over 15 years of energy related experience working for the U.S. DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Avista Utilities, Tacoma Power and Seattle City Light. Most recently, she worked at Starbucks Coffee Company hedging Starbucks price risk exposure to diesel, natural gas, electricity, fiber, plastics, sugar, and wheat and was a project manager on the first solar investment for Starbucks in 2017.

Finally, Matthew Gardner has served as the Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate since 2015. As Chief Economist he has written extensively on local and national real estate trends. He is perhaps most well known for publishing his quarterly Gardner Report with detailed analysis of the state and regional real estate sector. Additionally, he chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at UW where he also lectures in real estate economics.