EO Nashville Members met with Senior Economic Advisers at the White House this week as part of a national summit on the Nation’s economy. The Tennessean covered the event. The Tennessee delegation of business men and women included EO Nashville members Charlie Brock, Ben Hanback and John Rowley.
Tennessee business leaders meet with Obama advisers
December 19, 2013
A group of Nashville-area business leaders joined others from around the country Wednesday at the White House to brief the president’s economic advisers on ideas for growing the nation’s economy.
Senior Obama administration officials outlined several initiatives they are promoting to speed up economic growth and encourage more hiring, including a push for immigration and corporate tax reforms, an aggressive trade agenda and a partnership with some of America’s largest employers to help address long-term structural unemployment.
Nashville-area attendees — as part of a larger delegation from Tennessee — included Ben Hanback, senior vice president, Regions Insurance Group; John Rowley, president, Fletcher Rowley Inc.; Chris Williams, principal at Dubraski & Associates; and Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee.
Rowley, a veteran of several of these Washington sessions, said many business owners would be surprised at how often policymakers are reaching out to business interests.
“There’s a lot of interaction going on between the business community and the White House, and a lot of that is not widely known,” Rowley said. “There’s probably a perception that there’s not a lot of listening happening, but that’s just not the case.”
This week’s trip was organized by Business Forward, a Washington-based nonprofit that frequently organizes meetings between administration officials and business interests.
“Business leaders bring a data-driven, results-oriented approach to Washington that stands out,” said Jim Doyle, Business Forward president. “They may not agree with one another, or the administration, on every point, but they expect Congress and the administration to agree on solutions to create jobs and empower businesses.”
Hanback said one key topic of conversation was the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and the impact of health reform on businesses. He said the administration leaders paid attention to the group’s concerns and tried to give an empowering message to take home to local communities.
“The one thing that struck me was how much they rely on local communities to figure out ways to support themselves,” Hanback said. “They can only do so much from the top. It’s really up to us.”
The group met with several key policy advisers, including Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, and Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.
Williams said the meeting helped underscore the need for immigration reform. “The system we have today really doesn’t help grow our economy,” Williams said.
Rowley said he was struck by discussions about the opportunities for international trade and the level of support available to local businesses, especially in states like Tennessee, which is trying to grow overall exports. “I think there were a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments during that discussion,” he said.