2011 Research Conference - Luncheon Session : The Big Roads


Keynote Speaker(s)

Joe Cortright, President and Principal Economist, Impresa, Portland, Oregon, and Senior Adviser, CEOs for Cities

A man-made wonder, a connective network, an economic pipeline, a bringer of blight and sprawl and the possibility of escape—the U.S. interstate system transformed America. In The Big Roads, author and journalist Earl Swift charts the creation of this landmark system, which turned dirt tracks into an organized framework of expressways in the space of a single lifetime. The Big Roads brings to light the visionaries who created these essential highways as well as the critics and citizens who questioned their headlong expansion throughout the country—from a group of engineers who planned the interstates years before Eisenhower reached the White House to the ordinary citizens who found their homes and communities targeted by the expanding system.

Earl Swift will share highlights from The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways at the conference luncheon.

The book will be available for purchase at the conference, and Swift will sign copies after the luncheon presentation

About the Speaker

Joe Cortright

Joe Cortright is president and principal economist for Impresa, a consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, innovation, and industry clusters. Cortright is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the chief economic analyst for the Oregon Business Plan, a multi-year, private sector-led effort to develop the state economy. Cortright is also senior policy advisor for CEOs for Cities, a national organization of urban leaders, and the chair of the Oregon Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Cortright is an advisor to state and local governments, private businesses, foundations and advocacy groups in more than a dozen states, Canada, and Europe. He and his work are regularly quoted in the media, including in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, BusinessWeek, and USA Today.