Nationally recognized economist Dr. Nicholas Perna of Ridgefield will be the featured speaker and senior chief financial officers from Danbury area organizations in the corporate, banking and nonprofit sectors will participate in the Ancell School of Business inaugural CFO Forum to be presented on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Western Connecticut State University.

Dr. Perna, founder, managing director and chief economist of Perna Associates in Ridgefield, is a prominent economic forecaster who has appeared widely as a commentator in the national media. His talk, sponsored by the local chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), will be at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Westside Campus Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Avenue Extension in Danbury.

The talk will be followed by the CFO Forum panel discussion at 7:30 p.m. featuring Matthew White, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Praxair Inc. in Danbury; Paul Bruce, executive vice president and CFO of Union Savings Bank in Danbury; and Lori Pasqualini, chief financial and administrative officer of Ability Beyond in Bethel. Admission for the talk and forum will be free and the public is invited to attend.

Perna Associates, established in 1999, provides consulting services specializing in economic analysis, forecasting and strategy. Dr. Perna also serves as economic adviser to Webster Financial Corporation and as lecturer in the Department of Economics at Yale University. His extensive professional experience includes past positions as chief economist for the Fleet Financial Group, Shawmut Bank and Connecticut National Bank and as an economist with General Electric and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He also has served in government as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and of the governor’s Economic Advisory Council in Connecticut.

Recipient of a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Perna has conducted seminars at Yale since 2000 and also has taught at Williams College, the Stern School of Business at New York University, and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He has appeared as an analyst on national news programs at PBS, CNN, CNBC, the NBC Nightly News and National Public Radio, and his economic commentaries have been published in national and regional media outlets including the New York Times, Boston Globe and Hartford Courant. He has been cited in reports by the Wall Street Journal and Business Week as one of the nation’s top economic forecasters.

The panel discussion will feature financial professionals who have assumed leadership roles at prominent private sector and nonprofit organizations in the Danbury area. The program marks the first CFO Forum to be presented by the Ancell School of Business, which plans to offer this event annually.

Mr. White assumed his present senior management position in 2014 at Praxair, a Fortune 250 company with global sales last year of $12.3 billion that ranks as the largest industrial gases company in North and South America and among the largest worldwide. He previously served as president of Praxair Canada, controller and treasurer of Praxair Inc., and finance director of the Praxair unit North American Industrial Gases. Prior to joining Praxair, White held positions as vice president for finance at Fisher Scientific and group controller at chemicals manufacturer GenTek. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Penn State University and a master’s degree in business administration/finance at the University of Delaware.

Mr. Bruce was appointed in 2013 to his present CFO position at Union Savings Bank, a $2.3 billion mutual bank providing retail and corporate banking, investment management and lending services to clients at 26 branches in western Connecticut. His responsibilities include accounting, asset management, financial risk assessment, and oversight of finance, treasury and IT operations. Mr. Bruce also has served as Union Savings’ interim financial controller, and previously held positions in Massachusetts as CFO of Legacy Bancorp in Pittsfield and financial controller at the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge. He received his master’s degree in taxation from Bryant University and Master of Business Administration from Western New England University.

Ms. Pasqualini has been a member since 1995 of the administrative team of Ability Beyond, a nonprofit organization providing wide-ranging support services to facilitate integration and independent living for persons with disabilities in their home communities. As chief financial and administrative officer, Ms. Pasqualini fulfills responsibilities including financial and capital planning, maintenance of banking and lending relationships, management of government funding for programs, and strategic planning to meet workforce and human resource needs. Recipient of a bachelor’s degree in economics from Southern Connecticut State University, she previously served as an auditor at Deloitte and Touche in Boston and as director of reimbursement at Bridgeport Hospital.

For more information, contact Ancell School of Business Coordinator Kathleen Lindenmayer at [email protected] or call the Office of University Relations at 203-837-8486.