For Innovation VP Daraius Irani, Economic Outlook Forum shows why TU continues to matter to Maryland

TU’s chief economist will present the economic forecast for Maryland on Thursday, October 19 at the West Village Commons

By Kyle Hobstetter on October 16, 2017

Daraius Irani, vice president of Towson University's Division of Innovation and Applied Research, will deliver the economic forecast at the Economic Outlook Forum on Thursday, Oct. 19 in West Village Commons.
Daraius Irani, vice president of Towson University's Division of Innovation and Applied Research, will deliver the economic forecast at the Economic Outlook Forum on Thursday, Oct. 19 in West Village Commons.

When Daraius Irani, Ph.D., was hired as a research economist for the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University, the California native expected to be at TU for only about five years. Over 20 years later, Irani considers TU his second family. 

After holding several positions inside RESI and the Division of Innovation and Applied Research, Irani was named the division's vice president in the summer of 2016. 

It was one of the happiest days of his life.

“This is a dream job,” Irani said. “Every day I get to work with a team of passionate, smart and dedicated individuals to provide solutions to the state of Maryland. I love my job.”

While also serving as the division’s vice president, Irani is also RESI’s Chief Economist. The funny thing is that he didn’t start out in economics, he was initially a biology major at UC San Diego. But as he went through the course work for biology, he realized that his initial major was not inspiring him.

Dissatisfied with his major at UC San Diego, Irani decided to take an economics class—a life-changing decision. After graduation, Irani decided to continue his foray into economics by earning his master’s degree and doctorate in the subject from UC Santa Barbara, concentrating on labor and public finance.

“I consider myself an empirical economist,” Irani said. “I believe that data helps inform decisions and provide better insights into problems facing our economy.”

Under Irani’s leadership, RESI will be presenting the Economic Outlook Forum on Thursday, October 19 in the West Village Commons. This will be Irani’s 20th Economic Outlook Forum, and it will be the 12th time that he has presented the local economic forecast.

This year, the Economic Outlook Forum gives RESI a platform to present an in-depth look at the state of our economy. From proposed cuts to Maryland agencies and programs by the Trump administration to critical occupational shortages and a low unemployment rate, the forecast addresses how economic and political forces impact each of us.

Irani's insight and commentary helps state and local agencies, businesses and individuals in Greater Baltimore make more strategic economic decisions. For Irani, it is one of the events he looks forward to every year.  

“I love this event,” Irani said. “The work for the Economic Outlook Forum is always ongoing. We are always analyzing and writing about the economy. I am always presenting about the economy and meeting with outside people about the economy.”

“Our economic forecasts are updated on a quarterly basis,” he said. “This then helps inform my presentation of the state of Maryland’s economy.”

Registration to the Economic Outlook Forum is currently open. Along with the economic forecast, the forum will feature Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Gill—a TU alum—with a presentation on how Maryland's strong economy and commitment to an educated workforce supports the growth of an entrepreneurship ecosystem. Following Gill’s presentation, a panel will convene to discuss the challenges and solutions of building, scaling and sustaining a true entrepreneurship ecosystem in Maryland.

The Economic Outlook Forum is a perfect example of programs presented by the Division of Innovation and Applied Research. The division includes a team of 70 expert researchers, technologists and outreach professionals who create customized solutions focused on solving critical issues facing Maryland’s workforce and economy.

Check out the Division of Innovation and Applied Research’s five strategic goals

And while he’s at the helm, Irani is hoping that the division continues to help shine a spotlight on why “TU Matters to Maryland.”

“We have been able to do great things for the state of Maryland,” he said. “Every project we undertake, every venture we help create, every partnership we establish and every certificate course we teach helps the greater Baltimore region and the state of Maryland become just a bit better.” 

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland, BTU: Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore