The North Central West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference will focus on the national, state and regional economy and the regional energy industry.

Sponsored by West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics, the conference will be from 8 a.m.12:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, at the Radisson Hotel in Morgantown .

This is the second year of our Morgantown outlook conference and should provide business leaders with information they need on the direction of the economy,said Dr. Tom S. Witt, associate dean for research and outreach in WVU ’s College of Business and Economics.This year’s conference will have a special focus on a strategic issue of growing economic importance to our state and region, namely the energy industry.

The conference is expected to attract upwards of 225 business and public leaders. The United States economic outlook will be presented by Sara Johnson, managing director of the Global Macroeconomics Group at Global Insight, one of the leading national economic consulting firms. She helps clients assess worldwide business and financial risks and opportunities.

Dr. George Hammond, research associate professor in the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, will discuss recent trends and the outlook for North Central West Virginia, which includes the Morgantown metropolitan statistical area, as well as the Clarksburg and Fairmont micropolitan areas.

The energy industry and its link to regional economic development will be explored with presentations by Michael John (vice president-operations, Chesapeake Energy Corp.-Eastern Division), Jim Truman (coal market analyst, Hill and Associates), James Haney (vice president, transmission, Allegheny Power), and Dr. Stratford Douglas (associate professor of economics, WVU College of Business and Economics).

Conference registration fees are $40 until Feb. 22 ($55 thereafter) and include a continental breakfast, break and conference materials. Students can register for $20. Registration information can be obtained by calling 304-293-7831 or by visiting . Continuing education credits are available for the real estate industry.

Conference underwriters include Centra Bank, Clear Mountain Bank, Energy Village , I-79 Development Council, Morgantown Area Economic Partnership, The Chambers Endowed Program for Electronic Business, The Dominion Post, The State Journal and the West Virginia Department of Revenue.