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Economy More Like Diabetes than Flu, says Silver Lake’s Glenn Hutchins at C-N

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Speaking Executively - Sliver Lake co-founder and co-CEO Glenn Hutchins (left) talks with D. J. James, a sophomore from Marietta, Georgia. A co-owner and executive committee member of the Boston Celtics, Hutchins delivered the inaugural installment of the Executive Speaker Series. The School of Business presentation drew students and business leaders from across the region.

Americans are still coming to grips with the reality that economic recovery will take a really long time, noted Glenn Hutchins during the inaugural event of the Executive Speaker Series, sponsored by Carson-Newman’s School of Business.

The 2008 crisis was not analogous “to having the flu, where you’re sick for a couple of days and then go right back to the (previous) level of health,” said the co-founder and co-CEO of Silver Lake, the private equity firm that last spring sold Skype to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Given that the economy is reacting to 30 years of short-sightedness and debt, “it’s more like diabetes,” he intoned.

A director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vice chairman of the board of the Brookings Institution, and a director of the Harvard Management Company, among other roles, Hutchins has spent 35 years studying the economy. He said matters like debt, a housing supply of some two and-a-half years, and other factors have created a situation hard to digest – what he called “a pig in the python… that’ll take a while to swallow.”

His audience included the next batch of job-seekers and he encouraged them to look for work in the technology sector. He said the future is brightest in the areas of science, technology engineering and math (STEM jobs), where growth blooms continually and where there are not enough workers to match the number of available jobs. He said success will correspond to being equipped educationally, understanding the global economy and working in the optimal industry, three vectors which are found in technology.

Calling recent developments in wifi and broadband “the biggest opportunity” of his life – accounting for a growth rate of 100 percent each year – Hutchins championed partnerships between educators and businesspeople to bridge the practical experience gap for students entering the workforce.

According to Morristown businessman Pete Barile, the event was “a great start” to the Executive Speaker Series.

“Wow! What a kickoff,” he told Business Dean Clyde Herring. “These students heard what they needed to hear. I saw a long line of students waiting outside and I thought, ‘Wow, they are coming here.”

Hutchins, said Herring, “presented an outstanding discussion on the global marketplace—where we are and what is necessary to climb out of the economic downturn that we are in and key industry opportunities for both growth and jobs in the future. The students were captivated by Glenn’s presentation which generated interesting questions by students, faculty, and community business leaders.”

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