The Eastern Panhandle continues to add jobs and residents, but with the crisis on Wall Street and the ongoing global economic downturn, how will the regions economy react in the coming year?

West Virginia University economists and area business leaders will explore these and other questions at the Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook Conference at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn.

Sponsored by the WVU College of Business and Economics , the conference will feature George Hammond , associate director of WVU s Bureau of Business and Economic Research . He will discuss the forecast for the region in terms of jobs, income and population.

Hammond, an associate professor of economics at WVU , has directed the West Virginia Economic Outlook project for more than a decade. He has a doctorate in business economics from Indiana University.

Regional Perspectives and Issues,a panel discussion, will follow Hammonds forecast. Tom Witt , director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, will be moderator.

Panelists will be:

Harry M. Siegel, president and chief executive officer, HMS Technologies Inc.

Stacy Lawing, president, Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors

Robert Marggraf, vice president and general manager, West Virginia communities, Carl M. Freeman Companies

Jane Peters, executive director, Jefferson County Development Authority

Stephen Christian, executive director, Berkeley County Development Authority

Kevin Lemley, senior vice president and chief financial officer, Centra Bank

The conference will close with comments from William Trumbull , interim Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics.

The conference is free, but registration is required. To register, call 304-293-7831, go to or e-mail ” rel=nofollow> .

The event is underwritten by Centra Bank and co-sponsored by Gateway New Economy Council, the economic development authorities of Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties and the McLaughlin Economic Outlook Fund.