Ellen Hughes-Cromwick Biography and Statement

Washington, DC

Consultant and former Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce
Former Chief Global Economist, Ford Motor Company

Clark University, M.A. International Development 1988
Clark University, Ph.D. Economics 1986

Honors and Awards:
Certificate for Business Economics (CBE) Designation, 2015
Global Fellow, Global Interdependence Center
Presidential Fellow, National Association for Business Economics
Special Recognition for input to Ford Motor Company's Board of Directors Strategy Offsite, 2003
Award from President Reagan for Improving Government Efficiency
H.B. Earhart Graduate Fellow, Clark University

Business and Civic Affiliations:
Board Member, NABE Foundation, 2014 - Present
Board of Directors (2011 - 2015) and Executive Committee Member, National Bureau for Economic Research
Member, Conference of Business Economists 2000 – present; Chair 2013-2014
Global Fellow, Global Interdependence Center
Board Member, Council for Economic Education 2013-2014
Member, Fiscal Future Committee, National Academy of Sciences, 2008-2010
President, National Association for Business Economics (NABE), 2007-2008
Member, Congressional Budget Office Advisory Panel, 2005-2007
Member, Industrial Economists Discussion Group (Harvard)
Chair, Board of Directors, Operation ABLE, 2007-2008
Member, American Economic Association

Alumni Activities:
Clark University Networked Computing Classroom for Economics Courses
Clark University Women Leaders Event
Scholarships for graduate economics students at Clark

Biography and Statement:
It is an honor to be a candidate for the Clark University Board of Trustees. Thank you for the opportunity to serve an institution which will continue to make significant contributions to education and our understanding of the world in the years ahead. Virtually everyone who has come in contact with Clark appreciates its special place in the universe of academic settings. Worldly but welcoming. Small yet utterly diverse. Individualistic while cohesive.

My husband Paul and I came to Clark after a brief stint in the Peace Corps stationed in the Ivory Coast. I worked in the International Development Program at Clark upon return to Worcester and became a graduate student in a field for which I was passionate. I was excited to learn the factors which drive economic development, especially in poor countries. The excellent coursework in development prompted an interest in the theory underpinning economic development later borne out through my many empirical studies. Clark’s economics department had faculty members who were thought leaders. You may share my experience that one of the hallmarks of Clark is the precious faculty who truly engage in active education, mentoring, and research. It was this troika of attributes which set Clark apart from many other universities. Paul and I started our family as we were finishing our graduate school courses. As a young mother, I worried that the two were incompatible. I lost confidence in myself. Then I received a call from Professor Frank Puffer: “Ellen, could you be my teaching assistant for the statistics course I am teaching this fall?” This may sound trivial to some. But to a woman, this was such a valuable turning point. That is Clark.

Professor Attiat Ott asked me to apply for an H.B. Earhart fellowship. I did and was funded to do research another semester. She gave me a few luxury suits to wear during my interviews in Washington, D.C. and then said, “Keep them.” That is Clark.

My first professional position while finishing my dissertation was at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President during the Reagan Administration. Thanks to Professor Maury Weinrobe, I had an opportunity to apply for and interview for this position. As chair of my Ph.D. thesis committee, his coaching and teaching were insightful. His ability to communicate complex ideas and with humor and modesty have stayed with me throughout my career. That is Clark.

As a junior and then staff economist at CEA, I worked under the guidance of many outstanding economists and deepened my understanding of macroeconomics, monetary and fiscal policy, as well as puzzling challenges including the key drivers of the nation’s productivity growth. This experience reinforced my respect for Clark University - the education I received there prepared me to be successful at CEA. That is Clark.

During the final year at CEA, I finished my dissertation and then turned back to complete my Master’s thesis paper on Kenya Energy Demand. That is why my Master’s award date followed the Ph.D. completion.

Our family moved to Hartford CT and I assumed a position as assistant professor at Trinity College. During this time, I was awarded an IBM/Sloan Foundation grant to start a networked computing classroom to teach macroeconomics courses. The grant allowed me to select two other institutions in New England for similar computing installations. I chose to include Clark University in this grant. Thank you Clark.

From there I went to Mellon Bank as a senior economist and worked on several applied economic issues, including the macroeconomic forecast, Latin market studies, and health care economics. I was recruited to Ford Motor Company in 1996 with the prospect of becoming their chief economist. The 18 years at Ford were both rewarding and exceedingly challenging. Working alongside accomplished leaders, along with a team of Ph.D. economists, it was an invaluable experience and one that helped guide the development of my leadership skills. As a global company, I saw the significant development in many emerging markets aided by the rise in private mobility demand. As Ford’s chief economist through the financial crisis, the many challenges confronting the organization required teamwork, thoughtful analysis and unbiased forecast scenarios. All of the graduate education at Clark – in economics and development – was critical as we worked through the many challenges during this period. Thank you Clark.

Recently, it was an honor to serve as chief economist for Secretary Penny Pritzker at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Under her leadership, Secretary Pritzker expanded commercial diplomacy and implemented a strategic plan which improved trade and investment, opened up advanced manufacturing institutes, started a Commerce Data Academy to modernize statistics using data science, fostered innovation and launched an intensive effort to measure the digital economy. We all worked hard as a team to further the Administration’s goals of inclusive economic growth and prosperity for all.

Reflecting on my work as a professional economist and executive at Ford Motor Company, I see the importance of our years at Clark University on full display. Were it not for the votes of confidence that the economics professors provided as we embarked on graduate education, we could have been derailed. As a young family, we were fortunate to benefit from the generosity of Clark University faculty and the Administration who supported us at all times. The economics faculty during this period were outstanding and compare with best whom I worked with at the Council of Economic Advisers, in the private sector and in the federal government.

I have enjoyed a productive and successful career because of the Clark University education – the people, programs, and support it provided during graduate school. We continue to enjoy meaningful and deep relationships with Clark friends. That Clark University was at the forefront of environmental sustainability is something I value deeply. Clark University programs supported research in the areas of the environment and international development well before many other institutions – and with a force of knowledge that was path breaking. I believe Clark will continue to foster superb research, combined with an attention to teaching and to student support in the years to come. With your support, I would be committed to guiding the university toward this end.

If honored to be elected to serve on the Board of Trustees, I pledge to use all of my professional experience to provide input and support to Clark’s strategic plan and vision for the future. Clark is receiving extensive recognition, particularly last month’s Princeton Review which highlights Clark as one of the “colleges that pay you back.” This recognition speaks highly of an important university legacy which is reinforced by the LEEP program and the excellent education the faculty offer, including substantive career preparation. It is truly a passion embodied in the faculty, administration, and Board to protect and grow a community which provides an education that allows all of us to make a difference in this world.

I would look forward to working closely with Board members and the Administration to provide a commitment of solid support for the six-year term. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy for the Board of Trustees.



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