IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - November 17, 2008) - The Paul Merage School of Business and the Orange County Business Council today will host Orange County's most influential leaders to discuss the impact and solutions to today's growing economic challenges during their conference, Global Business Strategies...Navigating Today's Economic Challenges. The conference will be held at the Irvine Marriott Hotel from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"This conference couldn't come at a more appropriate time," said Dean Andy Policano of UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business. "We are currently facing one of the most challenging economic crises in our country's history. The events taking place today are reshaping the banking and investment world as we know it. By gathering the input of these experienced leaders, we are providing our business community access to some of the most brilliant economic minds in the world."

Dr. Max Zedtwitz, vice president, PRTM Management Consultants, will kick off the morning segment of the conference with a look at the global economy and the role Orange County plays. A panel discussion, led by Michael Aghajanian, managing director of PRTM and conference co-chair, will follow. Panelists will discuss risk assessment and the rewards of global business, along with the concept of global footprints and the strategic issues of international business. Panelists participating include: David Pyott, chairman and CEO of Allergan; John O'Connor, director of Global Supply Chain for Cisco; Stephen Marlow, executive vice president for Toshiba America Electronic Components, and board member for the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs at UC Irvine, and Kate Gutmann, vice president, worldwide strategic accounts for UPS.

The second panel of the morning focuses on global public/private partnerships, and accessing capital/funding and resources through government partnerships and agencies. Panelists include: Bijan Kian, director of US Export Import Bank; Geoffrey Jackson, US Trade and Development Agency director of Policy and Program and regional director for East Asia. Wayne Gross, Partner at Snell and Wilmer law firm, moderates this panel.

Esteemed economist and managing director of PIMCO, Paul McCulley, will keynote the luncheon with "The Paradox of De-Leveraging."

"McCulley will share insights on how the ration personal decisions of individuals irrationally impact the U.S. and global economy," said Lucy Dunn, President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council. "His analysis brings Wall Street and Capitol Hill home to Orange County. Local businesses and entrepreneurs will learn much from his insider's voice in the economic recovery plan."

Following the lunch and the keynote speech will be a presentation titled the Seismic Shift in Global Consumerism given by Robert E. Wollan, global managing partner for Accenture. Dr. Wallace Walrod, Vice President of Economic Development and Communications for the Orange County Business Council, will follow with an overview of economic development in Orange County.

The conference will conclude with a final panel moderated by Dean Andy Policano, focused on Orange County's global influence and featuring business leaders Steve Tully, president of Quiksilver Brand (Americas); Mike Mussallem, Chairman and CEO, Edwards Lifesciences; Aram Bassenian, chairman and CEO of Bassenian Lagoni Architects, and Ed Grier, president of Disneyland Resort.

About The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers four dynamic MBA programs -- plus PhD and undergraduate business degrees -- that deliver its thematic approach to business education: sustainable growth through strategic innovation. It graduates leaders with the exceptional ability to help grow their organizations through analytical decision-making, innovation and collaborative execution. In-class and on-site experiences with real-world business problems give students the edge needed to help companies compete in today's global economy.

Six Centers of Excellence and an Executive Education program provide numerous and varied opportunities for students and the business community at large to enhance their education experience and update their professional expertise. While the Merage School is relatively young, it has quickly grown to consistently rank among the top 10% of all AACSB-accredited programs through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network and close individual and corporate relationships.

The Merage School combines the academic strengths and best traditions of the University of California with the cutting-edge, entrepreneurial spirit of Orange County in the heart of America's Tech Coast. Visit the website at

About OCBC

In providing a proactive forum for businesses, government and academia to join together, OCBC helps assure the prosperity of America's fifth largest county. Orange County is one of the most desirable places in the nation to live, work, raise families and enjoy an excellent quality of life. The Orange County Business Council serves pro-business interests so that the region's vibrant economy will continue to expand, bringing the benefits of prosperity to every corner of the county.

The Orange County Business Council accomplishes its mission by leading a high profile, proactive advocacy program for business interests throughout California and the nation, focusing on three core initiatives: infrastructure, workforce development and workforce housing.

The Orange County Business Council is Orange County's leading voice of business. For more information, visit

Contact Information: CONTACT: Robb Korinke Orange County Business Council (949) 794-7225 Anne Warde The Paul Merage School of Business (949) 824-7922