Richmond’s own economic index

Attention, CEOs. The University of Richmond and a local business group want to take your pulse.

The Virginia Council of CEOs has partnered with the Robins School of Business to develop an economic outlook index for central Virginia.

Scot McRoberts, executive director of the CEO group, said he wanted to develop a survey to help small and mid-size local businesses plan for growth.

“Based on talking to my members, I get a different story about the economy than what I read in the mainstream media everyday,” said McRoberts, “so this will tell the tale of whether the small and medium size market is reflective of the doom and gloom we read in the paper or if it’s bouncing back.”

McRoberts said they hope to survey between 100 and 200 CEOs at companies with more than $1 million in gross annual profit. The survey will look at three things: future employment plans, anticipated sales and expected capital expenditures. The survey will ask whether the business expects each of those factors to increase, decrease or remain the same over the next six months.

McRoberts enlisted the help of the Robins School of Business at UR to develop the survey and analyze the results. The ultimate goal is to continue the survey each quarter and develop a local area index.

“Our MBA students and faculty have enjoyed interacting with the council’s members over the last few years, and a joint research project seemed like a natural evolution in our relationship,” said Richard Coughlan, the Robins School’s senior associate dean.

Jeffery Pollack, assistant professor of management, took on the task of creating the survey and will study the results. Pollack said he sought help from the Business Roundtable, which conducts a similar survey on a national scale.

“It will be nice to know what mid-size companies are thinking about [these factors] over the next six months,” Pollack said.

Pollack said the more  respondents the better.

“The larger sample we have, the better we are able to represent accurately how businesses are thinking about the future in this region,” Pollack said.

The results from the first survey will be available in October.

To participate, contact smcroberts [at]

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Ed Gooding
9 years ago

Happy to see this! Kudos to the Virginia Council of CEO’s and the U. of Richmond. In the 31+ years that I have been running businesses in Richmond, I have often noted that our local economy does not parallel the rest of the country, especially in rough times. Regional-specific data will be helpful to all of us who are challenged with leading our small businesses.

Thank you!!

Jim Duke
Jim Duke
9 years ago

Great idea. I look forward to the October Report.