While the anniversary of the indictment of Al Parish for bilking local investors out of almost $100 million isn’t until early April, the beginning of the end came a few weeks earlier with Parish’s last regional economic forecast for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, according to a Post and Courier report weeks later.

As Parish was raving about the huge payoffs a new discount airline would bring to Charleston tourism, government investigators were checking the value of his brokerage accounts, which showed nothing close to the balances on the statements Parish had given them a few hours earlier.

Parish – so fond of purple and pink – was pale when he went back to his office that night. His health began to fail. When his secretary drove him to Trident hospital across the street from the CSU campus, he was unconscious – his body caving to the stress.”

Also last year, The (Myrtle Beach) Sun reported on Parish’s allure.

Joe Burch, now with Horry County Schools, met Parish after seeing one of his presentations for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and suggested Parish do similar projections for the Grand Strand, which was experiencing the ‘90s growth spurt, Waccamaw officials said.

“At the time, everyone was hungry for research, and basically, he was the only game in town,” said Mickey McCamish, a golf promoter who served on the economic board that met with Parish. “Therefore he became the resource everybody chooses to use.”

Needless to say, there was a healthy explainer attached to the Chamber’s announcement for this year’s economic forecast.

In 2007, the Chamber formed a partnership with College of Charleston to produce the region’s economic forecast. The forecast is based upon historical data tracked and collected by the Chamber’s Center for Business Research. Data on each of the key economic indicators that drive the region’s economy are collected and provided to Dr. Frank Hefner, School of Business and Economics, and his team at the College. From there, the data is input into an econometric model developed by Dr. Hefner.

The key to the success of the forecasting project is the Chamber’s Economic Outlook Board. Once produced, the Economic Outlook Board reviews the forecast and adds the real-time, real-knowledge insight into the actual performance of the local economy.

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