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Christopher Thornberg, PhD (Founding Partner at Beacon Economics)

Christopher Thornberg, PhD

Founding Partner at Beacon Economics

Christopher Thornberg
Founding Partner, Beacon Economics

Christopher Thornberg has been called many things throughout his career, but his favorite thing to be called is correct. A renowned economist with deep expertise in economic and revenue forecasting, regional economics, economic policy, and labor and real estate markets, Dr. Thornberg has consulted globally for private industry, cities, counties, and public agencies.

He became nationally known for forecasting the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007 and was one of the few economists on record to predict the global economic recession that followed. Amidst the 2020 Covid- 19 shock, Dr Thornberg correctly predicted the rapid “V” shaped economic recovery, the inflation that resulted from excessive government stimulus, as well as the sharp hikes in interest and mortgage rates currently impacting U.S. markets.

Well known for his ability to capture and hold audiences, Dr. Thornberg presents to hundreds of leading business, government, and nonprofit organizations every year. Audiences across the globe benefit from his singular insight, including NAIOP, CoreNet Global, Western Bankers Association, Association of Washington Business, Foreign Trade Association, Western Association of Chamber Executives, The Boeing Company, Kaiser Permanente, Zillow, Mountain America Credit Union, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In his data-rich economic outlooks, Dr. Thornberg illuminates national and local economic trends, and warns of danger when political narratives diverge from economic realities.

Dr. Thornberg’s trusted commentary and his evidence-based approach to economic policy analysis has built a legacy of correct calls and an ecosystem that includes some of the world’s most influential entities. Regardless of the audience, client, or project, Dr. Thornberg holds firmly to the principle of objective economic analysis, often saying that ‘you can pay for analysis, but you might not like the answers the data uncovers’.

Dr. Thornberg is a contributor to consensus economic forecasts published by the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the National Association of Business Economists, and the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, is an Executive Member of the Central City Association (Los Angeles), and is a member of the California Association for Local Economic Development.

Prior to launching Beacon Economics, Dr. Thornberg was a senior economist with UCLA’s Anderson Forecast. He previously taught in the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School, in the Rady School of Business at UC San Diego, and at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also held a faculty position in the economics department at Clemson University.

A well-known media commentator, Dr. Thornberg has appeared on all the major networks, CNN, NPR, and is regularly quoted in major national dailies including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.

Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Thornberg holds a Ph.D. in Business Economics from The Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Lance Martin (Broker at Coldwell Banker Town & Country)

Lance Martin

Broker at Coldwell Banker Town & Country

Lance Martin started in the real estate industry at the age of 19 and has invested over twenty-nine years of full time residential real estate sales and property management in his family owned and operated real estate firm. Lance Martin is the Broker/Owner of four Coldwell Banker Town and Country offices that cover three different counties (Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino). With his significant experience, Lance specialized in Residential REO (foreclosure) Sales serving over 40 clients and large Asset Management firms in the management and sales of their REO industry. The four offices combined 280-plus realtor and associate broker members. Lance Martin has also served as a board member with the Inland Valley Association of Realtors and has continued to establish great relationships with affiliates.

Coldwell Bankers is one of the largest REO brokers in the Inland Empire. They also specialize in Property Management and have plenty of experience in environmental law practice dealings. They have extensive knowledge of the real estate market in Moreno Valley, Riverside, Perris, San Bernardino and more! They work extensively to help buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants meet their real estate goals.

Edward Ornelas, Jr. (CEO of IE Regional Chamber of Commerce)

Edward Ornelas, Jr.

CEO of IE Regional Chamber of Commerce

Edward Ornelas, Jr., originally from Los Angeles, found his professional calling in the Inland Empire, dedicating himself since 2015 to elevating local businesses. His unique blend of innovative thinking and unconventional marketing strategies distinguishes him in the business realm.

Edward's pivotal contribution began in 2015 with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. Though not its founder, he was the architect of its renaissance, using his strategic insight and relationship acumen to elevate the Chamber from a fledgling entity to a regional cornerstone. His transformative leadership was key in redefining the organization's trajectory.

Expanding his influence in 2018, Edward acquired the Inland Empire Business Journal, seizing the chance to amplify regional economic narratives and contribute to the area's positive image. This wasn't just a business move; it was a commitment to local economic storytelling and rebranding the Inland Empire's identity.

In his professional journey, Edward defies traditionalism. He thrives on innovation, questioning established methods, and boldly pursuing uncharted paths. For him, redefining norms and pushing boundaries is not a mere practice but a necessary ethos. This principle fuels his career and the transformative energy he brings to his ventures, creating environments that dare to evolve and innovate continuously.

Currently, Edward contributes his expertise to several boards, including the American Red Cross, Inland Southern California United Way, and as an Associate Director to the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. His nuanced grasp of business mechanics and devotion to societal advancement gained recognition with his recent induction into the California District Export Council by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, affirming his diverse skills.

Leading both the chamber and the Inland Empire Business Journal, Edward remains a cornerstone of community progress, stimulating economic growth, and weaving a narrative of regional success and promise.

Iddo Benzeevi (President & CEO of Highland Fairview)

Iddo Benzeevi

President & CEO of Highland Fairview

Iddo Benzeevi is the president and CEO of Highland Fairview, a Moreno Valley-based developer of residential communities and distribution centers. He is known for his work on the World Logistics Center (WLC), a 2,700-acre logistics hub in Moreno Valley that includes a 1.82 million square foot Sketchers distribution center. The Sketchers distribution center was the largest LEED Gold-certified building in the United States when it was built. Benzeevi has been a member of the Moreno Valley community for over 30 years and is known for his commitment to sustainability and innovation. In 2019, he was named Citizen of the Year.

Gary Malis (Head of Capital Markets at PRMG)

Gary Malis

Head of Capital Markets at PRMG
Greg Wallis (Assemblymember at 47th Assembly District)

Greg Wallis

Assemblymember at 47th Assembly District

Greg Wallis is a third-generation Californian who is working for a California that is affordable, safe and vibrant.

Greg studied political science before moving to the Coachella Valley more than a decade ago. He married his high school sweetheart, Desiree, and they make their home in Bermuda Dunes with their Great Dane, Harley, and Australian Cattle Dog, Gunner.

Greg enjoys volunteering with kids, from coaching young golfers to assisting his wife with her work as a dance coach and ASB director to supporting the mission of the local Boys & Girls Club.

When many of Greg’s friends began moving out of California because they could not afford the cost of living here, he decided it was time to run for the State Assembly. He ran on the belief that California can do a better job preparing young people for careers and college, promoting common sense public safety policy that supports law enforcement, and focusing on providing core government services like water storage and energy reliability without higher costs that drive families out of the state.

In his first year in office, Greg immediately joined the Problem Solvers Caucus, dedicated to putting the public good over partisan politics. He serves as Vice Chair of the Assembly’s Revenue & Taxation Committee and the Arts, Entertainment, Sports & Tourism Committee. He is a member of the Committees on Utilities & Energy; Higher Education; Jobs, Economic Development & the Economy; and he serves on the Joint Committee on the Arts.

Bill Essayli (Assemblyman at 63rd State Assembly District)

Bill Essayli

Assemblyman at 63rd State Assembly District

Assemblyman Bill Essayli was elected in 2022 to represent the 63rd State Assembly District, which includes the whole cities of Norco, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, and Canyon Lake, as well as portions of the cities of Eastvale, Riverside, and Corona. Assemblyman Essayli is a former federal prosecutor and Riverside County Deputy District Attorney. Today, he is also a small business owner as partner at the estate planning law firm of Essayli & Brown LLP.

As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, Assemblyman Essayli handled significant prosecutions, bringing justice to victims of violent and organized crime, identity theft, bank fraud, securities fraud, white-collar fraud, obstruction of justice, and a multitude of other matters. His duties included advising and coordinating with federal agents on active federal and multi-jurisdictional investigations, evaluating legal issues and filing criminal cases.

During his tenure at the United States Attorney’s Office, Mr. Essayli was entrusted with working on some of the nation’s most serious cases. One such case involved a terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015 that tragically led to the deaths of many American citizens. Mr. Essayli also tried a three-week jury trial of a prominent California doctor charged with more than 80 counts of unlawfully prescribing opiates, which unfortunately led to the deaths of over a dozen patients.

As foundation for his work at the United States Attorney’s Office, Mr. Essayli served with distinction as a local prosecutor at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. That office is one of the top prosecutorial offices in the nation, is the tenth largest in the U.S. and third largest in California. During his service as a prosecutor Mr. Essayli tried numerous jury trials successfully.

Before serving as a Deputy District Attorney, Bill was in private practice for two years at Paul Hastings LLP with a focus on employment law.

Bill has been a resident of Riverside County for three decades. After graduating from Centennial High School, Bill was the first in his family to graduate college. Bill received his undergraduate degree from the Kellogg Honors College of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He received his law degree from Chapman University School of Law.

As the son of Lebanese-American immigrants, Bill has been able to realize the American Dream.