Economist and Author, Headwaters Economics
Beneath his warm smile, Mark Haggerty’s worry is apparent. With his B.A. in Economics and Masters in Geography from the University of Colorado, Mark has many years of experience interpreting the economy, especially in rural places. His prognosis doesn’t look good. “The defining characteristic of the economy in the West is becoming inequality.” As the Wild West becomes urbanized, with 90% of its residents living in metro counties, money is being siphoned out of rural communities and concentrated in urban centers. Instead of the “death of geography” that the tech industry promised us, residents of the West are finding survival incredibly difficult without connectivity to big urban centers and the global economy.
Despite the grim status of our economy, it’s nice to know that we have somebody like Mark working to get the train back on its tracks. He works alongside ten colleagues at Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, Montana. Headwaters researches everything from public lands, to energy, to economic development. They then give businesses, government officials, landowners, and others this information, providing them the ability to make informed decisions backed by quantitative data. In a world where decisions are increasingly made purely based on emotions, the information Mark acquires is invaluable.
By Luke Ratliff
Photos by Clara Hoffman