San José State University 2017 Economic Summit



Mr. Matthew R. Mahood 


Mayor Sam Liccardo

Dr. Christopher Thornberg

Mayor Sam Liccardo

Mayor Sam LiccardoMayor Sam Liccardo took office in January 2015; San José has surged ever since. 

In his brief tenure, Sam has: 

- forged a historic pension reform agreement with 11 unions that will save taxpayers $3 billion over the next three decades;  

- launched “San José Works,” an initiative that will provide jobs to over 1,000 teenagers living in gang-impacted neighborhoods this year; 

- crafted innovative programs to reduce homelessness, from rehabilitating decaying motels to incentivizing landlords to house homeless veterans;  

- announced five new international flights at Mineta San José International Airport;

- created after-school programs for hundreds of low-income children, boosted library services in every neighborhood, and expanded youth learning opportunities for coding and STEM skills;  

- ushered a major expansion of tech employers into San José, from corporate titans like Apple and Google to fast-growing innovators such as Silver Spring Networks, Splunk and SuperMicro;  

- launched San Jose’s “Smart City Vision,” forging partnerships with the tech community to leverage technology and data to improve safety and services, with the ambition of making San José the most innovative city in America.

In Sam’s prior public service, he prosecuted a range of felony cases as a federal and local criminal prosecutor, from sexual assault and child exploitation to international narcotrafficking. In 2006, voters elected Sam to the first of his two terms on the City Council, where he led efforts to revitalize its downtown, preserve San José’s hillsides and open space, boost funding for affordable housing and open a world-class soccer stadium for the San José Earthquakes.

Additionally, Sam serves on a number of boards of directors, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Valley Transit Authority Board, the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency. Sam also is the co-chair for Joint Venture Silicon Valley and a founding board member for Cristo Rey High School. He also holds senior fellowships for the American Leadership Forum and the Aspen Institute and is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Sam graduated from San José’s Bellarmine College Prep and Georgetown University, prior to receiving a law degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  

Sam and his wife, Jessica, live in the Northside neighborhood, east of Downtown, within blocks of Jessica’s childhood home, where Sam’s father also grew up, and where Sam’s grandparents operated a neighborhood grocery store. Sam descended from the first Mexican settlers in the Bay Area, as well as from Sicilian and Irish immigrants.

Mr. Matthew R. Mahood

Matthew Mahood

Matthew Mahood (pronounced May-hood) is the President & CEO of what local media call ‘Silicon Valley's flagship business lobby’ The silicon valley organization. The nonprofit business association represents nearly 1,400 member businesses that employ roughly 275,000 employees throughout the region.

Under his leadership since July 2011, The silicon valley organization, formerly the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, has reengineered its scope of work to focus all efforts around regional economic development. Mahood has increased member value and community relevance by becoming a leader in the regional discussions of key issues that impact the business community’s ability to attract and retain a talented workforce while growing their business.

With his leadership, The SVO has become the region’s connector, convener, collaborator and champion on issues that affect business and the community’s prosperity. He has served as the co-chair for both a countywide task force focused on solving the homeless housing crisis and a City of San Jose-focused jobs initiative for at-risk youth called SJ Works. Additionally, with Mahood’s guidance The SVO launched silicon valley IDEA, the evolution of his five-year effort to grow and promote the region. silicon valley IDEA is convening 28-industry groups that represent the region to better understand the common issues facing business. Once identified, a solutions team made up of Silicon Valley’s brightest innovators will tackle the issues and create out-of-the-box solutions, all the while branding and promoting Silicon Valley to the region, nation and world.

No stranger to taking charge, Mahood has also pushed The SVO into the workforce development space, launching strive san jose. strive convenes the education sector, business and government to help create, guide and influence the talent pipeline to ensure a talented workforce that will allow our businesses to continue to innovate and grow. In its first six months, the program launched an internship program that placed 41 local high school students into paid summer internships with 31 SVO businesses, representing 13 industries, and generating $50,000 into the local economy.

Mahood’s extensive background as an executive in business operations spans over three decades in both the for- and non-profit sectors. His career began at United Parcel Service, later joining FedEx, BAX Global and in various management-level positions focused on operations, customer service, sales, human resources, marketing and general management. He previously served as the President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber for nearly a decade, helping to spearhead the efforts with the Mayor’s office to retain the Kings in Sacramento and being named “Executive of the Year” by the Western Association of Chamber Executives.

Mahood is a California native. He is a member of the San Jose Rotary and serves as an advisory board member for the United Way Bay Area - Silicon Valley Impact & Growth Council. He was a founding directory of the California Capital Airshow and the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration – Organizational Communication and Public Relations — from California State University, East Bay and resides in Los Gatos with his wife Penny and youngest daughter, Melina.

Dr. Christopher Thornberg

Christopher Thornberg

Christopher Thornberg is Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, LLC and widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists. He is also Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at UC Riverside’s School of Business Administration and an Adjunct Professor at the School. An expert in economic forecasting, regional economics, labor markets, economic policy, and real estate analysis, he was one of the earliest and most adamant predictors of the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007, and of the global economic recession that followed. Since 2006, he has served on the advisory board of Wall Street hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc.  In 2015, he was named to California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors, the body that advises the Treasurer on emerging strengths and vulnerabilities within the state’s economy. From 2008 to 2012, he served as economic advisor to the California State Controller’s Office, and as Chair of then State Controller John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors.

 A highly sought after speaker, Dr. Thornberg regularly presents to leading business, government, and nonprofit organizations across the globe including Chevron, The New Yorker, City National Bank, REOMAC, the California State Association of Counties, Colliers International, State Farm Insurance, the City of Los Angeles, and the California and Nevada Credit Union League, among many others. He has testified before the U.S. Congress House Committee on Financial Services on municipal debt issues, and before the California State Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation regarding rule changes related to Proposition 13.

 Dr. Thornberg has been involved in conducting research and developing analytic products for international clients that explore the trade and economic connections between the United States and the world. This has included analysis and speaking presentations regarding the impact that U.S. trading partners have on U.S. global competitiveness for the Centre for Investor Education in Melbourne Australia, the state of U.S. and U.K. housing markets for the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and U.S. and international economic outlooks and their effect on global trade activity for the African Cashew Alliance in Cotonou, Benin.  He has also conducted a number of special studies measuring the effect of important events on the economy including the NAFTA treaty, the California electricity crisis, port security, California’s water transfer programs, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 

 Dr. Thornberg serves on the Residential Real Estate Committee at the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Residential Real Estate. He is also a panel member of the National Association of Business Economists’ quarterly “Outlook,” a contributor to the “Economic Consensus Outlook” published by the Journal of Business Forecasting, and a contributor to monthly economics polls published by Reuters.

 Dr. Thornberg also serves on the boards of a number of business, civic, and nonprofit organizations including on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, as an Executive Member of the Central City Association (Los Angeles), as a Business Leader Member of America's Edge, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening businesses and the economy through public investments in youth and education, and on the Advisory Board of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of Lamda Alpha International, the honorary society for the advancement of land economics, and serves on the Advisory Committee of United Ways of California’s coming California Financial Stability Report.

 Prior to launching Beacon Economics Dr. Thornberg was a senior economist with UCLA’s Anderson Forecast where he regularly authored economic outlooks for California, Los Angeles, the East Bay, and developed specialized forecasts for a variety of public and private entities. He previously taught in the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School, in the Rady School of Business at UCSD, and at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also held a faculty position in the economics department at Clemson University.

A well-known media commentator, Dr. Thornberg has appeared on CNN and NPR and is regularly quoted in major national dailies including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Thornberg holds a Ph.D in Business Economics from The Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.