The Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research was started in the early 1990s by Economics Professor Dr. Vernon Lynch with the mission of providing economic information and data to the Four Corners area. To fulfill this mission the Office introduced the Econometer Index to track local economic conditions using a mix of locally available and national data. To help disseminate this information the Office began to publish The Econometer, a quarterly newsletter of economic data, analysis, and useful information for local business and government agencies. In addtion, the Office produced a variety of economic impact and feasibility studies for local businesses, governments, and institutions.
In 1992 the Office held the first annual Southwest Business Forum, co-sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, and with the cooperation of the University of Colorado Leed's School of Business, Business Research Division. The Forum provides the local community an overview of the local, state, and national international economies.
With retirement of Dr. Lynch, the Directorship was taken up by Dr. Deborah Walker, Economics, who continued the mission of Office. In 2005 she was joined by Dr. Luke Miller, Finance, and Dr. Robert Sonora, Economics, who became co-Directors. To more seamlessly dovetail the data collected by the Office with economic data used the Office began to incorporate more macroeconomic level data collection while continuing to disseminate information about the local area. The Econometer was "retired" and, in partnership with the Durango Herald, the Four Corners Economic Quarterly was introduced to reflect the mission of providing information to the local area which includes, primarily, southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico.
In 2009, in cooperation with the Region 9 Economic Development District, the Office began to construct a Southwest Price Index (SWPI) to track changes to the overal local price level and calculate a local rate of inflation.
Today, under the sole direction of Dr. Sonora, the Office, now renamed the Office of Business and Economic Research (OBER), continues the original mission of both the OBER and Fort Lewis College.
Dr. Robert Sonora
Ph.D. in Economics: The Ohio State University
MA in Economics: The Ohio State University
MA in International Economics: The University of Essex, UK
BA in Economics: Connecticut College
Dr. Robert “Tino” Sonora is Professor of Economics in the School of Business at Fort Lewis College and is Director of the Office of Business and Economic Research. His current research interests include: monetary economics, monetary policy, transition economics, international trade, intranational macroeconomics, and international finance. His publications can be found in the International Economic Review, Review of Financial Economics, and the Czech Journal of Economics and Finance, among others. Since coming to Fort Lewis he has been a monthly columnist for the Durango Herald, made numerous presentations at state and local conferences and lectures as well as international academic conferences in Europe and the United States. Dr. Sonora has been quoted in numerous media outlets from the Four Corners Business Journal to The Rocky Mountain News, The Financial Times, Impacto (Mexico), and JutarnjiList (Croatia). He is a current member of the Colorado Business Economic Outlook Committee, the American Economic Association, and Western Economic Association. Prior to coming to Fort Lewis College he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Arlington and Instructor of Economics at Ohio Wesleyan University. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Economics at El Centro Universitario de Ciencias Económico Administrativas at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico and the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. In 2009 he was Fulbright Specialist Scholar at the University of Zagreb and is on the Editorial Board of the Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business. Dr. Sonora grew up in Denver, CO and Taos, NM.